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Questions questions

Written By: - Date published: 10:21 am, January 14th, 2013 - 96 comments
Categories: activism, blogs, Media, The Standard - Tags:

Christmas holidays – never long enough! Happy 2013 to one and all.

So – what do we do with this new year of ours? I’ve been pondering blogging, the role of The Standard, the future of blogs and the like. I’ve ended up with far more questions than answers, so (of course) I’m putting the questions to the community:

What is the impact of political blogs in NZ? Is it increasing or declining? Why?

To what extent are the views of the active blogging community representative of, or different from, the average NZ voter? Is it fair to say that bloggers tend to have views that are more “extreme” than the norm?

Bearing in mind the answer to the above, how should blogs relate to political parties in NZ? How should political parties relate to blogs?

A blog disseminates information and opinion, a successful blog builds a community. Could or should a blog / web based community do more? (I note here with sadness the currently moribund states of two interesting experiments – Policy Progress and journalism.org.nz ).

What is the role of blogs in the run up to the next election? What can the community here at The Standard accomplish in that time?

That’ll do for now I think!

96 comments on “Questions questions”

  1. just saying 1

    You go first R0b. I’m interested to hear your opinions.

    • r0b 1.1

      Thanks for the invite but (1) no time to chat right now, and (2) the idea was to start an open ended discussion, not head it off by stating my views. I will check in with my opinions near the end of the day though.

      • geoff 1.1.1

        r0b’s MO: I’ve always got the time to put together a shit-stirring pro-labour-caucus post but dag-nabbit, wouldn’t you just know it, I’ve got no time to answer any of the comments. Byyyeee!!!

        However… In response to the headline question, “What is the role of the blogs”:

        What a stupid rhetorical question. Blogs are just people’s opinions. That’s like saying “Hmm, what is the role of people’s opinions…? (scratches chin while gazing thoughtfully into the distance”)

        Opinions are only valid as long as they don’t question THE LEADER.

        As the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance said on Hot Fuzz last night, It’s all about The Greater Gooood eh Anthony.

        [lprent: Since you’ve taken time to express personally attack one of our authors, then let me take the time to express my opinion about your opinion. You’re banned for a month.

        Read the policy about attacking authors personally. It is in the section about self-martyrdom offences and extreme levels of stupidity. But I guess you know about that already right?

        Authors already commit to quite a lot of effort to simply write posts. It is quite difficult to do. The mere act of doing so means that they they seldom have lots of time to also comment or moderate. Not to mention that we’re usually just outright short of time anyway. Blogging is an adjunct to the other things going on in our lives. Quite simply you have to accept what we’re able to give. Demanding what we should do is obviously one of the more stupid things that any commentator could ever do.

        That last thing I need is some small-minded jerk-off like yourself attacking authors and discouraging them from writing. Given a choice I’m going to drop anyone stupid enough to attack authors on their own site, either in a mild message like this ban, or permanently. After all you can always go to somewhere more compatible with your way of thinking – the trashcan of Whaleoil comes to mind. ]

        • Andy-Roo 1.1.1.1

          Got something constructive to add Geoff?

          ?

          ?

          ?

          Thought not!

        • weka 1.1.1.2

          Even though I often disagree with some of r0b’s positions re the Labour party, I am always grateful for the time he puts in here. He’s thoughtful in what he writes, and often brings in perspectives that are missing from the comment level debate. I have no problem with him (or Mike or whoever) writing a post and not having the time or inclination to respond to the comments. For god’s sake, as far as I can tell the authors don’t exist to service the debate needs of the commenters. It’s great when we have authors that have the time to engage in comment, but it’s also great to have authors who just put up a post and leave it to the commenters to respond to. Both serve a purpose.

          So, to in part answer r0b’s question, I think diversity is a key role of political blogs. Can you imagine how boring it would be if all the authors thought and acted similarly? We are fortunate with ts to have a diversity of opinion amongst the authors, and commenters, and a diversity also in terms of how much time people have to spend here. I think ts gets the balance right to make this an open community that fosters good debate, critical thinking and encourages political learning and insight.

        • geoff 1.1.1.3

          small-minded jerk off?!?!

          Have we met?

          [lprent: Not as far as I’m aware. My god. How unfortunate for you that it is so bleeding obvious by merely looking at you. I didn’t realize that you were so afflicted. After all I’m merely gaining this opinion after reading a comment to one of my authors. :twisted:

          Now go away and serve your time, reflecting on how futile it is to argue with someone who likes to double sentences in preference to wasting more time explaining the obvious stupidity of attacking someone on their own site. ]

        • pollywog 1.1.1.4

          heh

  2. Anne 2

    To what extent are the views of the active blogging community representative of, or different from, the average NZ voter? Is it fair to say that bloggers tend to have views that are more “extreme” than the norm?

    On the whole, I’d say bloggers’ views are not more extreme than the norm. It’s more a case of bloggers and commentors being better informed because they take the time out to make themselves so… I certainly put this site in that category anyway.

    What might be described today by some as extreme (eg. the terrifying effects of human-exacerbated Climate Change) will tomorrow be the norm. It’s the nature of the beast. It can take years – even decades – for some people to catch up with the rest of us.

    • just saying 2.1

      Thanks for getting the ball rolling Anne. My views are only slightly more left wing than most of my friends and peers, and acquaintances around home. About to the same degree as, my views are to the left of many commenters here.

      When I go up to Auckland, I’m considered to be part of the political lunatic fringe, but that’s okay because I consider my family to hold extremist right wing views. It makes for some entertaining discussions.

      My point is, the question is not that simple.

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      I agree Anne, was going to say that myself.

  3. just saying 3

    Sorry ROb, I had a bit of de ja vu, and felt like I was reading a particularly daunting set of essay questions, it took me back to sitting rigidly with my five pens, and my officially sancitioned calculator and my id card face-up, and my bottle of V…….

    edit: meant to hit the reply under Rob at 10.39 am.

  4. Pete 4

    Fact checking played a significant role in the US presidential election last year and I hope a similar service emerges in NZ. It would probably have to be a new blog rather than one of the established left-right offerings so it can at least be seen to be impartial.

  5. ad 5

    Well here’s a few metaphors to start you with.

    Its not quite Socratic in the sense of Great Minds sitting under a great and ancient tree on an unimpeded sunny day declaiming dialogical about the world, being required to resolve nothing.

    It’s not quite a Colusseum, wild animals versus the Christians, with only an occasional I’m Spartacus moment to defend the weak from the bully.

    It’s certainly not a simple old-media loud hailer, merely amplifying the paid releases and latest bloody intersections of humanity.

    But equally it has too much freedom, despite the glorious moderation, to be what IrishBill wants it to be in his recent invitation to “do policy”. It doesn’t have the editorial discipline of Wikipedia that would enable drafts of texts to stabilise, which would enable it to help parties write policy.

    What it could do however is write and debate the Coalition agreement for a mildly Leftie government.

    The site does not have the right to expect people to make sense. And perhaps it’s too early in the electoral cycle to test and parallel policies between Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First, and whomever.

    But I think it could start with enticing more actual MP Spokespeople on. For example a themed post in which three housing spokespersons are given a (say) 500 max word limit, and TheStandard becomes New Zealand’s leftie parliament, moderated not by a Speaker but by the editors.

    This site could also be the preferred supplier for testing in public a draft policy from a party. be a reasonably informed focus group. Save them all a whole lot of money.

    It’s definitely a site that could form its own Briefing to Incoming Ministers. You could invite Child Poverty Action Group or the Fabians or Salvation Army whomever to guestpost on their opwn policy ideas. Plenty of policy ideas in those kinds of groups.

    Nothing to stop us reacting to stories of the day, but we need to be discipled enough to also stick to one major policy area per month, for example.

  6. KhandallaViper 6

    We will own the answers, so we must come up with the answers in the first place.

    The Standard bloggers and readers are positive people. They care enough to get engaged, and more.

    Many general and many specific issues have been raised and debated on theses pages in the past year. The tempo increased significantly with the start of the Constitutional Review and has been white-hot since then.

    Identifying problems and shaping answers without being able to advance/influence/progress the solution is very frustrating. Feeling that a rump in the party is fighting against that change is infuriating.

    Here are a few things you can do to be in a position to shape the answer and to see them through to execution:

    1. Host a BBQ and don’t invite your MP. She/he will definitely show up with a least two good bottles of wine. They are paranoid, the insecure darlings.
    2. Go to the Summer School in two weeks time. David Shearer will be making another policy speech and many of the movers and shakers will be there. It is hosted by Young Labour and is great fun.
    3.Ask for an urgent extraordinary LEC meeting to discuss your frustrations. If your Sec/Chair says that is not possible, then ask all the members you know/like to come together to discuss how you can collectively own the answer.
    4. Ditto your Sectoral group.
    5. Ask your MP to meet over a pint/glass. Those politicians that do not drink usually loose elections quickly.
    6. Ditto for your NZ Council rep.

    Remember, you own the answer. That is what the voting at Conference was all about.

    • just saying 6.1

      1. Host a BBQ and don’t invite your MP. She/he will definitely show up with a least two good bottles of wine.

      Laughed out loud.

      I’m still feeling my way. I thought I might bowl up and introduce myself at my MP’s next clinic, and briefly outline my main concerns. We’ve already been in contact by email, so he knows I’m one of those awful blog people who sit in darkened rooms.

      Not quite the bold action you advocate, but it’s a start.

      Ps if I invited my MP to a neighbourhood BBQ I can guarantee his would be the only two bottles of “good wine” there….

    • Rogue Trooper 6.2

      :) :)

  7. end o times viper shorts 7

    What is the impact of political blogs in NZ? Is it increasing or declining? Why?

    I’d suggest that they’re increasing – partly due to how bad the msm is at presenting the whole story or following up on many, thanks to google (especially) those online and curious can find information and opinion lacking elsewhere – the good, the bad and the plain batshit insane
    To what extent are the views of the active blogging community representative of, or different from, the average NZ voter? Is it fair to say that bloggers tend to have views that are more “extreme” than the norm?

    I don’t think the blogging community differs too much from ya average kiwi (those who try to be informed about things – ie actually read and consider news items). I’d say they are only more extreme in that the opinions presented tend to come from those with either an agenda (political, personal or financial – often a mix) or a deep set of beliefs which tends to be seen as extreme by those who don’t

    Bearing in mind the answer to the above, how should blogs relate to political parties in NZ? How should political parties relate to blogs?

    In the case of this blog – keep doing what you do, I enjoy the variety of opinions and the fact you’re not above having a go at the Labour when the posters see cause – I see this as healthy. Political parties should engage more with blogs and bloggers – consider them akin to the msm, take note of what they’re doing and working with them when needed, don’t be afraid to comment (with sense) – as in blogs and bloggers are not the enemy, nor are the commentators on blogs… we’re all just people and blogs provide a very good means to communicate

    A blog disseminates information and opinion, a successful blog builds a community. Could or should a blog / web based community do more?

    What more is there than community?

    What is the role of blogs in the run up to the next election? What can the community here at The Standard accomplish in that time?

    Up to The Standard to decide and determine its role… I’d say just keep doing that which you do (its appreciated), if the blog accomplishes anything of good – that would be growing the community and level of discourse, whilst continuing to make it accessible to people with varying levels of interest and understanding of the issues

    My personal plea for 2013 and beyond would be to drop the term beltway – we’re americanised enough thank you very much

  8. Jenny 8

    What is the role of blogs in the run up to the next election? What can the community here at The Standard accomplish in that time?

    ANTHONY R0BINS

    We can make sure that climate change is an election issue.

  9. BLiP 9

    .

    . . . What is the role of blogs in the run up to the next election? What can the community here at The Standard accomplish in that time? . . .

    I see two main roles. First, to be a source of good information so as to counter the MSM spin. Presenting the whole story with facts and context and human experiences – something the MSM can’t be bothered with since its newsrooms have been deliberately under resourced and the news agenda driven by need to gather eyeballs rather than facts. Concomitant with that is keeping the politicians – all of them – honest. Ideally, it would be great if The Standard (and other political blogs) can start to drive part of the news day, breaking stories and gathering a larger and larger audience who come here first for their political news. And, second, perhaps most important, blogs can serve as a nexus for organising meat-world activities. It took me a couple of years to realise that blogging can be trap which locks people into various echo-chambers where they can feel as if they have “done their bit” with some wonderful commenting. Meanwhile, like howling in the wind, nothing actually changes. Its not until we hit the streets with, say, petitions for a referrendum or putting up bill boards or (god forbid) actually protesting that we can hope to change things.

    What can The Standard accomplish in that time? The election of Greens/Labour government.

  10. Blue 10

    I thought it was a well-known fact that we’re all just losers hiding behind dark curtains who never leave the house and don’t vote.

  11. Tiresias 11

    Blogs like The Standard would be an excellent place for MPs to engage with supporters – and potential supporters – to explain themselves, get feed-back and ideas, engage with the grass-roots and generally recover a feeling for life in the real world instead of the tax-payer-cushioned bubble of privilege they occupy.

    Unfortunately explaining themselves, getting feed-back and ideas, and engaging with real people is so inimical to the egos of most politicians that they can be really creative and self-delusional in finding ways to avoid it. Certainly in all the time I have been following The Standard I cannot recall one single Labour or left-wing politician deigning to put in an appearance.

    The Internet is such a potentially great tool for the promotion and implementation of true democracy that you’d have to be a politician to be blind to it.

  12. Matthew Hooton 12

    I think The Standard is doing a brilliant job undermining the credibility of the political left and helping secure John Key a third term.

    • just saying 12.1

      Thank the gods you’ve told us Matthew.
      We’ll put a stop to all that immediately.
      What should we be doing?

    • Mary 12.2

      The inference is that you believe Labour is a left-wing party. For those who accept that it’s not The Standard is enhancing the credibility of the political left.

    • quartz 12.3

      Says the man that helped Don Brash lead National to a third term of opposition.

    • Mary 12.4

      Are there any blogs you believe are enhancing the credibility of the political right?

      • Matthew Hooton 12.4.1

        I don’t think any blogs are necessarily enhancing the credibility of the right but none is quite undermining the right’s political prospects the way The Standard hurts the left. Why do you think I love you so much?

    • Jenny 12.5

      Thank you for that Matthew. Your comments are great news, and for me a confirmation of of our success.

      To do to know how we are doing, is to read your comments as a photo negative of the reality.

      • Gosman 12.5.1

        You might not like Matthew Hooten’s comments but he at least he tells it like he sees it.

        Of course it could all be part of some darstedly Machiavellian plot to try and get the authors of The Standard to change their line. All I would state in reply to that is have you asked many right leaning people their views on the recent goings on here? I know the one’s I have seen have been enjoying the infighting immensely.

        The left does political infighting and generating electorally suicidal policies better than most.

        • King Kong 12.5.1.1

          Don’t listen to Hooten and Gosman.

          What is happening on the Standard is an honest, democratic dialogue. Sometimes to save the patient you need to cut off some limbs so hack away.

          By smearing the reputations of over half the Labour party caucus you can ensure that those who don’t want to work have the means to live in the same level of comfort as the greedy arseholes that make up middle class New Zealand.

          You’ve got to maintain the pressure. Join with me comrades “fuck David Shearer and his right wing, neo liberal, beneficiary bashing ways”.

        • fatty 12.5.1.2

          The left does political infighting and generating electorally suicidal policies better than most.

          I doubt it…in fact, the left does not do nearly enough infighting.
          Look at the ‘left’ in NZ over the last 30 years, its been a disgrace, this should never have happened. How would less infighting have helped?

          The left should be critical of its ethical and moral positioning. As long as Labour continue with this third way ideology, which people like Hoots support, infighting should be seen as a positive. If the left looked at itself and its results, from its fourth and fifth Labour led terms, and were in agreement that these values are appropriate, then the left may as well pick up a crack habit and give up.
          Currently, infighting offers some hope.

          • Gosman 12.5.1.2.1

            The second or third Labour Governments weren’t much beef as well. The most radical proposals that came out was probably ACC and the idea of a Superannuation fund. They would hardly guarrantee their proponents a ‘Hero of the workers’ medal.

        • Rogue Trooper 12.5.1.3

          some truth in that G.

    • Bill 12.6

      I think…

      Eh? You…think? Oh, come Matthew. You spin And stuff merely flies out as a result. There’s a difference between the two you know. (Aside from the latter being a ‘user pays’ service.)

    • Tiresias 12.7

      While I voted Labour solidly until the betrayal of 1984 and have still never voted National or for any right-wing party in my life, I have to say I agree with Hooton’s above comment.

      I visit this site regularly hoping to find a coherent vision for social, constitutional and economic reform along ‘left-wing’ lines and find a few intelligent articles, some reasonable criticism of a Right-wing Government – although usually attacking its incompetence rather than its philosophy – and an unfortunate amount of almost unhinged ranting at some vast ‘Priory of Sion’-led conspiracy by some sinister and devious cabal of rich faceless men intent on taking over the world.

      I sometimes put up my views on where we should be trying to go taking account where we’re starting from rather than where we would have been had Karl Marx been given the world presidency in 1864, and even in a section which requests “the usual rules of good behaviour” I find myself labelled a ‘wanker with a plum in my mouth’.

      Certainly the Greens have had my support for several general elections and I find very little in The Standard that might pursuade me to support Labour – and that from someone who would very much like to be given a reason to.

    • QoT 12.8

      Matthew Hooton uses Obvious Reverse Psychology.

      It’s not Super Effective! :(

  13. Andy-Roo 13

    Hi Anthony

    My best shot at answering follows:

    “What is the impact of political blogs in NZ? Is it increasing or declining? Why?”

    – No data. But in my opinion, blogs will influence those who are interested in blogs. What determines the number of people who are interested in blogs (enough to take the time to read them) will be driven by many complex factors – many of which will be unrelated to what is going on in the blogging world. Case in point the rise of the earthquake blogs in CHCH

    “To what extent are the views of the active blogging community representative of, or different from, the average NZ voter? Is it fair to say that bloggers tend to have views that are more “extreme” than the norm?”

    – I would guess that most of us who read or contribute to this blog (from whatever perspective) do so because we have more extreme views than average. This is certainly the case for me.

    “Bearing in mind the answer to the above, how should blogs relate to political parties in NZ? How should political parties relate to blogs?”

    – The standard is a broad church. There is a diversity and range of opinions here that would be lost if this became just a party blog. Some of us are not instinctively “joiners” and feel more comfortable with a loosely affiliated group.

    “A blog disseminates information and opinion, a successful blog builds a community. Could or should a blog / web based community do more? (I note here with sadness the currently moribund states of two interesting experiments – Policy Progress and journalism.org.nz ).”

    -The flip side of the above is that it is harder to organise a loosely affiliated group. I think that the Standard has built a community, and I know that individuals within that community have used information, perspectives , motivation gained in part through being a part of this community to go off and do stuff. I think that this is the best that can be hoped for with a group like this. My opinion only :-)

    “What is the role of blogs in the run up to the next election? What can the community here at The Standard accomplish in that time?”

    – Motivate the individuals within it to get involved in and contribute to the overall election effort. We could also fundraise in various ways.

  14. McFlock 14

    I agree with the gist of one or two previous commenter who said that blogs now tend to be the ones who actually fact check, investigate, pursue OIAs before they know the answer (i.e. nobody told them to do a narrow OIA in that area), and generally do what the MSM has neither the resources nor inclination to do these days. E.g. winz kiosks, and any analyses more sophisticated than parroting a media release.

    Blogs are gaining cultural significance (if not credibility at this stage). The recent diversion of “PMs holidays” is a case in point: if the original posts had been on local TV, nobody would have bothered responding.

    I tried writing a post once. It turned into a rant on a topic that had been done to death anyway (from moi? quelle surprise!), so it got nowhere. Thanks to all authors for their work!

  15. Bill 15

    Sorry r0b. Thought the front page sustained two headers.

    As for your post. I’d expect ‘ts’ to be given no quarter in the run up to the election. Which is indicative of what blogs can do I guess.

    And I’d personally like to see ‘ts’ having a real world presence…y’know, a bit beyond what ‘drinking liberally’ was (as far as I understand, that never progressed beyond a speaker and a few drinks).

    Anyway, maybe one day I’ll throw up a short post suggesting posters, commenters and readers of ‘ts’ meet up somewhere in this here city if they live around here. Could be good way to get traction or momentum on the basis of common ground.

  16. I think The Standard has done a brilliant job to allow commenters to post, who want a democracy and who want a fair and just election for the leadership ( which was already achieved,but tossed aside by the current caucus) Caucus installed their own right winged favourite, if right wing commenters feel The Standard commenters should not freely submit their objection to the
    denial of their democratic rights re: the membership election, then grab a bucket for the tears,
    because unless there is an awakening within caucus,the comments will continue.
    No sitting politician has an unreserved right to our vote in 2014, they also don’t have total
    ownership of the Labour Party, (the peoples party) bent out of shape for 30yrs,there is a
    definate feeling growing to take it back and believe me, those i talk to want nothing more
    than to get the old Labour Party back to it’s core and values.

  17. weka 17

    I really liked the idea of ts being used via a facilitated process to develop left wing policy (who posted on that recently?). It could also operate as an outside left think tank.

    I think the potential of ts to foster activism is good, and not being fully utilised yet.

    However, I also see that’s it’s largely up to the impulses of the individuals involved, and as such it will always be a fluid thing (not sure how much can be planned/carried out intentionally).

  18. PlanetOrphan 18

    Howdy Anthony, Happy holidays 2 u 2 M8!

    Q: “What is the impact of political blogs in NZ? Is it increasing or declining? Why?”
    A: HUGE and increasing…Every politician in NZ will be reading/referring to blogs by 2015 (IMHO :-) )

    Q: “To what extent are the views of the active blogging community representative of, or different from, the average NZ voter? Is it fair to say that bloggers tend to have views that are more “extreme” than the norm?”
    A: Very representative, people say it more loudly on a blog, but it’s still NZers’ saying it, the more vitriolic the more deep felt the belief.

    Q: “A blog disseminates information and opinion, a successful blog builds a community. Could or should a blog / web based community do more?”
    A: Read the Policy ;-)….sorry…..it’d be upto the “parties” to join the community in an attempt to hear it’s “voice”.

    Q: “What is the role of blogs in the run up to the next election? What can the community here at The Standard accomplish in that time?”
    A: Real time feedback (An Obvious One)

    Bloggs haven’t and wont change opinions, at most they might make people doubt their conclusions.
    Only time and hindsight change peoples minds in politics.
    The Standard can’t do any more than it is already doing, IMHO, it’s not party aligned and it’s community would baulk if it tried to be.

    The best thing The Standard could do is encourage membership from all the party members running in 2014, they are the people we vote for after all, not The Standard.

    IMO Party members should talk their policy, not partake in “Debate”, if they do they should use a pseudonym (Cheers LPRent :-) )

  19. GeoffC 19

    All good questions or ponderings there Anthony…
    Blogs etc are the modern construct of open air meetings of our beloved comrades from past times but we should progress further.
    Open govt ‘ could morph into a open platform that incorporates a blog like experience, video webinArs, policy formation, meetings of small groupins from branch regional or just interested peeps on a retain topic all under the left banner.
    Purpose to by pass the controlled MSM, provide connection to the people, in lighten the leaders and provide direction on policy.

    Call it um….The Standard.

    We nee to be connected united and striving for a new direction a new way of doing things to counter the embeddness of the Tory machine.

  20. ak 20

    Just whip back a few short years to the kiwiblogblog days r0b and contemplate how far the old Stan’s run in terms of references in other media, visiting Annette Kings and hooters and so forth and compare the level of informed and intelligent debate with any other garden Joe Blog and you and all authors pat yourselves heartily on the backs and continue your impeccable fact-filled and informed creation of an invaluable and still-developing brains trust and think-tank sans pariel that is so incredibly well moderated and stimulating that lesser mortals are barely able to keep up with reading it let alone contributing more than the occasional one-sentence comment and even then sometimes unable to fin

  21. r0b 21

    Thanks all, there have been some great and very thoughtful comments above. Plenty for me to think about. As requested I will at least have a go at giving my (current) answers to my own questions.

    What is the impact of political blogs in NZ? Is it increasing or declining? Why?

    I think the impact is relatively minor. I think it is increasing slightly as readership increases, as “real reporters” increasingly keep an eye on blogs, and due to Bryce Edwards’ NZ politics daily abstracts which make a wider readership aware of blogs. I also think that blogs may be peaking, and that other forms of media (Twitter, Facebook groups) may come to assimilate their role.

    I think that the impact of blogs will remain relatively minor unless they find ways of going beyond their current role as forums for discussion. For example, by becoming a focus for shared community projects like policy development (which is why I’m so sorry that Policy Progress didn’t seem to take off).

    To what extent are the views of the active blogging community representative of, or different from, the average NZ voter? Is it fair to say that bloggers tend to have views that are more “extreme” than the norm?

    I don’t read the right-wing blogs, but speaking for the left-wing I think the views of bloggers are significantly more extreme than the norm. For example, there’s a lot of energy and passion here at The Standard. But if I can say so without being branded a bastard oppressor of free speech, I think too much of that passion is turned destructively inward, instead of looking for solutions and positive contributions. What goes on here at The Standard is not the way the average NZ voter sees the world.

    Bearing in mind the answer to the above, how should blogs relate to political parties in NZ? How should political parties relate to blogs?

    Maybe the first part of that question doesn’t make much sense, but the second part does. How should political parties relate to blogs? In an ideal world I would like to see parties and politicians actively engage with blogs, each contributing to, and bringing out the best in each other. Labour MPs have popped up here occasionally (most recently Annette King) and as far as I can tell it has always been appreciated and often been productive.

    But I don’t think it’s an ideal world, and I don’t think the engagement between parties and blogs is likely to develop further. Because it’s a dilemma to parties. To win office they need to win over the majority of “averagely engaged” voters (I hate the term “center left”, but there it is, that’s what wins elections). Labour, for example, almost certainly can’t win over the center, and win over the (significantly more left wing) Standard community too. That limits the extent to which they are willing to engage here, and motivates the publicly dismissive attitude that some of them profess about blogs. Sadly, the audience of The Standard can’t win Labour the election, they are after the audience of the 6 o’clock telly. In short, I think the tension between parties and blogs is likely to remain.

    A blog disseminates information and opinion, a successful blog builds a community. Could or should a blog / web based community do more?

    There’s no “should” about it, each blog charts its own course. “Could” blogs to more? Probably, but not with their current resourcing and volunteer writers. Again in my ideal world, I would love to see The Standard much more engaged with left-wing parties, with the MSM, and with developing policies and ideas. But I just can’t see how it can happen with a part-time volunteer crew.

    I also take the point of BLiP’s comment at 11:43 AM. We should recognise the limitations of blogs, and that writing or commenting here isn’t enough. I hope that we are all actively engaged with the political party of our choice.

    What is the role of blogs in the run up to the next election? What can the community here at The Standard accomplish in that time?

    I don’t think it will change match – forums for information and discussion, a minor but definite voice (or cacophony of voices!) in the national debate. I think there is the potential for this community to accomplish much more, but that would require a significant rethinking of attitudes both on our part, and the part of left-wing parties. At the moment I don’t think there is any realistic chance of that happening, which is a pity. But, steady as she goes, it is enough.

    There ya go – that should be enough rope to hang me thoroughly!

    • just saying 21.1

      Thanks R0b,
      A couple of quick comments:

      Firstly, I think it is the job of political parties to change the “way the average voter sees the world”. To say this role has been neglected would be an understatement.

      Blogs can be a significant resource of facts, soundbites, memes, big and small picture discourse and counterarguments against opposing spin, for all the left-wing progressive parties. I remember thinking, in the year before the last general election, that Goff’s team could have used some very valuable crowd-sourced contributions here of the above to great effect, to describe, contestualise, and argue many of the policies that Labour was trying to push. There was some real gold sprinkled throughout the pages, and I’m talking here about policies Labour was trying to sell, although, of course there was plenty of sharp rhetoric for a more general left-wing discourse, and policies further to the left than Labour had positioned itself.

      Secondly, the 6pm news audience is made up of a wide range of views. And it is my suspicion that the poorest and most marginalised are less likely to be watching it than middle-class voters. You seem to be saying that the left must pitch its policies to the beliefs and interets of the middle of what is already a disproportionately right-skewed audience, in order to win office.
      That is an unnecessary straight-jacket, and in my opinion, a misguided strategy. For the last four years this strategy has failed to significantly improve Labour’s popularity.

      • rosy 21.1.1

        Hi js, I agree entirely with your comment.

        “I think it is the job of political parties to change the “way the average voter sees the world”. To say this role has been neglected would be an understatement”.

        I do believe political parties know this is true as well. Otherwise there is not a lot of point in spinning policies and potential outcomes of those policies. What political parties don’t seem to like to do is change the way the average voter sees the world before the election. They’d prefer to wait until they’re in power, produce the fait accompli and then send out the spinners.

        I do believe Labour is dipping into policy changes like supporting a living wage . The comments on the Stuff article probably make them more tentative about pushing such policies whereas they should really be putting all the facts together to build support. Blogs play a huge part in joining the dots for them.

      • karol 21.1.2

        Thanks, r0b, for identifying some crucial aspects of the role of left wing blogs, and their limitations.

        This:

        Sadly, the audience of The Standard can’t win Labour the election, they are after the audience of the 6 o’clock telly.

        This is where I think the Labour Party have got themselves locked into the “neoliberal” consensus. The old guard are skilled at operating this way, and don’t see a way around it. However, IMO this is where they need a fresh approach. In fact, they don’t actually talk directly to the 6pm audience. MPs primarily talk to the MSM via the way the TV format and personnel address the 6pm audience. The MSM becomes a filter for the communications, with a strong middle class focus. Once in power, a Labour-led government, dependent on the MSM, won’t be able to shift out of the “neoliberal”, corporate-defined, middle-class focused position.

        IMO, the only way forward for a truly left party is to engage directly with the wider community, in a 2 way communication. The MSM is largely a one-way communication system, that disengages MPs from the wider community. It favours spin and PR approaches over more authentic engagement with the electorate.

        Blogs can be a part of the dialogue with the wider community, but that also needs to be connected to offline activities and groups, party membership forums etc.

        However, this disconnect, between caucus and community, aided by the MSM filtering machine, is why I agree with this:

        In short, I think the tension between parties and blogs is likely to remain.

        • r0b 21.1.2.1

          This is where I think the Labour Party have got themselves locked into the “neoliberal” consensus.

          I’m having trouble with the word “neoliberal”. It seems so widely used that I have trouble penning down its meaning in any concrete situation. Can you elaborate on what you mean in this case?

          In fact, they don’t actually talk directly to the 6pm audience.

          No they don’t, but they do have to position their policies and the messaging with that audience in mind.

          Once in power, a Labour-led government, dependent on the MSM, won’t be able to shift

          All governments are dependent on the filter of the MSM. You have listed some possibilities for direct communication. As far as I know all are being tried, but without sufficient energy / uptake. What needs to be done differently to make them work effectively?

          • karol 21.1.2.1.1

            I put “neoliberal” in quote marks because it is a problematic term – it’s just a useful shorthand. IMO, key features are a culture of individualism, and the promotion of private enterprise over public provisions: all working in the interests of the wealthy and powerful. It involves focusing on the middle class desires and ambitions, while giving those of low income people lower priority.

            And as David Harvey says, there is a difference between the theory and the practice. The theory foregrounds individualism, the freemarket, and small government. But in practice the government intervenes in ways to favour private enterprise, especially those involving corporates, over public services: roll back the “welfare state”, roll out state provisions by private enterprises (usually PPPs or contracted out work).

            In the case of the media it means infotainment, individualism, celebrity culture, status through commodity acquisition, and marketing strategies dominate. It is through this filter that the Labour Caucus aim to communicate with the electorate. It’s a filter that largely works against being positive about collective efforts, and that increasingly marginalises and disengages those struggling most just to survive.

            All governments are dependent on the filter of the MSM.

            This has increased in the neoliberal era. It now means it gives a Labour-led government very little room to manoeuvre to return to basic left/labour movement values. Now more than ever is a need to break with this. Once the Labour party had a much broader flax roots movement, based in a large party membership. The MSM tended to take more notice of their views, activities and experiences.

            The Labour party membership have shown (at least part of) the way forward in terms of democratisation. Empowering and energising the membership will be a way to start to revitialise the flax roots: each member has multiple connections to networks within their communities. And blogs can play a small part in activating and engaging with some of these networks.

            But, to do this, Caucus needs to give up their long established MO of wanting to control the direction of the wider party – of thinking they know better than the membership. This means stopping using the “neoliberal” marketing approaches, dependent on focus groups and MSM “neolliberal” values. They need to move away from Caucus mostly deciding the policy, priorities and approaches, then using PR style spin to sell it to the membership, the blogs, and the electorate (largely through the MSM).

            Basically more power to the people & more genuine two way engagement between the caucus and the community/ies.

          • Olwyn 21.1.2.1.2

            rOb: Here is a good thumbnail sketch of what is meant by neoliberalism:

            “The rise in the fortunes of the super-rich is the direct result of policies. Here are a few: the reduction of tax rates and tax enforcement; governments’ refusal to recoup a decent share of revenues from minerals and land; the privatisation of public assets and the creation of a toll-booth economy; wage liberalisation and the destruction of collective bargaining.”

            The whole article in fact is well worth a read, and perhaps helps to explain why many people turn off when they hear the words “Labour has to aim for the centre.” The term tends in practice to mean not challenging a pernicious status quo while nurturing real or imagined middle class prejudices, all under the umbrella of a brand that says “we care.” Think about Kennedy’s appeal to people’s better natures, and you can see the “appeal to the middle class” for the craven thing it is.

            http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/14/neoliberal-theory-economic-failure

            • r0b 21.1.2.1.2.1

              Well by that definition it doesn’t make much sense to refer to any recent or current incarnation of Labour as neoliberal.

              • Olwyn

                It can, however, be overly accommodating of the neoliberal status quo, as opposed to genuinely challenging it. While I realise that there is a limit to how far one can go in challenging a dominant economic system, my main beef with the present configuration of Labour is that it fails to inspire hope, while the neoliberal fangs sink ever deeper into the necks of many New Zealanders.

                • Bill

                  Oh, maybe throw away the definitions and be straight forward about it. Is there a party that is going to stop shafting the poor to mollify the desires and fears of the better off? And is there a party that is going to be unequivicol in putting the interests of society above that of the economy?

                  Neo-liberal parties do neither and neither has Labour these past – how many decades? Best we got from Labour was some wringing of the hands as the chopper dropped as opposed to National’s rubbing of the hands.

                • karol

                  There seems to be a certain amount of pandering to neoliberal practices: e.g. talking up an affordable housing policy that involves PPPs, while keeping the real priority for a Labour Party (state housing) in a backroom. And also some of the ways of talking about social security.

                  • Olwyn

                    I accepted the Clark government. I would have liked them to be further to the left, but I also realised that neoliberal economics were entrenched, and that it was possible then to think that one could incrementally gain some balance without risking punishment. While it is easy to remember things like the cutting of the special benefit, for instance, vulnerable people were not perpetually frightened and treated like lepers under Clark, and unemployment was very low. Hope remained alive. Now, however, when it is clear that the neoliberal movement is, as Monbiot has pointed out, essentially a mode of conquest, and that there is no story of “maturing markets” to be told, a stand needs be taken. But Labour, with Hooton as at least a cheer leader, if not an actual advisor, baulks at taking it.

                    They should remember, when Shearer comes out with yet another “great directional speech” that the people who are hurting are very sensitive to the difference between “I feel your pain” and “I will do all I can to ease your pain.”

      • r0b 21.1.3

        Cheers JS, and sorry if the initial post seemed too much like a philosophy exam!

        You seem to be saying that the left must pitch its policies to the beliefs and interets of the middle of what is already a disproportionately right-skewed audience, in order to win office.

        It must at least not scare them to death! I also question your underlying assumption that middle-class TV watchers are right-wing, and poor non-watchers are left-wing. It’s not as simple as that.

    • quartz 21.2

      To win office they need to win over the majority of “averagely engaged” voters (I hate the term “center left”, but there it is, that’s what wins elections). Labour, for example, almost certainly can’t win over the center, and win over the (significantly more left wing) Standard community too. That limits the extent to which they are willing to engage here, and motivates the publicly dismissive attitude that some of them profess about blogs.

      I don’t know who’s been telling you this but they’re wrong. Political campaigning and marketing, and “left” and “center” and “right” have a tenuous connection. A competent campaign team could easily take swing votes (and let me be blatantly clear, these are not synonymous with “center votes”) but Labour lacks a competent campaign team.

      I doubt even 10% of New Zealand voters could accurately identify themselves on a left/right spectrum and I suspect that even fewer still could accurately sort policies into left and right. Even here at the standard many engaged commenters and authors don’t seem to be able to place some policies on the left/right spectrum, most notably those who have mistaken Labour’s middle class housing policy for being left-wing.

      • r0b 21.2.1

        Political campaigning and marketing, and “left” and “center” and “right” have a tenuous connection.

        People may not know or use the terms, but they are widespread currency because they are pretty useful categories.

        A competent campaign team could easily take swing votes (and let me be blatantly clear, these are not synonymous with “center votes”)

        Interesting, what then characterises the swing votes in your opinion?

        • quartz 21.2.1.1

          People may not know or use the terms, but they are widespread currency because they are pretty useful categories.

          I’d argue that, for the purposes of political marketing (which is what your original point was about) they’re not particularly useful categories, because they reflect policy positions rather than voter profiles or political brand stories. The swing vote is a separate thing to the political center, indeed, if you look at recent polling by IPSOS you’ll find that the, very leftwing, Greens have taken around three percent of, the center-right National Party’s vote directly from them*. That’s swing vote and it swings on brand perception rather than policy platform.

          Anyone who thinks political campaigning for the mainstream in the twenty first century is about “left” and “right” is kidding themselves.

          Clearly some of the more extreme left or right policies won’t get traction with swing voters but often only because they are easy to brand as fringe by political opponents. If, as happened with Chicago school economics in the 1980s and 90s, the two main parties achieve consensus on a fringe notion it is possible for it to become centrist. The idea of having a purely monetarist, cash rate only, monetary policy has, for example, for the last 25 years been considered mainstream in NZ for just this reason despite being a fringe idea internationally.

          *http://static.stuff.co.nz/files/SundayPoll.pdf

          • r0b 21.2.1.1.1

            Anyone who thinks political campaigning for the mainstream in the twenty first century is about “left” and “right” is kidding themselves.

            And yet in the paragraph above you refer to “very leftwing Greens” and “the center-right National Party”.

            • quartz 21.2.1.1.1.1

              Yep, in terms of political policy, not in terms of political marketing. In fact I was using the terms to show just how redundant they were in talking to the electorate. Unless you think a whole three percent of National’s vote suddenly decided they weren’t center-right but were in fact more enamored with carbon taxes and 1970’s style industrial policy than tax cuts and light-handed regulation.

    • Bill 21.3

      Do you really believe that ‘the standard’ represents a cross section of more ‘extreme’ left views than ‘the norm’? I’m just not at all sure about that. I’ll be vain enough to take myself as an example here and say that on the face of it many people would take me to more to the left than most. But what I’ve constantly found over the years, is that when I speak to people ‘of the norm’ they tend to agree with a lot of what I say – just as I agree with a lot of what they say.

      At the end of the day, it’s been my experience that difference comes down to how ideas or thoughts are couched rather than any marked difference in the attitudes that underpin ideas or thoughts.

      And true, a lot of people don’t think about political stuff too much and their opinions (at least on the surface) tend to revolve around a positive or negative perception of what the TV tells them to think about. But it takes all of two seconds to get through that and into more – how to say? – considered discussions that are free from knee jerk reactions.

      e.g. Many people are happy enough to talk about democracy. And I’ve found them espousing quite anarchist sentiments or concepts (which is natural enough given the basis of anarchy). But if even just once I throw in the term ‘anarchy’ they immediately adopt a defensive and negative posture – (coz that’s all chaos and violence, innit?)

      • r0b 21.3.1

        Do you really believe that ‘the standard’ represents a cross section of more ‘extreme’ left views than ‘the norm’?

        Yes I do. I don’t hear anything like the bitter in-fighting that we’ve seen here lately in the “real world”, or at my local LEC (a bunch of politically aware and active people).

        • Bill 21.3.1.1

          To be honest, I’m not aware of any bitter infighting here. Yes there is utter disbelief flowing two ways on one specific issue. But that’s it. Mind you, given the numbers of labour party members who state their position on that matter here, I find it difficult to believe that LEC’s are all peace and mungbeans – not below the surface at any rate.

          But anyway. There are other specific issues that people ‘of the norm’…ie, people ‘of the norm’ who couldn’t give a toss for labour Party shenanigans, get upset and passionate about. Mere passion doesn’t equate with ‘being extreme’. Neither does ‘getting upset’.

          The basic values that people hold – often obscured by the somewhat falsely generated and spoon fed opinions of media are basically the same from people who are viewed as moderate to those who are viewed (or maligned) as being extreme. And it takes bugger all digging to find that commonality.

        • Colonial Weka 21.3.1.2

          R0b, to follow on what Bill said, I think you are confusing multiple things: anger and extremeness of views are not the same thing. Vitriolic behaviour and extremeness of views are not the same thing. Dissent and extremity are no the same thing.

          What you call ‘bitter in-fighting’ is a fairly normal thing to occur in internet communities of this kind. I wouldn’t expect the people here to relate like this if they were in a room together, esp if it was something like a political meeting. I don’t think the fighting is anything to do with extremeness of views per se, it’s more a function of you can get away with calling someone a fuckwit online, whereas it’s harder to do that in real life.

          That’s the general discussions. The political dissent about the direction of the Labour party goes hand in hand with genuine anger. I don’t know how that would work in things like LECs. Maybe people wouldn’t bother and they’d just go to GP meetings instead ;-) What happened in the 80s, when there was no internet outlet and people (members) were realising the problems within Labour?

          I actually find your use of the terms ‘normal’ and ‘extreme’ offensive to be honest. It reminds of people who think that there is something wrong with dissent, or the outside edge, and it directly marginalises many people here who are ‘normal’ parts of the community. It’s the slur that was used against the GP for many years. I’m surprised to see you doing that.

  22. Blogs have become to partisan , its just preaching to the choir, Blogs are the news version of Faux news.

  23. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 23

    r0b A meaty topic that is ripe for examination in this important year prior to coming elections.

    What is the impact of political blogs in NZ? Is it increasing or declining? Why?
    The number of hits for ts has been increasing exponentially so there must be an increasing impact on commenters to read and think about political matters. Because of the wide number of commenters, there is a range of opinions, and soon you can tell who is reliable and what their obssessions, if present, are so that these can be borne in mind.

    It is so easy to participate, no filter or wait to get on the radio or for the letter to be processed by the paper There is no actual quota so multiple comments can be made, if the commenter has the time and desires discussion. Too many making cheap shots or giving repetition, can be a disadvantage, but if the blogs are moderated adequately, then the dross is controlled and the content is vital and worthwhile to read and will continue to attract regulars and newbies.

    To what extent are the views of the active blogging community representative of, or different from, the average NZ voter? Is it fair to say that bloggers tend to have views that are more “extreme” than the norm?
    Most people that I mix with don’t talk about politics much. There does not seem to be much thought on politics either, apart from shallow comment about daily matters, problems and personalities. But this is just my impression of the situation. Certainly they would get bored with me if I attempted to widely discuss either an individual policy or politician, or the whole direction of the nation.

    It seems to me that as a nation we’re rather apathetic about politics. Bloggers are by their desire to contribute, not apathetic. Many are wrong-minded in my opinion, and vice versa. But it is a great forum and ideas can be hammered out here. It is their commitment to an idea, which they will defend avidly against other competing opinions that makes bloggers seem extreme. If the nation generally tends towards apathy as I suggest, then active arguers would naturally seem ‘extreme’ in comparison .

    Bearing in mind the answer to the above, how should blogs relate to political parties in NZ? How should political parties relate to blogs?
    TS has tended to be critical of all political parties. I think the way that blogs are sorted as to left or right or up the boohai, reflects fairly accurate perceptions of the relation of them to any particular party, in a partisan way.
    I think that blogs could be good sounding boards and stream of voter consciousness for politicians to tap into. They would be an alternative to focus groups which I feel must suffer from Heisenberg’s theory.

    A blog disseminates information and opinion, a successful blog builds a community. Could or should a blog / web based community do more? (I note here with sadness the currently moribund states of two interesting experiments – Policy Progress and journalism.org.nz ).
    It would be good if the bloggers could commit to some policy matter and bring information on the subject to the page over a set time. (I would like to know about methods of transfer of house ownership used overseas that might offer a different approach than the ones used here.
    Perhaps, for instance, I could get help finding the right sources overseas and bring back a report to the group: that’s the sort of thing that Aaron Swartz wanted to see happening I should think).

    A model for reflecting and researching policy matters on an agreed subject over a set time, with sources to be obligatory, could be set up and trialled.

    What is the impact of political blogs in NZ? Is it increasing or declining? Why?

    What is the role of blogs in the run up to the next election? What can the community here at The Standard accomplish in that time?

    What is the role of blogs in the run up to the next election? What can the community here at The Standard accomplish in that time?

  24. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 24

    r0b
    I couldn’t get finished on the previous comment and got a bit tangled at end.
    Don’t know if impact of political blogs is increasing or declining – to some they may seem like a sideshow or a workgang that can be counted on to demolish any idea from those of a different political view. I think TS is likely to make more impact over time.

    The role of blogs to the next election? Keep the issues churning, ask questions. As I mentioned before TS could divide up a subject and set ourselves a task to get basic information and write up a summary of a draft policy at least, to see whether it was practical. However some secrecy might be helpful and the blog is very open.

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    Skeptical Science | 20-11
  • 2014 – Ongoing jobless tally
    . . Continued from: 2013 – Ongoing jobless tally So by the numbers, for this year, January OceanaGold/Macraes Mine: 146 redundancies Fitzroy Yachts: 100 redundancies OceanaGold: 76 redundancies Tenix: 15 redundancies February Goodman Fielder: 125 redundancies Pacific Steel Group: 70-90 redundancies...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-11
  • 2014 – Ongoing jobless tally
    . . Continued from: 2013 – Ongoing jobless tally So by the numbers, for this year, January OceanaGold/Macraes Mine: 146 redundancies Fitzroy Yachts: 100 redundancies OceanaGold: 76 redundancies Tenix: 15 redundancies February Goodman Fielder: 125 redundancies Pacific Steel Group: 70-90 redundancies...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-11
  • Stuart’s 100 #56: More Dignity for Daily Users
    56 More Dignity for Daily Users What if there was a moment of civic dignity outside the Auckland District Court? The Auckland District Court on the corner of Albert and Kingston Streets is I think at last count the busiest...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    frogblog | 20-11
  • The greatest tragedy of our time
    This is going to ruffle a few feathers. We are parasites. Yes you read that correctly – humanity is a giant collective parasite sucking the life juices from dear Mother Earth. I’m not a nihilist. I still believe there’s plenty...
    On the Left | 20-11
  • Proving anecdotes are reliable
    Here’s one to go with Let’s rely on anecdotes instead! Something I picked up on Facebook Similar articles  ...
    Open Parachute | 20-11
  • Proving anecdotes are reliable
    Here’s one to go with Let’s rely on anecdotes instead! Something I picked up on Facebook Similar articles  ...
    Open Parachute | 20-11
  • Class warfare in the UK
    Surprise, surprise! An independent study has shown that the UK's conservative government has been driving a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich:A landmark study of the coalition’s tax and welfare policies six months before the general...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • That didn’t take long
    National's new teabreak law isn't even in force and employers are already abusing it:Yesterday a union member, who prefers to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, emailed Hotel Organiser Shanna Reeder. “This morning in the briefing our manager declared that...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • Justice is more important than international relations
    Yunus Rahmatullah is a Pakistani citizen. In 2004 he was disappeared by British forces in Iraq. The British then gave him to the Americans who rendered him to Afghanistan and kept him there without charge or trial for ten years,...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • The Sutton debacle
    Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: it’s not a good thing, except when you’re playing Frank Zappa’s 1988 instrumental album Guitar, in which case ‘Sexual Harassment in the Workplace’ is the opening track, and it’s a stonker. However, setting aside the...
    Occasionally erudite | 20-11
  • The dangers of ignoring context
    Here’s a 22 point plan for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Entrench Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.Never let a chance go by to duplicitously conflate Hamas and some in Fatah with the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL so as to gild the imperiled-Israeli...
    Pundit | 19-11
  • Rapid transit has passed the acid test
    I recently ran across a New Zealand Herald article from 2000 on the region’s plans to start building good rapid transit infrastructure. (Which, as Patrick highlighted in a recent post, is exactly what is holding Auckland back relative to its...
    Transport Blog | 19-11
  • The week in politics vs. Gilmore Girls
    This week in politics: Andrew Little became leader of the Labour Party. Julia Gillard spoke at the University of Auckland about gender and politics. Gerry Brownlee was fined for breaching airport security. Tony Abbott threw down with Vladimir Putin at APEC....
    On the Left | 19-11
  • Whither the class line?
    In 1995 I published a book that explored the interaction between the state, organised labor and capital in the transitions to democracy in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. The book was theoretically rooted in neo-or post-Gramscian thought as well as the...
    Kiwipolitico | 19-11
  • This video shows the pain caused by NZ’s current benefit system
    Darryn bravely talks about the stigma that comes with being on the benefit, and how that has affected his life. This stigma is just one of the many problems our current benefit system creates. These problems would be removed if...
    Gareth’s World | 19-11
  • Climate change: The cost of past inaction
    For the past 20 years, New Zealand's climate change policy has been one of inaction and delay. While we've seen no less than four failed attempts at putting a price on carbon (including the current ETS), we've never really tried...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • Policy of fear
    Community groups have a vital role in New Zealand. In addition to speaking out on social problems such as poverty, mental illness and addiction, they also often have a direct role in fixing them via government funding. Unfortunately there's an...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #47A
    A carbon tax could bolster wobbly progress in renewable energy A dam revival, despite risks Congress is about to sabotage Obama’s historic climate deal David Cameron urges Tony Abbott to do more on climate change G20 pledges lift Green Climate...
    Skeptical Science | 19-11
  • ‘Consult on promotions policy’: TEU to Auckland VC
    TEU is asking the vice-chancellor of the University of Auckland to engage in a process of consultation on the university’s Academic Grades, Standards and Criteria policy and other policies so the two sides can avoid further litigation. Earlier this month the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Asia-Pacific plans for gender equality
    New Zealand is one of the few countries who have not sent a government minister to an Asian and Pacific conference on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Thailand, but it has sent TEU women’s officer Suzanne McNabb.  The conference...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens | 21-11
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens | 20-11
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour | 20-11
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour | 19-11
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens | 19-11
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens | 17-11
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour | 17-11
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens | 17-11
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens | 16-11
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour | 13-11
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour | 13-11
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens | 13-11
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared
      This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Real reasons to fear Government’s new approach to child poverty
    Now  I really am worried.  Selling state houses is bad enough but a taking a ‘social investment focus’ to deal with child poverty? “The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Power to the people!
    With all the huffing and puffing of the election out of the way and the right-wing still in ascendancy after 30 years of community-sapping neoliberalism it was a pleasure to attend a strike by workers at Carl’s Jr in Lincoln...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: OIA reveals WINZ trespassing 400 people a year
    W.I.N.Z is broken and it’s breaking my heart. Every year WINZ issues trespass notices to just under 400 people. 2008 / 418 2009 /  382 2010 /  347 2011 /  411 2012 /  373 2013 /  384 And this year...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • So David Farrar and the Government were wrong on gangs after all?
    Oh the predictability of this… Ministers acted on inaccurate gang data Cabinet signed off tough new measures to tackle gangs on the basis of inaccurate information which over-estimated the scale of the crime problem. The briefing paper told ministers 4000...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Stock rustling set to continue under lax laws
    The theft and illegal slaughter of farm stock can only be expected to continue if tougher laws are not introduced, said ACT Leader David Seymour today....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Visit of President Xi Jinping to New Zealand
    As president Xi Jinping of China pays short visit to New Zealand, of Friends of Tibet (NZ) has called upon Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully and the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key to raise the issue of Human Rights...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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