web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

Too Big to Fail

Written By: - Date published: 8:04 pm, April 10th, 2009 - 28 comments
Categories: economy - Tags:

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is one of those rare thinkers who has the priceless ability to express complex ideas in ways that are immediately accessible and concrete. I’m going to shamelessly quote and derive from a very recent article he’s written in the Financial Times. It’s so good I’m going to take each one of the ten ideas he expresses and in turn try to link each one to underlying themes we see debated here over and over.

1. What is fragile should break early while it is still small. Nothing should ever become too big to fail. Evolution in economic life helps those with the maximum amount of hidden risks and hence the most fragile become the biggest.

Taleb argues that random, high impact events occur more often than we imagine. Most of the time we expect the world to behave with a comfortable Gaussian range of behaviours, the mean being most common, and by the time we get several standard deviations out, the probabilities of extreme events becomes vanishingly rare. In fact the world is not like that.

Seven years of good times, is one day replaced by seven years of famine. No matter how large and successful an enterprise was, no matter how comfortably and well you lived in the good times, if the famine causes the business to collapse, or you and your family to die… the good times mean nothing.

Business failure in a corner dairy, or a local contractor’s ditch digging company is hurtful for the individuals involved, but does not damage society as a whole. People pick themselves up and life goes on. But when an entire financial system goes belly up, all at once…there is no ‘picking yourself up again’, because everyone else is in the same gutter with you.

Capitalism as we have known it fails on these counts:

1. It has allowed excessive concentration of wealth into fewer hands, inevitably resulting in the evolution of entities ‘too big to fail’.

2. It hides tranparent evaluation of real risks behind walls of ‘commercial confidentiality’, disinformation and lies which rewards cheaters and liars with a grossly disproportionate advantage. Entities built on this advantage may grow rapidly, but their inevitable collapse is even more spectacular.

3. Systemic failure becomes catastrophic because capitalism imposes an economic mono-culture on the entire globe ensnaring almost everyone in it’s grip. Local silos of prosperity and independence have been swept away by globalised, mass market business, creating a dependency model much like a addict becomes hooked on P.

4. Far from encouraging innovation and diversity that is adaptive in the face of radical change, capitalism acts to protect the established markets and the largest, most powerful players within them. Although some change is permitted around the margins, the core action in any market does not change unless and until the big dominating cartels allow it.

What will change this? What form of regulation or law change is necessary to break this system? The end of the legal fiction that coporations are ‘natural persons’? The end of ‘intellectual property’? Nationalisation of all credit creation?

28 comments on “Too Big to Fail”

  1. Quoth the Raven 1

    The end of limited liability would be a good one. Make people take full personal responsibility for the risks they take.

    • Ari 1.1

      That would just hit the small players even harder when they try to muscle in, QtR.

      Legislating to remove things like hedge funds, demand corporate transparency standards, removing the legal fiction of “corporate persons”, and so on would all be very useful steps.

      Nationalising credit creation would reign in the banks, but it might also kill the boom times. If we’re willing to sacrifice that, fine, but I don’t see the whole world doing it at once.

      • Quoth the Raven 1.1.1

        Small businesses like sole proprietors with unlimited liability?
        No it has been argued that businesses would become smaller if real free market policies like getting rid of limited liability were enacted.

        • Ari 1.1.1.1

          I agree, to an extent, but I like the idea of limited liability in situations where someone truly was just overconfident of their ability to run a business successfully. We should deal with people who shield corruption behind limited liability by making corrupt business practises as dangerous to careers in the private sector as they are in the public sector.

  2. I remember reading some article that said the cause of all the financial bubbles of the past 10-15 years basically stems from the fact that money is getting further and further concentrated among a small amount of super rich people and businesses. This is particularly the case in the USA.

    If you think about it, the super-rich literally can’t spend all their money so they invest it – in technology stocks, in the sharemarket, in oil, in derivatives or in housing. There’s more money invested in those areas than should be, so you get a bubble created – which of course eventually pops. If the money was spread out a lot more, then it would be spent (creating jobs) rather than invested in over-inflated market derivatives, or whatever you want to call it. This would be a more sustainable way for a country to operate, with the money flowing around a lot more and reaching a lot more people.

    It’s a kind of win-win situation for everyone (except the super-duper rich). We avoid market bubbles, we help out those in need to a greater extent and we create more jobs than ever. It’s something the left should be pointing out I think. A pity most economists are right-wing.

  3. rave 3

    Too big to fail? But they have failed.
    Its catastrophic because instead of them suffering its us who suffer.
    The big banks only survive because our future wage increases and taxes are mortgaged to bail them out.
    Jarbury is right. We owe them nothing. In fact they owe us centuries of backwages as poet ARD Fairburn once put it.
    But to do this we have to nationalise the central banks and put them under the control of those who work. Then nationalise all the key sectors of the economy with no compensation to the Jennings of this world. I would like to disproportionately misrepresent that tycoon.
    Then we have to devise how to run a democratic state to make sure the credit is used to produce things we need.
    For those of us in Auckland, stopping the banksters from supersizing our city would be a trial run.

  4. infused 4

    limited liability is a myth QtR.

    • BLiP 4.1

      Infused, you’re confused. Try telling the owners of leaky apartments who are chasing the millionaire developers that limited liability is a myth. I am sure they will be consoled and comforted with your understanding of the situation.

      • lprent 4.1.1

        I’d just like my case to get to court. It has been more than 4 years since we started forking out for fixing my apartment.

  5. Tom M 5

    I think you’re right about the normal distribution – in fact many economists are coming to realise that perhaps these things are better modelled with a t distribution, i.e. a normal one but with fatter tails.

    However, I think you’ve got the causality confused in terms of ‘too big to fail’ institutions. It’s the large institutions that subsequently create great wealth for their proprietors, rather than the other way around.
    Think about it – the bankers don’t earn their money in a vacuum and then pool it to create a bank. Rather, the bank grows, and correspondingly so does their pay.

    At least, that seems more intuitive to me.

    Some of your other claims seem a little suspect to me also.

  6. ak 6

    Absolutely right, the lot of you. “Too big to fail” is the ultimate, gobsmacking euphemism for the fact that “democracy” (that marvellous choice between two millionaires every three or four years) is indeed dead: a clear and unequivocal admission that the “finance industry” is more powerful than the most powerful government on earth.

    So much so, that that same govt is forced to shovel trillions of worker-created wealth down the throat of an “industry” that has produced precisely nothing (while millions die for want of cents): merely shuffled paper – (and to our local shame we inserted one of its greedy minions as our leader). And that tiny, bloated cabal – those cheerleaders of greed and obscene usury that led us to this point – still have the utter gall to claim our attention and ask that we take them seriously.

    But there’s a silver lining: just as those “stimulae” continue to look increasingly impotent, there’s a new, steady assertiveness stirring from the bottom. US wealth defeated the USSR, and the lesson was well learned. The savers and producers now hold the cards: their more advanced morality is now poised to ascend.

    Karl and JC were right: thanks to the net, the meek are slowly but surely demanding their just inheritance, and the dawn of the yuan (over the buck) is just the first milky light of a potential new day – the salubrious new contours of emancipation slowly taking shape in the minds of billions; once tasted, never to be relinquished.

    And how apt the timing: the moneychangers on their bikes to nowhere, and the world at Calvary’s summit. Shoulder to the boulder, brothers and sisters, the truth can never die if we all but work to reveal it.

    • Rex Widerstrom 6.1

      Beautifully written, ak.

      However, like Pat has said below, surely a large part of the answer is more democracy (in the genuine sense) not its death?

      Certainly it’s time for an end to the false choice between, as you put it, “two millionaires every three or four years” and between two parties who then toss a policy bone or two to the yapping minor parties nipping at their ankles.

      It’s time for people to have a genuine and ongoing input into decisions affecting their future and that of their fellows; it’s time for the creation of new governmental structures which permit that to occur; and it’s time for gross excesses of capitalism to be regulated the same way (e.g. shareholder approval of senior executive salary packages).

      But given your apparent eulogy to democracy and your (again, apparent) enthusiasm for a dictatorial regime that puts bullets into the backs of people’s heads, I’m left wondering just what it is you’re hoping will arise from mess?!

      • ak 6.1.1

        No enthusiasm for dictatorial regimes, I assure you Rex (and yes, bullets do go in the back of heads – just as lethal injections go in veins elsewhere, along with illegal invasions, torture, secret vice-presidential death squads etc etc).

        But lots of enthusiasm for good intentions. What I hope to see arising from this mess is a widespread acceptance that “dog-eat-dog” has failed our species: and that “to each according to need” is a nobler, more edifying vision statement – irrespective of the undeniable difficulties in its implementation.

        In practical terms, nationalisation (or at least strict regulation) of the finance industry, the demise of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, a more democratic global power balance, and a genuine, co-ordinated, War on Global Inequality. (highly ambitious I know, but so’s wee Johnny apparently – and so were calls for abolition, welfare, fem and gay rights etc etc once).

  7. Pat 7

    Good thought provoking post, RL. The company failures that have the most impact, are those companies large enough to list on the stock markets for capital raising.

    So I would like to see it made compulsory for all listed companies to include a reasonable portion a shares as part of every employee’s remuneration. I think this would have several impacts over time:

    1. Productivity would improve as workers have more of a vested interest in the success of the company.
    2. A worker’s personal investment wealth would grow with the success of the company.
    3. It would encourage worker’s to want to have a longer career with a successful company.
    4. It would encourage good ideas to be passed up from the factory floor.
    5. As worker’s collective shareholding grows, they would have a stronger voice on the decisions,directions and governance of the company.
    6. It would encourage earlier whistle-blowing from within, on things that are going wrong in the company.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      So I would like to see it made compulsory for all listed companies to include a reasonable portion a shares as part of every employee’s remuneration.

      Yes. I once worked for mid-sized California based corporate that did a genuine 10% profit share for all non-sales staff (who had their own performance based compensation). It worked exceedingly well. It meant that I knew that off every $1 I succeeded in putting onto the company’s bottom line, I got to keep 10c of it.

      Shareholding for all employees (not just the senior layer of execs) has merit, but as an idea in isolation I’m not so sure how effective it might be. Certainly it would not work in the current climate, most corporates are not ready to accept that as worker’s collective shareholding grows, they would have a stronger voice on the decisions,directions and governance of the company.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        You mean, of course, that the capitalists don’t want to give up their dictatorial power.

  8. Pat 8

    In response to ak’s communist rant, this post is about how to improve the capitalist system, not getting rid of democracy. Democracy is not dead. The world need’s more democracy, not less.

    I might be wrong, but I would have thought the vast majority of Standard readers would not advocate getting rid of democracy.

    ak can keep his Chinese new dawn all to himself. I do not look forward to the rise of China as the world’s biggest superpower.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Capitalism != Democracy
      In fact, the two are diametrically opposed. Capitalism is, as a matter of fact, dictatorship. Communism requires participatory democracy and not the elected dictatorship that we have that is there solely to support the capitalists.

  9. gomango 9

    Tom M – you should read Taleb’s books. T distribution won’t solve the problem either, the point is parametric models are wrong when you rely on historical descriptions of non-related events. LTCM wasn’t the first illustration, but it was the first big one (10 standard deviation move in 90 minutes of Danish mortgage bond spreads versus Euro swap spreads) – do the math. Taleb does get a bit repetitive but his core “we don’t live in a normal world” message is hard to fault.

    All the proof you ever need about why the easy liquidity, over leveraged, reliance on model world got out of hand is summed up in this quote from the Goldies CFO:

    “We are seeing things that were 25-standard deviation events, several days in a row,” said David Viniar, CFO of the smartest financial firm in the world, Goldman Sachs.

    What are the odds of THAT happening………..

    Did he not pass the equivalent of NCEA level 1 maths?

    The remedy is pretty simple (not the solution to whats happened – thats a whole issue of least worst outcomes), but the remedy for the next time we go thru the upwards bit of the cycle is reasonably clear:

    1. force banks to declare everything on balance sheet
    2. make banks have capital ratios based on black swan type stress tests
    3. create derivative clearing houses, ie get rid of the otc market.
    4. Don’t invite Greenspan (or any other easy money pump primer) back to the fed

    And as always, you can’t spend your way out of debt.

  10. charlie 10

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb claims that those who are putting society at risk are “no true statisticians”, merely people using statistics either without understanding them, or in a self-serving manner.

  11. gomango 11

    ak – just read your comment closely. You are kidding re China right? Yes I agree that China is potentially on the road to economic and hence strategic dominance over the rest of the world – but if you wanted to pick one country in the world where the following are most true:

    1. economic power concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority
    2. political rights held only by a tiny minority
    3. freedom of speech constrained
    4. workers rights systematically ignored and devalued
    5. instutionalised graft and corruption
    6. no checks and balances on the concentrations of power

    That country is China. And that’s why i say “potentially” above. Any system which ignores individual rights won’t tend to survive in the long run. But they do have plenty of cash even though they no longer control much of it as it is sitting in the US treasury. Not sure who has the problem – US as borrower or china as lender……. Brings to mind the old Depression era cliche ” if you borrow $100 from the bank you have a problem, if you borrow a million dollars the bank has a problem”. Substitute $750 billion dollars plus for one million…… plus the $^50 billion from Japan, plus the 2 trillion from the rest of the world………

    Also bear in mind that all of China’s wealth was actually created by US demand. Domestic demand in China is not meaningful – they need the US export market. Look at what is happening now in China – in some of the new cities 80% of factories have closed, millions of workers are returning to their home villages where they have no access to land or jobs. China has managed to grow because of the pact the neo-Capitalist ruling party made – give up your political and human rights and in return we will guarantee prosperity. Lets see if they can keep that bargain.

    • ak 11.1

      Well, lifting several hundred million from abject poverty is a pretty good start on that bargain I’d say goman – and funny, but those dire concerns you list don’t seem to matter too much to the average Jiu on the jyair-to. In fact the level of day-to-day freedoms, candour and optimism is quite striking (especially to the anti-PC brigade who marvel at such wonders as unrestricted smoking, lack of any apparent road rules, omnipresent hawking etc), and one wonders if the hobson’s choice we get every three years is really the sole route to utopia. Evidence to date is somewhat less than convincing….

      And yes, the over-dependence on the US consumer certainly is untenable long-term. Which is precisely why the recent moves towards domestic stimulation and an alternative settling currency are being taken. Delicate position for the medium term, but a fundamental shift is softly occurring, the sheer numbers making it eventually inevitable.

  12. gomango 12

    and quoth the raven….. removing limited liability would not hurt entrenched business interests it would only stifle the backbone of our economy – small and medium business.

    Started a business lately? I have and yes it has limited liability. I still have to provide a personal guarantee plus a charge over my house in order to satisfy the bank and the companies office. It certainly doesn’t feel like limited liability.

    • Quoth the Raven 12.1

      You should ask yourself why the state should protect you from the full responsibility of your actions? and why the state should enforce a contractual arrangement on third parties that never consented to it? If there wasn’t state enforced limited liability you could still voluntarily agree to a limited liability contract with your creditiors, but that does not mean that that individual limited liability contract could be enforced on a third party protecting you from tort. Limited liability and corporate personhood are just schemes to privatise gains and socialise losses. If you don’t want to take full responsibility for the risks you take then don’t start a business. If you’ve read a lot of free market writings like I have you’ll find that those who argue for limited liability are the apologists for big business – the Randroids, the Mises worshippers and so on. Those who argue against it sympathise with the left. It has been argued time and again that without these protections we wouldn’t see such large corporations as we do now. Large corporations are not a product of the free market, they are a product of capitalism. There is a good article here to familiarise yourself with the issues: Is the Corporation a Free-Market Institution?

      A corporation that is compatible with natural law is no more than an association of natural persons, who agree to recognize the association as an artificial person “in its own right.’ However, as far as other persons are concerned, the existence of the association and its recognition by the partners as an independent artificial person in no way diminish the responsibility or the liability of the partners. How the partners assign responsibilities and liabilities among themselves is their business, but they lawfully cannot agree to deflect them to the artificial corporate person that they created. The partners own the corporation, and, as owners they are fully responsible and liable for what “it’ does. I cannot give lawful personality to my dog or my car and tell others that, when an accident happens, they should sue the dog or the car and leave me alone. In natural law, a corporation is just as much a means of human action as a dog, a car, or any other tool might be.

      There is another article here.

  13. gomango 13

    typo – Japans US treasury holdings are $650 billion

  14. Bill 14

    Some interesting comments and all blind to a fundamental point.

    It was the market that spawned Capitalism and State Socialism. Neither State Socialism nor Capitalism have been able to manage the market. Both have been subject to its pitches, yaws and plunges.

    At the moment, the idea appears to be to save the management system ( Capitalism) and those who literally profit most from it.

    Other ideas seem to merely posit different management models….state socialism or whatever.

    But why?!

    Are we so far mired in the quasi religion of the market that we have forgotten that it is neither natural nor necessary: that it is a contrivance?

    Cut to the heart of the matter. Manage our political and economic affairs free from market imperatives. ie abolish it, rather than pretending it can somehow, someday be managed. Because it can’t.

    It is intrinsically unstable and unpredictable. It serves merely as a springboard ( a way and a means) for inadequate individuals who crave power over others.

    Dump it. It’s worth nothing. Has done no good. Never will.

  15. Hi RL,

    Sorry for the treadjack.

    I was off line for a bit and found out recently that you have joined the Standardista’s writers team.
    Awesome and congratulations.

  16. Red, you may be interested a recent ABC background briefing which quotes Taleb on why the crisis occurred. The link is http://www.abc.net.au/rn/backgroundbriefing/stories/2009/2538655.htm#transcript

    Regards, Paul.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Stuart’s 100 #57: Grow your own
    57: Grow your own What if supermarkets could grow their own? Supermarkets, like service stations, are in that category of activities that are of such necessity and ubiquity to our daily life that they cumulatively have a very large footprint...
    Transport Blog | 21-11
  • The best of Neetflux (so far)
    A selection of our favourite Neetflux posters to date. Here’s to more awesome political satire to come! (Click through for full-size on Neetflux’s Tumblr)...
    On the Left | 21-11
  • Chipping away at police unaccountability
    Traditionally, our police have enjoyed a wide discretion over who to prosecute and how. Sometimes, this is a good thing - it means that the time of the courts is not wasted on minor crimes. In other cases, its use...
    No Right Turn | 21-11
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    frogblog | 21-11
  • CTU disappointed by poor government advice to workers on petrol station dri...
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (‘MBIE’) regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue. Photo:  ...
    CTU | 21-11
  • Charging petrol station workers for drive-offs
    So workers at Masterton’s Night ‘n Day store have had their pay docked when criminals drive off without paying. From the flood of complaints coming from around the country, it’s not a practice that is confined only to Masterton, nor is it...
    Occasionally erudite | 21-11
  • Tearing up Westminster
    The central bargain of Westminster democracy is that the monarch stays out of politics, and in exchange they get to stay in the role, both legally and literally. Prince Charles - already famous for his undemocratic interventions in politics -...
    No Right Turn | 21-11
  • Journalism is not terrorism
    What happens if you're a UK journalist and you campaign for press freedom or report on police misconduct? The police database you as a terrorist:A group of journalists has launched a legal action against Scotland Yard after discovering that the...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • A century of changing transport spending
    Via Donal Curtin, I got wind of a fantastic Statistics NZ visualisation of changes to the Consumer Price Index over the last century. The Consumer Price Index, or CPI, is a tool that statistics agencies use to track inflation over...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Boycott thieving employers
    In the past few days, we've learned of a new employer horror: petrol-station workers, often on th eminimum wage, being forced to pay for the crimes of their customers. Its unfair, immoral, and possibly illegal. So what can we do...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • Whiteboard Friday. How NZ’s welfare system traps people in poverty
    This Whiteboard Friday looks at how our current benefit system traps people in poverty, which is another reason we need to replace it with an Unconditional Basic Income. This week has been a big week for the Unconditional Basic Income....
    Gareth’s World | 20-11
  • Income mobility
    Recently Treasury has published a paper showing that most people do not stay at the same point on the income scale for an extended period. That is assuredly true, and is also a good thing in as far as it...
    Polity | 20-11
  • Read out, Xi in, as Hansen makes late change to All Blacks team
    All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has sprung a surprise by picking Chinese President Xi Jinping to start in this weekend’s test against Wales at the Millennium Stadium....
    Imperator Fish | 20-11
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    The chainsaws stopped in native forest on public land in 1999 after a strong campaign by non-governmental organisations such as Forest and Bird and Native Forest Action (NFA), supported by the Green Party. Immediately after the 1999 election, the incoming...
    frogblog | 20-11
  • Persuasion experiment
    Michael LaCour, a PhD student at the excellent UCLA Political Science Department, along with Yale's Don Green, have a fascinating new paper on what causes people to change their mind on gay marriage. Many people know that a doorstep conversation...
    Polity | 20-11
  • $4.8 billion gone
    As readers know, the NZ Super Fund now contributes around $27 billion to our net position as a country, It will help us pay for the wave of baby boom retirements. Sadly, it is now clear that National's decision to...
    Polity | 20-11
  • Secondary teachers vote IES into collective
    21 November 2014 PPTA members have voted to include two teaching roles central to Investing in Educational Success (IES) in their collective agreement.At paid union meetings held throughout the country over the past two weeks 80.3% voted to include the...
    PPTA | 20-11
  • Labour’s Hercules?
    Hero? Saint? Both? Neither? In making Labour an electable proposition by 2017, Andrew Little faces a challenge of Herculean proportions. Then again, Hercules was presented with twelve impossible tasks. Little can succeed by successfully completing a more modest (but equally...
    Bowalley Road | 20-11
  • Roger Sutton and deja vu all over again
    What to say about the Roger Sutton story? Well, Andrea Vance has done some amazing work setting out the basic facts behind the carefully stage-managed whitewashing of Roger Sutton’s pseudo-departure. And stargazer at The Hand Mirror has responded to the...
    On the Left | 20-11
  • MoT acknowledge changing trends and future funding issues
    Last week the Briefings to government ministers (BIM) were published. I’ve already looked at what the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and NZTA have said about transport in Auckland and so in this post I’m going to look at some of the other points...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Why we need to talk about the scientific consensus on climate change
    An interesting sequence of events followed the publication of a scientific paper the Skeptical Science team published in May last year. The paper found a 97% consensus that humans were causing global warming in relevant scientific papers. Finding an overwhelming...
    Skeptical Science | 20-11
  • 2014 – Ongoing jobless tally
    . . Continued from: 2013 – Ongoing jobless tally So by the numbers, for this year, January OceanaGold/Macraes Mine: 146 redundancies Fitzroy Yachts: 100 redundancies OceanaGold: 76 redundancies Tenix: 15 redundancies February Goodman Fielder: 125 redundancies Pacific Steel Group: 70-90 redundancies...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-11
  • 2014 – Ongoing jobless tally
    . . Continued from: 2013 – Ongoing jobless tally So by the numbers, for this year, January OceanaGold/Macraes Mine: 146 redundancies Fitzroy Yachts: 100 redundancies OceanaGold: 76 redundancies Tenix: 15 redundancies February Goodman Fielder: 125 redundancies Pacific Steel Group: 70-90 redundancies...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-11
  • Stuart’s 100 #56: More Dignity for Daily Users
    56 More Dignity for Daily Users What if there was a moment of civic dignity outside the Auckland District Court? The Auckland District Court on the corner of Albert and Kingston Streets is I think at last count the busiest...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    frogblog | 20-11
  • The greatest tragedy of our time
    This is going to ruffle a few feathers. We are parasites. Yes you read that correctly – humanity is a giant collective parasite sucking the life juices from dear Mother Earth. I’m not a nihilist. I still believe there’s plenty...
    On the Left | 20-11
  • Proving anecdotes are reliable
    Here’s one to go with Let’s rely on anecdotes instead! Something I picked up on Facebook Similar articles  ...
    Open Parachute | 20-11
  • Class warfare in the UK
    Surprise, surprise! An independent study has shown that the UK's conservative government has been driving a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich:A landmark study of the coalition’s tax and welfare policies six months before the general...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • That didn’t take long
    National's new teabreak law isn't even in force and employers are already abusing it:Yesterday a union member, who prefers to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, emailed Hotel Organiser Shanna Reeder. “This morning in the briefing our manager declared that...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • Justice is more important than international relations
    Yunus Rahmatullah is a Pakistani citizen. In 2004 he was disappeared by British forces in Iraq. The British then gave him to the Americans who rendered him to Afghanistan and kept him there without charge or trial for ten years,...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • The Sutton debacle
    Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: it’s not a good thing, except when you’re playing Frank Zappa’s 1988 instrumental album Guitar, in which case ‘Sexual Harassment in the Workplace’ is the opening track, and it’s a stonker. However, setting aside the...
    Occasionally erudite | 20-11
  • The dangers of ignoring context
    Here’s a 22 point plan for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Entrench Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.Never let a chance go by to duplicitously conflate Hamas and some in Fatah with the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL so as to gild the imperiled-Israeli...
    Pundit | 19-11
  • Rapid transit has passed the acid test
    I recently ran across a New Zealand Herald article from 2000 on the region’s plans to start building good rapid transit infrastructure. (Which, as Patrick highlighted in a recent post, is exactly what is holding Auckland back relative to its...
    Transport Blog | 19-11
  • The week in politics vs. Gilmore Girls
    This week in politics: Andrew Little became leader of the Labour Party. Julia Gillard spoke at the University of Auckland about gender and politics. Gerry Brownlee was fined for breaching airport security. Tony Abbott threw down with Vladimir Putin at APEC....
    On the Left | 19-11
  • Whither the class line?
    In 1995 I published a book that explored the interaction between the state, organised labor and capital in the transitions to democracy in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. The book was theoretically rooted in neo-or post-Gramscian thought as well as the...
    Kiwipolitico | 19-11
  • This video shows the pain caused by NZ’s current benefit system
    Darryn bravely talks about the stigma that comes with being on the benefit, and how that has affected his life. This stigma is just one of the many problems our current benefit system creates. These problems would be removed if...
    Gareth’s World | 19-11
  • Climate change: The cost of past inaction
    For the past 20 years, New Zealand's climate change policy has been one of inaction and delay. While we've seen no less than four failed attempts at putting a price on carbon (including the current ETS), we've never really tried...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • Policy of fear
    Community groups have a vital role in New Zealand. In addition to speaking out on social problems such as poverty, mental illness and addiction, they also often have a direct role in fixing them via government funding. Unfortunately there's an...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #47A
    A carbon tax could bolster wobbly progress in renewable energy A dam revival, despite risks Congress is about to sabotage Obama’s historic climate deal David Cameron urges Tony Abbott to do more on climate change G20 pledges lift Green Climate...
    Skeptical Science | 19-11
  • ‘Consult on promotions policy’: TEU to Auckland VC
    TEU is asking the vice-chancellor of the University of Auckland to engage in a process of consultation on the university’s Academic Grades, Standards and Criteria policy and other policies so the two sides can avoid further litigation. Earlier this month the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Asia-Pacific plans for gender equality
    New Zealand is one of the few countries who have not sent a government minister to an Asian and Pacific conference on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Thailand, but it has sent TEU women’s officer Suzanne McNabb.  The conference...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • TEC, Ministry and Treasury want new funding model
    The government should consider a radical shift in tertiary education funding policy according to advice from the Tertiary Education Commission, the Ministry of Education and the Treasury. All three agencies advise the government to shift tertiary education funding away from...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • The awkward question of New Plymouth
    It’s rather common knowledge that Andrew Little wasn’t exactly a star in New Plymouth. He stood in the former Labour Party seat in 2011 and 2014, losing ground in both the electorate and party vote on each occasion. Overall, the...
    Occasionally erudite | 19-11
  • Academics say academic freedom getting worse
    Nearly two-fifths of academic staff say that their level of academic freedom is worse than when they started work, according to a survey on the state of the tertiary education workforce. AUT’s Work Research Institute undertook a State of the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Academics say academic freedom getting worse
    Nearly two-fifths of academic staff say that their level of academic freedom is worse than when they started work, according to a survey on the state of the tertiary education workforce. AUT’s Work Research Institute undertook a State of the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas. Staff and South Auckland community members had been campaigning to turn around the polytechnic’s proposal for mass redundancies since they were announced last...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Proud’s Britain
    Alex Proud has a very good long piece in the Telegraph that is as disturbing as it is accurate. The subject? Baby-boomers, and the way they have blindly robbed the generations that came after them. He is writing about Britain,...
    Polity | 19-11
  • This year’s (super) model: visualising atmospheric CO2
    Here’s a superb high resolution supercomputer visualisation from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center of the flows of CO2 in the atmosphere around the planet. Apart from being beautiful to look at, it shows the major sources of CO2 emissions in...
    Hot Topic | 19-11
  • Public Service Announcement: Advice to Andrew Little
    Over the last 48 hours absolutely everyone and his/her dog/cat has been publicly advising Andrew Little what he should with his front bench and much else decides. Good for them. Free speech is super. I won't be joining the chorus,...
    Polity | 19-11
  • Jordan uses Islam to battle ISIS
    My former UCLA colleague Larry Rubin, and my former Michigan colleague Michael Robbins, have a fascinating piece at the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog overnight, all about how Jordan is setting Islam against ISIS: Many people in the Hashemite Kingdom...
    Polity | 19-11
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens | 21-11
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens | 20-11
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour | 20-11
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour | 19-11
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens | 19-11
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens | 17-11
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour | 17-11
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens | 17-11
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens | 16-11
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour | 13-11
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour | 13-11
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens | 13-11
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared
      This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Real reasons to fear Government’s new approach to child poverty
    Now  I really am worried.  Selling state houses is bad enough but a taking a ‘social investment focus’ to deal with child poverty? “The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Power to the people!
    With all the huffing and puffing of the election out of the way and the right-wing still in ascendancy after 30 years of community-sapping neoliberalism it was a pleasure to attend a strike by workers at Carl’s Jr in Lincoln...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: OIA reveals WINZ trespassing 400 people a year
    W.I.N.Z is broken and it’s breaking my heart. Every year WINZ issues trespass notices to just under 400 people. 2008 / 418 2009 /  382 2010 /  347 2011 /  411 2012 /  373 2013 /  384 And this year...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • So David Farrar and the Government were wrong on gangs after all?
    Oh the predictability of this… Ministers acted on inaccurate gang data Cabinet signed off tough new measures to tackle gangs on the basis of inaccurate information which over-estimated the scale of the crime problem. The briefing paper told ministers 4000...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Why lifelong prisoner surveillance is evidence of our failing prisons
    The intrusion of more and more State surveillance is easier to implement if the State begins with groups the populace are frightened of. Muslim radicals, Maori radicals, environmental radicals and prisoners are all easy fodder for ratings chasing media to...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • REVIEW: The Blind Date Project
    The Blind Date Project Silo Theatre 4-29 November The Basement  Part of the excitement of a live performance, be it music or theatre or a circus with trapeze artists and lion tamers, is the risk that it could all go...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Good News For The Left!
    EVER SINCE the debacle of 20 September 2014, the New Zealand left has been hanging out for some good news. Today, thanks to Stephen Mills, the Executive Director of UMR Research, it has finally got some. UMR Research has for...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Stock rustling set to continue under lax laws
    The theft and illegal slaughter of farm stock can only be expected to continue if tougher laws are not introduced, said ACT Leader David Seymour today....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Visit of President Xi Jinping to New Zealand
    As president Xi Jinping of China pays short visit to New Zealand, of Friends of Tibet (NZ) has called upon Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully and the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key to raise the issue of Human Rights...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Right to Life Congratulates the new Labour Leader
    Right to Life congratulates Andrew Little MP, on being elected as the new leader of the Labour Party. This is a very important election as Andrew Little is now a Prime Minister in waiting His election follows a line of...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Reply to open letter on earthquake repair in Christchurch
    You raise many points and I acknowledge the frustration some people are experiencing when their homes are still not repaired or rebuilt. We have consistently said that the scale and complexity of events has always meant that it will not...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Andrew Little New Labour Party Leader
    In a press conference held on Tuesday in the Labour Party Caucus room at Parliament, it was announced Andrew Little had been voted in as Leader of the Labour party....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Liam Butler interviews Professor Jay Kandampully
    Jay Kandampully is Professor of Consumer Sciences in the Department of Human Sciences. He also serves as a visiting professor at University of Innsbruck, Austria; Nanjing University of Science and Technology, China; and Furtwangen University, Germany;...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere