web analytics
The Standard

Sunday Reading

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, November 25th, 2012 - 14 comments
Categories: climate change, economy, equality, interweb, politicans, tax, us politics - Tags:

My regular Sunday piece of interesting, longer, deeper stories I found during the week. It’s also a chance for you to share what you found this week too. Those stimulating links you wanted to share, but just didn’t fit in anywhere (no linkwhoring).  This week: politicians, economies, elections, feminism and climate change – not much then…

Last weekend seemed a little busy, so I held off.  But I had found very interesting this article on politicians, and how the real scandal is that we expect them to be perfect.  Politicians are normal folk, who muck-up just like the rest of us.  They get sick, confused, knackered and especially sleep-deprived.  No wonder they get things wrong.

Most MPs offices are closer to overstretched small businesses than anything else, and no one’s surprised if a small business goes under, whether from incompetence, honest mistakes, or someone’s hand in the till.

To take the most basic example, the total income of the [UK] Labour party is smaller than that of every Premier League football club, and by some margin. Alex Ferguson is planning on winning the league with an income of £331m. Ed Miliband must convince half the country he can turn Britain around on roughly a tenth of that, and he has to do it with Paxman, not Lineker providing the late-night commentary. This lack of resources, need to impress and constant attention can make scrutiny a little terrifying.

And there’s a whole heap less money in politics in Aotearoa than the UK…

Last weekend we’d also just had major political transitions in the US and China.  Martin Jacques asked if China was more legitimate than the West, in this excellent series on the BBC website. Meanwhile Ellis Cose asks how Obama secures his legacy.

On the economy, Martin Kettle tells us austerity is here to stay – that particular economic solution may not be working, but even if we change we’ve probably hit the end of consistent western growth. Mary Beard looks at why the rich look down on the poor – with evidence from Roman times that attitudes just don’t change… At the Guardian there’s articles on Co-ops bringing the economy back to the people, the importance of statistics (or how Ghana went from a poor to middle income country overnight) and Do Nothing Day (yesterday).

In other news, the BBC reveals Apple pays 2% corporation tax worldwide (after revelations that Starbucks pay no tax, and Amazon, facebook and Google pay nearly nothing). And the “noted tree-hugging hippies at the World Bank” urge action to stop the 4C warming that we’re headed to by 2100.

4 more:

– Kate Sheppard asks: 19% of Congress is female, why not half?

– Neda Soltani talks about being mixed up with the woman who was killed during the 2009 Tehran protests – and how the media ruined her life, forcing her into asylum.

– Jame Buchanan Duke – the inventor of the modern cigarette and modern marketing techniques, and to blame for hundreds of millions of deaths?

What does modern war sound like?

14 comments on “Sunday Reading”

  1. Dr Terry 1

    I think we do have to accept that politicians (especially Party leaders) are but human, with all associated frailties, like the rest of us. Sometimes I know that I expect too much of them. Nevertheless, they wanted the job, and they are well rewarded for performing their tasks. They must take what goes with it. Hopefully, most politicians are not overly “thin-skinned”! Hopefully too, they have the skills and desire to listen and to hear the voice of the people (whether pro or anti).

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    From austerity is here to stay

    In China, a nation where annual growth in the last 20 years has never been less than twice that of Europe, even when Europe was thriving, a new leadership is seamlessly introduced for another 10-year span.

    In Europe, by contrast, a series of weak leaders, vulnerable to democratic rejection of a sort with which Xi Jinping will not need to concern himself, struggle to assert some degree of control over a floundering currency and unification project. Meanwhile in the US, a re-elected but domestically weak president faces a series of defining political battles over spending and taxes, with only limited chance of achieving radical outcomes, even if that is what he wants.

    See, that’s a disturbing passage as it implies that democracy is the problem and that the solution is actually more authoritarian actions by the government. Pretty sure that the right wing parties like National will like it though as they tend to authoritarian modes of government – just look to Canterbury and the implementation of the Auckland Supercity.

    Actually, that entire article seems to be in favour of the rich ruling everyone else.

    • Populuxe1 2.1

      Economic growth is hardly an adequate measure of standard of living.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Yep. Especially when 95% of the benefits of that growth get channeled to the top 5%.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        Agreed, economic growth is used to hide the fact that only a few people benefit from our economy while everyone else is promised more if growth continues. Personally, I’m in favour of “economic”* contraction. IMO, we can significantly reduce our use of resources while maintaining a good living standard.

        * What passes for economics these days isn’t even close to it. Economics is about the use of scarce resources while the “economists” go on about money.

  3. Rogue Trooper 3

    Well, U know what i think by now :)

  4. McFlock 4

    really interesting links, thanks :)

  5. Jenny 5

    World Bank urge action to stop the 4C warming

    Thanks for this Bunji

    It seems clear that climate change in a 4°C world could seriously undermine poverty alleviation in many regions. This is supported by past observations of the negative effects of climate change on economic growth in developing countries. While developed countries have been and are projected to be adversely affected by impacts resulting from climate change, adaptive capacities in developing regions are weaker. The burden of climate change in the future will very likely be borne differentially by those in regions already highly vulnerable to climate change and variability. Given that it remains uncertain whether adaptation and further progress toward development goals will be possible at this level of climate change, the projected 4°C warming simply must not be allowed to occur—the heat must be turned down. Only early, cooperative, international actions can make that happen.

    World Bank

    As leader of the UN development programme for developing countries, this explains why Helen Clark made discussion of climate change such a big part of her recent lectures in Wellington and Dunedin leading up to the Labour Party Conference. It also explains why Shearer very pointedly stayed away.

    Least developed countries and small island developing states have done the least to cause climate change, and can least afford the costs of adaptation and mitigation to it, but they are most at risk from increased climate volatility…..

    “It would be a tragedy for future generations if today’s leaders and decision-makers prove incapable of taking the bold decisions which are necessary to stop catastrophic and irreversible change to the world’s climate.”

    Helen Clark From speech delivered at Victoria University, Nov. 13, 2012

    Dealing with climate change needed urgent, radical transformation because climate change exacerbated inequalities

    Helen Clark From speech delivered in Dunedin’s Mayfair theatre, Nov. 14, 2012

    Helen Clark, head of the UN development programme, argues that “climate change undermines gains in the developing world, threatening their lives, their livelihoods, and their countries’ prospects”. She adds that the “international community needs to make the transition to green and inclusive economies that tackle inequality, advance development and stop the ongoing assault on our ecosystem”.

    Helen Clark The Guardian, Nov. 23, 2012

    At the end of her speech at Wellington’s Victoria University Clark went to up to parliament to see David Shearer who had chosen not to attend her lecture. As she reports it, Shearer to meet her was sitting in his beehive office strumming his guitar. The almost studied insult conveyed by Shearer’s body language, whether conscious or unconscious, couldn’t have been clearer. I am not that busy and could have attended your lecture, but chose not to. I do not have enough respect for you or your views to extend you any sort of formal greeting.

    Clark has refused to divulge anything of her conversation with Shearer. But you can bet that Shearer would not have taken much notice of Clark’s message on climate change and the need to take the bold decisions necessary to combat it.

    • Populuxe1 5.1

      I’m not quite sure I grasp how climate change exacerbates inequalities excep that the “haves” find it easier to move away from drought-affected or flooded areas than the “have nots”.

      • kiwi_prometheus 5.1.1

        Because it is poor nations that are taking the brunt of the climate change disaster, pushing them further down the socioeconomic development ladder – while it is mostly advanced industrial countries who have brought about climate change with 150yrs or so of economic development.

  6. Rogue Trooper 6

    To little miss can’t be wrong,
    (not you Jenny)

    Dear Sam, a Telegram
    a blue Tale 😉

    “Based on the television series of the same name, John Bradshaw focuses on the dynamics of the family
    how the rules and attitudes learned while growing up become encoded within each family Member”
    (mirror in the bathroom) “As 96% of all families are to some degree emotionally impaired” (Go West)
    “the unhealthy rules we are now living by are handed down from generation to generation”
    -this generation shall not see it ” and ultimately to society at large. Our society is sick
    because our families are sick. And our families are sick because we are living inherited rules
    we never wrote”
    Bradshaw on The Family: A Revolutionary Way (well Popular Culture really) of Self-Discovery

    The funniest track I have seen lately was a cat backing out of the box three times.larf? ^^

    Love, RocketMan,
    “I’m not the man they think I am at home…….”

    but you hang there in your Jesus Christ Pose

  7. kiwi_prometheus 7

    ” 19% of Congress is female, why not half?”

    The conclusion of the article that women just need more encouragement is kind of lame.

    Why does the author refuse to consider the possibility that female aversion to a political career is genetic?

    After all I don’t see the Race, Gender and Culture Warriors of the Left asking why only 0.000000000001% of remote exploration drillers offsiders or concreters in the Pilbara WA are female instead of 50%?

    • lprent 7.1

      …why only 0.000000000001% of… in the Pilbara WA are female instead of 50%?

      Since that would imply a population in Pilbara WA that exceeds the world population by many orders of magnitude (I didn’t bother counting zeros), then I suspect that many if not most of your readers would consider that your argument is most likely 100% crap.

      If you are going to use figures to support an argument, then don’t be a complete fuckwit on how you use them. Without even looking at anything else, I looked at the number you used, the geographic area you described, and relegated your demographic argument (and you) to the ignorant bullshitter fringe.

    • Ben Clark 7.2

      the possibility that female aversion to a political career is genetic?
      I see you’re channeling Tony Abbott.

      More likely is that our political system is inherently sexist, from old school ties to the adverserial nature of parliamentary proceedings, and that’s somewhat off-putting to a large number of potential female candidates…

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Steven Joyce takes the scalpel to medical students
    This November access to the Student Loan scheme will be cut off at seven years seriously harming medical students. Studying to become a doctor takes years of hard work, dedication and intense study and it’s a blunt tool and… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    8 hours ago
  • Tolley must assure safety of vulnerable clients
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley must guarantee the safety of Relationships Aotearoa’s thousands of Māori clients – some of whom are very vulnerable – following the closure of the nationwide counselling service, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. Relationships… ...
    11 hours ago
  • ANZ has moral obligation to fully compensate farmers
      The ANZ Bank has a moral obligation to fully compensate farmers after the High Court today declared it breached the Fair Trading Act by misleadingly representing interest rate swap loans, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. The Commerce… ...
    1 day ago
  • Fairfax can’t use restructure to cut terms and conditions
    The restructure and upheavals at Fairfax should not be used as an opportunity to cut journalists’ terms and conditions, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Businesses have to adapt to new technologies and consumer demands and there is… ...
    1 day ago
  • McCully excuses unravel in Saudi sheep scandal
    Murray McCully has misled New Zealanders, Parliament and his Cabinet colleagues on the real reasons for paying millions of dollars in the Saudi sheep scandal – it’s time for him to clean, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David… ...
    1 day ago
  • Nats break health and education spending promises
    National has outstanding promises of almost $1 billion to be spent on health, education and agriculture from the Future Investment Fund but has only $536 million left in the fund, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “John Key and Bill… ...
    1 day ago
  • Manurewa youth leaders acknowledged
    The depth and breadth of leadership of youth throughout Manurewa, which has been recognized at the Youth Week Award ceremony held at Parliament this week, should make the community extremely proud, Manurewa Labour MP Louisa Wall says. “The 'Limitless Youth… ...
    1 day ago
  • Oi Auckland Transport: fare’s fair
    Auckland Transport should go back to the drawing board on its proposal to charge commuters for its park-and-rides, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “When we need to be getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, it’s… ...
    1 day ago
  • Is Nick Smith making it up as he goes along?
      Housing Minister Nick Smith must release the list of Crown land parcels which formed the basis of the Government’s Budget announcement, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “If the public is to have any faith the Government is not just… ...
    1 day ago
  • Norway moves first to dump coal investments
    The Green Party today called on the Government to secure cross-party support to sell its investments in coal mining companies.The Norwegian Parliament's finance committee agreed in a bipartisan motion yesterday to instruct the $1.2 trillion Government Pension Fund to sell… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 days ago
  • Fonterra payout $13b black hole over 2 years
    Fonterra’s dramatic cut to its forecast farmgate payout over this season and next will lead to a $13 billion black hole over two years, and shows the need for a plan to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour calls for select ctte inquiry into Rural Broadband Initiative
    Labour is calling for an immediate inquiry into the flailing $300 million rural broadband initiative, before companies and consumers are forced to pick up the tab for the new $150 million broadband tax, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “Rural… ...
    2 days ago
  • Public broadcasting takes big hit under National Government
    Public broadcasting funding has been cut by 25 per cent in real terms since the National Government took office in 2009, leading to the erosion of our once world-class news and current affairs culture, says Labour Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. … ...
    2 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another snag
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another sang
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    2 days ago
  • Wilkinson appointment wrong in principle
    The appointment of former Conservation Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson as an Environment Commissioner is wrong in principle, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker. “The doctrine of separation of powers requires judicial processes to remain separate and independent from the legislature… ...
    2 days ago
  • McCully doesn’t deny bribe in Saudi sheep scandal
    “In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.… ...
    2 days ago
  • National must back our future doctors
    National must support our future doctors and agree to the calls from the Medical Students’ Association and the Young Nats to lift the arbitrary 7 year cap on student loans for medical and dental students, Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Taxpayer the loser after Government folds
    Steven Joyce today admitted the main exhibition hall at the New Zealand International Convention Centre is 19 per cent smaller than what was described at the time other bidders were edged out of the process, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Govt’s lack of ambition for women
    Yesterday, the Government put out a media release entitled “Number of women leaders continues to grow”. It was to inform us that the percentage of women on state-appointed boards has increased to 41.7%, up from 41.1% in 2013. Well, woo-hoo… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Auditor-General exposes Key’s scapegoating of Council
    The National Government's blaming of Auckland Council for the city’s housing crisis has been exposed as scapegoating in the Office of the Auditor-General’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Auditor-General says Auckland Council’s part in fixing the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Reform – not money – needed for meat sector
    The National Government continues to throw good money after bad at the meat industry instead of addressing the fundamental problem of its dysfunctional structure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The latest Primary Growth Partnership grant to the venison… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government cuts corners on school bus funding
    The safety of children – not cost cutting – should be the main objective behind the Government’s funding of school buses, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Buried in the detail of this year’s Budget are $19 million of funding… ...
    3 days ago
  • Women the losers under National’s cuts
    National’s poor performance in appointing women to state sector boards is set to get worse with funding cuts to the nomination service provided by the Ministry for Women, Labour’s Woman’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Minister for Women Louise Upston… ...
    3 days ago
  • Help sought by agencies now asked to help
    The organisation Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has tasked with setting up an emergency hotline for stranded Relationships Aotearoa clients has just lost a bid for a government contract to launch a new national helpline, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson… ...
    3 days ago
  • Wellington got loud again on climate
    On Monday night, in Wellington, I attended the last of the Government’s climate target consultation meetings. It was quite well attended with maybe 150 people, not bad for a second meeting with very little notice and, as far as I… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our economy can no longer rely on… ...
    3 days ago
  • Ramadi proves Iraq deployment high risk, low benefit
    The fall of Ramadi and the collapse of the Iraqi Army proves Labour was right to be concerned about the deployment of our troops to Iraq, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “The fall of Ramadi brings IS fighters within… ...
    3 days ago
  • English admits new taxes on the cards
    Eight months after pledging “no new taxes” at the election Bill English today admitted he would bring in more sneaky taxes along the lines of the border tax, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Not only did National bring in… ...
    3 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    3 days ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    3 days ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    3 days ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    3 days ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    4 days ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    4 days ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    4 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    4 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    6 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    6 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 days ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 week ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 week ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere