web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

State of Nations

Written By: - Date published: 6:11 pm, January 29th, 2014 - 24 comments
Categories: capitalism, class, class war, crime, Environment, Ethics, global warming, International, peak oil, poverty, prisons, sustainability, war - Tags: , , , ,

This post isn’t a ‘contrast and compare’ piece on the policy announcements of National, the Greens and Labour. It’s enough to say that National are pursuing privatisation while both Labour and Green are at least trying to do good things.

Shame about the reality of the bigger picture then.

Admittedly, I might have this the wrong way around. So with that in mind, let’s just say I’m going for the more positive scenario.

Market economies operate by way of profit. If something doesn’t spin a profit, then it simply doesn’t happen or stops happening pretty quickly. Two solutions are offered up. The state can step in and use tax revenue to fund non-profit but socially valuable activity/institutions. Or we find ways to monetise everything (eg – Nats so-called education policy) and settle for wrap around, degraded ‘user pays’ systems.

Those are the poles of any economy wedded to market (regulated/unregulated) principles. And we can argue the pro’s and cons of each scenario, or of some mish-mash of the two until the cows come home.

Except we can’t.

To borrow Paula Bennets’ phrase from a different scenario – ‘The Party’s Over’.

How over? Here’s one indicator.  31% of US oil and gas shares are owned by retirement funds. But we can’t use some 80% of discovered oil that your pension funds are invested in without ‘burning’ the planet.

Extrapolating the above 31% to apply to global fossil investment, it seems either we say  ‘hang it all’, drill and burn the oil to get you your retirement return meaning that you won’t get your retirement return because the planet’s burned. Or we don’t, which means that a huge chunk of your retirement investments will be worth precisely zero (the retirement component of about US$20 trillion worth of investment ) and you don’t get your retirement return.

Nice choice, and I can almost see a future filled with the stunned tears of people protesting that they only tried to do what was good and what was right.

Want to throw resource depletion into the AGW mix?

Well, here’s a wee trick. Market economies are about market share. They just aren’t – not in any way shape or form – about market size. If they were, then all the people in Africa, South America, Latin America and elsewhere would have been pulled into the consumerist ways of life a hundred years ago or more.

So what to do when looking at peaked resources and market share? Why – you shrink the market, and -  oops! – there goes any idea you might have had about reinvesting all of that US$20 trillion of oil money elsewhere (though your bank deposits underwrite any actual bank losses). So lots more people get equal status with countless Africans, South and Latin Americans… excluded.

Here’s, an admittedly quick, hodge podge of measures and indicators from across the world that suggest the groundwork for our exclusion is being laid in. I’m sure you can join the dots and add many, many more illustative examples without any difficulty.

 

‘Anti Social Behaviour Orders’ (ASBOs) in the UK.

Also from the UK, serious attempts to bring in ‘Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance’ (Ipnas)

In the US, natural life jail sentences for such misdemeanors as stealing a US$159 jacket.

Global internet and electronic surveillance

From Scotland, 3 years in jail for a stupid facebook post.

NZ cities passing bye laws to ban begging

Throughout the world, austerity being sold as reform that serves to remove progressive reforms won in the past.

The never ending wars against drugs and terrorism that allow the poor to be harvested for profit in private prison systems.

Wars of occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya…

And against all that, an ever increasing number of protests across the world

Anyway, avert your gaze, keep your mouth shut and you may, by luck, get to hang in there. Just keep struggling and scrabbling faster than the necessarily ever faster slowest, and you might get health care and welfare and a pension fund. Yup. You too can be a part of a shrinking, multi-layered  elite, while the burgeoning majority (that you won’t be a part of, of course!) get their heads kicked in, or get jailed, or get killed for…well, the equivalent of planting a vegetable. I mean, never mind about getting shot or whatever for trying to organise people or some such. You can get murdered in some parts of the world for having the temerity to plant a fucking vegetable. And the dynamics of exclusion that play out elsewhere will be playing out over here, and sooner rather than later. Though, maybe there’s an alternative for the masters of the universe. Maybe they  have in mind something else – something other than shrinking the market to survive resource depletion?

If not, put aside concerns over the possible effects of Global Warming. That (if I haven’t got things the wrong way round – a possibility) probably comes after the lock down/ lock out that most likely, due to the Pareto Principle, won’t allow market economic practices  to continue and ‘civilisation’ (what’s going to pass for it anyway) to skite below catastrophic global warming.

So finally, I wonder if the likes of David Cunliffe understand what we’re up against when they ask that we all pull together to make NZ decent again, and whether they have the steel to see things through when international political pressure is brought to bear on the good intentions of their government?

24 comments on “State of Nations”

  1. karol 1

    Well, I think any major shift will need to involve some leadership from above, and a groundswell of pressure from within the flax roots. But, while a lot of the people are still focused on getting and having the latest shiny things, such a groundswell will be small. It’ll only be when people see in their daily lives what power down means, that they will start to engage – but by then it may be too late.

    Russel Norman did produce a power down narrative yesterday in response to the PM’s statement. I summarised and quoted from some of Norman’s speech in my post last night.

    Norman’s speech was low key, and not full of flashy rhetoric. But his speech was very well done. He first created the context of NZ’s history of progressive legislation – Savage, Kirk, etc. Then this:

    He then said that NZ needs a Green government with “values of egalitarianism, sovereignty and democracy“. But, more than that, it needs to “integrate these values with new modern values of sustainability.“ The “next wave of progressive change that is sweeping the world is green.” This is necessary as we learn a new way of living “good lives” with finite and limited natural resources.

    We are learning to access the unlimited resources of human creativity, ingenuity and generosity in order to live prosperous lives…

    It was so low key, it’ll have missed most people. But that narrative needs to be repeated again and again, in differnet ways, differnt contexts.

    • Bill 1.1

      Hmm. I wasn’t really writing this post with any ‘major shift’ in mind. I was just kinda speculating on where we’re going and what it might mean.

      So, ‘powerdown’ – or the same effect as, is achieved by excluding people from resources…just like has been the lot for billions since colonisation snapped up the worlds’ resources for ‘the west’.

      Would I rather see an across the board step change? Of course. Is it likely? Nope. Does that matter to those who hold power and make decisions? Nope. Will it matter to us? Most likely.

      And if Labour and Greens try to push against an international tendency that would exclude ever more people from resources etc to preserve ‘the market’ or capitalism…and I do believe that is happening and will be happening more…. then they will most definitely be getting ‘the hard word’ from international quarters…even if they are simply undermining the excuses put forward to justify austerity.

      It happened to Helen Clark in a different and much less dire context (business as usual neo-liberalism) – and she backed down.

      Cunliffe and who-ever, maybe unsuspectingly, are taking on much, much bigger ‘kettle of fish’ in the present.

      People and institutions with much more power than the NZ government are out of ideas and playing for keeps. They aren’t going to quietly countenance a ‘western liberal democracy’ stepping out of the fold or merely (as I suspect would be the reality of Labour/Green government) contradicting the austerity line. These ain’t the days of Savage or Kirk who, in spite of their progressive tendencies, stayed very much within the parameters of ‘acceptable’ government for their times.

      • weka 1.1.1

        Are you thinking there are options here, or that there isn’t really anything to be done?

        Great post btw.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          I’m just looking at the trajectories of governments in a world squeezed between AGW and peak resources. I’ve suggested alternatives in other posts.

          In this one I’m more interested in whether the idea that total market size will be shrunk to accommodate resource depletion and maintain power is a reasonable one (ie, broadly correct) or whether it’s completely ‘off the wall’.

          If it’s not ‘off the wall’ and is something that’s pursued, then many, many people in NZ and across ‘the west’ are going to be living lives we’ve previously only associated with the excluded majorities in ‘third world’ nations.

          AGW is a second driver for that scenario to be pushed. I guess the hope in some quarters would be that a shrunken market that caters for the needs of far fewer people would run on far lower CO2 emissions.

          Lastly I’m wondering, if in spite of all the best intentions of a Labour/Green government, whether they are factoring in the stark reality of resource depletion and AGW…and regardless of that, whether they have the steel to face down inevitable international pressures that would have them stay on the austerity/surveillance/market and social exclusion bus.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.1

            In this one I’m more interested in whether the idea that total market size will be shrunk to accommodate resource depletion and maintain power is a reasonable one (ie, broadly correct) or whether it’s completely ‘off the wall’.

            The overall size of the financial markets and the electronic credit IOUs out there in the ether far surpass, as you have already said, what the real physical economy can deliver on.

            And the financial system is continuing to expand.

            The leaders of our power elite have consciously, or unconsciously, embraced Thanatos on behalf of the entire world. (I doubt the people who have been in the bottom 50% of the world’s population are at all surprised by this, but most living in relatively wealthy western countries are going to be very surprised, at a guess.)

            Civilisations do not end in sanity. Even as the barbarian hordes descended into the Italian peninsula, money and resources were being poured into bread and circuses.

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.1.1

              I guess I’m not so much focusing on the financial sector as the possibility for people to be excluded from the ‘nuts and bolts’ of production and distribution.

              Seems we’re already being ‘eased out’ – diminishing welfare, more precarious jobs with worsening terms and conditions and a massive corporate bureaucracy of low/middle management types who will be surplus to needs soon enough.

              Then, short term, we have the possible implosion of economies like China and India leading to a whole new waves of cut backs and austerity….set against the bigger medium term picture I’ve tried to outline in the post.

          • weka 1.1.1.1.2

            “In this one I’m more interested in whether the idea that total market size will be shrunk to accommodate resource depletion and maintain power is a reasonable one (ie, broadly correct) or whether it’s completely ‘off the wall’.”

            I guess I always assumed this would happen, although I haven’t thought about it in the frame you are presenting here before, which seems a more intentional strategy rather than an inevitable consequence.

            I don’t know about AGW being a second driver, or whether resource depetion will happen soon enough to have any effect. Seasoned Peak Oil analysists are talking about how the effects of peak oil aren’t happening as fast as predicted. Looks to me like the future is still very much up in the air.

            I have no doubt that key people within the Greens get the reality (and would probably include Norman in that). I doubt that they can factor in the stark reality of peak everything or AGW, other than in broad strokes in terms of working in the right direction. How could they? Those that do get it, are unable to talk about it in public or be honest about it in their work. I would guess they have to have a special kind of cognitive dissonance.

            No idea about Labour.

            “and regardless of that, whether they have the steel to face down inevitable international pressures that would have them stay on the austerity/surveillance/market and social exclusion bus.”

            This is where my mind went immediately to strategy. Assuming there was a L/GP coalition at the critical time, how could they be supported and/or pressured to do the right thing. What would the right thing entail? What are the conditions that might enable them to choose one or other? etc I think there is definitely work that could be done now on this, esp changing the political discourse.

            btw, it’s my understanding that Lange faced this dilemma in 1984. The pressure was on immediately after the election and we all know where that led.

            another btw, the term ‘powerdown’ has been used for a while now to refer to powering down with intention and degrees of democracy (esp in grassroots terms), rather than the colonisation comparison you used. I think it’s useful to consider both, and how we might go one way or other, or where they overlap.

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.2.1

              Assuming there was a L/GP coalition at the critical time, how could they be supported and/or pressured to do the right thing. What would the right thing entail? What are the conditions that might enable them to choose one or other?

              Yes this is critical. Constant broad societal pressure must go on to the pollies, and open acceptable policy space up for the political parties to move into.

              I don’t know about AGW being a second driver, or whether resource depetion will happen soon enough to have any effect. Seasoned Peak Oil analysists are talking about how the effects of peak oil aren’t happening as fast as predicted.

              I once thought that fossil fuel reserves would run down fast enough to prevent really severe climate change.

              I changed my mind a few months ago. With the accessing of arctic oil and gas (and then after that Antarctic oil and gas) and global coal consumption likely to climb year on year for at least 10 years, we’re pretty much screwed on this track.

              • weka

                Unless the GCF fucks that ;-)

                “Constant broad societal pressure must go on to the pollies, and open acceptable policy space up for the political parties to move into.”

                Spot on. I’ve been enjoying how you’ve been mentioning this idea in various ways in the past few weeks. Would love to see more discussion at some point.

                • Bill

                  On pressure. The second to last link in the post – ‘protests’…if you have the bandwidth to run a simple graphic, I recommend you link through and wait for it to play through to the present.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I figured you would pick up on the idea and run with it :)

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.2.2

              I don’t really go for conspiracy or intention. I’m aware it might come across like that in the post. Maybe that’s because I’m just looking at things and trying to figure it/see it for what it is.

              Anyway, I think it’s a given that the real economy is being bled to gorge the financial sector. And that, in itself, is excluding people from being able to access resources. So maybe, rather than seeing intent or deliberate and nefarious plans to leave people with nought, it could be seen as a consequence of feeding financial capital markets….ie, a secondary effect but just the same as though there was a deliberate intention.

              Or maybe just the basic competitive grasping of ‘the market’ is playing a role…take Sony(?) apparently deliberately fishing out Mediterranean (?)tuna stocks and throwing them in deep freeze for later – shades of Futurama (anchovies) – but true.

              “another btw…” yeah, I was more contrasting the two scenarios (powerdown and colonisation). Both have similar effects with regards CO2 levels – ie they decrease. But sure, one leaves us utterly fucked, excluded and powerless while the other doesn’t..

  2. Tracey 2

    Bill english turning his sights on internet shopping. Seems he is pretending he is doing it to help mums and dads.

    ” A bigger threat to New Zealand’s tax base is the increasing use of online retail spending, which avoids the country’s 15 percent goods and services tax, he said. What made both issues murky was that traditional jurisdictions were muddied by the questions over geographical and digital boundaries.

    “The most urgent issue is not the large end of town, it’s the small end of town, it’s hard-working mums and dads spending on the internet,” English told the committee.”

    • Murray Olsen 2.1

      Wouldn’t it be good if they took the same approach to internet shopping and GST that they took to the GCSB? “It’s not good, the tax isn’t being paid, so we’ll scrap it.”

    • Will@Welly 2.2

      Tracey – we all know what will happen – all the small consumers will see their goods subjected to GST, while the big boys continue to flout the rules. This is just Bill English and National just feigning concern. More b.s. and spin.

    • RedBaronCV 2.3

      And this internet shopping is insignificant, is it not, compared to the spending of corporates on services sourced overseas, avoiding decent enviromental,health and safety standards, and not being taxed a cent. How about GST levies on imported services as they cross the border, non refundable of course. This should make local sourcing of labour more attractive.

      • Tracey 2.3.1

        English says not.

        • RedBaronCV 2.3.1.1

          He was talking about income tax avoidance ( & given the size of the banks tax avoidance he is wrong) not cross border labour shopping which is likely to be even larger.

  3. Joe 3

    Roger Douglas and others in the 80s, argued for the process of deregulation, corporatisation, asset sales and currency flotation based on the TINA principle.

    This so called “principle” is now being regurgitated and peddled in Christchurch to soften up public opinion for a sell off the assets of the City Council to pay for the grandiose rugby stadium, metro sports facility, town hall and other white elephants.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      The metro sports facility isn’t a white elephant in the terms the others are, because it is for the general public and will improve their fitness etc.

      The town hall is a white elephant because it’s a hideously ugly building, and the performing arts groups in Christchurch think it is unfit for purpose (too large) and would rather have several new venues built instead.

      The stadium is a white elephant because it’ll cost far too much and probably only be used by rugby. Frankly if rugby wants a big flash stadium, the crusaders and those who pay to go to rugby games should pay for it, not the rate payers.

      Convention centre is an obvious white elephant because they’re building massive ones in both Auckland and Queenstown, so there’s no reason for Christchurch to have a state-of-the-art one as they’re proposing. Sure we need something, but not on the scale they’re proposing.

      • Molly 3.1.1

        The convention centre in Auckland is a white elephant also – in the way that all convention centres usually are.

        Also, up here in Auckland we had a purpose built sports centre for the general public – I believe the cost was around $60 million. The facility is well built – all chrome and concrete – and clean lines. Feels like a hospital. Participants come in on schedules and can relax in the bar. Which knocks out the pre and non-drinking set. It will always need to be funded by council and ratepayers.

        Moutere Hills Community Centre – on the other hand – cost $2.5 million to build, and is much less imposing. After a few years of operation, it provided enough surplus income to employ a full-time manager. The community feels like they own it, and use it accordingly. Not just for sports but for a variety of other uses. After a fire, they have worked hard to rebuild – and the community has been behind it all the way.

        I don’t know the budgeted cost for the facility, but it should be part of the process that a proposal such as the Metro Sports Centre – includes the cost of the loss of opportunity to provide a number of smaller facilities.

        Not only do they provide a place – they become a magnet for community to start meeting and social networks to form. Much better value for money.

        Edit: And for my mind – a better location for those community hubs for the Green Party than schools are.

  4. miravox 4

    Along with the new law against everything in the UK an old laws (1824 Vagrancy Act) is used so people can’t take food from rubbish bins either

    A man will stand trial next month after being caught taking some tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese from the dustbins behind a branch of Iceland.

    It is expected Paul May, a freelance web designer, will argue that he was taking the food because he needed it to eat and does not consider he has done anything illegal or dishonest in removing food destined for landfill from a skip…

    …Lawyers for the three men have asked the Crown Prosecution Service to consider dropping the case, but the CPS responded this month that the case would go ahead, because “we feel there is significant public interest in prosecuting these three individuals”.

    Public interest in seeing it thrown out of court, I reckon.

  5. aerobubble 5

    Tricky Cunliffe promises not to raise GST when elected.

    [lprent: What is the relevance to this post? ]

Links to post

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Justice for our boys
    As we remember the ultimate price paid by so many of our brave boys during the Gallipoli campaign, let us also pause to consider what their sacrifice really meant, and who is to blame for what happened....
    Imperator Fish | 25-04
  • Comparing the CMJ
    This is a graphical representation of just how much land we’ve turned over to out motorway network. The image below is of what effectively constitutes the Central Motorway Junction (CMJ). This is 49 hectares in size. It kind of reminds me...
    Transport Blog | 25-04
  • Remembering the Dead and Thinking of the Living
    More people are attending ANZAC dawn parades across the country than ever before and the harsh realities of past wars are becoming more widely known. We now know about the lost opportunities that could have avoided military conflict, the poor...
    Local Bodies | 25-04
  • March Madness 2014 results
    We already knew that rail set a new record in March by rising above 11 million passengers for the first time. What we didn’t know is just by how much it had passed and how the other PT modes fared. We...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • A sacred day
    There will be no politicking on this site on Anzac morning, even if John Key is an evil monster who must be stopped at all costs....
    Imperator Fish | 24-04
  • Fatah and Hamas – a marriage made in peace hell
    Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas want to have another go at marriage.They can’t promise anything, but are willing to have a try in order to reinstate the dwindling legitimacy they are both suffering from their respective enclaves....
    Pundit | 24-04
  • Know your Tory fellow travellers and ideologues: John Bishop, Taxpayers Uni...
    . . On 19 March, I reported on the Board members of the so-called “Taxpayers Union”. With one exception, every single member of the Taxpayers Union Board was a current (or recent) card-carrying member or supporter of the National and/or...
    Frankly Speaking | 24-04
  • Three Songs For ANZAC Day
     Eric Bogle:  And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda  Eric Bogle: No Man's Land (The Green Fields Of France)  Redgum: I Was Only Nineteen They tell us that at Gallipoli New Zealand came of age as a nation. Well, if that's true, why is...
    Bowalley Road | 24-04
  • Labels for climate data
    “These results are quite strange”, my colleague told me. He analysed some of the recent climate model results from an experiment known by the cryptic name ‘CMIP5‘. It turned out that the results were ok, but we had made an...
    Real Climate | 24-04
  • Solemn Falsehoods: ANZAC Day, 2014
    Worthy Sons? Every ANZAC Day we tell ourselves that the blood sacrifice of Gallipoli marked the birth of New Zealand nationhood. But as the above poster attests, it was not our independence that George, the King Emperor, acknowledged but our...
    Bowalley Road | 24-04
  • Murray Horton Speaking Tour : Who’s Running The Show?
    Press Release – Campaign Against Foreign Control Of Aotearoa MURRAY HORTON SPEAKING TOUR May 4 – 29 Whos Running The Show? And In Whose Interests? Murray Horton is the long serving Organiser and spokesperson for two Christchurch-based groups, the Campaign...
    Its our future | 24-04
  • US President Obama and Prime Minister Abe of Japan – Presser
    Press Release – The White House PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) On behalf of the Japanese people, I would like to express my heartfelt welcome to President Barack Obama, who is in Japan as our state guest. Barack and I...
    Its our future | 24-04
  • Shane Jones’ new job raises Ministerial interference questions
    The Public Service Association says the announcement that Labour MP Shane Jones is to move to a new ‘ambassador-level’ role...
    PSA | 24-04
  • Evidence lacking for Northland council amalgamation
    The Public Service Association has told a Local Government Commission hearing in Kaikohe that there is a lack of evidence supporting...
    PSA | 24-04
  • World News Brief, Thursday April 24
    Top of the AgendaObama Navigates Asia-Pacific Security Challenges...
    Pundit | 24-04
  • This is treason, sirs!
    A guest post by Captain Horace Cockwood, RN, on the problems besetting the Labour Party...
    Imperator Fish | 24-04
  • The Beatification of St Jonesy
    This has been even stupider than I thought it would be. The majority of the media commentary regarding Jones has been – as Malcolm Tucker would put it – borderline homoerotic. Morning Report featured Damien O’Connor, Clayton Cosgrove, John Tamihere, Chris...
    DimPost | 24-04
  • Photo of the day – ANZAC
    I don’t know if they’ve done it again this year but this from 2012 was one of my favourite things to happen in Takutai Square Photo are credited to oh.yes.melbourne...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • How to become a climate change denier (in 4 easy steps)
    Cartoon drawn by Joshua Cakeburger Drummond as a contribution to the High Water Project, and rooted in bitter experience, I suspect…...
    Hot Topic | 24-04
  • TV3′s The Nation: Antarctica and public understanding of climate change
    A few days have passed since Lisa Owen’s interview with Antarctic scientists Chuck Kennicutt of the US and Gary Wilson of New Zealand on TV3’s The Nation but I hope it’s still worth drawing attention to. Programmes like The Nation...
    Hot Topic | 24-04
  • Shane Gones
    So, Shane Jones is quitting politics.  The reasons given, according to Polity, are because he wants the Labour Party to embrace a wide range of opinions, and that that too many people have opinions he doesn't agree with, like forming...
    Left hand palm | 24-04
  • Australia welches on open government
    Last year, Australia announced that it was joining the Open Government Partnership. But now that Tony Abbott is in charge, they're backing out:THE Abbott government is reconsidering Labor’s pledge to sign Australia up for a major international transparency and citizen...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • A counterproductive waste of money
    That's the quick assessment of Britain's participation in the "war on terror":Britain's military operations since the end of the cold war have cost £34.7bn and a further £30bn may have to be spent on long-term veteran care, according to an...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Shane Jones Nationalised
    Shane Jones is on Radio Live as I type this, explaining that he quit politics because he just couldn't be arsed etc.  "No reservoir of energy to..." as he put it.  Ridiculous.  Retirement at 54.  A career beginning and ending...
    Tumeke | 24-04
  • The ICJ orders Australia to stop interfering with witnesses
    Last year, in what was clearly the actions of a guilty government, the Australian government detained a former ASIS agent who was going to testify against them over their bugging of the government of East Timor, raiding his house and...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Here’s what a real bloke sounds like
    Kelvin Davis3 hrs ·...
    Pundit | 24-04
  • So long Shane, thanks for all the ‘fush’
    So Shane Jones is off. Retired from politics he says. Couldn’t give 100 percent to the cause so he did what he thought was best for the Party.Shane Jones has always been a polarising figure and never more so when...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 24-04
  • The benefits of transparency
    Ministerial expenses were released today, and as usual, I spent an hour trawling through the credit card statements hoping to find evidence of Ministers rorting us. So what did I find? Nothing. No $1,000 a night luxury hotel rooms. No...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Christchurch to use Auckland’s old trains?
    As the new electric trains roll out over the coming year or so, a question we don’t know the answer to is what will happen to the old diesel trains Auckland no longer needs. Of course we will need to...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • Access: Defective, deficient, deviant and delinquent
    As many NZ babies do, I developed eczema and asthma. My mother took me to various clinicians. I have vague impressions of kindly doctors with strange accents. In retrospect they were probably part of the Jewish diaspora - educated at...
    Public Address | 23-04
  • An FPP politician in an MMP world
    So, now that Shane Jones has gone, he's come clean about the reason: he didn't want to work alongside Russel Norman and the Greens. Which I think emphasises just how much of a throwback Jones was, and how unsuited he...
    No Right Turn | 23-04
  • Hard News: Friday Music: News from talented women
    As I may have noted once or twice, Janine and the Mixtape's Dark Mind EP is one of last year's overlooked local gems. Or perhaps not-so-overlooked now, given that her new video for 'Hold Me' was premiered this week on...
    Public Address | 23-04
  • Focus on housing costs, raise wages not interest rates
    "The increase in the Reserve Bank's interest rate, while expected, shows little imagination and will raise mortgage costs for home owners," says CTU economist Bill Rosenberg. “The focus should be on getting housing costs down, and raising wages to make...
    CTU | 23-04
  • One year on: progress made to prevent another Rana Plaza tragedy
    Date of Release: Thursday, April 24, 2014Body:  An official from one of the two global union bodies that negotiated the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, currently visiting New Zealand, says that the Accord continues to make big steps forward to ensure...
    First Union Media | 23-04
  • Update from Dr.Gevil
    We wanted to share with you a little fun....
    Gareth’s World | 23-04
  • Matauri Bay: There are certain stories that get under your skin
    There are certain stories that get under your skin, stories that no matter how many times you hear them somehow strike you in a way that you never forget, stories that become a very part of you. The story of...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 23-04
  • Anit-fluoridation advertising deceptive
     Looks like the scientific fight-back against the misinformation coming from anti-fluoridation groups is having some success. This press release from the on-line Making Sense of Fluoride group. Anti Fluoridation Advertisements Rejected by The Advertising Complaints Authority Over the past week,...
    Open Parachute | 23-04
  • The Art of Letting Go
    via Porcupine Farm   While the big news with regard to the rebuild has been the scaling back of the Arts Precinct, this is just one part of a wider narrative that sees the grand plan unravelling. Since I wrote...
    Rebuilding Christchurch | 23-04
  • Joyce tells Otago to ship in more students
    Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 11 Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce is using threatened changes to university councils to bully the University of Otago to take more international students, says TEU national secretary Sharn...
    TEU | 23-04
  • New money for Māori innovation won’t cover cuts to Māori research
    Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori centre of research excellence is welcoming the  government’s decision to invest up to $2.5 million a year over the next two years in Māori-led science and...
    TEU | 23-04
  • UCOL staff given holiday but not pay rise
    UCOL staff got two extra days’ holiday they did not bargain for this week between Easter and Anzac Day, but what they really want is a pay rise. The polytechnic’s chief executive Paul McIlroy said...
    TEU | 23-04
  • Workers Memorial Day 2014
    Please be advised that there are three events planned to commemorate Workers Memorial Day (28 April) in Wellington. The media are invited to attend all three events.What When Photo:  ...
    CTU | 23-04
  • Shane Jones speaks out
    On 3news last night, Shane Jones gave a staged interview where he got some things off his chest. Not exactly a graceful exit, but there you go. Two of the things he said were especially interesting to me. Shane said:...
    Polity | 23-04
  • No Economic Rationale for $760m Warkworth Toll Road
    This is the fifth in a series of posts based on the Campaign for Better Transport’s submission to the Puhoi to Warkworth Board of Inquiry. The full presentation is over at bettertransport.org.nz In this post we look at the economic...
    Transport Blog | 23-04
  • iPredict Ltd 2014 Election Update #15
    Column – iPredict iPredicts 7000 registered traders continue to believe Winston Peters NZ First party will hold the balance of power after the election and allow National to govern. There has been a small gain to Act and the Conservatives...
    Its our future | 23-04
  • Photo of the day – Vulcan Lane
    Vulcan Lane alive with people Photo is credited to oh.yes.melbourne...
    Transport Blog | 23-04
  • Have your say on what Internet rights should look like
    Today I launched my Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill – NZ’s first ever bill crowdsourced by a political party. The launch happened live on Reddit, and I was joined in my office Joy Liddicoat (former Human Rights Commissioner and present...
    frogblog | 23-04
  • Michael Porter on Social Progress
    via CNN, Fareed Zakaria has a fascinating interview with Harvard's Michael Porter, architect of the Social Progress Index that was launched to great fanfare a little while back. New Zealand won the top rank in that index, and Porter's main...
    Polity | 23-04
  • Time running out to save uni councils
    There’s only a week left to have your say on the Government’s changes to university and wānanga councils. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has put forward dramatic changes to the way uni and wānanga councils are made up – removing...
    frogblog | 23-04
  • Another reason why we need an enforceable BORA
    Back in 2003, the then-Labour government, faced with the "threat" of an unpopular child-sex offender being released from prison at the end of their sentance, enacted the Parole (Extended Supervision) and Sentencing Amendment Act, allowing them to be detained for...
    No Right Turn | 23-04
  • Govt response to alcohol report simplistic
    The Government's response to a Ministry of Justice report on minimum alcohol pricing is simplistic and turns its back on those who are most susceptible to alcohol marketing promoting greater consumption, Labour's Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. "The Ministry's report...
    Labour | 25-04
  • Govt fails Southern Cross Forest workers
    The Government's failure to deal with problems in the wood processing industry has resulted in more needless job losses, Green Party forestry spokesperson Steffan Browning said today.Southern Cross Forest Products announcement of another sawmill closure brings the tally of closures...
    Greens | 24-04
  • Humiliation for Government in Chinese dictat
    New Zealand’s food safety systems should be respected by our trading partners, but instead the Government has been humiliated with the Chinese dictating the terms of our infant formula production, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.   “The Government...
    Labour | 24-04
  • Honouring our Pacific soldiers
    Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson and MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio, will pay a special tribute to the many Pacific Islanders who fought in the New Zealand Armed Forces during the First World War in a speech he is giving...
    Labour | 24-04
  • Government inaction on power and housing to blame for latest rate rise
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei says today's interest rate rise, that will hit home owners and businesses, is a consequence of the government's failure to get a grip on electricity prices and the property market, particularly in Auckland."The Green Party...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Rate rise not needed if Government was doing its job
    Today’s interest rate rise wouldn’t have been necessary if the Government had been doing its job properly and targeting the sources of inflation, Labour says. “New Zealand interest rates are among the highest in the world, putting more and more...
    Labour | 23-04
  • Real independence needed in food safety
    The Green Party are calling for a truly independent body to regulate our food safety.Food safety Minister Nikki Kaye has announced the establishment of a Food Safety and Assurance Advisory Council as part of the Government's response to last year's...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Another report won’t help the East Coast
    The Government has a critical role to play in regional development on the East Coast says Gisborne-based Labour MP Moana Mackey “The release of the East Coast Regional Economic Potential Study highlights a number of areas of strength and weakness...
    Labour | 23-04
  • Another interest rate hike will punish mortgage holders
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei says another interest rate hike on Thursday will cost home owners an extra $25 a month on a $250,000 mortgage, on top of the $25 dollars a month from the previous rates rise, and she...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Green Party launches Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill
    The Green Party has today launched the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill, New Zealand's first ever Bill crowdsourced by a political party.Members of the public will be invited to shape the proposed law, which will protect ten basic rights and...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Sanil Kumar has to leave New Zealand tomorrow
    The Associate Minister of Immigration Nikki Kaye’s decision not to intervene means kidney transplant patient Sanil Kumar must leave New Zealand by tomorrow, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Rajen Prasad. “Kumar, a plumber and sheet metal worker, was on a work visa...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Time to do the right thing for our veterans
    A Labour government will adopt the Law Commission’s recommendation to ensure all war veterans are eligible for a Veteran’s Pension, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Veterans are only eligible for the pension if they are considered ‘significantly’ disabled, or more...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Public servant is owed an apology
    Nigel Fyfe is owed an apology from the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “The former MFAT official has now been restored to a position in the Ministry...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Laws for enforcing not trading off
    The idea that a Government department can give a nod and a wink to traders that it won’t enforce shop trading laws and for a Government MP to then claim it as grounds for a review of the law is...
    Labour | 21-04
  • Kiwis still paying too much for ACC
    Kiwis are still paying too much for ACC so that the National Government can balance its books, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “ACC Minister Judith Collins told Cabinet levies were too high but ACC’s proposed cuts would impact the...
    Labour | 21-04
  • Collins’ memory recovery raises further concerns
    Judith Collins sudden memory of briefing the New Zealand Ambassador to China about her dinner with a Chinese border official and her husband's fellow Oravida directors raises further concerns about exactly what was discussed, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. "This...
    Labour | 21-04
  • MP to attend progressive politics conference
    Labour MP Grant Robertson will attend the Progressive Governance conference in Amsterdam later this week. “This conference brings together Social Democratic parties from around the world to discuss how progressive politics should work in the post global financial crisis environment....
    Labour | 20-04
  • Storm fans fire service commitment
    Further damage from the huge storm that battered the West Coast was prevented by the great work of our volunteer Fire Service and locals will be extremely grateful, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our region has been...
    Labour | 19-04
  • Time for Ryall to fix mistakes and help families
    Families who won a long and lengthy Court battle for financial help to support their disabled daughters and sons are now facing a new battle with health system bureaucracy and need the Health Minister's help, Labour's Disability Issues spokesperson Ruth...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Time for greater ministerial accountability
    The Green Party has today released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.The proposal, based on the system used in the United Kingdom since 2010, would require all...
    Greens | 18-04
  • Power prices soar on the eve of winter
    On the eve of winter as New Zealanders are turning on their heaters, power prices have soared sky high, Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Energy Minster Simon Bridges claimed in Parliament that prices were estimated to rise 2.4 per...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Workers can kiss goodbye to Easter Sunday off
    The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. “The Labour Minister...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Businesses need to respect workers this Easter
    Businesses intent on flouting Easter shopping laws should face stiff penalties, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today. This Easter, at least one major garden centre chain intends to open on Good Friday despite this being in breach...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson. “In the past 12 months, temporary...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Since 2009 resignation rates among sworn staff have...
    Labour | 17-04