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The Political Scientist: Underneath the ‘underclass’

Written By: - Date published: 1:13 pm, July 31st, 2012 - 7 comments
Categories: class war, Deep stuff, poverty - Tags: ,

Many of those who participate in the comments here at The Standard also run their own excellent blogs. We regularly feature No Right Turn and Imperator Fish. Today we’re reposting (with permission) pieces from two other blogs that attracted some attention in Open mike recently. Here’s the second one, from The Political Scientist


Underneath the ‘underclass’

Posted on 29th Jul, 2012 by Puddleglum

Out of the mouths of rednecks

Joe Bageant died on the 26th of March last year.

Apparently, he was sometimes referred to as an American ‘leftneck’ – which is not a bad label for him.

Bageant’s book (and, more generally, his literary life) has been devoted to laying out the answer to a question that, if considered at all, is usually given a ‘once over lightly’ varnish of simplistic rhetoric substituting for a real understanding or explanation.

The question in question is “Why is there a so-called ‘underclass’?”

I was thinking of writing a post about what he had to say on this after I recently finished his memoir “Rainbow Pie“.

I didn’t get around to it.

Then, I was reminded it would be a good idea after reading the comments in response to Matt McCarten’s piece ‘Cheerful free-market ride about to nosedive‘.

But I still didn’t get around to it.

Then, I remembered that this year – and this term of a National-led government – is going to see a focus on supposed ‘welfare reform’. According to John Key, this will involve “a comprehensive reform of the benefit system, building off the recommendations of the Welfare Working Group“. [An outline of the establishment of the Welfare Working Group and its subsequent reports, in full, can be viewed here.].

In fact, over two years ago – and long before Joe Bageant’s death – Minister of Social Welfare Paula Bennett bluntly told the unemployed that the (bad?) “dream is over” (sadly, she didn’t mean that National had a plan to provide jobs)

This ‘welfare reform’ initiative builds upon other ‘reforms’ first announced in August last year which indicated use of the private sector to ‘case manage’ young people, including those on the Independent Youth Benefit (about 1600 under 18 year olds) and a further 11,900 under 18 year olds not in work or education.

But I still didn’t get around to it.

Then, the onslaught began as a slew of welfare reform proposals – and strangely timed kite-flying – rained down on us: long-lasting contraception for beneficiaries; various requirements for DPB recipients to seek work while their children are young; penalties for beneficiaries who refuse or fail pre-employment drug testsproviding food parcels rather than food grants to beneficiaries, etc..

National clearly has its sights on ‘the underclass’.

The final nail in the coffin of my tardiness was the National Party Conference this year. As well as the Prime Minister’s general bullishness about his party’s “absolute mandate and authority” supposedly gained at the last General Election, there was, yet again, the aggressive assertion of the ‘rightness’ of the government’s ‘welfare reform’ agenda:

Today [22 July, 2012] delegates will also debate the next round of welfare reform.

“We will be introducing social obligations, so they will have to enrol their child in early childhood education and get well-checks at the doctor by enrolling with the local PHO,” Social Development Minister Paula Bennett told 3News.

“If you have kids, then you will lose 50 per cent of your benefit. That’s the worst case scenario. We hope it doesn’t get to that.”

Given all of that political provocation, now I’m finally getting around to it. So, just why is it that there is a so-called underclass?

In Bageant’s estimates, America has a white underclass – alone – that numbers around 60 million people. Using his criteria, it’s anyone’s guess what the same figure – for all ethnic groups – would be in New Zealand.

So why is there such a large so-called ‘underclass’ in supposedly ‘advanced economies’?

There’s two general proposals to answer this question: One type of analysis focuses on deindustrialisation and the shift to unreliable low-paid service sector jobs; Another increasingly common analysis sees the primary cause in a permissive welfare state.

It is this second ‘analysis’, of course, by which the National-led government seems primarily driven.

Both of these proposals are based on particular events and processes in particularsocieties.

But there’s a more general approach that I’m interested in here: What are the basic processes of change that lead to the creation of a so-called underclass, irrespective of the particular place and time?

Before answering this more general question, it’s worth reviewing the particularexplanations that have been given in the New Zealand context.

In New Zealand, the usual place to begin – for those on the right – is the establishment of welfare (see my take on that explanation here - it concerns Don Brash’s convictions in this regard). Hot on the heels of this virtue-sapping institution, according to the familiar narrative, was the abrupt arrival of the ‘permissive society’ and a lax, liberal social climate.

This latter was inspired by everything from rock music, leftie academics swanning around university campuses in Europe and the United States (aped elsewhere by wannabe celebrity academics preaching ‘people’s revolutions’), Dr Spock, ‘political correctness’ and other morally weakening conditions too numerous to list.

This concoction of moral corrosivity was the result of unceasing efforts by an amorphous group – often termed ‘liberals’ in the vernacular – apparently intent on undermining the moral order for no greater reason than the perverse pleasure they gained from those attempts.

The overall effect, so the story goes, was to undermine personal responsibility, ‘good parenting’ and community in general. This sapping of the population’s moral character has resulted in widespread and “deeply ingrained … drug and welfare dependency.”

The other explanation proffered in New Zealand’s case is the effect of the 1980s and 1990s radical restructuring of New Zealand’s economy and, therefore, society.

Roger Douglas looms large in this version, as the initiator of changes that wrecked communities, families and individuals. Evidence in support includes rising rates of most social ills, increased rates of psychological disturbance and suffering and casualisation and insecurity of employment.

The picture painted in this version is less about the undermining of the moral (or ‘behavioural’) fabric as it is about the direct tearing apart of social and economic fabrics. Communities that, for generations, had stable employment and prosperity – often on the back of public sector dominated industries and infrastructure – were suddenly cut adrift, with individuals required, in essence, to look after themselves.

All of that immense destruction was supposedly a creative force to unleash innovation, ‘real jobs’ and a vital and vibrant new New Zealand. The ‘collateral damage’, however, has been with us since and been topped up regularly with each new ripple of neoliberal policy enacted.

But, as I said, there’s a second way to answer this question and it involves looking for a general explanation or theory of what produces – at any time and in any place – a marginalised, so-called dysfunctional ‘underclass’.

My answer, in that generic vein, goes like this.

The first step is that viable cultures that have often sustained themselves effectively for decades or hundreds, even thousands, of years dissolve or are actively dismantled as a result of externally imposed change.

In English history there are plenty of examples of just this process that set the scene (and forged the initial pattern) for the ‘development’ of the rest of the world and the consequent ubiquitousness of various forms of ‘underclass’.

The examples, for England, include the progressive removal of the customary and legal rights of peasants in the Feudal system; enclosure of the commons (and, hence, removal of the options for a way of life); the flight of unemployed agricultural workers to urban areas to form the new urban working class; and, through ‘deindustrialisation’, the dismantling of those urban, working class communities that existed, for example, next to coal mines or shipyards, etc..

At each turn of that particular historical wheel a ‘new class’ was generated that, in essence, was a class without a viable means of reproducing its previous way of life.

What is missed – or glossed over – in this kind of account, however, is that the loss of this ability to reproduce a ‘culture’ or ‘community’ has direct implications for creating individuals. People are, principally, socio-cultural products rather than biological ones. This might come as a surprise to some so I’ll explain the point further.

Human beings are principally biologically defined (and reproduced) but persons are defined and generated only within a socio-cultural setting. A person, so to speak, is what a society does with a human being.

To invert Thatcher’s well-known comment:  there’s no such thing as an individual person outside of a society. There is, however, such a thing as an individual human being outside of society, but most of us wouldn’t wish that fate on our worst enemy. To be unacknowledged by a social world is to cease to be, as a person. As William James pointed out in his Principles of Psychology:

No more fiendish punishment could be devised, were such thing physically possible, than that one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed.

The conclusion is obvious: to dismantle a culture – or, more generally, the way of life of a particular group – is, in effect, to dismantle the very ‘machine’ that creates and develops individual persons.

The second step towards the creation of an underclass takes place in the vacuum created by the – sometimes incremental and sometimes only partial – destruction of this ‘person-creating’ machinery. The next essential step is the exploitation of the fractured remnants of the culture or social group – in other words, of the remaining individuals by those groups who are fully acculturated within the ‘new’ way of life.

This turns out to be relatively easy because the very attitudes and values carried along by the individual members of the dismantled group are, inevitably, ill-suited to the new arrangements. Cooperative, collective values, for example, do not serve one well in a system predicated on the pursuit of individually-defined ends. In a competitive context, then, such ‘fragments’ (i.e., persons) are relatively easy to use for other purposes (e.g., as consumers) as they carry along with them residues of these no longer materially effective values and ways of operating.

In Bageant’s books you get a clear picture of the kinds of communities that gave rise to the modern American, white ‘underclass’. Surprisingly, those communities seem to possess none of the ‘suspect’ values or ways of life that might lead you to predict that they would – within a matter of a generation or so – be the seed-bed for today’s American underclass.

They were communities in which people had a very hard but nevertheless effective way of making a life for themselves by sheer dint of effort. As he described this quintessentially American, rural life:

The farm was not a business. It was a farm. Pap and millions of farmers like him were never in the ‘agribusiness’. They never participated in the modern ‘economy of scale’ which comes down to exhausting as many resources as possible to make as much money as possible in the shortest time possible.

Instead, this was a material life generated from a “community economic ecology” – a ‘culture’ – that brought with it a set of values honed to that way of life: Thrift, hard work, pragmatism, independence within a local and interdependent community.

But, it got dismantled.

When World War II began, 44 per cent of Americans were rural, and over half of them farmed for a living. By 1970, only five per cent were on farms.

Bageant describes the process in terms of the individuals of his childhood and youth. How they lived most of their lives and how that way of life disintegrated as they aged.

As one reviewer puts it:

Looking in on Joe’s world it’s immediately apparent that his dilemma in looking back, is that by the time capital got around to demolishing Joe’s “community economic ecology”, it had pretty much gotten through destroying everything else, in fact ever since the days when Joe’s ancestors landed in 1755. … So even while Joe’s community was still intact and functioning, it was already surrounded by an advancing tide of avarice and destruction.

What’s left is what Rainbow Pie describes, millions of poor, uneducated whites, who have been left to rot on a once intact rural ecology, just as the original inhabitants, or what’s left of them, have been left to rot on ‘reservations’ or to call them by their correct name, Bantustans.

And;

The rural life that Joe describes, though whilst poor, barely above subsistence level, nevertheless reveals a culture that was in balance with the environment and to Joe’s credit, it’s not a romanticized vision of a life lost but echoes a lost culture that used to be the bedrock of the life of millions of working Americans.

The creation of an underclass is a tried and true process. Again and again it has happened. As I said, it begins with the dismantling of a culture. But then comes the second body blow; the exploitation.

Bageant was pretty clear about that too. Once you’ve dismantled a way of life – an entire means of producing the material goods and meeting the needs of a community (as was the case with the viable Southern, white communities within which Bageant was raised) – you then fully and rapidly submerse the residue, the people, into the deep end of a new way of life within which the old values and attitudes cease to be effective, or are even counterproductive.

Bageant’s “community economic ecology” with its attendant dogged values and virtues is unsuited to a more individualistic life in which failure consciously and constantly to plan and strategise in your own self interest is punished.

A subsistence, community-based economic order is a very poor developmental environment for gaining the ‘aspirational’, self-focused world-view and associated values that are obsessively pursued by the modern, urban middle classes. Being outcompeted in the marketplace of success then becomes the likeliest result. So what do individuals caught in this predicament do?

The story then becomes a familiar one, and one to which, today, we are all susceptible.

We all know its allures and it’s called ‘consumerism‘ amongst the intelligentsia. But it’s pretty basic. Shops, loud tv ads, television, cell phones, cheap booze and fast food. Not purely an accident, either.

Try the BBC’s ‘Century of the Self’ for size.

Or, read clinical psychologist David Smail’s Origins of Unhappiness, especially chapter 4, a case study of Britain in the 1980s. His withering description of a working class, ‘all-consuming’ family on a train, is a study in modern tragedy and pathos. (At a personal level it amounts to a description of my own extended family who remain in the North of England.)

For Bageant, the all-consuming self of the consumer is the only viable means of living left to those whose previous ways of living – and the skills adaptive within it – have been destroyed, dismantled, dissolved and disintegrated. And it has odd effects.

The paradox of Joe’s underclass is that it has been harnessed by the most Conservative elements in US capitalism and for a lot of reasons. Firstly, Joe’s community has always been very religious and secondly conservative with a small c. Thirdly, it’s been jettisoned as being surplus to requirement by what Joe calls the urban-based Establishment except when it comes to voting day. Stereotyped as ignorant and inbred hillbillies in the mass media (shades of ‘Deliverance’), the only ‘voice’ they have is one supplied to them by the likes of Oral Roberts et al, who allegedly speak on their behalves. After all, forty million voters come election time is a pretty big slice of the action.

This explains in part why so many people can be screwed over and over again and yet never revolt. The other part is the simple fact that they are mostly illiterate and deliberately under-educated, fed on a diet which is literally killing them physically and mentally.

As yet another reviewer cites the words of Bageant directly:

The bottom line, however, is that they can’t read. Feel free to blame anyone you choose, except the free-market system’s extreme preference for dim-witted consumers and workers …

Ultimately, these kids will join the millions of adults who cannot read. And they cannot read because:  1. They do not have the necessary basic skills, and don’t give a rat’s ass about getting them; 2. Reading is not arresting enough to compete with the electronic stimulation in which their society is immersed; 3. They cannot envisage any possible advantage in reading, because the advantages stem from extended personal involvement, which they have never experienced, are conditioned away from, and is understandably beyond their comprehension; and 4. Their peers do not read as a serious matter, thereby socially reinforcing their early conclusion that it’s obviously not worth the time and effort.

Again, from Bageant:

When it comes to the underclass, there is no arguing that some people are members because they are so damned uneducated they cannot count their toes or read well enough to fill out a job app, the causes of which are too deep and tangled to go into at the moment. Others just don’t care to do the smiling grammatically correct wimp assed customer service zombie thing. They prefer swinging a bigger hammer than that – doing real work, like America used to do. And doing it without kissing ass, which is why they are called the “permanently jobless.” As sociologist Christopher Jencks points out, “There is no absolute standard dictating what people need to know in order to get along in society. There is however, an absolute rule that you get along better if you know what the elite knows than if you do not.

In this way it can come to seem as if the problems of the ‘underclass’ boil down to the ‘choices’ and behaviours of the individuals in the ‘underclass’. It can appear as ‘moral failing’, ‘ignorance’ and the like. It can come to be seen as the necessary outcome of so-called ‘welfare dependency’.

But it isn’t. The so-called underclass simply faces more acutely than the rest of us a realisation about the modern world that is almost as punishing as the anguish James predicts would arise “if every person we met ‘cut us dead,’ and acted as if we were non-existing things“.

In the end, there’s an underclass simply because ‘we are all individualistic now’.

Underneath the underclass is simply the logic of today’s world.

Without wanting to distract attention from the severe plight of those most clearly at the sharp end of this experience, there is a real sense in which we are all experiencing, day to day, the forces that push people into the so-called underclass.

Lives – and ways of life – are being dismantled constantly. Many in the middle class are simply better able to afford the self-medications and have the wherewithal to put enough strapping around the ‘centre’ to ensure it holds together each day.

But there’s always the fear that the strapping will come loose. The last word on the scale of the underclass belongs to Joe Bageant:

If in my travels and experience in American life I see that tens of millions of Americans being screwed silly by a handful of chiselers at the top, or if I see one percent of Americans earning as much annually as the bottom 45 percent of Americans, then that 45 percent is an underclass.  When I see a 70 year old man on his second pacemaker limping through Wal-mart as a “greeter” so he can pay at least something on last winter’s heating bill this month, then he is part of an underclass.  When I see the humiliated single mom waitress tugging downward on the ridiculously short red plastic skirt she must wear at the Hooter’s type joint so her crotch won’t show, she’s part of an underclass of humiliated and socially oppressed people. Screw the hairsplitting about who qualifies as underclass and what color they are. Just fix it. Or reap the consequences.

7 comments on “The Political Scientist: Underneath the ‘underclass’”

  1. The ‘underclass’ is bullshit bourgeois term for the ‘reserve army’ of the proletariat or ‘surplus population’ terms which Marx used to describe a widening layer of those at the bottom of the working class as capitalism sucked the blood out of those who produce the wealth and accumulate it as the prize of their natural selection.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/46658784/The-Capital-by-Karl-Marx#outer_page_793.

    • I agree, and that’s why I put it in quote marks and tried to keep saying ‘so-called underclass’.

      I know that Marx used those other terms but that’s because he had a theory into which those terms fitted and had meaning. Imagine the term ‘surplus population’ being used by a Tory – outside of Marx’s theory – and it could sound pretty bourgeois itself.

      Exploiting the ‘underclass’ is much the same as using it as a ‘reserve army’ of labour (and of consumers, I guess). The economic function is an important consequence whatever the term. 

  2. Populuxe1 2

    There’s two general proposals to answer this question: One type of analysis focuses on deindustrialisation and the shift to unreliable low-paid service sector jobs; Another increasingly common analysis sees the primary cause in a permissive welfare state.

    It is this second ‘analysis’, of course, by which the National-led government seems primarily driven.

    I disagree. National is primarily driven by neoliberal scum obsessed with the former and who are ascendant over the tory scum obsessed with the latter, but throw the tories welfare reform as a sop.

    The picture painted in this version is less about the undermining of the moral (or ‘behavioural’) fabric as it is about the direct tearing apart of social and economic fabrics. Communities that, for generations, had stable employment and prosperity – often on the back of public sector dominated industries and infrastructure – were suddenly cut adrift, with individuals required, in essence, to look after themselves.

     
    That’s not accurate, especially of New Zealand. Rural and small comunity life has always been very unstable and hard, dependent on weather, markets, and other variables. Similarly farming communities have always relied heavily on itinerant workers, both “surplus males” and seasonal professionals like shearers, shepherds and fruit pickers – individuals who look after themselves. And while I believe government should be working hard to create a job rich environment, I think it would be failing if it did this primarily by inventing jobs through public sector dominated industries and infrastructure – a Potemkin solution if ever there was one.
     
    To invert Thatcher’s well-known comment:  there’s no such thing as an individual person outside of a society. There is, however, such a thing as an individual human being outside of society, but most of us wouldn’t wish that fate on our worst enemy. To be unacknowledged by a social world is to cease to be, as a person.

    While that is true within a fairly reductive definition of society, what neoliberal capitalism (and totalitarian communism) actually wants is a mass of non-individuals, drones who can be easily and cheaply controlled. Or are you just advocating for the crab bucket of complacent mediocrity? Individuals are frequently the great innovators largely because they feel less bound to pressure to conform to traditional prejudices. Society is also made up of subcultures with diverse value structures – being unemployed, for example, doesn’t suddenly mean you cease to exist. Society consists of consenting individuals, it is a self-perpetuating construct. To completely submit to Society in return for security is also to cease to be as a person – that’s why tens of thousands of people risked their lives defecting from the communist bloc, not because they were particularly inspired by the baubles of capitalism.
     

    A subsistence, community-based economic order is a very poor developmental environment for gaining the ‘aspirational’, self-focused world-view and associated values that are obsessively pursued by the modern, urban middle classes. Being outcompeted in the marketplace of success then becomes the likeliest result. So what do individuals caught in this predicament do?

    Well one thing they shouldn’t do is stick their heads up their arses in a fit of class-conscious snobbery about people’s choices in popular entertainment because that would be distinctly unhelpful. Are you seriously trying to suggest that the urban middle classes don’t have a sense of community, because following the Christchurch earthquakes it was bloody obvious to me that they did? Suddenly everyone who lives in the suburbs is a solipsistic and complacent John Key? That is breathtakingly arrogant. It is also rather patronsing of this “subsistence, community-based economic order” as if they’re all somehow too stupid to understand the nature of their predicament.
     
     

     
     
     
     

    • Hi Populuxe1,

      I disagree. National is primarily driven by neoliberal scum obsessed with the former and who are ascendant over the tory scum obsessed with the latter, but throw the tories welfare reform as a sop.

      I’m not sure but I think your confusing my point about two different ways that social scientists (and others) have tried to explain the development of a so-called underclass. I said that National is adhering to the second view (that it’s all down to welfare) solely based on the policy prescriptions they are pushing through, which are only justifiable, rhetorically, by their claim (that I think is false) that it’s all about ‘welfare dependency’.

      I agree that ‘welfare reform’ is also a distraction from other issues – but I was simply looking at how we might explain those policies on some sort of supposed explanation of why the so-called underclass (who are the target of the policies) came to exist.

      That’s not accurate, especially of New Zealand” 

      Very possibly. But I wasn’t claiming the story was correct, just that that was the story put forward (which I think it often is).

       “While that is true within a fairly reductive definition of society, what neoliberal capitalism (and totalitarian communism) actually wants is a mass of non-individuals, drones who can be easily and cheaply controlled.

      I think you’re reading more into my words than I put into them. What I was explaining in that extract was how persons are created, not how dependent or independent individual persons are of social norms, rules, roles or whatever you want to call society’s explicit ‘rules’.  

      Put it this way, individuality, autonomy and the ability to break free from what society expects or demands is something that only a person can do just because they are social creations.

      I think you’re mistaking my comment about the origins of persons (i.e., how we get these things we call persons in the universe) with some notion that I think that society ‘controls‘ these persons. The thing about persons is that they are autonomous or have the capacity to be autonomous (even if they don’t exercise or haven’t developed that capacity). And, no, I’m not advocating for crab bucket mediocrity – quite the opposite. That’s why I want a society that generates more than drones.

      Are you seriously trying to suggest that the urban middle classes don’t have a sense of community, because following the Christchurch earthquakes it was bloody obvious to me that they did? Suddenly everyone who lives in the suburbs is a solipsistic and complacent John Key?

      No, I’m not suggesting that the urban middle class doesn’t have a sense of community – but that doesn’t preclude an obsession (maybe that’s too harsh a word) with ‘aspiring’ and a focus on the values of status based on position in the economic hierarchy. Sure, when an earthquake happens we all help our neighbours but, when work calls, we’re off to our jobs to keep the mortgage payments up – and we leave the remaining silt shovelling to someone else.

      And I didn’t mention anything about stupidity. There’s nothing stupid about being raised according to certain values and then living by them and doing your best to get by in a society arranged in a way that means following those values and ways of living isn’t rewarded – or is even actively punished.

      Why is that stupid? Or do you just think it’s stupid for someone not to instantly adopt the ways of the culture that is dominant and has been responsible for destroying the viability of their own way of living and values?

  3. blue leopard 3

    “Of Systems of Political Economy

    Political Economy, considered as a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator, proposes two distinct objects; first, to provide a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people, or, more properly, to enable them to provide such a revenue or subsistence for themselves; and, secondly, to supply the state or commonwealth with a revenue sufficient for public services. It proposes to enrich both the people and the sovereign.” (p341)

    …so if this quote from Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” still holds true; that there is a so called “underclass” is a monumental failure of governing bodies throughout the Nations that hold Mr Smith as still relevant reading.

    Rather than seeing this phenomenon of so called “underclass” for what it is, a symptom of poor policies, the recipients of this failure are touted as the cause.

    As I understand it; money was revered as “the great equalizer”; allowing more than those who were born into wealth to create wealth for themselves and become influential people in society; i.e allowed for social mobility. Now we appear to be heading back to a situation of less social mobility.

    New Zealand isn’t there yet, yet we are headed in that direction; an expected result due to the Nations whose policies we appear to be slavishly following, appear to be further along that path.

    So what’s going on?

    Perhaps when both people and governing bodies “get” it; that our collective fates are entwined, we rise together and we fall together as a society, things might start heading in a more positive direction…?….

    • rosy 3.1

      “i.e allowed for social mobility. Now we appear to be heading back to a situation of less social mobility”

      We still have social mobility – but it’s in a downward direction – the middle class is squeezed and the underclass is growing.

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  • Where are Labour’s billboards?
    On Sunday, I drove from Gisborne to Katikati, through Opotiki, Te Puke and Tauranga. Yesterday afternoon/evening, I made the return journey. One thing I noticed is that National Party billboards popped up regularly, mixtures of individual candidates’ billboards (simply stating...
    Occasionally erudite | 30-07
  • “Improving”
    End-of-Year process positive for Novopay, Steven Joyce, 17 January 2014:Minister Responsible for Novopay Steven Joyce says a 100 per cent completion rate for schools involved in the End-of-Year process and an accompanying low error rate are tributes to the hard...
    No Right Turn | 30-07
  • Farmers don’t set out to pollute our rivers
    It can be easy to vilify farmers. But no farmer sets out to create pollution, and the evidence suggests that many farmers are either already acting responsibly or that they are lifting their game. In particular, dairy farmers are acting....
    Gareth’s World | 30-07
  • Guide to economic evaluation part 3: What is agglomeration?
    Debates over major transport investments often get caught up in arguments over benefit-cost ratios, or BCRs. In recent years, projects such as the Transmission Gully and Puhoi to Warkworth motorways and the City Rail Link have been criticised for their...
    Transport Blog | 30-07
  • Where to now for Colin and the Conservatives?
    It’s (almost*) official – there’s no deal for Colin Craig in East Coast Bays. Murray McCully will not be knifed, thrown under a bus or given concrete shoes to go swimming in. Given that Mr Craig had already accepted he...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-07
  • Real men say sorry
    There are a couple of universal truths that all men should be aware of. Firstly, it takes a bigger man to walk away. Of course men can be accused of being weak if they don't confront their problems with violence,...
    The Jackal | 29-07
  • Why my children took part in a playful protest against LEGO’s partner...
    Jessica Edberg is a mother of two. Her daughter, Lily, aged 7, took part in a playful protest yesterday against LEGO's partnership with Shell. 50 kids in total protested by building three giant LEGO Arctic animals outside of Shell's HQ...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 29-07
  • Race to the Bottom or a Fairer Society?
    In a season when some small parties are indulging in competitive racism it is important to remind ourselves of the great gift of living in our country, a Pacific nation with a Treaty that affirms a peaceful negotiation. The Orewa...
    frogblog | 29-07
  • 3 reasons to vote this election
    Here are three Bills before Parliament that have not passed their third and final vote. The next Parliament will decide if these three Bills become law or not. If you want to have your...
    Tertiary Education Union | 29-07
  • Poll of Polls update – 30 July 2014
    So the latest One News Colmar Brunton poll came out on Sunday. I was up in Tauranga, preparing for a trial, which meant no blogging (plus, it’s remarkably difficult to update a Poll of Polls and then blog about it,...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-07
  • TSB Today: Broken English
    In my post at The Daily Blog today — Broken English, broken government, broken climate — I take a look Bill English’s unguarded comments on climate change. Apparently, it’s a non-issue. As you might expect, I am somewhat less than...
    Hot Topic | 29-07
  • The truth about women
    Marianne Elliott is a former employee of the Human Rights Commission here, and the author of Zen Under Fire, about her time working for human rights in Afghanistan. Here's the remarkable and must-read guest post she has put up about...
    The Hand Mirror | 29-07
  • When the mainstream media go feral: the descent into sheer farce, according...
    . . It had to happen, I guess… The media pack-campaign against Labour Leader David Cunliffe has managed to  plumb new depths of absurdity. On TV3, on 24 July,  TV3/Tova O’Brien ran this report on their 6PM News bulletin, about...
    Frankly Speaking | 29-07
  • When the mainstream media go feral: the descent into sheer farce, according...
    . . It had to happen, I guess… The media pack-campaign against Labour Leader David Cunliffe has managed to  plumb new depths of absurdity. On TV3, on 24 July,  TV3/Tova O’Brien ran this report on their 6PM News bulletin, about...
    Frankly Speaking | 29-07
  • $212 million in spending on roads with few benefits
    A couple of days ago I received a bunch of documents from an OIA request to the NZTA on the $212 million in regional road spending announced recently. I haven’t been able to look at them yet seeing as I’m away however...
    Transport Blog | 29-07
  • State Department cuts through the acid political environment on oceans and ...
    Secretary Kerry hosted a remarkable conference in June called simply Our Ocean. It enlisted international policy makers, scientists, and the private sector to take action to ensure a healthy ocean for the future. The conference laid out the science, impacts, and...
    Skeptical Science | 29-07
  • Vote Choice: Winston Peters – the Conservative
    Vote Choice: Winston Peters – the (well, a) Conservative This week’s featured politician is Winston Peters. According to Peters life begins at conception because…the royal baby (?!). We know this because, again, Bob McCroskie from Family First did the hard work for us...
    ALRANZ | 29-07
  • National Makes Jokes About Domestic Violence, and Now Unemployment
    How far we have fallen in NZ that our current Government spends much of it’s time in Parliament making jokes about domestic violence, and today – unemployment. Key and some of his dishonest thieving Ministers have in the past few...
    An average kiwi | 29-07
  • Guest post at the Standard: Walking through the wrong door is the least of ...
    I have a guest post over at the Standard right now – Walking through the wrong door is the least of Gerry’s problems. Jump over there and read it in full! What we need in Christchurch is more houses, now....
    Rebuilding Christchurch | 29-07
  • Minor Party pre-campaign pontifications
    A look at the tracking polls for small parties helps explain what’s been happening over the last few days (larger interactive version here); The Conservatives are only slightly higher than they were last election suggesting they’ll get 2.6% max. Probably...
    DimPost | 29-07
  • Minor Party pre-campaign pontifications
    A look at the tracking polls for small parties helps explain what’s been happening over the last few days (larger interactive version here); The Conservatives are only slightly higher than they were last election suggesting they’ll get 2.6% max. Probably...
    DimPost | 29-07
  • An abhorrent innovation
    The Rt. Hon. Humphrey Horswell, QSM gives his opinion on the recently-released National Party list...
    Imperator Fish | 29-07
  • Stuart’s 100: #2 Whitcoulls Queen Street
    Urban designer Stuart Houghton has set himself a personal project of coming up with 100 ideas for improving Auckland at the rate of one a day. He is Tweeting them here: @HoughtonSd  Discussing this project with Stuart he said that “I see the city is...
    Transport Blog | 29-07
  • The OIA and the Statutes Amendment Bill
    Back in February the government introduced a Statutes Amendment Bill to make numerous "technical, short, and non-controversial" amendments to legislation. The bill included several amendments to the OIA and LGOIMA which I thought fell into that category. The bill was...
    No Right Turn | 29-07
  • How We Solve The Income Inequality Problem
    click here for some very good ideas from the New Economics Foundation...
    Closing the Gap | 29-07
  • How to make farmers clean up their act
    Order them to stop milking until they've fixed their effluent problems:A Thames farming company has been hit with a $47,000 fine and ordered to stop milking until it fixed the overflowing effluent system at its Kopu farm. The order came...
    No Right Turn | 29-07
  • The Truth About What Keeps People In Poverty From Those Who Live It
    Click here to read this report from the Family 100 Research Project July 2014...
    Closing the Gap | 29-07
  • Eye Candy, Window Dressing and Deep Pockets.
    I came back from six weeks abroad to see the beginning of the Internet Party’s “party party” launches. It leaves me with some questions. It seems that what the Internet Party has done is this. Using Kim Dotcom’s wallet as...
    Kiwipolitico | 29-07
  • Wealth, Income and Inequality in Australia.
    worth a read click here...
    Closing the Gap | 29-07
  • World News Brief, Tuesday July 29
    Top of the AgendaLull in Gaza as Pressure for Cease-Fire Mounts...
    Pundit | 29-07
  • National’s roads are pure pork
    Last month the government announced it would be spending $212 million on regional roads. Every single one of the priority projects (and eight of nine lower priority projects) is in a National-held electorate, which suggested immediately that this was pre-election...
    No Right Turn | 29-07
  • Another fluoridation whopper from Declan Waugh
    Declan Waugh is a self-proclaimed “scientist and fluoride researcher” who seems to spend all his time misrepresenting and distorting  scientific literature and health data to promote his anti-fluoride cause. Waugh has an avid following, among fellow anti-fluoride activists and propagandists. The...
    Open Parachute | 29-07
  • Whyte supremacy
    Emphatically, he says, an ACT party led by Whyte would not go to war on Treaty issues. “I’ve got no interest in Maori-bashing as a political game.” Dr Jamie Whyte back in January when he assumed leadership of ACT.  The...
    DimPost | 29-07
  • Whyte supremacy
    Emphatically, he says, an ACT party led by Whyte would not go to war on Treaty issues. “I’ve got no interest in Maori-bashing as a political game.” Dr Jamie Whyte back in January when he assumed leadership of ACT.  The...
    DimPost | 29-07
  • New Fisk
    It's not just radicalised Islamists - what about foreign fighters who flock to the other side?...
    No Right Turn | 29-07
  • Graduate nurses put pressure on Ryall
    Moves by the Government to increase the number of training placements for nursing graduates will be seen for what they are – a cynical election ploy, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Health Minister Tony Ryall has just announced the...
    Labour | 30-07
  • Māori Party blocks the end of slave fishing vessels
    Labour is appalled the Māori Party has refused to allow a final reading of legislation to abolish slavery conditions on foreign charter fishing vessels in New Zealand waters before the end of the Parliamentary term, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor...
    Labour | 30-07
  • Ae Marika! 29 July 2014
    It wasn’t till I read John Armstrong’s column in the NZ Herald last week that I realised what a huge impact the Internet MANA tour has had, but the reality is that we achieved what no other political party has...
    Mana | 30-07
  • Unconditional Gaza ceasefire needed now
    The Israeli response in Gaza is disproportionate and with the firing of tanks and mortars into civilian areas, increasingly indiscriminate, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “Eight children were killed in Gaza last night, they were playing in an...
    Labour | 30-07
  • Novopay’s end must not be bulk funding’s beginning
    The end of the disastrous Novopay system must not serve as a stalking horse for the next big threat National poses to schools - the bulk funding of teacher salaries, the Green Party said today."Today's announcement that the National Government...
    Greens | 30-07
  • Labour will raise minimum wage, restore work rights
    A Labour government will raise the minimum wage $2 an hour to $16.25 and restore work rights to ensure the benefits of economic growth are shared fairly by all New Zealanders, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “That will put around...
    Labour | 30-07
  • Taxpayer to fork out millions for Novopay rescue
    It will be cold comfort to teachers and school staff still struggling with Novopay that the National Government has finally stepped in to rescue the failed payroll system two years after it was introduced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says....
    Labour | 30-07
  • Auckland consents down second month in a row
    National’s housing policy is in disarray with building consents in Auckland falling two months in a row, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Statistics New Zealand’s latest building consent figures show consents in Auckland are down for the second month...
    Labour | 30-07
  • Green Party launches plan to protect our Maui’s dolphins
    The Green Party today launched its plan to protect the world's smallest and most endangered dolphin, the Maui's dolphin. The plan is the third component of the Party's environmental priority this election: clean rivers and beaches.The key policy points in...
    Greens | 29-07
  • Govt fudging figures over Transmission Gully – Green Party media rele...
    The government is fudging the figures over Wellington road project, Transmission Gully, the Green Party said today.The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) said today it had let the contract to a Public Private Partnership (PPP) for "a net present cost...
    Greens | 29-07
  • New Zealand criticised by Pacific Island leaders
    New Zealand needs to listen to Pacific Island leaders when it comes to climate change action, said the Green Party today. Discontent with New Zealand and Australia is rife at the 2014 Pacific Islands Forum leaders' summit which commenced today...
    Greens | 29-07
  • National’s desperate oil drilling agenda exposed
    A Wall Street Journal article exposing the Government's attempts to lure deep sea oil drillers to New Zealand shows National will stop at nothing to open up our coastlines to deep sea oil, the Green Party said today.The article outlines...
    Greens | 29-07
  • Out of touch Brownlee gets numbers wrong
    Gerry Brownlee has shown how badly he is managing the rebuild by getting his figures wrong on how many houses are needed in Christchurch, Labour’s EQC spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says. “Gerry Brownlee today tried to poor cold water on the...
    Labour | 29-07
  • Annette Sykes to launch campaign for Waiariki Annette Sykes, MANA candidate...
    At midday tomorrow, Annette Sykes will officially launch her campaign to win the Waiariki electorate seat for MANA in the upcoming general election. “A key goal for MANA this election is to mobilise our people to vote, especially rangatahi, and...
    Mana | 28-07
  • Minister shouldn’t stop Fish and Game doing its job
    It seems that Conservation Minister Nick Smith has again been caught out interfering to allow more pollution in our rivers, the Green Party said today. Last year the Department of Conservation submission on the proposed Ruataniwha Dam was suppressed after...
    Greens | 28-07
  • Public deserves electoral integrity
    National's deals with spent political forces ACT and United Future will be met with a deepening sense of unease over the manipulation of MMP, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says."These parties have no electoral mandate and will return to Parliament only...
    Labour | 28-07
  • Out of control costs raise questions about National Science Challenges
    Amid strong criticism of the value of the National Science Challenges from some of the country’s senior scientists, new figures show administrative costs are skyrocketing while the level of investment in actual science remains a mystery, says Labour’s Innovation, Research...
    Labour | 28-07
  • Low build numbers and faulty repairs: what has Brownlee been doing?
    Despite being a man in a hurry new figures show just 2160 new homes, thousands fewer than needed, have been built under Gerry Brownlee in the last two years, say Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford and EQC spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove....
    Labour | 28-07
  • Joyce’s heavy hand stifling innovation
    The National Government should allow scientists and businesses to get on with innovation rather than allow Steven Joyce's heavy hand to direct it, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today. Dr Norman was responding to reports today that several...
    Greens | 27-07
  • CERA spends almost $2m on 7000 flights
    CERA has spent $1.8 million on 7286 flights from Christchurch to Wellington in three years – a huge waste of money as Cantabrians still wait for solutions, Labour’s EQC spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says. “Of course CERA officials do need to...
    Labour | 27-07
  • Nick Smith oversteps the mark yet again
    Nick Smith has yet again completely overstepped the mark as a minister – this time with a threat to muzzle Fish and Game if they don’t keep in line with Government’s views, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “Nick Smith...
    Labour | 27-07
  • Georgina Beyer to stand for MANA in Te Tai Tonga
    “It’s great to have Georgie on board” said Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP.  ”She’s strong-minded, stands up to be counted, and has fought for the rights of those who haven’t had any – and won.  That...
    Mana | 27-07
  • Green Party launches plan to protect our beaches from oil spills
    The Green Party today launched its plan to protect New Zealand beaches from oil spills. The plan is the second component of the Party's environmental priority this election: Rivers clean enough to swim in again, and beaches safe from oil...
    Greens | 26-07
  • Auckland rail use spike shows need to start link now
    The Green Party today welcomes Auckland Transport figures showing rail patronage has soared by 23 percent in June from June 2013, demonstrating both the value of electrification and the need to immediately get cracking building the Auckland City Rail link."We...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Soaring rail use in Auckland shows need for rail link now
    The Green Party today welcomes Auckland Transport figures showing rail patronage has soared by 23 percent in June from June 2013, demonstrating both the value of electrification and the need to immediately get cracking building the Auckland City Rail link."We...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Puhoi-Warkworth decision doesn’t stack up
    The Board of Inquiry decision on the Puhoi-Warkworth motorway gives the green light to a project that doesn’t stack up, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Labour would spend $320 million immediately to fix the accident black spots, put in...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Key must stand Brownlee down during investigation
    The wise thing for the Prime Minister to do is ask Gerry Brownlee to hand in his transport warrant and to stand him down for the duration of the CAA investigation, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “It’s not good enough...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Puhoi highway won’t help Northland roads
    The draft decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to grant resource consent to the proposed $1.65 billion Puhoi motorway doesn't stop it being a waste of money, the Green Party said today. "The Puhoi motorway is an unnecessary waste of...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Green Party to focus on issues not sideshows
    The Green Party has launched its creative for the 2014 election; Love New Zealand. The Green Party campaign focuses on the issues where there is concern that we do not love New Zealand enough; our increasingly polluted environment, increased poverty...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Coleman must come clean about FBI briefing
    Former Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman must come clean about when he was told the FBI was investigating Kim Dotcom, Labour’s Associate Security and Intelligence spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Jonathan Coleman has previously said ministers were not aware of the American...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Regional economies need tailored plans
    News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional economies, Labour’s MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Canpac site has effectively responded...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Kiwis to get the final vote on amalgamation
    New Zealanders will get the right to have a final say on any proposed local body amalgamations, says Labour’s local government spokesperson Su’a William Sio releasing Labour’s Local Government policy today....
    Labour | 24-07
  • Dr Rajen Prasad’s Valedictory Statement
    Draft Hansard Parliamentary Record. Subject to correction. Bula vinaka. Namaste, Mr Assistant Speaker. Thank you very much. Tēnā koe. I am a lucky migrant and am privileged to have received as much as I have from this country for over...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Darien Fenton’s Valedictory Statement
    Nga mihi nui - kia koutou. I acknowledge all Members of Parliament I have served with and I do so without rancour or criticism. Over nearly nine years in parliament I’ve found that despite furious debate about political difference, most...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Immigation and Kim Dotcom – Harawira
    “I just got a call from National Business Review reporter, asking whether there was any contradiction between my thoughts on immigration in 2009 and now, particularly given MANA’s newly minted relationship with Kim Dotcom” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 24-07
  • Nats to announce 2nd crossing without rail
    Labour Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says it has been leaked to him that John Key will rule out a rail option when announcing an accelerated timeframe for Auckland’s $5 billion second harbour crossing next month. “I understand the Government’s plan...
    Labour | 24-07
  • “They put Maori centre stage” – Harawira
    “I’m sorry I can’t be at parliament for the valedictory speeches of Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples” said Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Tai Tokerau, ”but I’d like to add my own best wishes as they reach the end...
    Mana | 24-07
  • ACT trying to have it both ways on zoning
    ACT Party candidate David Seymour’s campaign against changes to school zones in the Epsom electorate looks hollow given his party’s commitment to the abolition of school zoning altogether, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It’s disingenuous for David Seymour to...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Interest rate rise will hit the regions
    The latest interest rate rise will hit the fragile regional economies of  New Zealand and hurt exporters by putting more upward pressure on the exchange rate, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.  “The regions are already hit by dropping  export...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Burning the flag or accepting the evil
    Burning the Israeli flag in Auckland in protest over the murder of innocent civilians in Gaza is nothing to be ashamed of” said MANA Leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “Calling for both sides to stand down when one side...
    Mana | 23-07
  • Photo op disguises abysmal failure
    John Key’s opening of four Housing NZ units in Bexley today is nothing more than an insincere photo op designed to hide the Government’s failure to rebuild the housing stock destroyed by the earthquakes, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto...
    Labour | 23-07
  • TAXPAYER UNION “outrageously stupid”
    Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says a MANA billboard “appears to have been funded by taxpayers”, and calls it “an outrageous use of taxpayer money”. “But the only thing that is outrageous, is how outrageously stupid Jordan Williams was...
    Mana | 23-07
  • Green Party launches Solar in Schools policy
    The Green Party will help schools install solar and save money on their power bills by investing $20 million into solar PV systems in schools. The $20 million is expected to:Help around 500 schools install solar over three yearsResult in...
    Greens | 23-07
  • Extent of job losses at Invermay remain hidden
    Despite growing concern in the agriculture and science sectors, both AgResearch management and the Minister responsible are continuing to hide the true extent of job losses at AgResearch’s Invermay campus, Labour’s MP for Dunedin North David Clark says. “Science and...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Tōku reo, tōku oho oho, tōku reo, tōku mapihi maurea – MANA launches ...
    “MANA is launching its te reo Māori policy this morning ahead of the first reading of the government’s Māori Language Strategy Bill this afternoon”, saidMANA deputy leader and candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes. “MANA’s policy is based on a love...
    Mana | 23-07
  • Connectivity Upgrade to close digital divide
    Labour will close the digital divide with its Connectivity Upgrade to ensure all New Zealanders can be part of a growing, more connected economy and have the right to access quality broadband, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.  “The digital revolution...
    Labour | 23-07
  • New parents deserve support – Labour will deliver
    ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates
    National has refused a briefing from a group of Maui's dolphins experts, whose research shows 80 per cent of New Zealanders want greater protection for the critically endangered dolphin, the Green Party said today.Dolphin campaigner Gemma McGrath and marine scientist...
    Greens | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    “Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”, said MANA candidate for Mt Albert, Joe Carolan. “A good start would be for all Labour Auckland MPs and members to join the Justice for Palestine...
    Mana | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no need for further research, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Labour backs the public call...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Labour’s new worker policy – $16.25 minimum wage
    Labour’s much anticipated worker policy has been released. It’s a mix of the aspirational and the smart. $15 minimum wage by Christmas this year, bumped up to $16.25 next year while banning the 90 day right to sack laws and...
    The Daily Blog | 30-07
  • The Liberal Agenda: 30th July- 3rd August
    Wednesday GAZA: Setler colonialism, apartheid and resistance panel discussion Want to know more about what’s going down (and has been going down since 1948) in Gaza, and by extension the Palestinian territory?  Come along to this panel discussion. No boring...
    The Daily Blog | 30-07
  • NZIFF: New Zealand’s Best
    Eleven   Saturday night was New Zealand’s Best at the New Zealand International Film Festival. The collection of 6 short films are selected from over a hundred and are all of very high quality. They compete for a number of...
    The Daily Blog | 30-07
  • Govt fudging figures over Transmission Gully – Green Party media release
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Govt fudging figures over Transmission Gully – Green Party media release Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 | Press Release “The Government needs to come clean. In fact, the cost is $125 million per...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • New Zealand criticised by Pacific Island leaders
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: New Zealand criticised by Pacific Island leaders Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 | Press Release “John Key and his government need to step up and take climate change seriously.” New Zealand needs to...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • So where are the Taxpayer’s Union on Simon Bridges luxury oil dinners?
    So where is David Farrar’s astroturf fake union, the Taxpayer’s Union, to criticise the quarter of a million spent on luxury wine and food to woo the oil industry then? Luxury oil summit during Rugby Cup was an ‘investment’Energy Minister...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • ACT show their true racist colours
    ACT Party conference in Epsom last week At some point ACTs low poll ratings were going to have to force ACT to stop pretending to be some free market under grad fantasy and get them back to their true purpose...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • Broken English, broken government, broken climate
    Bill English’s unguarded statements on climate change demonstrate just how out of touch the National Party leadership really is, and how important it is that they should be forced to face facts. A couple of weeks ago finance minister Bill...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – Privilege Lost
    Elton John didn’t get it wrong when said that sorry was the hardest word. It’s a word whose mere utterance can be seized upon as a sign of weakness and topic of ridicule, while simultaneously expressing understanding and opening the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • GUEST POST: Curwen Rolinson – A Vote For NZF Is A Vote For NZF – For Na...
    I’m loving this “Duelling Banjos” thing me and Bomber have got going on at the moment - he writes a piece castigating NZF for imminent existential failure due to Cons, I write a refutation setting out why we’ll be back. He writes a...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, holidays
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking on Radio Hauraki...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • Laila Harre to run against Key in Helensville
    Another full house in Rotorua as part of Internet MANAs road trip Another day, another full house for the Internet MANA road trip. John Armstrong understands the energy now swirling around Internet MANA, and the latest announcements of Georgina Beyer...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • Waiting for Gower’s Twittering of indignation…
    .   . Key has made his call; deals with ACT and Peter Dunne are in – a deal with the CCCP (Colin Craig’s Conservative Party), is out; . . Now we can look forward to TV3′s political commentator, Patrick...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • National’s desperate oil drilling agenda exposed
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: National’s desperate oil drilling agenda exposed Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 | Press Release A Wall Street Journal article exposing the Government’s attempts to lure deep sea oil drillers to New Zealand shows...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • Owner of Kiwis’ favourite tacos takes bold stand for climate action
    MIL OSI – Source: Oxfam NZ – Headline: Owner of Kiwis' favourite tacos takes bold stand for climate action The maker of Old El Paso tacos, Betty Crocker cake mixes and Haagan Daz ice-cream has today committed to industry-leading measures...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • Out of touch Brownlee gets numbers wrong
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Out of touch Brownlee gets numbers wrong Gerry Brownlee has shown how badly he is managing the rebuild by getting his figures wrong on how many houses are needed in Christchurch, Labour’s...
    The Daily Blog | 29-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Michael Wood: Weekend at Bernie’s lll – ACT in Epsom
    While no one will be surprised by yesterday’s deal to prop up ACT in Epsom, the audacity of it is still astounding. ACT is a political corpse. Their sole MP has been found guilty of electoral fraud and bides his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • So how’s all the ‘ Labour Party man ban’ hysteria working out for you...
    Remember all the screams from the media at the so called ‘man ban’ of the Labour Party? Labour’s attempt at gender equality was really just more evidence of Labour’s man hate,  feminists were taking over, heterosexual red blooded men burnt at the stake....
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Paul Henry; the issue is you, not flag-burning
    There will always be reductive, dangerous and reactionary responses to different forms of oppressive violence by our western, often biased, mainstream media. These reactionary responses purposefully distract from the real issues and those who are at the root and the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Oh now John Armstrong and Vernon Small want to talk about policy?
    The audacity of the mainstream media seems to know no end. This week both John Armstrong and Vernon Small had the hilarity to demand a focus on policy and not ‘gotcha’ politics… John Armstrong: The ‘gotcha politics’ disease is afflicting...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • “They put Maori centre stage” – Harawira
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: “They put Maori centre stage” – Harawira  Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press Releases“I’m sorry I can’t be at parliament for the valedictory speeches of Tariana Turia...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Burning the flag or accepting the evil
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Burning the flag or accepting the evil Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press ReleasesBurning the Israeli flag in Auckland in protest over the murder of innocent civilians...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • TAXPAYER UNION “outrageously stupid”
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: TAXPAYER UNION “outrageously stupid” Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press ReleasesJordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says a MANA billboard “appears to have been funded by taxpayers”,...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Tōku reo, tōku oho oho, tōku reo, tōku mapihi maurea – MANA launches ...
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Tōku reo, tōku oho oho, tōku reo, tōku mapihi maurea – MANA launches te reo Māori policy  Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Annette Sykes, Press Releases, Te Hamua Nikora“MANA...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Green Party launches Solar in Schools policy
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Green Party launches Solar in Schools policy Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | Press Release Our Solar in Schools policy will allow them to save money on electricity – money which can be...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Media Release: New report on GP costs for 6-17 year olds
    MIL OSI – Source: Child Poverty Action Group – Headline: Media Release: New report on GP costs for 6-17 year olds 24 July 2014 Free doctor’s visits should be extended to all children under 18 as GP charges are a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • 3 reasons why I can’t care about Gerry Brownlee’s airport security fias...
    I find it very difficult to get upset about Gerry Brownlee barging through airport security for 3 simple reasons. Firstly I think airport security in this country is a total farce. Why we need to be conditioned to security searches...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • How the Opposition win Epsom now Key has cemented Goldsmith into place
    One fear I had this election would be that National listened to Matthew Hooton and removed Goldsmith from the ballot box to leave the race open enough for David Seymour to ensure an ACT Party victory. Thankfully National Party hubris...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Now Conservative Party has been killed off, is a vote for NZ First a vote f...
    Are Winston and John Key new Best Friends Forever?   Colin Craig and his Conservative Party have been cleverly played and tricked and trapped by National. Whatever promises and flirtations Key made with Craig last year have eventuated into nothing....
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away ...
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Best National Party Billboard
    Best National Party Billboard...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Annette Sykes to launch campaign for Waiariki Annette Sykes, MANA candidate...
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Annette Sykes to launch campaign for Waiariki Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Posted on July 28, 2014 by admin in Annette Sykes, Press ReleasesAt midday tomorrow, Annette Sykes will officially launch...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Something Fishy About Nick Smith’s Game.
    NICK SMITH’S crude intimidation of the Fish and Game Council points to the bleakest of environmental futures should National be re-elected on 20 September. It is now considerably clearer than 60 percent of New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and streams that...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Minister shouldn’t stop Fish and Game doing its job
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Minister shouldn’t stop Fish and Game doing its job Monday, 28 Jul 2014 | Press Release Fish and Game is supposed to advocate for clean and healthy rivers, it’s the law. It...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Key’s odd personal hypocrisy in Epsom, his kiss of death to the Maori Par...
    Aside from tricking Colin Craig into running in an electorate National can crush him in, John Key has announced three things in his election deals that are ill thought out. The first is his deal with the Maori Party. At a time...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Public deserves electoral integrity
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Public deserves electoral integrity National’s deals with spent political forces ACT and United Future will be met with a deepening sense of unease over the manipulation of MMP, Labour Leader David Cunliffe...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Out of control costs raise questions about National Science Challenges
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Out of control costs raise questions about National Science Challenges Amid strong criticism of the value of the National Science Challenges from some of the country’s senior scientists, new figures show administrative...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Low build numbers and faulty repairs: what has Brownlee been doing?
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Low build numbers and faulty repairs: what has Brownlee been doing? Despite being a man in a hurry new figures show just 2160 new homes, thousands fewer than needed, have been built...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • UNEMIG: Disgraced hotel operator still hasn’t learned
    MIL OSI – Source: First Union – Headline: UNEMIG: Disgraced hotel operator still hasn’t learned A publicly disgraced Auckland hotel is still not paying their workers the minimum wage, according to the Union Network of Migrants (UNEMIG). Last week the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Christchurch CHEP workers walk off the job again
    MIL OSI – Source: First Union – Headline: Christchurch CHEP workers walk off the job again Workers at Brambles-owned CHEP Christchurch have walked off the job again today to protest the employer’s refusal to negotiate an improved pay offer, according...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Why it’s all over for the Conservative Party
    Whatever flirtations were made months ago to Colin Craig by National strategists, the polling must have come back showing them too much of their soft urban vote would walk if Key was in Government with Colin Craig.  The necessary inside muscle to...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Balance in the NZ Herald and has something gone terribly wrong at the Heral...
    So the ‘balance’ in the NZ Herald this year for the election will be… Guest columnists will include the acerbic Cactus Kate from the radical right, former Labour candidate Josie Pagani and broadcaster Mark Sainsbury. Right, so that would be...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Joyce’s heavy hand stifling innovation
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Joyce’s heavy hand stifling innovation Monday, 28 Jul 2014 | Press Release “The heavy hand of Steven Joyce is destroying New Zealand’s innovation economy.” The National Government should allow scientists and businesses...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • CERA spends almost $2m on 7000 flights
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: CERA spends almost $2m on 7000 flights CERA has spent $1.8 million on 7286 flights from Christchurch to Wellington in three years – a huge waste of money as Cantabrians still wait...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Nick Smith oversteps the mark yet again
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Nick Smith oversteps the mark yet again Nick Smith has yet again completely overstepped the mark as a minister – this time with a threat to muzzle Fish and Game if they...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Phew – National Party hubris seals strategy
    The National Party are bot listening to Matthew Hooton. Phew. Hooton has crunched the numbers and based on past polling National always drops 6 points come election day. National aren’t listening. Barging through the need to cut deals with all...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Noam Chomsky on the TPPA
    Noam Chomsky on the TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Unacceptable secrecy around labelling people terrorists
    It’s good to see the Sunday Star-Times attempting to get more information from government agencies about Daryl Jones, the Kiwi killed in a US drone strike in Yemen.  The paper is right to complain about the government’s refusal to provide...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • A critical deconstruction of John Key – what’s behind the facade?
    Aspiring national leaders need a popular narrative of their rise to power.  Once in office, the narrative can be refined to fit the requirements of leadership and re-election.  Such is the purpose of John Roughan’s John Key: Portrait of  a...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Radio Live – off Mark
    The Top Marks lasted five weeks on Mediaworks radio station The Sound. This may have something to do with last being relevant in the mid-1980s when there were only two commercial FM licences in Auckland and they were on one...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07