web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

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.

Links to post

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Support bill changes to keep students safe
    26 November 2014    The government has the opportunity to prevent major teacher opposition to the proposed new teachers council by supporting changes to the Education Amendment Bill (2). PPTA president Angela Roberts said one of the biggest risks of the...
    PPTA
  • Neetflux: Dirty laundry
    ...
    On the Left
  • This takes the cake
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security is now threatening John Key's victim with prosecution:As the Inspector-General stated at the release of the report yesterday morning, she is examining what steps to take over the early disclosure of information from the...
    No Right Turn
  • World News Brief, Wednesday November 26
    Top of the AgendaIran to Access $700 Million Monthly During Talks Extension...
    Pundit
  • “Cut the crap” – quick analysis
    Here's the video of Andrew Little's question in the House today. Some quick thoughts: I was really interested that National's strategy team has already decided it has to deploy Tim McIndoe to break up the flow of Andrew Little's questioning....
    Polity
  • A statement from John Key
    Apologise? What for? I’m not sorry for anything. I have done nothing wrong. It’s Phil Goff who should be apologising. It’s Phil Goff who should resign....
    Imperator Fish
  • Submit!
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee has called for submissions on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. Submissions can be made via the online form and are due by Thursday, 27 November 2014. Yes, that's right. An important bill...
    No Right Turn
  • On the uncanny resemblance between John Key and Sergeant Schultz
    In the 30-odd years that Judy and I have been providing media advice and training to prime ministers, prostitutes and pretty well every profession in-between, our teaching mantra has remained the same: “Be straightforward, tell the truth, admit your mistakes”....
    Brian Edwards
  • Making their own terrorists
    Last year, two men murdered a British soldier in the middle of a London street. Now, the UK's Intelligence and Security Committee has found that MI6 may have directly contributed to one of the killers' radicalisation:The British government may have...
    No Right Turn
  • Vodafone collaborates in mass-surveillance
    The latest analysis of the Snowden documents shows that Vodafone is actively collaborating with GCHQ's mass-surveillance programmes:One of the UK's largest communications firms had a leading role in creating the surveillance system exposed by Edward Snowden, it can be revealed....
    No Right Turn
  • 10 articles to read about Michael Brown and what’s happening in Ferguson
    Sometimes it’s difficult to get a real sense of events happening overseas from our own mainstream media in NZ – for obvious reasons they prioritise cover NZ issues. It’s also really difficult for a Pākehā like me to comment – both...
    On the Left
  • Ports of Auckland Moving More Freight By Rail
    Ports of Auckland did a press release back in September that didn’t really get picked up on: Working with KiwiRail, Ports of Auckland has doubled the rail services between its Waitematā seaport and Wiri Intermodal Freight Hub. The increased service...
    Transport Blog
  • Momentum Builds for No Deforestation Palm Oil
    By now you know the problem: a rapidly expanding palm oil industry, eating up forests, draining carbon-rich peatlands, and sparking conflict with local people and workers.But if you had to guess at what is turning out to be a key...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • “Real” experts’ on climate change? Really?
    The Heartland Institute has produce a new propaganda poster on climate change. Here it is: And this is what they say about it: This poster presents clear and undeniable evidence that the debate is not over. Looking out from this poster...
    Open Parachute
  • Whiteboard Wednesday – How a flat tax would be fairer than our current sy...
    Geoff is going to talks us through how a UBI and Flat tax work together. The end result is less bureaucracy and a fairer, simpler, more productive society....
    Gareth’s World
  • Ede and the Public Records Act
    Jason Ede was required by the Gwyn Inquiry to produce emails from his private accounts that included official government information. He couldn't do that in the end because, gosh darn it, he had just destroyed and permanently deleted everything in...
    Polity
  • “Appalling”
    In 2011, John Key was Minister for the SIS. At that time, according to John Key: The SIS didn't understand the workings of the OIA. I mean that's appalling, and I accept all of that."1 Well, if that is the...
    Polity
  • Free your voices
    Last week Victoria University of Wellington lecturer’s Dr. Sandra Grey and Dr. Charles Sedgwick released some figures from the 2013/14 update of the 2008/9 survey of the community and voluntary sector. Their research question was: ‘How is democracy – as...
    frogblog
  • Symposium on the way forward, 4: making our own revolutionary kaupapa and f...
    On Monday, November 24, The Freedom Shop, an anarchist centre in Wellington, held a meeting about the way forward for the activist left.  A number of speakers were invited to give ten-minute presentations; below is the presentation given by Don...
    Redline
  • When will the PM take responsibility?
    It often bemuses me as to why people would vote for a dishonest political party that has spent the last two terms in government undermining our once great democracy. Why on earth would voters support a scoundrel like John Key,...
    The Jackal
  • Gordon Campbell on the inquiry into one case of dirty politics
    Suddenly, we’re awash in inquiries and reviews. (It feels almost as if the Greens won the last election.) Caught out by the damning inquiry by SIS Inspector-General Cheryl Gwyn, the government’s response yesterday was utterly in character – it released...
    Gordon Campbell
  • John Key: The buck doesn’t stop with me
    President Harry Truman famously had a piece of walnut wood on his desk in the oval office that read, "The buck stops here", and when the president referred to it in speeches it was to say that he had to...
    Pundit
  • Speaker: Market failure in the research world
    The “serials crisis” has been a feature of research life for over 20 years. According to figures from the US Association of Research Libraries, during 1986-2007 academic journal subscription charges increased by 340%, four times the rate of inflation.Publishers contribute...
    Public Address
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    Frankly Speaking
  • Terrorism bill fraught with risk for academics
    Academics studying terrorism, or other topics that the SIS considers not to be in the national interest, could be among those who lose civil rights if an ‘anti-terrorism’ bill becomes law. TEU, the union representing tertiary education staff, says the...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Being mindful of mental illness
    There’s a lot of mental illness stigma in New Zealand. From the friend or family member who tells you just to ‘get over it’, to the many little ways that living with a mental illness in an unsupportive environment slowly...
    On the Left
  • Auckland Transport November Board Meeting
    Every month I comb through the reports to the AT board looking at what the organisation is up to (that they’ll say in public). I’ve already covered the separate reports on additional bus priority and the New Network for the...
    Transport Blog
  • Henryk Grossman on the struggle for Marxism, 1883-1932
    Henryk Grossman, Fifty Years of Struggle over Marxism 1883-1932, translated by Rick Kuhn and Einde O’Callagan, with an introduction by Rick Kuhn; Ebook AU$6.34 from http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OE6KF7O and paperback AU$10 from redflag.subs@gmail.com reviewed by Tom O’Lincoln There is a story about Marx’s legacy that...
    Redline
  • Financial assistance for tertiary students
    I’ve gotten my final assignment back for the 300-level Policy Research & Evaluation paper I did last semester, and earned another A+ and another teacher telling me to do post-grad if I can afford it without starving. The only way...
    The little pakeha
  • A brief commentary from John Key, Prime Minister
    Hello. I’m not going to apologise. There’s nothing to apologise for. I have done nothing wrong. Yes I suppose a few people in my office may have possibly been in contact with people in Camoron Slater’s office, but I had...
    My Thinks
  • A surveillance power-grab
    Section 7 of the government's spy bill introduces a new power for police and SIS to access information held by Customs. Its not mentioned in the press release, and the bill's explanatory note is extremely vague. So what's it about?...
    No Right Turn
  • Another shoddy analysis
    What's the case for the government's Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill? I've been reading the bills Regulatory Impact Statement, and the short version is that there isn't one. A RIS is a vital part of the quality control process for...
    No Right Turn
  • “We should be a working on the railroads…”
    Yesterday Peter asked if the Auckland’s motorway network built on “strategic misrepresentations”?. In it he briefly mentioned engineer Joseph Wright who questioned how much the motorways would cost. In response I put this image in the comments however it probably justifies it’s...
    Transport Blog
  • The facts of power price rises
    Everyone knows power prices are increasing and it feels like it is eating more and more of their weekly pay check. This morning I released census data showing this common feeling is in fact borne in the data. The data...
    frogblog
  • Slavery was cheap too…Pay equity fight back to court
    Today the NZ Aged Care Association announced they will appeal the decisions of the Employment Court and Court of Appeal in favour of Kristine Bartlett, to the Supreme Court. They say they have no choice but to appeal because many...
    frogblog
  • Why Pakeha are so offended by John Key’s idea of a peaceful settlement
    The statements by the Prime Minister on the Waitangi Tribunal ruling that Maori never ceded sovereignty in 1840 are enough to make any student of history choke. First was the denial that the ruling means anything significant. And then there...
    frogblog
  • Counterproductive
    Since June, the US has been bombing Iraq. Since September, they've been bombing Syria. In both cases, the aim is ostensibly to stop ISIS. So how's it working out?About as badly as you'd expect:US air strikes in Syria are encouraging...
    No Right Turn
  • No justice in America
    On August 9, police officer Darren Wilson shot and murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.. The shooting of unarmed black men by American police is so routine that they don't even bother to keep statistics on it. And of course,...
    No Right Turn
  • The Andrew Little experiment has failed
    It’s time to admit that the Andrew Little leadership experiment has been a failure. A terrible failure....
    Imperator Fish
  • Abuse of power: The OIA / public records dimension
    One of the things to emerge from the "dirty politics" report is that the SIS pissed all over the OIA:The NZSIS also made a significant error in considering information requests by the news media. Such requests were, from 25 July...
    No Right Turn
  • Restoration of the Christchurch Arts Centre well underway
    It was inspiring to be shown some of the major restoration and rebuilding work underway at the Christchurch Arts Centre recently. With 22 of 23 Arts Centre buildings damaged by the earthquakes, this is one of the largest heritage restoration...
    frogblog
  • A further thought on the Gwyn report
    The report itself is here. The main issues have been well covered by the media. Here’s what struck me. One of Key’s big achievements as Prime Minister has been the expansion of the size and powers of the state security...
    DimPost
  • A further thought on the Gwyn report
    The report itself is here. The main issues have been well covered by the media. Here’s what struck me. One of Key’s big achievements as Prime Minister has been the expansion of the size and powers of the state security...
    DimPost
  • Thin Ice edit for US TV funded in full
    The Thin Ice Kickstarter campaign was resounding success, with the total pledged reaching NZ$34,448 from 228 backers. The extra funds are likely to be used in a PR effort to get the newly-edited film shown on as many TV stations...
    Hot Topic
  • The City Unbound
    The current Metro Magazine has has an article by me on Auckland, its new urban nature, and surprise!: Why we need a change in transport infrastructure investment to unlock its true value. Most here won’t be unfamiliar with the arguments but the...
    Transport Blog
  • The City Unbound
    The current Metro Magazine has has an article by me on Auckland, its new urban nature, and surprise!: Why we need a change in transport infrastructure investment to unlock its true value. Most here won’t be unfamiliar with the arguments but the...
    Transport Blog
  • Cover up in the PM’s office
    Here's an extract from a very good post by Russell Brown this morning: But there’s more. The inspector, Cheryl Gwyn, has this to say: Witnesses appearing before this inquiry also produced documents. Documents were provided voluntarily by Mr Hager and...
    Polity
  • An abuse of power
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has released her report into the release of information to Cameron Slater by the SIS. Its a lot to digest, but it looks like the core allegation of Dirty Politics - that the Prime...
    No Right Turn
  • Media Link: The Slater/SIS/PM’s Office OIA debacle.
    Sometimes one has to speak bluntly but honestly about unethical behaviour within the NZ intelligence community. The revelations about the way an OIA request from a notorious right wing blogger was  handled by the then Director of Security and Intelligence...
    Kiwipolitico
  • The buck stops on level 9
    The IGIS report has come out, saying the SIS failed to maintain political neutrality, smearing Phil Goff, and finding that senior Prime Ministerial staff were complicit in channeling security agency information to Cameron Slater. In response, the SIS has apologised...
    Polity
  • Fourth housing report confirms failure
    The Fourth Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report shows the Accord has failed to make a dent in the city's housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. "The report says consents for only 354 dwellings were approved in the special...
    Labour
  • Ministers all over the place on Smith passport
     Ministers responsible for the Phillip Smith debacle are at  odds over the passport he used to escape, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “It  beggars belief that Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says the passport issued to Smith, under his...
    Labour
  • Hard road ahead for thousands more Kiwi kids
    News that there will be 8000 more students in low decile schools next year reinforces the absolute failure of the National Government’s economic approach, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The gap between the haves and the have-nots is increasing....
    Labour
  • Free your voices
    Last week Victoria University of Wellington lecturer’s Dr. Sandra Grey and Dr. Charles Sedgwick released some figures from the 2013/14 update of the 2008/9 survey of the community and voluntary sector. Their research question was: ‘How is democracy – as...
    Greens
  • The facts of power price rises
    Everyone knows power prices are increasing and it feels like it is eating more and more of their weekly pay check. This morning I released census data showing this common feeling is in fact borne in the data. The data...
    Greens
  • Slavery was cheap too…Pay equity fight back to court
    Today the NZ Aged Care Association announced they will appeal the decisions of the Employment Court and Court of Appeal in favour of Kristine Bartlett, to the Supreme Court. They say they have no choice but to appeal because many...
    Greens
  • Why Pakeha are so offended by John Key’s idea of a peaceful settlement
    The statements by the Prime Minister on the Waitangi Tribunal ruling that Maori never ceded sovereignty in 1840 are enough to make any student of history choke. First was the denial that the ruling means anything significant. And then there...
    Greens
  • Restoration of the Christchurch Arts Centre well underway
    It was inspiring to be shown some of the major restoration and rebuilding work underway at the Christchurch Arts Centre recently. With 22 of 23 Arts Centre buildings damaged by the earthquakes, this is one of the largest heritage restoration...
    Greens
  • Key’s vile smear machine questions left unanswered
    The report into Judith Collins’ involvement in undermining the former Serious Fraud Office boss leaves major questions unanswered about the smear machine run out of John Key’s office, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “This report has deliberately narrow terms of...
    Labour
  • Govt must make up lost time on sexual violence law reform
    The Government must prioritise any recommendations from the Law Commission to improve criminal process for sexual violence cases after it stalled reform work for two years, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour is pleased Justice Minister Amy Adams has...
    Labour
  • White Ribbon day should last all year
    White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for all men to stand up and affirm to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women, says Labour’s Associate Justice Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “Violence towards women is rampant across all sectors...
    Labour
  • Report confirms John Key abused power of PM’s Office
    Today's Inspector General of Intelligence and Security's (IGIS) report confirms that the Prime Minister's office engaged in a serious abuse of power, says the Green Party.The IGIS report looked at the release of an Official Information Act request to disgraced...
    Greens
  • IGIS report a damning indictment on former spy boss
    The report by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the release of classified documents is a sad and damning indictment on former spy boss Warren Tucker, Labour’s MP for Mount Roskill and former leader Phil Goff says.  “This report upholds...
    Labour
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    Greens
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up
    Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience....
    Labour
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter referring to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    ...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased are the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased are the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2009. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2009. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog
  • Fish & Game wants more than lip service from agriculture
    Fish & Game wants to know how the government will ensure the agriculture sector protects the environment after the Primary Industries Minister warned primary sector leaders that environmental sustainability is no longer a “nice to have.”...
    Scoop politics
  • Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    Public submissions are being invited on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Thursday, 27 November 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Ngā Aho Whakaari Questions TMP Handling of TVNZ Contract
    Television New Zealand (TVNZ) recently announced that internal production of its iconic Māori programmes ‘Waka Huia’ and ‘Marae Investigates’ would cease and that it would outsource the production of these programmes for the duration of...
    Scoop politics
  • Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence And Security
    Statements from the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (x2) 1. In response to questions about particular contents of the report: Ms Gwyn said that - as she had said yesterday when releasing the report - the report, including the factual...
    Scoop politics
  • Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    Public submissions are being invited on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 13 February 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • SIS Scandal Leaves Key Unscathed
    Prime Minister John Key has been almost entirely unscathed by the SIS scandal, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. The probability Mr Key will remain leader of the National Party...
    Scoop politics
  • Lawyer jailed for fraud against loyal clients
    John David Milne (79) has been sentenced to eight years and one month of imprisonment today in the Christchurch District Court following a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution....
    Scoop politics
  • MFaT CEO To Announce Resignation
    NZ's leading Political publication Trans Tasman can reveal Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade chief executive John Allen will announce his resignation on Monday. Allen, who was controversially recruited to head up the Ministry in 2009 after a stellar...
    Scoop politics
  • Rotorua White Ribbon Ride urges stand against violence
    Dave Donaldson will never forget the story of a woman who escaped her violent partner by going to jail. Some years ago while the Rotorua deputy mayor was still a police officer, he escorted a woman to Auckland to serve...
    Scoop politics
  • Air Line Pilots’ Association on proposed rules for Drones
    The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association is welcoming calls by the Civil Aviation Authority to have industry and the public have their say on proposed rules for unmanned aircraft operations....
    Scoop politics
  • Family Violence Report on Gender Bias Welcomed
    Family First NZ is welcoming a report which says that blaming men for domestic violence is ‘gender bias’....
    Scoop politics
  • Terrorism bill fraught with risk for academics
    Academics studying terrorism, or other topics that the SIS considers not to be in the national interest, could be among those who lose civil rights if an ‘anti-terrorism’ bill becomes law....
    Scoop politics
  • Iwi score badly on Māori language report card
    Māori language group Umere has given 'iwi corporates' a "Not achieved" for not standing up for te reo....
    Scoop politics
  • Men need to play leadership role
    White Ribbon Day is the international day for the elimination of violence against women and occurs each year on 25 November....
    Scoop politics
  • NZ-HK Customs heads meet to strengthen ties
    A meeting between New Zealand Customs and Hong Kong Customs officials in Auckland today has strengthened the close partnership between the two agencies that continue to work together, especially to combat drug smuggling and organised crime....
    Scoop politics
  • Liam Butler interviews Hon Richard Prebble CBE,
    Out of the Red $29.95 The untold story of NZ's biggest business turn around....
    Scoop politics
  • Submissions called for two herbicide applications
    The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on the reassessment of the herbicide Firebird and an application for release of the herbicide Sakura....
    Scoop politics
  • Collins Inquiry – Statement from Mr Adam Feeley
    "I am pleased that the inquiry was undertaken and with the outcome announced today, especially given the unprecedented level of speculation, criticism and comment around investigations into the collapse of finance companies - much of which bore little...
    Scoop politics
  • #GivingTuesday focuses on charitable giving in Xmas lead-up
    More than 100 New Zealand charities are taking part in the inaugural #GivingTuesday being held on Tuesday 2 December....
    Scoop politics
  • Carrick Graham: Inquiry Shows New Media PR Here to Stay
    Facilitate Communications welcomes the Prime Minister’s release of the Inquiry report into allegations regarding the Honourable Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley....
    Scoop politics
  • Carrick Graham: Inquiry Shows New Media PR Here to Stay
    Facilitate Communications welcomes the Prime Minister’s release of the Inquiry report into allegations regarding the Honourable Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley....
    Scoop politics
  • Importance of employer support of victims of family violence
    The Public Service Association (PSA) has welcomed a new report, Intimate partner violence and the workplace, published today by the NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse at the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Importance of employer support of victims of family violence
    The Public Service Association (PSA) has welcomed a new report, Intimate partner violence and the workplace, published today by the NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse at the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Activists celebrate success in ‘Roast Busters’ campaign
    Activist community ActionStation is today celebrating the success of their campaign to force a review into the lack of charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ case, after the Minister of Justice announced the re-opening of work to improve the justice system...
    Scoop politics
  • Activists celebrate success in ‘Roast Busters’ campaign
    Activist community ActionStation is today celebrating the success of their campaign to force a review into the lack of charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ case, after the Minister of Justice announced the re-opening of work to improve the justice system...
    Scoop politics
  • White Ribbon Day: A lot of work to do
    White Ribbon Day is a timely reminder to all New Zealanders that when it comes to sexual violence there is a lot of work to do says Human Rights Commissioner Jackie Blue. “Many victims of sexual violence are failed by...
    Scoop politics
  • White Ribbon Day: A lot of work to do
    White Ribbon Day is a timely reminder to all New Zealanders that when it comes to sexual violence there is a lot of work to do says Human Rights Commissioner Jackie Blue. “Many victims of sexual violence are failed by...
    Scoop politics
  • MBIE acts against Queenstown breaches of employment laws
    Enforcement action has been taken against 15 employers in the hospitality, retail and service industries following an operation in August by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)....
    Scoop politics
  • MBIE acts against Queenstown breaches of employment laws
    Enforcement action has been taken against 15 employers in the hospitality, retail and service industries following an operation in August by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)....
    Scoop politics
  • E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call
    E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call for Māori Tikanga to Battle Domestic Violence...
    Scoop politics
  • E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call
    E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call for Māori Tikanga to Battle Domestic Violence...
    Scoop politics
  • Link between inequality and teen births studied
    A University of Canterbury economics and finance postgraduate student’s research project has been unable to find a strong link between teen birth rates and socio-economic inequality....
    Scoop politics
  • Link between inequality and teen births studied
    A University of Canterbury economics and finance postgraduate student’s research project has been unable to find a strong link between teen birth rates and socio-economic inequality....
    Scoop politics
  • On White Ribbon Day, and every day, Plunket is here to help
    On White Ribbon Day, Plunket says the impact family violence has on children is not OK, but it is OK to ask for help, and is encouraging parents in violent or abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and their...
    Scoop politics
  • On White Ribbon Day, and every day, Plunket is here to help
    On White Ribbon Day, Plunket says the impact family violence has on children is not OK, but it is OK to ask for help, and is encouraging parents in violent or abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and their...
    Scoop politics
  • Dr Warren Tucker accepts findings of IGIS report
    I accept the findings of the Inspector-General's thorough and careful report and take full responsibility not only for my decisions but for the systemic errors made by NZSIS at the time....
    Scoop politics
  • Dr Warren Tucker accepts findings of IGIS report
    I accept the findings of the Inspector-General's thorough and careful report and take full responsibility not only for my decisions but for the systemic errors made by NZSIS at the time....
    Scoop politics
  • NZSIS accepts Inspector-General’s recommendations
    The Director of Security, Rebecca Kitteridge says she accepts all of the recommendations from an inquiry into the release of NZSIS information in July and August 2011. “We are implementing all of the recommendations as soon as possible,” Ms Kitteridge...
    Scoop politics
  • NZSIS accepts Inspector-General’s recommendations
    The Director of Security, Rebecca Kitteridge says she accepts all of the recommendations from an inquiry into the release of NZSIS information in July and August 2011. “We are implementing all of the recommendations as soon as possible,” Ms Kitteridge...
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwis Embrace the Spirit of Giving This Christmas
    Auckland, New Zealand – November 25, 2014 – Kiwis are embracing the spirit of giving this Christmas, with new figures revealing that a majority of us will be looking to purchase gifts for six or more people this festive season....
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwis Embrace the Spirit of Giving This Christmas
    Auckland, New Zealand – November 25, 2014 – Kiwis are embracing the spirit of giving this Christmas, with new figures revealing that a majority of us will be looking to purchase gifts for six or more people this festive season....
    Scoop politics
  • The writing’s on the wall in aged care
    The writing’s on the wall in aged care, so let’s get on with it....
    Scoop politics
  • The writing’s on the wall in aged care
    The writing’s on the wall in aged care, so let’s get on with it....
    Scoop politics
  • Report on release of NZSIS information to Cameron Slater
    The inquiry found the NZSIS released incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office....
    Scoop politics
  • Report on release of NZSIS information to Cameron Slater
    The inquiry found the NZSIS released incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office....
    Scoop politics
  • New Zealand a world leader in animal welfare
    The Animal Protection Index , which ranks 50countries across the world on their animal welfare standards, places New Zealand (along with the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland)in first place....
    Scoop politics
  • New Zealand a world leader in animal welfare
    The Animal Protection Index , which ranks 50countries across the world on their animal welfare standards, places New Zealand (along with the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland)in first place....
    Scoop politics
  • Corrections Review of Phillip Smith’s Illegal Departure
    Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith has made public a summary of the findings of the review into the illegal departure from New Zealand of prisoner Phillip Smith during a temporary release....
    Scoop politics
  • Corrections Review of Phillip Smith’s Illegal Departure
    Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith has made public a summary of the findings of the review into the illegal departure from New Zealand of prisoner Phillip Smith during a temporary release....
    Scoop politics
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere