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Role of Government

Written By: - Date published: 10:56 am, February 11th, 2014 - 45 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, community democracy, democratic participation, economy, Environment, global warming, political alternatives, sustainability - Tags: , ,

Modern western governments have been about essentially, two things. On the one hand they have ensured an environment favourable to the operation of the market economy. On the other they have been known to serve the interests of citizens by protecting us from the worse excesses of the market. That’s a simple but good enough brushstroke version of governance within a market context.

But the balancing act of governments, whether weighted this way or that, has run into some problems. The problems are such that governments can’t continue with those roles through the near and unfolding future. Obviously, one way or another, there isn’t going to be a market economy. But without a market economy to manage, what remains for government to do?

It would take a particularly enlightened government to ease us away from production and distribution based on market economics and, well…people who seek power don’t tend to be the most enlightened or smartest of people. You may disagree with that and think that they are indeed among the brightest and smartest while some even possess an ability to inspire. If you’re right, then we can expect some serious shifts of focus coming from government, erm…20 years ago. That was when the need for a radical shifts in focus became urgent. That said then, it’s probably safe to predict that we’ll persist with a market economy until climate change par boils it or whatever.

Back to the inconvenient truth whereby reality is dictating that the traditional role of government is now defunct. The inability to acknowledge that has set both them and all of us in society down a path of auto destruct. There is less than no point in seeking to preserve market conditions when overwhelming external factors dictate that the market can’t be preserved. For the same reason, there is also no need for government to protect us from the market beyond the very short term.

Meanwhile,  they’ve got us by the short and curlies, insisting that we stay standing on this here railway track, even though the debatable source of light at the end of a tunnel has transpired to be a hell thundering through the cold grey light of dawn.

So what should or could governments do? There is still a need for short term protection from the effects of the market. Beyond that, there is a need to help lay the groundwork for what comes after the market and for what must come in the face of climate change.

To my mind, that entails government removing both the market and themselves from social/political and economic spaces and encouraging us to fill those vacated spaces in order that we can develop our own, new institutions, that will allow us to make the necessary decisions and to take the appropriate actions that flow from those deliberations.

If they don’t willingly begin to aid us, and if we can’t force them to, then the future is one of totalitarianism amid diminished resources and capabilities in a world ravaged by climate change.

Don’t take my (sometimes hyperbolic) word for it. Listen to almost any of the serious thinkers or analysts from any number of disciplines – the future’s looking bleak.

Now, how about you don’t parody the inertia of government by just sitting back to watch the show? (It will be televised).

45 comments on “Role of Government”

  1. phil 1

    It’s the corporates that rule the Country, via the ‘government’. The term could be ‘patsy government’, Clayton’s government, or perhaps ‘faux government’. To go along with our dumocrupty.

  2. weka 2

    Yep.

    To my mind, that entails government removing both the market and themselves from social/political and economic spaces and encouraging us to fill those vacated spaces in order that we can develop our own, new institutions, that will allow us to make the necessary decisions and to take the appropriate actions that flow from those deliberations.

    If they don’t willingly begin to aid us, and if we can’t force them to, then the future is one of totalitarianism amid diminished resources and capabilities in a world ravaged by climate change.

    Something worth debating perhaps is how this is framed. In that paragraph, the framing puts the government in the position of power, and us in the position of powerlessness or fighting. The government is the active agent, we are passive, waiting for them to encourage us once they have stepped aside.

    Another perspective is what is happening within the grassroots movements like Transition Towns, permaculture, relocalisation etc. There, the idea is to just get on with the work needing to be done with the idea that the people in authority will follow. No-one is asking for permission or waiting for governance or waiting for the power structures to change, they’re doing what needs to be done and then some of them are seeking ways to engage with existing authority (to varying degrees of success).

    One of the challenges here (in this conversation) politically is that the left has a core value of government being the main vehicle of responsibility for the collective. If govt is to devolve, then how do we maintain the ethics of community?

    There is another issue in what you raise. How much time until external events force change? You say the govt can only protect us from the market for the short term, but the one constant in facing our future is that we really have no idea of timeframes. That necessitates a greater degree of flexibility. It is fair to say that in terms of our own actions, we have no time left to lose. In terms of strategy, the issue of timing is important.

    • Bill 2.1

      I take your points and don’t actually disagree with them.

      If grassroots activity reaches a level whereby government is forced to sit up and take notice and then act positively, then it’s all good. With a few exceptions (Venezuela being the obvious one), many heads usually get cracked before governments even consider ceding ground. Meanwhile, we don’t really have a functioning or powerful extra parliamentary left in NZ. What there is is either insignificant and mired in old school shit (the remnants of various Leninist inspired orgs) or has been largely co-opted (eg, unions).

      Will those involved in the positive things you mention take up the antagonistic, negative but necessary ‘bodies on the line’ role vacated by the old, decimated left should events unfold in such a way as to demand it? That’s just an open question.

      Meanwhile, I was trying to be positive (yeah, I know! ;-) ) and had in mind the example of Venezuela, where the government seeks to open up spaces formally occupied by the private sector or the state and then steps back while providing the means for people to develop those spaces (favourable legislation and access to resources)…a sort of deliberate and self inflicted ‘withering of the state’.

      Hair splitting bit here – I wrote that government only needs to protect us short term (lots of caveats); not that it only can.

      As for time and tactics…yeah, I’d say it’s urgent and that as best we can, we act intelligently and ‘box clever’ where we need to. Mistakes will be made and lessons learned. Or we’ll all sit back and wait for whatever is coming down to land on us and be forced into the realm of chaotic reactions.

      • weka 2.1.1

        “If grassroots activity reaches a level whereby government is forced to sit up and take notice and then act positively, then it’s all good.”

        Still not my point. It’s not about forcing the govt to change. The idea is that you get enough people and enough movement happening around the right things (eg localising food production/sustainable land management, alternative currencies and timebanks, systems of decision making, energy etc), and then the people in govt will follow. Some of them at least. It’s easier to conceive of this with local govt because these are people already living in our communities. And increasing numbers of them are already at least partially on board with the need for change re AGW etc. (talking staff here as well as councillors, and this is why we need to support these people as much as possible). When those people, and the ones that are sitting on the fence, start feeling the pressure from serious things like fuel price increases and food shortages (not in the sense of going hungry, but when the market obviously starts failing to provide our standard of living and choice), there will already be many alternative systems in place for them to turn to (that applies to the general population in the community too). Once those people understand how their families are going to be affected, and they see the alternatives are already operating in the community, involving people in their community that have respect and value, then it will be much easier for them to change.

        We want a certain number of the population on board, then we want the pressure from AGW/PO/GFC, and then we want a tipping point.

        At that point, I agree there is the potential for the need for conflict. But I don’t think it’s a given that that will happen, so I am suggesting we look at other ways of framing this too. We may still have some choice in NZ about which ways it goes.

        I think the above theory is optimistic, and possibly overly so, but I think it’s value is that its grassroots, and its something that is inclusive. In the absense of the pan left movement we need, it will appeal to more people than political revolution IMO.

        Will those involved in the positive things you mention take up the antagonistic, negative but necessary ‘bodies on the line’ role vacated by the old, decimated left should events unfold in such a way as to demand it? That’s just an open question.

        Important question. I think some will for sure. But it doesn’t really get talked about. I think there are a number of reasons for this. One is the excess of the middle classes, who haven’t had to think about these things. Another is that avoidance of fear is a major tactic, and it probably serves the movements better at this stage to not think about the need for future violence. Or even protest, if you were meaning it at that level.

        Meanwhile, I was trying to be positive (yeah, I know! ;-) ) and had in mind the example of Venezuela, where the government seeks to open up spaces formally occupied by the private sector or the state and then steps back while providing the means for people to develop those spaces (favourable legislation and access to resources)…a sort of deliberate and self inflicted ‘withering of the state’.

        I reckon put up some links. I’m sure I’m not the only one here who is not familiar enough with the situation in Venezeula to know what you mean. I think maybe you forget how well read you in some of these areas compared to others.

        “Hair splitting bit here – I wrote that government only needs to protect us short term (lots of caveats); not that it only can.”

        ok, I don’t understand what you mean then. Do you mean the govt is protecting itself from the market?

        As for time and tactics…yeah, I’d say it’s urgent and that as best we can, we act intelligently and ‘box clever’ where we need to. Mistakes will be made and lessons learned. Or we’ll all sit back and wait for whatever is coming down to land on us and be forced into the realm of chaotic reactions.

        What I meant about timing is that, acknowledging we need to act now, we also need to acknowledge that we don’t know what the timing will be with AGW/PO/GCF pressure. So in my example above, where that pressure is crucial, the timing is also crucial. If it happens before we have critical mass around change, then things will be harder. If it doesn’t happen for decades we will lose much to the dying throes of capitalism (increased poverty, mass land degradation, worse AGW effects etc).

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          Meant to add a bit in there on edit, but lost my internet connection,

          Once those people (in local govt) understand how their families are going to be affected, and they see the alternatives are already operating in the community, involving people in their community that have respect and value, then it will be much easier for them to change.

          We want a certain number of the population on board, then we want the pressure from AGW/PO/GFC, and then we want a tipping point.

          At that point, I agree there is the potential for the need for conflict. But I don’t think it’s a given that that will happen, so I am suggesting we look at other ways of framing this too. We may still have some choice in NZ about which ways it goes.

          I think the above theory is optimistic, and possibly overly so, but I think it’s value is that its grassroots, and its something that is inclusive. In the absense of the pan left movement we need, it will appeal to more people than political revolution IMO.

          • Bill 2.1.1.1.1

            So, if I’m reading you correctly, the first paragraph is about building parallel institutions and reaching ‘critcal mass’ – something I’ve banged on about often enough here on ‘ts’. I think we broadly agree there. As to whether those enjoying ongoing privilege jump or adopt a siege mentality is an open question I think. A lot would depend on how well developed any parallel possibilities were and what pressure (say) a corporate/state nexus could bring to bear in terms of carrots and sticks….which you touch on in your edit. Eastern Europe was largely non-violent. So, who knows.

            As ever, I’m confused by what you might mean by revolution though. Your first paragraph is revolution – a new way superceding an old way- yet you then go on to say that what you outline would be more appealing than revolution.

            Further down – all I mean is that the state has always been a kind of buffer between us (the citizen) and the effects of a market naked in tooth and claw. Given that the market can’t survive a globally warmed future, we only need the state as a buffer for as long as the market persists.

          • Polish Pride 2.1.1.1.2

            I think all it needs is common sense and the right message.
            To get to this though, a certain level of concenus is required on a number of key questions.
            I also think the conversation needs to not be so focussed on the Govt being the problem. I believe it is a key part of it but is caught between two opposing ideologies, neither of which accurately determines what the role of the system should be.
            In designing, improving, building any system the first and most important question to both ask and have answered is:

            What is it that you want the system to do or what is the purpose of the system?
            then in this instance
            Who should the system be for? (answer this one first – just trust me on this).

            Unless these are answered satisfactorily you are unlikely to achieve the outcome you want to with or without government.
            I have seen millions of dollars spent in both the public and the private sector because they failed to ask these questions (and more) and agree upon these things up front.

            • Polish Pride 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Also Capitalism and Neoliberalism are quite easy to destroy if you go through proper systems analysis starting with both questions of who and what the system is for.
              Once you have that systems analysis and justification you then only need to hold capitalism and neoliberalism up to that analysis to see how it fares and neither hold up under this scrutiny at all.

        • just saying 2.1.1.2

          This is a really interesting conversation. I’m looking forward to reading (hopefully) a whole lot of different insights and viewpoints after I do what I should be doing now.

          Just in the meantime this (the following) struck me, and the reason it did is that it’s a question (in its broadest sense) that I find myself aware of regarding the people around me to the point of affecting relationships in some cases. Yet it’s not something that is mentioned ordinarily.

          Will those involved in the positive things you mention take up the antagonistic, negative but necessary ‘bodies on the line’ role vacated by the old, decimated left should events unfold in such a way as to demand it? That’s just an open question.

          Important question. I think some will for sure. But it doesn’t really get talked about. I think there are a number of reasons for this. One is the excess of the middle classes, who haven’t had to think about these things. Another is that avoidance of fear is a major tactic, and it probably serves the movements better at this stage to not think about the need for future violence. Or even protest, if you were meaning it at that level.

    • adam 2.2

      “One of the challenges here (in this conversation) politically is that the left has a core value of government being the main vehicle of responsibility for the collective”

      What the… Really so a libertarian left does not exist? Nor has it? One idea at the basic level, even if your a social democrat, is that government is not to be trusted – not in your lexicon?

      What core value, this is the type of outlandish statement that gives the right the club with which to beat up the whole left. Come on Weka, you may see it personally as a core value, and that is your choice. But, if the majority of the left think the government has a role to play in morality and responsibility for action – then totalitarianism is the future. Plan and simple.

      I know it hard for some, but we are looking at the collapse of an economic system in our lifetime. This is not being driven by us personally, nor by nations nor is it predictable when it will fall over, but it is going to. I don’t like the idea, I really don’t, but look around and read what the hell is going on. Even the world bank (not a left wing group at all) and there report on climate change – They are even talking about fundamental changes to the way we run our lives and the economy.

      “There, the idea is to just get on with the work needing to be done with the idea that the people in authority will follow. No-one is asking for permission or waiting for governance or waiting for the power structures to change, they’re doing what needs to be done and then some of them are seeking ways to engage with existing authority (to varying degrees of success).”

      OMG yes, I could not agree more. As an anarchist you know I’m going to say bugger the authority, how can they justify their legitimacy – generally they can’t.

      “If govt is to devolve, then how do we maintain the ethics of community?”

      Governance verses Government chestnut. Don’t you think Weka with more democracy, not less, then ideas of governance come to the for. We do governance all the time, family, work, iwi, etc… Were use the form, and I have no problem with the that, indeed it could be argued as amoral familists it is the only real form of relationships we understand. (I digress) The mind set shift is we normally see/secede the handing of that form to government. We don’t need to, we can govern ourselves.

      Finally thanks Weka and Bill for starting the brain juices working this morning.

      • weka 2.2.1

        Not sure what you mean by libertarian left there adam, nor why you think that what I said negates it. Engari, fwiw, I don’t see libertarian ethics, as I hear them presented nowadays, as being a huge part of the left in NZ. although they definitely have a strong presence in some sub-cultures. Like I said, there is the expectation historically that the government has a responsibility to meet the communal needs of the people (health, education, roading, law etc). There has been some tension between that and those who seek to work beyond that model. A classic contemporary example is Maori wanting control of funds to deliver social security to their own people outside of WINZ/MSD. This get’s called ‘privatisation’ (and other things) by many in the left. Myself, I completely understand where Maori are coming from with this – they want to establish their own systems of governance if you like and they know that they are the best people to deliver support to their people. I can’t see why a new model can’t be set up, but that is beyond what the traditional left and right in NZ can cope with. (I don’t seen an inherent contradiction between the tradition social ethic of the left and that btw).

        Governance verses Government chestnut. Don’t you think Weka with more democracy, not less, then ideas of governance come to the for. We do governance all the time, family, work, iwi, etc… Were use the form, and I have no problem with the that, indeed it could be argued as amoral familists it is the only real form of relationships we understand. (I digress) The mind set shift is we normally see/secede the handing of that form to government. We don’t need to, we can govern ourselves.

        Yes, more democracy, of course. I just don’t see anarchy as presenting anything viable at this stage, sorry. Potential yes, definitely; useable in the immediate future, no. I also don’t see any evidence that we can govern ourselves (and bear in mind I’ve been involved in many different kinds of alternative systems for many years). Again, potential but not working models yet. Left to ourselves, eg if the global economy collapsed suddenly, and the NZ govt followed suit, I think we would have multiple systems springing up in NZ, some good, some bad, and we would all be on a mighty learning curve. The main thing I think about is how many people in NZ haven’t even been exposed to the ideas you are talking about, let alone adopted them or practiced them before the shit hits the fan. Of all the things I’m aware of I think iwi probably have the most to offer, but colonisation has taken its toll there too in terms of how to organise collectively.

        • Bill 2.2.1.1

          Just want to pick up on this one point –

          I also don’t see any evidence that we can govern ourselves..

          Couple of questions. Why would we expect to see any such evidence when we are inculcated from a very young age and by all the institutions we encounter to believe that others should govern us?

          Given the preponderance and reach of institutions that assume to govern us, where would the spaces be that would have afforded the opportunity to practice self governance?

          Given the depth of the conditioning mentioned in my first question here, why would we expect people to develop self governance systems and structures as a fall back or default position when ‘traditional’ or taught means of governance are at our disposal?

          If, as you imply, we can’t govern ourselves (and I hope my questions sign-post why I don’t ascribe to that view), then how on earth can we hold to the belief that some of us can somehow govern all of us?

          We might not be at all well practiced in self governance. But we have to try whenever and wherever it is possible. If we don’t make the effort and the mistakes, then all we are doing is inviting authoritarian forms of governance to hold sway over us and by our own measure of supposed inability, justifying their position of authority over us.

          • weka 2.2.1.1.1

            I’m not suggesting that there should be evidence that we can govern ourselves. I just responded to what I thought adam was saying, that it’s done an dusted that we can. I have no problem with the theory, I just don’t see enough of the practice yet.

            Having said that ;-) I’m not sure what you mean by self-governance, whether you mean individual or collective. Individually there are plenty of people that practice self-governance as individuals despite the socialisations. And there are attempts to practice collectively too, but it was these I was aiming my major criticism at.

            “Given the depth of the conditioning mentioned in my first question here, why would we expect people to develop self governance systems and structures as a fall back or default position when ‘traditional’ or taught means of governance are at our disposal?”

            Plenty of people are dissatisfied with the status quo. And plenty of people have theorised and tried to put into practice alternatives. Any expectation I have is based on observation. Not sure what you mean by default there though.

            “If, as you imply, we can’t govern ourselves (and I hope my questions sign-post why I don’t ascribe to that view), then how on earth can we hold to the belief that some of us can somehow govern all of us?”

            I said we can’t govern ourselves yet collectively (at this time). I think if we could we would be doing so, at least in some lesser ways even if not on a large scale.

            “We might not be at all well practiced in self governance. But we have to try whenever and wherever it is possible. If we don’t make the effort and the mistakes, then all we are doing is inviting authoritarian forms of governance to hold sway over us and by our own measure of supposed inability, justifying their position of authority over us.”

            Sure, and as noted, there is plenty of potential. I just don’t want to start with the assumption that things are givens, which is what adam seemed to me to be doing. For instance, we already know that here on ts we have no consensus on self-governance. This is the major limitation of the anarchist views (as I understand them from the outside). I know people I trust to self govern in the absense of collective governance. It’s the other buggers that worry me.

            I also don’t accept the absolutist position of either complete self-governance or authoritarianism as the only options. I would prefer to look at what we can work with from where we are now.

  3. shorts 3

    a central role of govt is to decide how determine the policy(s) the state will follow, how to implement them and how to enforce them – something our current govt (in particular) is very much lacking at

    of the parties I feel the greens and mana are actually thinking about the changing world and how best to adapt and implement policies to address our future/present challenges, labour is dragging the chain behind them (not necessarily a bad thing) and the right parties all have their heads in sand prefering to do the bidding of others (not the public)

  4. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4

    @ Bill

    Hmm I don’t agree with your definition of the ‘traditional role’ of government – you appear to be speaking about the economic role of government – yet having done so have dismissed other important roles of governments.

    This is a website providing legal information from Cornell University in the USA, which provides a couple of lists outlining the roles governments traditionally take part in:

    (1) Schools.

    (2) Hospitals.

    (3) Fire prevention.

    (4) Police protection.

    (5) Sanitation.

    (6) Public health.

    (7) Parks and recreation.

    (8) Libraries.

    (9) Museums.

    (12) Sewage treatment.

    [second list]

    1) Finance (including Auditor, Budget and Comptroller).

    (2) Elections.

    (3) Personnel.

    (4) Public works.

    (5) Office of the Mayor.

    (6) Legal Affairs.

    (7) Planning.

    (8) Waterworks.

    (9) Social services.

    (10) Street and highway construction and maintenance.

    (11) Automobile licensing.

    Omitting these other aspects of government ends up turning the argument you are presenting into somewhat of a strawman – I doubt this was your intention – however when these other important services are acknowledged it undermines the point you are attempting to make.

    Even taking your definition into account, and noting this part of it:

    “On the other they have been known to serve the interests of citizens by protecting us from the worse excesses of the market.”

    Had governments not been nearly completely derelict in their duty of this aspect – [from having been fanatically following extremist ideas of neo-liberal ideology] – then I doubt very much that ‘the markets’ would be collapsing as they are currently doing. The aggressive pursuit of deregulation has allowed dishonesty, corruption and fraud to flourish and I believe it is this [and these 'qualities'] that has lead to the ‘fall’ we are witnessing.

    Notwithstanding this sad state of affairs – governments still have roles of social and structural services and are not solely ‘economic’ managers.

    • Bill 4.1

      yeah bl – I didn’t claim to offer up anything beyond a very broad brush stroke of what a government does in a market context. I’ll stand by that as sufficient for the point I was making.

      If you run down the list you provide and then reflect on whether the service or infrastructure was initially provided to facilitate or protect business and the business environment or whether it was intended as being provided for the public good you might get an idea of where I’m coming from. Also maybe reflect on many came about as a reaction to the endless clusterfuck that resulted from usurping community in favour of industrial units (forced enclosures and industrialisation). Some examples – education. Was it done as an act of philanthropy or did factory owners need workers who were able to read? Fire service – initially a desire to protect private property. Same with the police. Health services – initially for what or who? Maybe also think your way through how many developed in a given direction due to public pressure or other sources of fear bearing on government, rather then any altruistic desire to ‘do good’.

      Dunno about your last bit. Market economies are notoriously unstable. And sure, if the liberal elites had been held to account as they were some decades back by mass movements, then we wouldn’t be having all this austerity nonsense.

      edit – damned internet gremlins. Didn’t mean to post in triplicate.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        For a while there, some members of the power elite took enlightenment values and principles quite seriously. Whether it was from a religious perspective or a humanist perspective. And in the modern day (the last 100-200 years) an educated, liberal elite helped to ensure that incremental positive change kept occurring in society.

        Nowadays those same types of people seem pre-occupied with other more material concerns, including careerism and materialism.

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.1.1.1

          + 1

          Thank you CV, thank you for acknowledging what used to exist and still does in some circles.

          [& so much more succinctly than my fulmination @ comment 9!]

        • Bill 4.1.1.2

          Routinely, pressure has had to be applied to elite liberal circles before progressive reforms have eventuated. (Thinking women’s rights, labour rights, ‘racial’ equality etc)

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.2.1

            Yes, exactly. In a way, you have to co-opt and seduce those who are sympathetic within the liberal elite, then pressure, leverage or force the rest who are resistant.

            By the way, that’s also the strategy that the right wing and corporate interests have done to help turn the liberal elite against the working class and the underclass. Trotter’s recent writing on how non neo-lib economists in NZ were shut down and shut out is very instructive.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.1.2

        My answer to Bill is at comment 9

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Organised mass movements of people placing civic pressure on political parties and governments to ‘do the right thing’ are crucial.

    I think Bill is right; 20-30 years ago we could have got away as a civilisation with moderate and incremental changes to deal with climate change, peak fossil fuels and income inequality.

    Instead, we allowed the take over of govts by corporates and multi-millionaires, and now it’s starting to look too late to avert a civilisation scale disaster led by a toxic combination of the insane and the ignorant.

    But we have to try.

  6. captain hook 6

    I would disagree that government is holding on to all its traditonal roles. It is now under constant attack and traducement from the neo liberals who want to steal all they can from the state and remove its influence from any remaining public good.
    they also equate the public good with communism and their cause as capitalism when in fact it is just theft by stealth.
    time for people to stand up and tell it like it is.

    • Bill 6.1

      I can see where you’re coming from. When I offered the broad brush stroke in the post, I was well aware that really, governments have only been concerned with the market environment until pushed by popular demand (the suffragettes, labour movements, civil rights movements etc).

      Now, they have been more or less captured by the corporates whose influence faces no real opposition from the presence of popular movements pushing in other directions . So the future, as it stands, would seem to offer corporatism or a state centered back lash resulting in a command economy. Neither scenario does any of us 5/8ths of fuck all good.

      We need change. Big change. And a part of that could involve a positive change in the way governments see themselves and their role. Don’t think I’m holding my breath by the way – it’s probably going to be hard roe to hoe, involving us going up against both the state and the corporate sector.

      Now, where was that tiny ray of hope I tried to implant in the post? Fuckit. Gone. Oh well, back to reality then.

  7. captain hook 7

    There isn’t much hope at the moment.
    the world is being run by accountants and psychos who can just never have enough and as the world environment turns to custard and all the rest they dont give a stuff because they are the BOSS.
    pretty simple really.

  8. Flip 8

    Big topic there Bill.

    I think you have missed the point of government though. Fundamentally it is there to protect the security in the broadest sense of its people now and into the future. If government kept that in mind I think they’d have a few more clues.

    It loses its legitimacy when it fails to do this for most of the people it is there to serve.

    I could catalog the many ways in which the government should do that and its failures currently (and to be fair some successes) but I do not have the time/energy or incentive to do it.

    The management of economic markets is but one aspect it is failing in.

    • Bill 8.1

      Fundamentally it is there to protect the security in the broadest sense of its people now and into the future

      Try squaring that with the history of social struggle and sacrifice embarked on by people against government. I can’t.

      • Flip 8.1.1

        That would take a book to do. And in trying there is a good chance you might fail though I’m sure individuals would stand out. But the ideal exists and perhaps if the system was better, then it would produced a better quality of person and we’d get closer to the ideal.

        Two things are flawed. The system and the people. Both can stand improving.

        Are people the products of the system or the system a product of people? Probably both are true.

  9. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9

    If you run down the list you provide and then reflect on whether the service or infrastructure was initially provided to facilitate or protect business and the business environment or whether it was intended as being provided for the public good you might get an idea of where I’m coming from.

    I feel that you (amongst others) are rewriting history in order to make sense of what is going on now and it is not accurate nor helpful – infact I believe you are falling into a trap of buying into the framing those that you politically oppose.

    Sure, some of these services may have facilitated business – even perhaps started with that aim -(although perhaps not) yet please recall and acknowledge that there did used to be the idea out amongst many in the community that “community” existed and that existence was highly valued. Please do not forget that values other than profit motive did used to be important.

    There is a difference between the ideology that businesses and jobs were important and good for the community and therefore a government supplying services that support these community-benefit-providers and the one that we have now which is community is simply a ‘made up notion’ and profit is the value to aim at – in fact aiming at profit will provide us with all the social needs and services [oops! Not that 'social' should be acknowledged to exist, let us remember - it is an only the individual exists zone from here on in snuffle snuffle].

    I posit that these services started with the best intentions – at least some of them and when business interests became stronger and more powerful they warped them to suit themselves*.

    Today people such as yourself are observing how warped and self interested things have become and are assuming that this is the way it has always been. That the motivates running rampant now (because they have been encouraged by powerful interests*) are the sole motives that exist now and are the only ones that ever existed.*

    I think this is a sad rewrite of history and ignores those people now and in history that actually acted successfully to make this world a better place – and boy do we directly benefit from the improvements those people made – and are making – yet no longer do we even have the honour to acknowledge those peoples’ motives ever existed.

    So no, Bill, I do not think that governments have been quite as narrowly focussed and devoid of good intention as they are now – I imagine it has usually been a mix of ‘good’ (wider interests: acknowledging peoples’ interests) and ‘bad’ (narrow & self-serving) intentions and the balance at present is increasingly weighted toward the ‘bad’.

    * If government was always the way that you seem to think – then why is this professor is writing about the ‘anti-government’ campaign? [conducted by big business & powerful people]. Surely Big business wouldn’t need such a campaign if governments had been as focussed on business as you appear to think?

    http://www.governmentisgood.com/articles.php?aid=9&p=1

    about the professor

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Indeed. Falling for the Right Wing’s “government is the problem” meme is not going to be very helpful to us. Yes, governments in the past have been keen to help business interests…but when those business interests are owned by people who live in the same town as you, the scope for malfaesance is much more limited than when those business interests are multinational and anonymous.

      Where it has gone wrong now (esp in the USA and UK) is that the power of government and of corporations (particularly the banks) not only far overshadows anything that legitimate citizens can gather on their own behalf (since unions and various civil organisations have been smashed) but that governmental and private sector corporate power have been merging.

      In NZ we still have viable opportunities to make our democratic systems fairer, bolster the power and transparency of the judiciary and other regulatory bodies, and increase the role played by local communities. Taking real steps towards economic democracy is also still possible.

      But for how much longer however, I am not sure.

    • Bill 9.2

      In a rush. Will respond anon.

    • Bill 9.3

      I think this is a sad rewrite of history and ignores those people now and in history that actually acted successfully to make this world a better place – and boy do we directly benefit from the improvements those people made – and are making – yet no longer do we even have the honour to acknowledge those peoples’ motives ever existed.

      I in no way ignore or dismiss people or acts that have pressured government into ‘doing the right thing’. Nye Bevin comes instantly to mind. And, of course, there have been many other good people trying to work through government. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that our governments have institutionally been generally far from benign.

      Think of the suffragettes, the unionists and those engaged with civil rights movements etc who had to fight, and fight hard and long to wrest concessions from governments that were content to break heads.

      A quick walk through history from the callous ‘free market’ dogma of the Victorian era, up through the slaughter of millions in WWI and millions more in WWII with depression and oppression sandwiched in between, kind of blows away any argument for how benign governments have been.

      Post WWII, gains were made. But they were made because western governments were shit scared that the populace would find state communism attractive and because people were demanding change.. And when the idea surfaced in the 80s that all gains should be rolled back, did you witness any western government opposing the idea? People in various countries did, but their governments? I didn’t.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.3.1

        Hi Bill,

        I think that you would be sorely disappointed if you think that removing government from society will end wars.

        Humans have good qualities and bad ones – this is reflected in governments.

        I view governments as a way to organise large groups of people – I am open to alternative forms of organisation yet fail to view there would be any ‘structure’ that would cause an end to war; as soon as people collect together in groups – competition and wanting what the other group has arises – this is best addressed by ethics, not structures (or removing structures completely).

        Emphasising the golden rule, cooperation, cause and effect, valuing diversity, ensuring wealth is spread around and channelling our propensity for aggression in some way are ways that can counteract our aggressive streak – not removing our organisational structures -which, in my view, would likely create more conflict – not less (I am open to being proven wrong on that one – would prefer to be wrong on this. It would however take some convincing!)

        We have become more capable of killing en masse because of technological development. We also have private interests making weapons – who need these weapons to be used so they can make more profit, we have powerful groups in the world that want more and more profit and power – and don’t care about harming other lives nor wiping out whole cultures in the process. Addressing these problems is more likely to lead to less wars – dropping governments will simply lead to other groups being created and I am extremely confident that conflicts between the new groups would arise.

        • Bill 9.3.1.1

          Yeah bl. Except I didn’t say anything about ‘removing government from society’. If anything, what I’m proposing is a way to ensure that government is firmly embedded within society. At the moment it sits somewhat separate and above.

          Embedding government within society would obviously diminish the concentrations of power you signpost in your comment…democracy always undercuts any concentration of power or influence .

          You also don’t seem to give any consideration of how structures impact on behaviour. As a brief example, market economies reward and so encourage certain behaviours (competition and ‘doing over’ your ‘neighbour’) while failing to award others (co-operation).

          Structure is important and not the neutral phenomenon you appear to think it is.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.3.1.1.1

            @ Bill

            I fairly well agree with the points you make here.

            Somewhere along the line I thought you were arguing against government – the manner in which you omitted to acknowledge all the roles governments conduct undermines the good that they do (sometimes) serve and I really do think that this plays into the anti-government theme of powerful interests which has successfully consolidated their power and undermined democracy.

            I did miss your main point which if I am [now] understanding correctly is one of trying to motivate people to join in – not sit on the side-lines – I agree with this and apologise for having missed your main point!

            “You also don’t seem to give any consideration of how structures impact on behaviour. As a brief example, market economies reward and so encourage certain behaviours (competition and ‘doing over’ your ‘neighbour’) while failing to award others (co-operation).”

            Good point – this is true. My belief is that the whole ‘individualistic and competitiveness’ emphasis has come from an aversion to acknowledging ethics (how people got ‘right put off’ Christianity from all the negative things Christian organisations pursued – such as anti-intellectualism and child molesting and proceeded to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’), and this is where I was coming from re emphasis on ethics, however you do make a good point – I did omit this aspect and should have know better after having read and discussed here on The Standard the article by Caleb Rosado which covered that point well.

    • adam 9.4

      Where to begin blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) where to begin.

      “So no, Bill, I do not think that governments have been quite as narrowly focussed and devoid of good intention as they are now – I imagine it has usually been a mix of ‘good’ (wider interests: acknowledging peoples’ interests) and ‘bad’ (narrow & self-serving) intentions and the balance at present is increasingly weighted toward the ‘bad’.”

      The road to hell is paved with…good intentions. Sometimes there is a reason for a cliche, feel free to read what you said again. Because the right/capital think that good intentions are on their side too. Not all, I’m pretty sure there are some in Labour and National who know its all a big lie and what they are doing is not good for anyone but a few.

      To your other comments blue leopard, please I know we live in NZ and the state/government here is quite pervasive and everywhere. Indeed it goes a long way into our lives and business. But, you sound like an apologist for the state, it kinda sounds like the same arguments Maori and all other indigenous people get about all the good colonisation has done for them. See here’s a list even, be thankful you have a government to tell you what good they do and how you can do the right thing in return.

      Look I’m an anarchist blue leopard, so I will ask one question. Why can’t you and yours be able to perform what’s on your list – once you get use to being democratic? Because the only one on your list I think we need some real hard out organization on is point (6) Public health. But then again, what is to stop us from being federal, or any other organic structure we might wish to choice to spread over the country? And BL a history of the modern state is the history of mass death, and winners in history don’t talk about all the killing they do, because they won.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.4.1

        @ adam

        “The road to hell is paved with…good intentions. Sometimes there is a reason for a cliché…”

        Yes there is sometimes a reason for a cliché – it is a short saying that quickly relays a wise idea – clichés can also be quoted inappropriately and lead to messed up ideas. I consider the latter is what you have done in your comment.

        “The road to hell is paved with…good intentions.” means that we have to take a great deal of care and be thoughtful about our good intentions and specifically what new conditions pursuing them will create. I.e. we don’t always create what we intend – sometimes good intentions lead to unintended bad consequences however sometimes they don’t

        This cliché doesn’t mean that all good intentions lead to hell! It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t cultivate good intentions; it means that we need to consider with great care what effects our good intentions will create.

        I’m saying that some politicians have good intentions and have improved things for a lot of people for having had them. As others on this thread have mentioned – this has often come about from people pressure – pressure from people out here in society – who also have good intentions.

        Good intentions are not a sign that everything is going to go wrong! – I sincerely hope that is not what you meant by quoting that cliché in response to what I wrote – because that really is the implication you have left in my mind from your having done so.

        “But, you sound like an apologist for the state, it kinda sounds like the same arguments Maori and all other indigenous people get about all the good colonisation has done for them. See here’s a list even, be thankful you have a government to tell you what good they do and how you can do the right thing in return. “

        I listed what I saw as the ‘traditional role of government’ (I am wondering now whether some are incorrect and are actually roles of the State, not government). Where did I ‘apologise’ for any malpractice by the State? I didn’t .

        To the contrary, there was a severe criticism that successive governments have been derelict in their duty in my first comment. Did you miss that? [Perhaps it is you that needed to read my comment again]

        Yes it can be read that I believe government provides a beneficial role in society – No this doesn’t mean I think that all things a government or State does is good.

  10. Ad 10

    1. We do at least need a well regulated society, even if we have no democracy.
    We can now make a distinction in the term “government” between democratic enagagement, and regulation. New Zealand has not gone to hell in a handcart despite all kinds of major utilities shifting from public to private hands (not that I like it). So public regulation is different to public ownership, and is also different to public democratic accountability.

    2. We need security from harm from those who are more powerful than us.
    There’s a fair number of instutitions needed for that.

    3. We may argue that we don’t need any redistribution of wealth at all. Go for it. But I think we need at least some minimal tax. This needs collecting across a country rather than across a city, because rural residents would never be able to afford services themselves.

    4. Humans have got along without states for quite some times, but they tend to start looking pretty feudal pretty fast. Might be worth reading up on those stories of shipwrecked groups of people – why some of them have worked, why others fail.

    5. Have another look at the series “Deadwood”, this time as a group on the cusp of forming society, feeling themlseves through the necessity for cetain kinds of order. Then have a read of the UN Declaration fo Human Rights – and think about the kinds of collective will needed to achieve those.

  11. Really interesting post, Bill.

    Have you ever read Monbiot’s Age of Consent?

    It goes in the opposite direction from what you are suggesting, but with the same goal – democratisation of how we organise ourselves. He argues for the institution (via institutions) of global democracy to match corporate globalisation.

    If I remember correctly from when I read it, he discusses self-governance movements (e.g., anarchism) and comes up with the usual criticism – what does a thoroughly non-hierarchical, democratic collectivity do when it is confronted with a centralised entity that seeks to subdue or destroy it?

    From hunter-gatherer bands to the Spanish Civil War, the question is always how such thoroughly democratic arrangements are able to protect themselves from centrally-organised force.

    I see modern nation states, fundamentally, as mechanisms established to operate, enforce and embed ‘real-existent’ capitalist market economies and other totalitarian systems (‘totalitarian’ in the technical sense – totalising systems that allow no alternatives).

    A thoroughly democratic (i.e., non-centralised, self-governing) world would therefore be one without nations. No New Zealand, no Australia, no United States, no China … no Leviathan.

    Without market economies to administer, modern nation states lose their point. Which is not to say that some of their functions would no longer need to be addressed – but probably not ‘nationally’. ‘Custom’ – rather than law – would start to matter a lot more.

    • Bill 11.1

      No – never read it. Would I be right in guessing that he’s offering up some variant on ‘democratic centralism’?

      The question of the defence of democracy if or when it’s assailed by a centralised force is, I agree, a particularly difficult one. Beyond non-compliance with such authorities at a deep cultural level persisting for, if necessary years or even through generations, and guerilla ‘hit and run’ tactics in a situation of ongoing conflict, I don’t have any answers.

      Presumably, any centralised authority would have had to have built itself up from some base of ‘consent to be ruled’. In a democratic world, the question could just be as well turned on its head then and we could ask how such centralised force would ever gain a foothold in the first place.

      And yes. No nation states or whatever in a democratised world.

      • Puddleglum 11.1.1

        I actually think that in the long run – and that may well be a VERY long run – the only sustainable form of global human social organisation (assuming we endure long enough for that option to happen) is a non-hierarchical, democratic form. I have no idea how that could – or will – happen but, while that might be disappointing for me, I don’t think my lack of comprehension of that process has any influence on the likelihood of it happening.

        In natural systems, complex entities (like multi-cellular life forms) don’t come into existence by the subjugation of lower levels but, rather, arise through the interests of the component ‘lower levels’ being sufficiently met that engaging in complex forms of life works.

        I can’t see why it would be any different for human social organisation. Subordination is never a long-term ‘goer’ in evolution – but incorporation is commonplace (e.g., mitochondria in cells – hardly subordinated and, without them, cellular existence would be impossible).

        As a species, we’ve already taken the ‘no going back’ form of inherent sociality. Our particular form of individuality – personhood in all of its various and complex forms – depends upon relatively stable and supportive social systems for its existence. Destroy that and you destroy persons, which are perhaps the most impressive by-product of human social organisation (far more impressive than the pyramids, flying to the moon, etc.).

        And individual diversity, incorporated into a social system, is just what has made our form of sociality successful. In the ‘big picture’ I like to think that the short period since we departed from a roaming, hunter-gatherer form of life (i.e., the period of time we call ‘history’ or ‘civilisation’) is just a transitional process of adjustment to becoming a globally pervasive species. We haven’t yet worked out how to transform a pretty creative and successful (or at least self-sustaining) small-scale form of sociality into one that can inhabit the entire earth in a reasonably enduring way.

        If we are to avoid social suicide, there’s only one way to go now – ‘Horton Hears a Who‘; and ‘everyone counts‘.

        • Bill 11.1.1.1

          In natural systems, complex entities (like multi-cellular life forms) don’t come into existence by the subjugation of lower levels but, rather, arise through the interests of the component ‘lower levels’ being sufficiently met that engaging in complex forms of life works.

          I can’t see why it would be any different for human social organisation.

          I think I touched on that theme in the ‘Shh It’s the P word” post I did a while back – (maybe in comments? – can’t quite remember). Anyway, complex order arising from simple initial conditions as against the chaos that seems to reign when there are attempts to impose order from above.

          Maybe one day…..

          • Puddleglum 11.1.1.1.1

            Yep, you did.

            Just wanted to indicate that I think you’re right.

            There’s only one way forward – all the other apparent doors have brick walls behind them.

  12. Flip 12

    Many have completely bought into the ‘market’ being the only answer to anything.

    It looks and smells like an ideological belief, and faith in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations as the truth. It is ‘The Bible’ of modern economics. It brings out the religious fever of the right. A lot of economic experts are the priest of the new religion. It looks more like a religion the more one looks at it.

    • adam 12.1

      Funny you should say that … *grins* I always ask those who are free marketeers if they believe in logic and reason. And if they say yes – then I ask do they believe in the unseen hand, and if they say yes – I ask them about their fairies at the bottom of their garden.

      Your so right – they are the new priests, they believe in something which defies logic and reason.

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    Te Putatara | 30-10
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    In an early episode of Mad Men, when the company’s going for the Lucky Strike account, sleazebag antihero Don Draper asks the client exactly how cigarettes are made. They talk through the process, mentioning the tobacco is toasted – and...
    On the Left | 30-10
  • Owners of the wind
    Thirty-odd years ago in the Kingdom of Denmark lived some brave people who disliked nuclear power and loved renewable energy. Determined to keep their country clean and safe, they began building their own wind turbines. Today, thanks to these passionate...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • TPPA Bulletin #58
    NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014 Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin,Invercargill. REGIONAL UPDATES Auckland (1:00 pm at Aotea Square): speakers include Robyn Malcolm (Actors Equity), Bunny McDiarmid (Greenpeace), Dayle Takitimu...
    NZ – Not for sale | 30-10
  • Seabed mining: drums in the deep
    Out on the Chatham Rise, the ridge jutting into the waters off Christchurch and extending out beyond the Chathams, Chatham Rock Phosphate has a mining permit and is now seeking EPA approval for its project to mine phosphate for fertiliser,...
    Pundit | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today.“Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so again...
    CTU | 30-10
  • Contact’s big solar buy-back drop bad news for Kiwis with solar
    The Green Party are calling for a law change to establish an independent umpire to set fair and reasonable buy-back rates after Contact Energy announced, from today, new small scale solar and wind generators will receive 50 percent less for...
    Greens | 01-11
  • John Key’s asset sales outed by his own Minister
    National needs to come clean about the motivations behind selling state houses after Paula Bennett's asset sale admission, said the Green Party today.On Saturday, Paula Bennett, the Minister for Social Housing admitted, in a televised interview, that the sale of...
    Greens | 01-11
  • James Shaw speaks on the four Bills formerly known as the Accounting Infras...
    The assurance industry is a critical component of our economic framework. The idea that there is a trusted independent watchdog of the public interest underpins investor confidence and ensures financial probity on behalf of our country's leading institutions. New Zealand...
    Greens | 31-10
  • ANZ needs to look after its workers after another super profit
    The ANZ bank needs to acknowledge the super profits it makes are coming at the expense of its workers, the Green Party said today.Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) 2014 full year results show a lift in performance...
    Greens | 31-10
  • James Shaw’s maiden speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • National’s “Auckland housing boom” a fizzer
    Falling Auckland consent numbers show the Government’s housing policy is going backwards contrary to wild claims by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith that we are on the cusp of a massive construction boom, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Local job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Zero tolerance for forestry accidents a must
    The Government must adopt a zero tolerance approach to workplace accidents in the forestry sector to stop people being killed, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is time for the Government and the forestry sector to put an end...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Return to less holidays on the cards?
    John Key needs to lay his cards on the table regarding the Government’s intentions around holiday pay and annual leave entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “A day after National pushed through laws that take away the legal...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Forest Safety report first step in making our forests safe to work in
    Our forests are a very dangerous place to work. Between 2008 and 2013 there have been 32 fatalities and more than a thousand serious harm incidents in this industry. The Council of Trade Unions and First union have been doing...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Catherine Delahunty Speaks on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
    Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. He mihi nui ki te Whare Paremata. Welcome to the glorious 19th century, dressed up in the not-so-new flexibility-speak. At the final moment of this bill, let us drop the charade. The Government has a...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • The Final Fifth: The Last Great Task for Progressive New Zealand.
    MOST OF NEW ZEALAND’S social problems are concentrated among those living at the margins of what is otherwise a relatively wealthy society. Recently released international data on child poverty has exposed an acutely stressed social strata encompassing roughly 20 percent...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Myth Busting Rape Boasters
    In just one week a case that galvanised a nation into discussing rape culture is now being reframed as mischievous teen hi-jinx. One year ago the Roast Busters case came to the attention of the media and the public. This...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Workers rights weakened by new laws – fightback needed
    The government’s changes to the employment laws are designed to weaken workers bargaining power – at both the individual and collective level.   30-day rule The old law required an employer with a collective agreement in place to employ new...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – Where are Labour Candidates on disability?
    For the few people who know me (hello Mum), I am proudly New Zealand’s first Autistic Spectrum Lawyer, as well as being the very bottom Candidate on the Labour Party List. (64 out of 64). Being honoured like this is...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • David Parker event – the future of work, Sun 2 Nov
    Labour leadership candidate David Parker, an experienced lawyer and businessman as well as a former senior government cabinet minister in the Helen Clark Government, will join three prominent New Zealanders in a panel discussion on Sunday to address...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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