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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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    The National Party has today announced plans to cut all numbers by 25 per cent....
    Imperator Fish | 17-09
  • The Pullman Hotel – Pulled into line?
    Greetings from Barcelona, where I’m currently winding up a 3 week European holiday that has also taken me to Amsterdam, Paris, and Porto. But my thoughts on those cities will have to wait for another day, because right now I want to engage in some bloated,...
    Transport Blog | 17-09
  • Taking a stand against dirty politics
    A month ago, Nicky Hager published Dirty Politics, and set this election on fire. Today, over 2,100 people took a stand against the dirty politics he revealed, through a crowdfunded full-page ad in the Herald (Image stolen from @DirtyPoliticsNZ) Collectively,...
    No Right Turn | 17-09
  • Revealed: Which parties will do the most to reduce New Zealand’s growing ...
    The Equality Network, a group of New Zealand organisations dedicated to reducing inequality, is today releasing a rating of political parties and their policies on tackling income gaps The ratings reveal the Greens out in front, with a rating of...
    Closing the Gap | 16-09
  • New Fisk
    Islamic State: Assad lures Obama into his web...
    No Right Turn | 16-09
  • Fiji votes
    Fijians are heading to the polls today in the first elections since the 2006 coup. Good - Fiji deserves an elected government, not an unelected dictator. But the dictator is fighting hard to stop it. There's the weird ballot paper...
    No Right Turn | 16-09
  • John Key’s Top 69 Lies: Today no. 3 – GCSB mass surveillance would take...
     John Key defends the GCSB bill  “If GCSB this afternoon, were to decide they’re going to listen to every phone call, and read every txt message in New Zealand, do you know how many people that would take? A hundred...
    Arch Rival | 16-09
  • Hard News: Interview: Glenn Greenwald
    I was offered an interview with Glenn Greenwald yesterday in the wake of his appearance at the Moment of Truth event. What follows is the transcript of that interview. It covers both the specifics of what he reported at the...
    Public Address | 16-09
  • Great family policy from the Greens
    I’m not just saying this because I suggested exactly this policy three months ago on Twitter, though it is always satisfying to see great minds thinking alike! The Greens’ Welcome Pack for newborn babies is modelled on Finnish baby boxes...
    Boots Theory | 16-09
  • Sell your house privately in New Zealand – the book.
    Over at 200 Square we help people sell their house by using the latest internet tools, and avoiding expensive print and high agent overheads like fancy offices. Our licensed real estate agents  to the wheeling and dealing for clients, and are very...
    Lance Wiggs | 16-09
  • Population-weighted densities in New Zealand and Australia
    Urban population density is a hot topic – some people complain that it’s getting too high in Auckland, while others worry that it’s too low to get the urban outcomes we want. Either way, density matters – it can have...
    Transport Blog | 16-09
  • Access: Disability: Election Promises for the 24%
    In the latest census 24% of the population were identified as disabled, that is 1.1 million people New Zealanders. Many of those are older people with physical impairments, but for young people learning disability is the most common. Then there...
    Public Address | 16-09
  • Speaker: The plan against the rebuild
    There is a great deal of ruin in a city, to paraphrase Adam Smith’s calm reply to those heralding the doom of Britain after the battle of Saratoga. In other words, it takes a lot to really wreck either a...
    Public Address | 16-09
  • A conspiracy theory too far
    Just over a month ago, the Prime Minister of New Zealand claimed that an award-winning writer was nothing more than a "screaming left-wing conspiracy theorist" and in so doing hoped to dismiss all his exceptional work that documents the National...
    The Jackal | 16-09
  • Attack! Attack!! Attack!!!!
    We’ve had several weeks now since the release of Dirty Politics and just as we thought it might be dying down as our lords and masters in the mainstream media decided followed National’s argument and moved on to reporting about...
    My Thinks | 16-09
  • TPPA a Sellout to American Corporate Greed
    Press Release – Internet MANA New Zealand will become a permanent prisoner to the United States greed and global arrogance if the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) isnt stopped, warns Internet MANA.MEDIA RELEASESeptember 17, 2014 TPPA a Sellout to American Corporate...
    Its our future | 16-09
  • 2014 Party Gender Balance
    Out of interest I have looked at each party's list rankings and worked the ratio and percentage of women who would be elected if they got the best possible vote. I compared the parties on the so called 'left' and...
    Local Bodies | 16-09
  • Katherine Rich – resign!
    . I reprint the following from the Herald, in full, as I believe it tells the story better than I could;  . I don’t usually write columns about politics but I’m going to talk about smear campaigns and conflict because...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • Katherine Rich – resign!
    . I reprint the following from the Herald, in full, as I believe it tells the story better than I could;  . I don’t usually write columns about politics but I’m going to talk about smear campaigns and conflict because...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • Gordon Campbell on first time voting (centre right)
    For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played...
    Gordon Campbell | 16-09
  • It’s time for Key to go!
    Key – it’s time to resign! .   .   John Key is no longer fit to lead this country. Sign the petition. Tell him it’s time to go! Sign Here . . = fs =Filed under: The Body Politic...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • It’s time for Key to go!
    Key – it’s time to resign! .   .   John Key is no longer fit to lead this country. Sign the petition. Tell him it’s time to go! Sign Here . . = fs =Filed under: The Body Politic...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • Think of these things: whence you came; where you are going; and to whom yo...
    I gave the ODT my thoughts on "The Moment of Truth" event last night - the tl;dr of which is that there are some important questions about the issue of data collection and surveillance to be addressed, but that the...
    Pundit | 16-09
  • Political joke of the week…
    . NEWSFLASH: Dotcom email almost certainly a fake, says handwriting expert hired by the National party!   . . = fs =Filed under: On A Lighter Note, The Body Politic Tagged: Dear Leader lies through his teeth, GCSB, Hollywood, Kim...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • Political joke of the week…
    . NEWSFLASH: Dotcom email almost certainly a fake, says handwriting expert hired by the National party!   . . = fs =Filed under: On A Lighter Note, The Body Politic Tagged: Dear Leader lies through his teeth, GCSB, Hollywood, Kim...
    Frankly Speaking | 16-09
  • Certain Arctic lakes store more greenhouse gases than they release
    This is a re-post of an NSF press release New research, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), counters a widely-held scientific view that thawing permafrost uniformly accelerates atmospheric warming, indicating instead that certain Arctic lakes store more greenhouse gases...
    Skeptical Science | 16-09
  • A Working Majority
    Constitutional Guardian: Only the person who can assure the Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, that he or she commands a majority on the floor of the House of Representatives has the right to assume the office of Prime Minister. If John...
    Bowalley Road | 16-09
  • Stuart’s 100 #27 Civic Uses for a Civic Asset
    27: Civic Uses for a Civic Asset What if we found better uses for the old Beach Road Rail Station? Continuing the series on forgotten and under-utilised spaces in the city, some of them, like the former Beach Road Railway...
    Transport Blog | 16-09
  • A Matter of Simple Logic
    One of the few journalists to do his job properly over the course of the dirty politics scandal has been Guyon Espiner. He has, without in any way breaching his duty of impartiality, seen it as his responsibility on Morning...
    Bryan Gould | 16-09
  • Eminem Publishers Sue New Zealand National Party
    Ha! Those of us who thought, Gee, that sounds pretty close to Eminem … Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? - P h/t: Radio NZ’s Chris Bramwell...
    The Paepae | 16-09
  • I am so sick of this obvious lie, pt 2
    Another obvious lie too many National supporters believe is that Labour are bad for employment (because they raise the minimum wage too fast), and National have “solved unemployment” (because they’ve made it harder to maintain benefits): Now, it is true that Labour raise the minimum wage much...
    Cut your hair | 16-09
  • Advance voting again
    Another day, more incredible advance voting statistics: 287,735 of us have already voted. And with four days to go, I think we can safely assume that it will reach 650,000. Which on current enrolment figures, means almost 20% of the...
    No Right Turn | 16-09
  • Maritime Union backs change of Government to put workers first
    A change of Government is required to deliver secure jobs and decent wages for New Zealand workers....
    MUNZ | 16-09
  • A solid policy
    While National is teasing people with promises of tax cuts maybe sometime, the Greens have introduced another small but solid policy: a maternity box. Based on the Finnish maternity box (which reduced their infant mortality and is one of the...
    No Right Turn | 16-09
  • “Hello, David Cunliffe calling!”
    It’s a familiar campaign scene at Fraser House, Labour’s HQ. Around 30 volunteers are staffing the phone canvassing banks. There’s lots of familiar faces - Rama, Paul, Jessie, David, to name but a few. David, coffee cup in hand, has...
    Labour campaign | 16-09
  • Just because I can….
    "Listen, we have to stop doing these tobacco sponsored modelling jobs - we're starting to look like cadavers.""I tell you, my corset's so tight I can't breathe and I think my stomach just emptied into my lungs."Woman thinks: "Lord I'm...
    Te Whare Whero | 16-09
  • Aussie Liberals embroiled in Key campaign
    John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says....
    Labour | 17-09
  • The MANA Plan for Beneficiaries and Income in Waiariki
    Median Personal Income for Waiariki is $21,700. Over 13,000 Maori who live in Waiariki rely upon a form of government benefit including the Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit and the Invalids Benefit. “If you’re lucky enough to have...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Māori development crucial to New Zealand’s future
    Labour recognises the concern of Māori about child poverty and the rising costs of living, and in Government will make a real difference to the wellbeing of whānau and iwi, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “As our Māori...
    Labour | 16-09
  • MAORI PARTY – DON’T COMPLAIN … WALK
    “If the Maori Party are serious about stopping government spying on NZ citizens then they should tell the Prime Minister to either stop doing it or they will walk away” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, on...
    Mana | 16-09
  • JOHN KEY SUPPORTING LABOUR
    “There is something really sick about a National Party Prime Minister coming out in support of a Labour candidate” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira, after hearing that John Key is urging voters to back Labour in...
    Mana | 16-09
  • SHUT DOWN THIS GOVT NOT KAITI WINZ – Nikora
    “I’m going to make it as hard for you to get help as I can” is Paula Bennett’s message to the people of Kaiti  said MANA candidate Te Hāmua Nikora today in response to the news that National will close...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Winegums make for better polling – Harawira
    I wanted to laugh when I saw the Native Affairs poll the other night (Hone Harawira 38%, Kelvin Davis 37%) because it was almost the same as the one they did back in 2011”, said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 16-09
  • The Leadership of MTS Lied – Harawira
    “Normally I’m happy to tell people that I was right but when I received the news about the staff cuts at Maori Television, I had nothing but sympathy for the three Maori media leaders who are going to be made...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Privileges Complaint Laid against Prime Minister – Harawira
    MANA Movement Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has today lodged a Privileges Complaint with the Speaker regarding the Prime Ministers denials in parliament that he knew anything about Kim Dotcom before 2012. “Information made public today appears...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Sharples’ new appointments are out of order
    The new appointments to the Waitangi Tribunal announced by Dr Pita Sharples this morning are completely out of order given the election is just five days away, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “This Government continues to show disdain...
    Labour | 15-09
  • MANA Movement Housing Policy
    “When families are living in cars, garages, cockroach-infested caravans and three families to a house then we have a housing crisis”, said MANA leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira. “When you have a housing crisis for low-income...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Bigger than the Foreshore and Seabed – Sykes
    “Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end to both...
    Mana | 14-09
  • MANA wants Te Reo Māori petition fulfilled
    Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Te Hāmua Nikora, MANA candidate for Ikaroa Rāwhiti  “More than four decades have passed and the petition calling for Te Reo Māori in schools...
    Mana | 14-09
  • Primary focus on the critical issues
    A Labour Government will prioritise New Zealand’s agricultural sectors by recreating a Rural Affairs Minister and appointing a Primary Industry Council and a Chief Agricultural Adviser. Releasing Labour’s Primary Sector and Rural Affairs policies today, spokesperson Damien O’Connor says the...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Maori Television fears confirmed – Harawira
    ...
    Mana | 12-09
  • More ghost houses from National
    The Government’s desperate pre-election announcement of more ghost houses won’t fool Aucklanders wanting action on the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “These are ghost houses, to go with National’s ghost tax cut. Families cannot live in ghost...
    Labour | 12-09
  • National bows to union pressure over travel time
    National has reluctantly bowed to pressure from unions and adopted Labour’s fair and sensible policy to pay home support workers for the time they spend traveling between clients, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “This decision is long overdue...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Predators on Poverty – Harawira
    “As poverty has ballooned out of control, the Predators on Poverty have emerged to suck the lifeblood from whole families and communities” said MANA Movement leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “They are deliberately targeting low-income areas, particularly those...
    Mana | 11-09
  • MANA Movement Policy Launch
    Predators on Poverty (pokie machines, alcohol outlets and loan sharks) 1pm, Thursday 11th September Corner Great South Road and Criterion Street Otahuhu Shopping Centre...
    Mana | 10-09
  • Eliminating Poverty – Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, Otara | Internet MAN...
    A campaign to Eliminate Poverty, Feed the Kids, build more houses, and create thousands of new jobs, was outlined by Internet MANA at a public meeting in Otara this evening. When MANA and the Internet Party first sat down to...
    Mana | 09-09
  • Housing in Waiariki – Sykes
    Fact:  Under this National-Maori Party-ACT-United Future Government 61% of Maori in Waiariki do not own their own home and nearly 70% of Maori rentals in Waiariki pay $200 or more per week. “Maori in Waiariki have low rates of home ownership...
    Mana | 09-09
  • Charter school crisis shows time to axe costly experiment
    Dysfunction from day one at a Northland charter school shows it is time to dump this costly and failed experiment by the National-ACT Government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru received $27,000 in government funding...
    Labour | 08-09
  • Labour will crack down on loan sharks
    A Labour Government will crack down on predatory loan sharks by making it illegal both to charge exorbitant interest rates and to exploit uninformed borrowers, Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson Carol Beaumont says. Labour today released its Consumer Affairs policy which...
    Labour | 08-09
  • Let’s do the FEED before the weed
    “Last week I put out a very strongly worded email to my colleagues about an online promotion about cannabis law reform” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira “and I stand by that criticism today.” My concern was...
    Mana | 08-09
  • TE KAEA and NATIVE AFFAIRS live to fight another day
    “I understand that both the chair of the Board of Maori Television, Georgina Te Heuheu, and new CEO, Paora Maxwell, are now saying that my comments this morning about their plans to cut Te Kaea and Native Affairs, were wrong, and that...
    Mana | 08-09
  • How come the PM only pays 2.8% of his income in tax – Harawira
    “Before John Key talks about the piddling tax cuts he plans for low and middle income families today he needs to explain why he only pays 2.8% of his income on tax while a minimum wage worker pays 28% tax,”...
    Mana | 07-09
  • THE DEATH OF INDEPENDENCE FOR MAORI TV
    “If what I’m hearing is true, tomorrow Maori Television Service (MTS) will dump its news programme, Te Kaea, and staff will lose their jobs” said MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira “and the Minister of Maori...
    Mana | 07-09
  • Labour recommits to Pike River families
    An incoming Labour-led government will do everything possible to recover the bodies of the Pike River Miners and return them to their families, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “This tragedy and its aftermath has left the families of the 29...
    Labour | 06-09
  • Voting has started and still no tax plan or fiscal budget for voters to see
    "Even though voting for the election has already begun, National still refuses to provide any details of its proposed tax cuts. And Bill English admitted this morning that he won’t provide any specifics until after the election", Labour’s Finance spokesperson...
    Labour | 06-09
  • National’s partners’ tax plans cost at least $42 billion
    If National forms the next government its partners’ tax plans will cost the country at least $42 billion, and maybe as much as $50 billion, wreaking havoc with the books, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National claims to be...
    Labour | 05-09
  • Labour: Providing more opportunities for young Kiwis
    A Labour Government will ensure every young Kiwi under the age of 20 is given the opportunity to be in work, education or training, and plans to develop a conservation apprenticeship scheme to help do that, Labour’s Youth Affairs spokesperson...
    Labour | 04-09
  • Candles out on teachers’ slice of birthday cake
    Today may be Novopay’s second birthday, but there’s little to celebrate, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Novopay has cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars already, and the cost is still climbing....
    Labour | 04-09
  • National’s blatant broadband pork barrelling misses the mark by a country...
    National’s blatant pork-barrelling ICT announcement today should reinforce a growing sceptical electorate’s view that they are all about the gift wrap and not the present, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Instead of addressing the real issues - the woeful...
    Labour | 04-09
  • More evidence of the need to clean up the system
    The latest release of emails and messages between disgraced Minister Judith Collins and blogger Cameron Slater are more evidence of the urgent need to clean up politics, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. "This new evidence confirms a near constant flow...
    Labour | 04-09
  • Labour commits to stable funding for voluntary sector
    A Labour Government will establish long-term funding and streamline contract accountability for community and voluntary groups, says Labour’s spokesperson for the sector Louisa Wall. Announcing Labour’s policy for the community and voluntary sector, she said this would give much greater...
    Labour | 04-09
  • Better trained and skilled workforce under Labour
    Labour is committed to a skilled workforce that benefits businesses as well as their workers, and will increase workplace training to improve productivity and drive innovation, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Labour believes the Government should support New Zealanders into...
    Labour | 03-09
  • Labour will make renting a better option
    Labour will provide greater security of tenure for renters, and build more state and social housing, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Labour believes every kid deserves a decent start in life. That means a warm, dry and secure home....
    Labour | 03-09
  • At least 15 new taxes under National
    John Key is the last person to talk about creating taxes, presiding over a Government that has imposed at least 15 new taxes, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “John Key tried a novel line in the debate last night claiming...
    Labour | 03-09
  • Labour will strengthen New Zealand’s democracy
    A Labour Government will act quickly to protect and enhance New Zealand’s reputation as one of the most open and least corrupt countries in the world, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “The health of any democracy is improved by greater...
    Labour | 02-09
  • MANA Movement says tax cut on GST must be first priority – Minto
    “If Prime Minister John Key has money available for tax cuts then cutting GST must be the first priority”,  said MANA Movement Economic Justice Spokesperson John Minto. GST is a nasty tax on low-income families”, said Minto. “People in the...
    Mana | 02-09
  • The Maori Party’s Mana-Enhancing Relationship with National – Minto
    “First we had Cameron Slater and David Farrar backing Labour’s Kelvin Davis bid to unseat MANA Movement Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira.  Now we have Slater writing a pro-Te Ururoa Flavell article on his website, Whale...
    Mana | 02-09
  • There’s Only One Poll That Counts
    “One of the oldest sayings in politics is that there is only one poll that counts – the one on Election Day – and that’s the one that I am focusing on” remarked the MANA Movement candidate for Waiariki, Annette...
    Mana | 02-09
  • Local communities critical to Civil Defence
    Labour will focus on empowering New Zealand communities to be resilient in Civil Defence disasters, says Labour’s Civil Defence spokesperson Clare Curran. Announcing Labour’s Civil Defence policy, she says that Labour will work with schools, voluntary agencies and community groups...
    Labour | 02-09
  • Labour looks to long-life passports, gambling harm review
    A return to 10 year passports and a review of gambling laws are highlights of Labour’s Internal Affairs policy released today. “More than 15,000 New Zealanders signed a petition calling on the Government to revert to the 10 year system...
    Labour | 02-09
  • MANA Movement Leadership stands strong behind Internet MANA relationship
    “There is now, and always will be, a range of views about many issues within our movement and members are free to express them, but Georgina’s views on Kim Dotcom are not shared by the MANA Movement leadership or the vast majority...
    Mana | 01-09
  • Rebuilding the New Zealand Defence Force
    A Labour Government will make it a priority to rebuild the capacity of the Defence Force to carry out the tasks expected of it, says Labour’s Defence Spokesperson Phil Goff. Releasing Labour’s Defence Policy today he said the NZDF has...
    Labour | 01-09
  • Speech to Canterbury Chamber of Commerce
    Today I'm going to talk about our policy package to upgrade and grow our economy and how we turn that growth into a foundation for a decent and fair society. But first I want to address the issue of our...
    Labour | 01-09
  • Commission of Inquiry must have bipartisan support
    The Labour Party is drafting terms of reference for a Commission of Inquiry, Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker says. “It is abundantly clear there is a need for an independent Commission of Inquiry, chaired by a High Court Judge, into...
    Labour | 01-09
  • Rapid Transit to unclog Christchurch
    Labour will build a 21st century Rapid Transit system for Christchurch, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “The long delayed recovery of Christchurch hinges on a modern commuter system for the city. “We will invest $100 million in a modern rail plan...
    Labour | 31-08
  • Labour’s commitment to public broadcasting
    A Labour Government will set up a working group to re-establish a public service television station as part of our commitment to ensuring New Zealand has high quality free-to-air local content. “We will set up a working group to report...
    Labour | 31-08
  • No way – Key admits Snowden is right
    After claiming there was no middle ground. After claiming there was no mass surveillance. After calling Glenn Greenwald a henchman and a loser. After all the mainstream media pundits screamed at Kim’s decision to take his evidence to Parliamentary Privileges...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • Bad luck National
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • The incredible changing John Key story on mass spying – why the Moment of...
    While the mainstream media continue to try and make the Moment of Truth about Kim’s last minute decision to prolong his battle against John Key past the election into the Privileges Committee, the reality is that the Moment of Truth...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Themes of the Campaign
    There’s one area of a political campaign that just about everyone, at some point, falls afoul of. The campaign song. I’m not sure quite why it is, but it seems to be almost impossible for political parties to come up...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Denis Tegg – The NSA slides that prove mass surveillance
    The evidence presented by Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden on The Intercept of mass surveillance of New Zealanders by the GCSB is undeniable, and can stand on its own. But when you place this fresh evidence in the context of...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland
    The Ukrainian civil war discomforts me. It seems to me the most dangerous political crisis since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. And it’s because of our unwillingness to examine the issues in a holistic way. We innately prefer to...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • John Key’s love affair with a straw man – the relationship intensifies
    John Key’s love affair with the straw man is now a fully-committed relationship. It’s now the first love of his life. Sorry Bronagh. Yesterday I pointed to Key’s constant assurances that there is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders by...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • A brief word on why Wendyl Nissen is a hero
    Wendyl Nissen is a hero. The sleazy black ops attack on her by Slater and Odgers on behalf of Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich is sick. All Nissen is doing in her column is point out the filth and...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • She saw John Key on TV and decided to vote!
    . . NZ, Wellington, 15 September – ‘Tina’* is 50, a close friend,  and one of the “Missing Million” from the last election. In fact, ‘Tina’ has never voted in her life.  Not once. In ‘Tina’s’ own words, politics has...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • Eminem sues National Party for unlawful use of ‘Lose yourself’ bhahahah...
    …ahahahahahahahaha. Oh Christ this is hilarious… National Party sued over Eminem copyright infringment US rapper Eminem is suing the National Party for allegedly breaching copyright by using his song Lose Yourself in its campaign advertisements. The Detroit-based publishers of Eminem’s...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • Are the Greens about to be snookered by a Labour-NZ First Government?
    I wrote last week that it was smart politics that the Greens pointed out they could work with National, the soft blue vote that’s looking for a home in the wake of Dirty Politics isn’t going to Labour, so the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • BLOGWATCH: Fonterra join 2Degrees and boycott Whaleoil
    In the wake of Dirty Politics, advertisers are pulling their advertising out of Whaleoil. PaknSave, Evo Cycles Pukekohe, Localist, 2 Degrees, Fertility Associates, iSentia, NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, Maori TV, Bookme.co.nz, Dobetter.co.nz and the Sound are now joined by Fonterra...
    The Daily Blog | 16-09
  • PM Key accused of allowing secret ‘spook’ cable sensors to spy on citiz...
    Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald (left) and Kim Dotcom at the “moment of truth” political surveillance meeting in Auckland last night. Image: PMW By ANNA MAJAVU of Pacific Media Watch NEW ZEALAND Prime Minister John Key has been accused of...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • Fiji pre-election ‘politics’ blackout stirs media protests, frustration
    BLACKOUT DAY – Monday, day one of the “silence window” in Fiji leading up to the close of polling in the general election at 6pm on Wednesday. And this is under the draconian threat of a $10,000 fine or five...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • “Now the work of movements begins”: government corruption, media bias, ...
    I am so tired of the dirty politics of the National government, aren’t you? I am tired of John Key and his pathetic attacks on award-winning journalists who have spent their careers fighting and digging for truth and good. The...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • Moment of Truth review, smoking guns and the awful coverage by the NZ msm
      There were queues unlike any the Town Hall has seen, 1000 were turned away once it became full…     …full to the rafters. The energy and atmosphere within the room was extraordinary, and it begun…   …Glenn Greenwald...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • Why Maori TV’s Te Tai Tokeraou Poll will be proved wrong
    If Hone Harawira had a dollar every time the media wrote off his chance of winning Te Tai Tokeraou, he would have more money than Kim Dotcom. Remember the by-election? Hone was 1 point ahead of Kelvin in an exact...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • September 15 RNZ interviews – and then the Moment of Truth
    . Acknowledgement: Emmerson . 15 September – Leading up to the Moment of Truth public meeting this evening, these Radio NZ interviews are worth listening to; . Alt link . Alt link . Alt link . Alt link . Alt...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • Live Stream: Moment of Truth Tonight 7pm
    Live Video Stream by eCast: The Daily Blog will Live Stream the Moment of Trust public meeting from 7pm. The meeting will feature Glenn Greenwald, Kim Dotcom, Robert Amsterdam, and a very special guest…...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • The proof Key lied about GCSB mass surveillance
    And we start getting to the evidence that proves Key has lied about mass surveillance. The article by Glenn Greenwald is out and it is beyond damning… Documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the government worked in...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • A brief word on the Ede-Slater emails
    Every day I have rushed to read the paper to see if a breaking story on the Ede-Slater emails had broken yet. They haven’t. Day after day, where are these emails? We know Rawshark sent the emails to David Fisher...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • The email that proves Key is a liar
    This is the Email proving Key knew about Kim Dotcom before he claims he did… “We had a really good meeting with the Prime Minister. He’s a fan and we’re getting what we came for. Your groundwork in New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 15-09
  • Henchmen
    Henchmen...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Why it simply isn’t credible that Key stepped in and shut down the mass s...
    Key’s staggering admission that yes there was a year long business model by the GCSB to mass spy on all of NZ but  that he stepped in and shut it down after Cabinet had signed it off just sounds like make...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • John Key’s love affair with a straw man
    Politicians like putting up straw men for the purpose of self-righteously knocking them over. Prime Minister John Key has a particular straw man he loves to punch over. He raises it whenever he’s asked about mass surveillance of New Zealanders...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • John Armstrong turns on Glenn Greenwald
    Where does a mediocre journalist like John Armstrong get off attacking a journalist with the credibility of Glenn Greenwald as he has in his ridiculous column today? Armstrong has the audacity to try and play the terrorism card to justify why...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Denis Tegg – Which of John Key’s many statements on the GC...
    We already have Glenn Greenwald’s assertion on The Nation that John Key has misled New Zealanders as to whether the GCSB has engaged in mass surveillance of Kiwis. But Key has made many other statements about the GCSB’s powers and...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Election 2014: Numbers and Faces
    Democratic politics is a game of numbers and faces. How can we translate the numbers into the 120 or more faces that will be in the next Parliament? Below is my prediction of a likely result: 120 people, divided by...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Scotland the brave
    The possibility that Scotland will vote for independence this Thursday has panicked the British establishment. An unholy alliance of Tory, Labour, Liberal and corporate leaders has resorted to fear-mongering and bullying on grand scale in a last ditch effort to...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Why Key’s denials sound so off and why Dotcom’s fight is all our fight
    The shrillness of Key is the issue. His denials just too forced and rehearsed. Key has gone from Hollow Man to Shallow Man with his lashing out at Pulitzer Price winning Journalist Glenn Greenwald by calling him a ‘henchman’. This...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Letters to the Editor – Spies, Lies, Five Eyes, and other matters on a S...
    . . Sharing a few thoughts and observations with newspaper editors around the country… . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>to: Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>date: Sun, Sep 14, 2014 subject: Letter to the Editor . The Editor Sunday Star Times . Our...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Letters to the Editor – Spies, Lies, Five Eyes, and other matters on a Su...
    . . Sharing a few thoughts and observations with newspaper editors around the country… . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>to: Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>date: Sun, Sep 14, 2014 subject: Letter to the Editor . The Editor Sunday Star Times . Our...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • As TDB predicted, Labour to use universal super fund to buy back assets and...
    Greens about to be snookered again?   As The Daily Blog has pointed out several times now, Labour will use a universal super fund to buy back NZs assets in a bid to offer Winston a legacy project… Labour plans...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • A lesson in caring for our most vulnerable
    Some of the comments on this article make me sick. Because I am so very much over people who think they are better than others because things have gone their way in life and think those who aren’t as functional...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Please vote positive
    One of the features of campaigning is the meet-the-candidates event.  As an opportunity to present policies to the voter, they aren’t the best vehicle but still serve a useful purpose.  The problem is that there are too many candidates and...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • For this who don’t vote this election
    For this who don’t vote this election...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • Where does Key get off abusing a Pulitzer prize winning Journalist like Gle...
    We are seeing the Dirty Politics PM today when Key decided the best way to counter the Glenn Greenwald claims of GCSB mass surveillance was to denigrate Greenwald… Prime Minister John Key says he will prove Glenn Greenwald’s claims by the...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • Teflon Man No More
    . .   On 26 August, as Nicky Hager’s expose on New Zealand’s right wing politics hit public consciousness and confirmed our worst fears, I wrote, “Dirty Politics” has achieved more than simply revealing  unwholesome machinations between National party apparatchiks,...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • Dear mainstream media – regarding Key’s promise to resign if GCSB expos...
    Dear Mainstream media. How’s it all going? I would like to acknowledge the deep depression many members of the Press Gallery are going through as their boy Key looks less and less likely to win. I appreciate how a loss...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • It’s official: ACT’s Jamie Whyte is several-sandwiches-and-a-salad sho...
    .   . There aren’t very many times I agree wholeheartedly with our Dear Leader – but on this occassion I believe he spoke for those 99% of New Zealanders for whom common sense is as natural as breathing air....
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • ‘I’ll not be intimidated … by cowards’, says Fiji death threat jour...
    Fiji Sun’s Jyoti Pratibha … death threats via fake Facebook profiles. Image: Pacific Scoop THE PARIS-based media freedom advocacy organisation Reporters Sans Frontières and the Pacific Media Centre have condemned threats and intimidation against political reporters this week covering Fiji’s...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Glenn Greenwald on TV3s ‘The Nation’ – Everyone remember when Key pro...
    Glenn Greenwald has just given his first NZ interview on TV3s ‘The Nation’ and what he had to say was incredibly damaging. Glenn is here for Kim Dotcom’s Moment of Truth on Monday and what he has just had to...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • What will soft National vote do, why Colin Craig will be a focus in final w...
    In what has been the most unpredictable elections of our time, the final week promises more shocks and bombshells than World War One trench warfare. We have the media who still have the Rawshark emails that detail the Ede-Slater exchanges....
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Would a National-Conservative Party reduce rights to an abortion? Legalise ...
    With the possibility of a Conservative-National Party coalition looming, let’s consider the impact of this new hard right religious Government on social policy. We know Conservative Party candidate Edward Saafi, believes the inability to legally bash your kids is responsible for teenage prostitution, teenage pregnancy and...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • ACTs solution to crime – more guns?
    How insane are the ACT Party? Honestly? Their solution to crime is to arm every shop keeper with a sawn off shotgun??? “Criminals are well aware that shopkeepers are defenceless and are taking advantage of this in brutal robberies. What...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • John Key’s gift to teenage girls…
    Yesterday I was at the MANA Movement policy release on “Predators on Poverty” in the Otahuhu Shopping Centre. Successive Labour and National governments have left vulnerable communities on their own to face these merciless thieves who prey on the poor...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Poverty denial – Where does National get its advice from?
    National is displaying a quite inadequate understanding of their own policies and worrying inability to respond to criticism. When John Key trots out his old, tired example of how ‘work pays’ on Morning Report this week to justify leaving 260,000...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Education reformers mean well, so what’s the problem?
    The thing about education reformers is that, mostly, they mean well. Whether it’s charter schools, National Standards, Teach First, or another reform, many people involved have good intentions.  They want to improve things, try something new and innovate, they say. The thing...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • My brain hurts
    My brain hurts.  This election year has been a really long nine months.  The lies, the headlines, the spin, the policy, the chat, I am literally overloaded with information.  At times it’s been exhausting trying to keep up.  However I...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Slater loses Blomfield defamation case – has to pays costs & must dis...
    Great victory for Journalism today. The Defamation case Matt Blomfield took against Slater has jumped its first hurdle, Slater has been told he might be a ‘Journalist’, but he has no right to journalistic protection of his sources because there was no...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Pregnancy Help Welcomes Green Party Packs for Newborn Babies
    Pregnancy Help applauds Metiria Turei acknowledging that “for many parents the birth of a new child is a highly stressful and financially straining time” and the desire for every child to thrive....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • McVicar Welcomes ASA Decision
    Napier Conservative Party Candidate Garth McVicar welcomes the Advertising Standards Authority’s decision to not uphold the pamphlet complaint of Robert Johnson, Campaign Manager for Napier Labour candidate Stuart Nash. The ASA acknowledged that one complaint...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Whyte: In 12 months’ time, here is what will matter
    In three days’ time I will be elected along with a number of ACT MPs. I think the media will be surprised and ask how it happened?...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Internet MANA Will Grant Special Residency to Edward Snowden
    Internet MANA will put the case to the new government to welcome global surveillance whistle blower Edward Snowden, granting him safe passage and residency in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Ten millionth traveller uses SmartGate
    The 10 millionth traveller to pass through SmartGate, Customs’ automated passenger processing system, was greeted by Customs Manager Passenger Operations, Peter Lewis today at Auckland International Airport....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Key vs. Cunliffe: Final Live NZ Election Reactor 7pm Tonight
    John Key and David Cunliffe go head to head for the last time tonight and you can decide who wins by driving the worm. This is the last live Election Reactor covering the debate tonight at 7pm on TV One....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Offenders Get Road Safety Message
    Wellington Community Corrections partnered with emergency services, government agencies, organisations and Kapiti Coast District Council to deliver an innovative road safety programme to 70 community-based offenders at Southwards Car Museum on Tuesday 16...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Proposed law to decriminalise Abortion
    http://images.tvnz.co.nz/tvnz_images/news2011/politics_news/12/q_a_interview__list_mp_jan_logie_n2.jpgRight to Life is disappointed that the Green Party is refusing to provide a response to the seven very important questions that have been addressed to Jan Logie, spokesperson...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Election 2014 Will Be Costly
    The Taxpayers’ Union has today released the final update for its ' Bribe-O-Meter ' election costing website in the lead-up to Saturday’s general election. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Roy Morgan Poll September 17
    John Key set to win narrow election victory on Saturday as Labour/Greens slump puts Winston Peters in powerful position as NZ First surge to 8% Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows National (46.5%, up 1.5%) set to win a...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Wahakura Package would provide warm welcome for babies
    The Greens Wahakura Welcome package announced yesterday is a wonderful example of child-centred policy which would help all children get a fair and equal start in life, says Child Poverty Action Group. CPAG health spokesperson Innes Asher says,...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • TPPA a Sellout to American Corporate Greed
    New Zealand will become a permanent prisoner to the United States’ greed and global arrogance if the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) isn’t stopped, warns Internet MANA....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Wintry showers and blustery winds for Election Day
    As we head towards the weekend, it is time to look at what the weather will be for New Zealand's "Have Your Say" Day....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • New national secretary announced
    The PSA is pleased to announce the appointment of Erin Polaczuk to the role of national secretary....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Public Secotr & TISA: On the cusp of something very special?
    Is the National Party keeping some things out of sight in case they frighten the electorate? Here is some worrying evidence that this may be the case....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • MPI ups yacht biosecurity ante
    Yachts arriving in Northland from overseas this season will face greater biosecurity scrutiny, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)....
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • iPredict Election Update
    John Key’s National Party now has an 88% probability of leading the next government , most probably with the support of NZ First, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. There...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • Crowdfunding to Save Native Fish
    NZ Landcare Trust is offering an exciting project designed to assist native fish, as part of the launch of a new global crowdfunding category called 'The Landcare & Environment Collection.' This exciting step, aims to help raise funds and support,...
    Scoop politics | 17-09
  • New methods needed to reach non-voters
    Non-voters are much heavier users of the internet than those who do vote, while 43 per cent of non-voters say they never read a newspaper according to research released today by the Election Data Consortium....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Parties sent home with report cards
    More than 2000 New Zealanders came together to run a full page ad in the Herald today asking all Parties what they will commit to do to clean up politics. The answers are in, and ActionStation has graded Parties on...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • One in 10 Kiwis want Winston Peters to Run the Country -Poll
    New Zealand First leader, Winston Peters has seen his personal popularity reach a three-year high in the final 3News/Reid Research poll ahead of Election Day....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Shut Down This Govt Not Kaiti WINZ
    "I’m going to make it as hard for you to get help as I can" is Paula Bennett’s message to the people of Kaiti said MANA candidate Te Hāmua Nikora today in response to the news that National will close...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • New methods needed to reach non-voters
    Non-voters are much heavier users of the internet than those who do vote, while 43 per cent of non-voters say they never read a newspaper according to research released today by the Election Data Consortium....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Conservatives Break Through 5% Threshold
    Reports in today’s Dominion Post that the Conservative Party is polling at 6% in Nationals internal polling are not surprising says the Conservative Napier candidate Garth McVicar....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • The MANA Plan for Beneficiaries and Income in Waiariki
    Median Personal Income for Waiariki is $21,700. Over 13,000 Maori who live in Waiariki rely upon a form of government benefit including the Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit and the Invalids Benefit....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • IGIS: No Indiscriminate Interception of NZers’ Data Found
    “As part of my role as Inspector-General, I review whether the GCSB complies with the restrictions upon interception of New Zealanders’ communications and with the requirement to intercept communications only for authorised purposes. That review...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Conservatives Break through 5% Threshold
    Reports in today’s Dominion Post that the Conservative Party is polling at 6% in Nationals internal polling are not surprising says the Conservative Napier candidate Garth McVicar....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Hundreds of Students Turn Out for Political Debate
    With only a few days left before the general election, over 500 Victoria students packed the central Hub space on campus today to listen to a political debate on student issues organised by the Students’ Association. Victoria University of Wellington...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Ex-prisoners make most of mentoring to make most of life
    It’s not every day that an organisation triples a programme in size, but PARS Inc (formerly known as the Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation Society of the Auckland District Inc) has managed to do just that with their Community Mentoring Scheme,...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Unscrupulous worker highlights why 90-days works
    Federated Farmers believes the experience of a husband and wife farming team in Taranaki underscores why the 90-days provision is so important to small businesses. “Yesterday a member called 0800 FARMING to alert us to a guy doing the rounds...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Eye to Eye Uploaded
    Leading Maori broadcaster and political commentator Willie Jackson previews Eye to Eye Uploaded, a multi-platform series of interviews that he’s aiming to put in front of media radars next year....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Party Rankings against Inequality
    Revealed: which party will do the most to reduce New Zealand’s growing inequality crisis...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Maritime Union backs change of Government
    The Maritime Union says a change of Government is required to deliver secure jobs and decent wages for New Zealand workers....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Green Party package for newborns welcomed
    16 September 2014 Media Release The New Zealand College of Midwives has welcomed a policy announced today by the Green Party which would provide a package of essential items for every newborn baby. The College is a non partisan organisation...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • ALCP Release Election Manifesto
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party has released its manifesto in the lead up to the election on Saturday....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Election Daily Update #9
    John Key’s National Party appears to have received a major boost from last night’s “Moment of Truth” event, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. Despite no major changes...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Eminem Publishers Sue New Zealand National Party
    Detroit-based music publishing companies sue National Party for damages for unauthorised use of song in election campaign advertising...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Parties Back Rethink of WINZ Shared Care Parenting Laws
    Overwhelming Majority of Parties Back Rethink of WINZ Shared Care Parenting Laws. Press release- Fifty Fifty Campaign, 16 September 2014 National is the only political party willing to defend the way WINZ treats separated parents who share their kids...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Parents Smacking Down Prime Minister
    "John Keys failure to deliver on his promise to change the anti-smacking law is costing National votes, and helping the Conservative Party," says Colin Craig....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Political Debate on Family Violence – Video & Audio
    The Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence was happy to host a political debate on Family Violence chaired by Professor Nicola Atwool of the University of Otago. Family Violence is a huge problem in our community and we invited representatives...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Greens Take Nanny State To A New Level
    Family First NZ is labelling the Green’s ‘welcome package’ for newborns policy as wasteful and misdirected. “This policy is taking ‘nanny state’ to a new level but indicates just how much the Greens want to intervene in family life,”...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • 2,100 people send message about dirty politics
    2,100 people have signed their name to a full-page open letter featuring in the New Zealand Herald this Wednesday. The letter is designed to send a message to politicians that dirty politics is an important election issue....
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Are DoC manipulating Rat Numbers?
    Ban 1080 Political Party co-leader Bill Wallace says there are serious rumours DoC has changed their rat counting technique to cover up the lack of the mythical “Rat Plague” claimed by the Department in Kahurangi National Park, and also that...
    Scoop politics | 16-09
  • Average Full time Student Is in Financial Distress
    A new survey has found that nearly half of all full time students are in significant financial distress....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Key and Cunliffe, research revealed by Ancestry.com.au
    Contrasting family histories of John Key and David Cunliffe, revealed by research from Ancestry.com.au....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Revelations a Damning Indictment of Key’s Honesty
    The Prime Minister’s honesty is now central to the election, says Internet Party Leader Laila Harré, following the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden that there is mass surveillance of New Zealand citizens by the GCSB....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Organisations Have ‘Duty of Care’ for Players says Law Firm
    Concussion injuries in amateur and professional sporting arenas are currently highly topical. Concussion potentially appears to have been implicit in the recent death of a young player in Northland....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Media Release from Closing the Gap on Health and Housing
    “Inequality is the biggest problem facing New Zealand at the present time” says Peter Malcolm National Secretary of Closing the Gap. It underlies many of our social ills, poverty, lack of trust, an economy that could do much better, and...
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Expanding Whānau Ora – a bottom line for Māori Party
    Leaving the best to last, the Māori Party has launched its Whānau Ora policy today following a fun family event at Te Ore Ore Marae in Masterton last night. “When we change what happens in our homes, we change what...
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Colin Craig’s Incredible Claims Continue
    Hot on the heels of a Conservative Party candidate proposing to double the price of a bottle of wine, Colin Craig has come up with an even more fantastic idea to buttress his uncosted tax policy....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
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