web analytics
The Standard

Who has the ideas?

Written By: - Date published: 7:07 am, May 26th, 2011 - 61 comments
Categories: budget 2011, economy, election 2011, labour, national - Tags: ,

Last week we had National’s budget and Labour’s conference. A chance for both parties to set out their ideas for the future.

National of course, had the bigger opportunity. They get to turn policy in to action. The budget was the perfect showcase for their ideas and their response to New Zealand’s ongoing economic woes. Unfortunately the showcase was empty. National have no ideas, except to further contract the economy with cut after cut after cut. Among the responses, John Armstrong:

John Key and his National Party colleagues may well take a hit in the polls after the mediocre Budget. The document has had a chilly reception. Few are shouting its merits from the rooftops. … The Budget has displayed a degree of cynicism one would expect from a Government in its third term, not its first.

Audrey Young:

It is based on heroic assumptions of a strong economic economy, high wage growth and and nothing going wrong. … Overall, the Budget rates a 6 out of 10. Its savings targets feel more like wishful thinking than realism and the Government has left the really hard decisions to the public sector itself.

Patrick Gower:

Is it bold? No. Does it really address the record $16.7 billion deficit? It is a start – tinkering.

Gordon Campbell:

While Deficit Phobia provides the rationale for the austerity and privatisation measures contained in this year’s Budget, the government’s stance is a curiously passive one, overall. The largely self-inflicted problems with the revenue base are being treated as essentially self correcting. … Note the complete lack of active policies of structural change…

An anonymous Herald editorial:

A good Budget gives the country a sense that the Government has a firm hand on the tiller and can see where it is going. This Budget does neither.

A Sunday Star Times editorial (not on line):

The Budget was grey, like so much else about John Key’s government. It is neither slash-and-burn nor borrow-and-hope, but a weird sort of wasteland in between.

Bernard Hickey last Sunday set out in detail five reasons why Treasury’s “heroic” growth forecasts are not believable. Other skeptical analysis continued this week, focusing on flawed forecasts and “outlandish” figures, and Key’s KiwiSaver lies. Fair to say in summary I think that the budget has gone down like the proverbial lead balloon.

Ok then, how about Labour? They’re playing the standard opposition hand. Political junkies call for them to release their policy, but no opposition does so until close to the election, when the general public start paying attention. So the policy released this weekend at their “buoyant” conference can only be a hint of things to come. There’s a good summary in Vernon Small’s piece, “Labour rolls up its sleeves on economy”.

Naturally some commentators demanded more, such as this anonymous editorial. In a depressing display of ignorance the writer completely fails to understand, and openly mocks, the idea of a government stimulating public research and development — which was of course Labour’s main conference policy release. (It’s a hopelessly muddled piece in other ways too, calling on the government to “pick winners more carefully” while also lamenting that “Neither scientists nor public officials are well placed to predict what may come of research and development of any kind”.) Compare with Ben Clark’s excellent piece here yesterday on the importance of R&D.

Interestingly enough, John Key tried the same tactic of mocking the R&D policy. But while such buffoonery may seem to work in Parliament, with a gibbering chorous on the benches behind him, it turns out that it didn’t play so well in the real world:

Mr Key got into dangerous territory when he started mocking Labour’s proposed research and development tax credit.

Employers like the tax credit idea and not many at the Upper Hutt luncheon were laughing when Mr Key joked that they would abuse the credit by somehow engineering a trip to Fiji.

Well, it’s pretty obvious to me who has the ideas. Labour, and the Greens. It was thus in 2008 and it remains thus today. It will become more and more obvious as Labour rolls out policy in the lead up to the election. Those without ideas of their own can only taunt and mock like schoolboys. Grow up. Mockery isn’t leadership. Mockery won’t solve our problems.

61 comments on “Who has the ideas?”

  1. Bored 1

    Well, it’s pretty obvious to me who has the ideas.

    Define ideas please. Nact has a core idea, its called privatisation and market rules. They know full well what they are doing and where it will lead. And iif you are to the left, poor or underpriveleged it says one thing…”up yours cos we dont care…give us the money”.

    Meanwhile Labour and to a lesser extent the Greens see economics with motley orthodoxy, but no more realistically.

    • r0b 1.1

      Privatisation and market rules aren’t so much ideas, as the absence of them. If we want government that does nothing, we should just get rid of governments all together.

    • ZeeBop 1.2

      National isn’t those things. Its pro-money. English says we can’t afford imprisonment, and then tacks on the end that its also unethical. Well National does the same thing, the ideology is chosen
      because it aids farming profits. Those profits go to pay debt to foreigners.

      But now its coming clear, that using up soil and water, polluting, and borrowing to do so,
      and produce a product growing numbers of kiwis can’t afford isn’t so attractive.
      If farmers and home owners borrow too much money, then the tradeable sector
      competes for borrowing making it harder to build new industries.
      Ergo, don’t subsidies a product with environmental problems, debt problems, and
      holds us to ransom.

      Farming isn’t too big too fail.

      Its like your next door neighbor has decide he wants to borrow a couple of
      billion dollars, and you need start up money and find that your insurance, your
      risk premium, you ability to attract investment just got a whole lot harder.
      And then you hear your neighbor tell how its in your best interest and you
      benefit from their great prowess at taking on huge debt, now that you
      can’t afford to buy the product because of the malaise the country is now in.

  2. PeteG 2

    Yes, it’s good to have ideas, and it’s even better to be able to get support to implement them.

    There’s one idea I’d like to explore, and I’m interested to know what Labour thinks of it.

    Currently our politics seems very party centric. Does Labour have any ideas on becoming more electorate centric – keeping in touch and liasing and listening to the whole electorate more and acting on the wishes of the electorate/s rather than being focussed within their own party?

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Yes, it’s good to have ideas, and it’s even better to be able to get support to implement them.

      Yeah that’s what smashing Key and English in November is all about mate 😀

      keeping in touch and liasing and listening to the whole electorate more and acting on the wishes of the electorate/s rather than being focussed within their own party?

      So which electorate is National listening to when they decided to sell off our power generation assets?

      The rich Asian electorate based in Beijing?

      • PeteG 2.1.1

        National are saying they are seeking a mandate for that. The problem is, they will be offering many things to mandate, if they get elected back in they will take it as a mandate for everything when that may not be what the electorate wants.

        Wouldn’t it be better to be able to get a mandate for each major policy separately? At any time during the electoral cycle so we aren’t so three year obsessed?

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          National are saying they are seeking a mandate for that.

          And you believe them? Like a mandate for their KiwiSaver changes – which they have already put into law under urgency.

          What a joke, from this I don’t understand why you take National claims of seeking a mandate with any credibility at all.

          Wouldn’t it be better to be able to get a mandate for each major policy separately?

          Give me an example of where this works in the world so I can understand what you are talking about.

          • Jim Nald 2.1.1.1.1

            National are still seeking a mandate for GST increases ?

          • PeteG 2.1.1.1.2

            I don’t know of anywhere in the world that it works. Yet. There are new opportunities for doing it now in a very connected society.

            Electorate blogs and polls online, also allowing post and text responses.
            Including anyone registred to vote in the electorate.
            Monthly public electorate meetings.
            Things like that.

            I’m in an electorate where there are four party representatives in parliament. Labour, National, Greens and Act. What connection do any of them have with the electorate on an ongoing basis? I have no idea – and I see that as a major deficiency.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.2.1

              What connection do any of them have with the electorate on an ongoing basis? I have no idea – and I see that as a major deficiency.

              You can post on Labour’s Red Alert and the MPs will generally reply to you online pretty promptly. National’s effort is a joke of course, and I laugh how National MP offices are sometimes kept locked – even when the staff are inside. What are they afraid of?

              There are new opportunities for doing it now in a very connected society.

              Don’t forget the bottom third of NZ’s population which is very rarely online, also hundreds of thousands of NZ’ers in rural areas who get mediocre to no broadband service.

              Basically if we think good democracy relies on the latest tech, we’ve badly missed something mate.

              • PeteG

                Red Alert is an interesting trial but it’s too party and PR centric to be a decent connect, and iot’s heavily moderated.

                National don’t have a direct equivalent. I know Kiwiblog has National connections and does attempt to guage public feelings – and influence then at times. It is one of the least moderated which is a plus with some downsides.

                The ideal would be a party independent medium but I don’t see that happening without government funding and I don’t see the current parties wanting to do it.

                Technology is one powerful way of connecting but I agree, it’s not for everyone. MSM, internet, face to face all should play a part.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Red Alert is an interesting trial but it’s too party and PR centric to be a decent connect, and iot’s heavily moderated.

                  Look, your criticisms make little sense. Red Alert is not a trial, its the Labour MPs blog. Its very well established now – a couple of years in cyberspace means its already part of the furniture – you know that.

                  And of course its Labour Party centric! Its not a chat room (as Trevor likes to remind people).

                  As for the heavy moderation – well, when you’ve guys with bad language like me on the interwebs, that’s probably a good thing!

                  • PeteG

                    Yes, it’s for party purposes, not for the electorate, so it doesn’t do what I’d like to see done.

                    MPs should work more on getting the message from the electorate rather than trying (often futilely) to control their own message.

                    • Jim Nald

                      Yes, that’s right, it’s tough for MPs to get the message from the electorate when Crosby Textor, Panic Pants and the puppet masters are controlling the messaging.

                    • PeteG

                      They should find ways of connecting more directly then.

                      Less PR personal, more real person connections.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      At least Labour Party MPs take their constituency duties seriously. Just say that you are from the unions and try and get a meeting with your local National MP.

                  • lprent

                    Yeah! Personally I think that Trevor and the other MP’s have been around those nanny moderators in the house for far too long.

                    We seldom moderate on language, but we fucken hate those arsehole trolls and we’re not afraid to express our opinion of the motherfuckers! I hate it when the comments drift off into blathering about nothing much and I try to get pretty damn personal when I correct the behavior.

                    Anyway, you get the idea. The language makes piss all difference, it is the behavior that you’re after that counts. But Red Alert use language as a marker for behavior.

                    When you’re on someone’s blog, they determine the permissible behavior. If someone wants to be a critic then they can pull their finger out of their food supply and start their own site where they make the rules. Of course they then have to figure out how to get people to the site to read it.

                    PeteG is a good critic. Not known for doing much, doesn’t appear to be capable of doing a squat without assistance, but likes to whine a lot about how he thinks that the world should be…..

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Amazing since PeteG has 15 years work experience in a technological, R&D intensive industry and has personal expertise with CNC machinery.

                      http://thestandard.org.nz/rd-our-future/#comment-333899

                      Although reading his post again, he could have been gardening at this company, it’s not exactly clear whether he was doing those roles himself or whether he was describing the total scope of company activities.

                      Or he could be another full of it Young NAT 24 year old.

                    • Jim Nald

                      Who is PeteG’s employer?
                      Some of us would like to get in touch.

                    • JD

                      It’s good that you’re honest about being motivated by hate Lynn.

                      People are prone to reveal much more about their personalities on the internet as they are much more uninhibited.

                    • PeteG

                      Not sure exactly what you’re aiming at here LP – do you not want any criticism of the posts? Or you only want cricism from those who let you modify their behaviour?

                      I don’t think I whine about how I think the world should be (or a blog should be). I’d guess more people here whine about me than vice versa. I admit I whine (or lament) a bit about Labour, and also a bit about National and other parties, but I don’t think I’m the biggest party whiner here by a long shot.

                      I try to discuss things to try and see how we might make our part of the world a bit better. Others seem willing to join that sometimes.

                    • lprent

                      Perhaps I should have put a humor or satire tag on that – to make it completely obvious.

                      JD and Pete – Read the comment stream I was responding, and figure it out. In particular I was taking the piss out of you Pete for pontificating without thinking.

                  • Peter Rabbit

                    “And of course its Labour Party centric! Its not a chat room (as Trevor likes to remind people).”

                    And for the purpose of communicating with the “party faithful” Red Alert does in my opinion a pretty good job. However when it comes to communicating with the wider community I believe current set up fails.

                    In saying that I do believe that Labour are making the best political in roads with their online presence however.

                  • Deadly_NZ

                    The thing is trevor can’t count he banned me for a month about 10 weeks ago and I still cant post there.

          • Alwyn 2.1.1.1.3

            The closest one gets to this would be in the binding referenda held in Switzerland and the equivalent to these in California. Whether you regard them as “working” is of course debatable.
            California passed one proposition that meant they couldn’t, in effect, increase tax rates.
            Ancient Greece had something similar as well. It was basically a referendum that sentenced Socrates to death. Would that mean that on 27 November either Key or Goff is handed the glass of hemlock and required to drink it?
            We have referenda here of course. The problem is that the MPs ignore them.
            Does anyone remember the one to reduce the number of MPs to 99? That passed with a vote of about 82% didn’t it? Now, to win a milky bar (electronic version only). Can anyone tell us which collection of turkeys we call political parties chose to support that clear result in parliament?
            On the other hand, for an easy to answer question. Can anyone tell us whether there has ever been a bunch of turkeys voting for an early Christmas?

            • PeteG 2.1.1.1.3.1

              Your last sentence sums up more of the problem. They go in to politcs to get some power, they are not going to then give that power to the people, they want their three years of doing what they want. That’s a bit harsh on some of them but it has some validity.

              Switzerland is quite conservative and slow to change, their referndum on women’s suffrage was in 1959 and only some Cantons gave women the vote then, and one Canton (Appenzell Innerrhoden) finally gave women the vote in 1991.

              I don’t think California’s propositions in practice are a good model either.

              I don’t think ruling by referendum is practical, except for a few major issues, but I’d like to see more input sought and notice taken from the electorates.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I think you could set general direction using referendums but actually determining and setting policy? Leave that to the specialists in the ministries who then advise the MPs.

                • Alwyn

                  Oh God.
                  I checked up and found that a NZ First MP did introduce a private member’s bill to reduce the number of MPs to 100! I guess that is near enough to supporting the referendum. I wonder what happened to her? Number 100 on the list for the party in the next election I suppose.

                • PeteG

                  Yep DTB, I think a representative democracy is still the best option, I’d just like to see it more representative of what the public says than it is now.

                  100 MPs would be enough if they all spent most of their time working for the people and the country and didn’t waste so much time trying to fight futile battles. It’s supposed to be a house of representatives, not a squabble house.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    100 MP’s – how many list MPs and how many electorate MP’s are we talking about here?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    100 MPs would be enough…
                    Depends upon how many people you want represented by one person. 10,000? 20k? 30k? And that just sets the electorate seats. You really need 1 list seat for 1 electorate seat to properly maintain proportionality. We’re below that ATM but the decrease in proportionality is acceptable so far. As population increases we’ll need more electorate seats and, eventually, more list seats as well.

                    So, we can’t have a fixed number any way and we need more than the “representative” number so as to maintain proportionality, ergo, we’re not going to see the number of MPs decrease any time soon but we will likely see the number increase.

          • PeteG 2.1.1.1.4

            Give me an example of where this works in the world so I can understand what you are talking about.

            Actually there is an example right here – The Maori Party. They have a policy of going to the electorate to get guidance on issues that are important to them. That’s the meeting approach, I think that can be complimented by ongoing online communication.

      • Jim Nald 2.1.2

        I hope the rich Asian electorate based in Beijing is not funding and pulling the strings of the present and former parliamentary representatives in New Zealand.

      • Cadwallader 2.1.3

        Not the “Asian electorate” the huge NZ electorate which will sweep National back in, Greens will be second and Labour may squeak in third ahead of a resurgent ACT. That, is an idea, and a good one!

    • Like asking the average swing voter who gets influenced by such things as an ability to smile and wave what structural corrections they would make to the economy to make it more sustainable?
       
      Honest there are limitations to democracy.  Some things require deep understanding and it needs to be an analysis of what is right, not what CT can sell best.

      • PeteG 2.2.1

        Do you think those in poitical parties are the only ones with a deep enough understanding and sufficient ability to analysise?

        Do you think we have an optimum form of democracy? Couldn’t it be improved?

        If the electorate was kept better informed, consulted and asked for it’s opinion wouldn’t that lead to wider understanding and better analysis?

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          Do you think we have an optimum form of democracy? Couldn’t it be improved?

          The Tories think democracy can be improved by getting rid of proportional representation.

          Well, improved for themselves anyway.

          If the electorate was kept better informed

          Yes that’s what strong, indpendent, non-commercial public broadcasting is for.

          Whooops National is cutting that back too. It looks almost deliberate PeteG, undermining the information reaching the electorate.

          Seems your National friends aren’t listening to you eh?

        • mickysavage 2.2.1.2

          Do you think those in poitical parties are the only ones with a deep enough understanding and sufficient ability to analysise?
           

          No but most people who have a reasonable understanding would have very strong political beliefs of one sort or another.
           
          Your premise suggests that the Peter Dunne approach to the economy would be best and his understanding does not go far past how to tie up his shoes properly.
          Do you think we have an optimum form of democracy? Couldn’t it be improved?
           
          Yep.  MSM could report properly on the issues.  And trolls would have something to contribute to a debate instead of regarding politics as a winner take all contact sport.
           
          If the electorate was kept better informed, consulted and asked for it’s opinion wouldn’t that lead to wider understanding and better analysis?
           
          The amount of consultation that occurs today as compared to 30 years ago is way better.  The problem is not a lack of consultation it is that we follow economic policies that have been dressed up as being “popular” but only increase inequality.
           
          As a first rule there should be no cockroach eating by children or third world diseases.  As soon as they appear taxation should be increased so that poverty is addressed.
           

          • PeteG 2.2.1.2.1

            Can’t rely on MSM, mosty is privately owned, and most is based in Auckland and Wellington on a national basis so it is too remote from most people.

            And trolls would have something to contribute to a debate instead of regarding politics as a winner take all contact sport.

            It’s funny you should say that, it’s exactly what I’m arguing against, except that it’s the parties and party people rather than people with different opinions on blogs that are the culprits.

  3. Lazy Susan 3

    To add to your list Rob, on Monday Rod Oram talking on National Radio described it as the worst budget he had seen for 15 years

  4. Charlie Parker 4

    Yes, the ideas based on borrowing, taxation and spending are something unexpected. This election is shaping up to be something completely new!

  5. neoleftie 5

    much better a ‘grey nothing much, lets transfer to next year’ budget that a out and out slash and burn Tory orthodox budget. Then again perhaps NZ will die the death of a thousand small hidden cuts where the victim doesnt even feel the collective pain or realise the cuts until too late.
    Tinkering can be undone, borrowing to keep the country afloat can be paid back i.e cullen method in the good time, if and when they come again but collecively massive cuts – slash and burn – policies over a few terms would mean the end of the left ideals.
    All i can say is that thank goodness that H1 and friends forwardly locked up all available cash on policies and programs that allowed the country a measure of breathing space so that what was left to the tories was no more than two choices – slash and burn or borrow and tinker. Better a fragile economy that cannot handle any radical internal economic impacts with the Tories at the helm than a strong vibrant economy where the Tories could alter drastically to suit their ideological bent.
    With Treasury forecasting more stable oucome ahead for the 2012- period no wonder the Tories need to mirror the centralist voter patterns and use smoke to hide their real intent from the electorate on key policy chnages that would strike a negative resonance with the public – asset sales.

  6. ianmac 6

    Will Labour/Greens pick up this idea? On Nine to Noon this morning about 9:30 there was a very interesting interview with the Australian David Brown who has become an expert in the disastrous Imprisonment record around the World, including NZ. He too noted the comment from Bill English that “our prisons are fiscally and morally irresponsible.” Even in the USA and in Britain conservatives are reducing imprisonment by about 20%. He also said that there is or will be a rejection to the public clamour to throw people in prison. The money by having people not in prison could be used to teach reading. That solo mothers should get intensive assistance for two years thus preventing mother crime and reducing the likelihood of later child crime.
    A breath of fresh air.
    Edit but link failed to show?[Fixed — r0b]

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    • PeteG 6.1

      He also said that there is or will be a rejection to the public clamour to throw people in prison.

      I’d like to see it here but there is no sign of it happening, the get tough on crime momentum seems to be still prevalent. It would take really strong leadership to stand up against and prevent incarceration escalation, I don’t expect any change over the next three years regardless of the election result.

      The major parties are scared of the lock-em-up lobby.

      • Campbell Larsen 6.1.1

        The tough on crime ‘momentum’ as you put it is just a handful of haters who could really use some therapy – as illustrated by the ‘sensible sentencing’ group.

        I assume that when you talk about ‘strong leadership’ to ‘stand up against and prevent incarceration escalation’ you are not talking about amending laws to ensure that people aren’t needlessly criminalized, reducing poverty and inequality, or spending more on education, no that’s not the National party way.

        More likely the ‘strong leadership’ that you are referring to is replacing custodial sentences with ‘punitive work schemes’.
        Why stop criminalizing people when it is far more profitable to continue to prosecute them and then set up schemes where the ‘criminals’ do ‘community work’ or make sandals or some such nonsense – run by private companies of course.

        Yet another way to usher in the NZ Inc slave state.

        • PeteG 6.1.1.1

          Both the last Labour government and the current National government have piled resources into policing and prisons and increased sentencing levels.

          I think the pressure comes from more than a few haters, why else would they keep doing this?

          I don’t see any sense in or much support for ‘punitive work schemes’. Early intervention and prevention are my preference, the problem is they are slow, difficult, complex long term solutions, far too much for the three year election cycle.

          • Campbell Larsen 6.1.1.1.1

            To put it simply ‘tough on crime’ is an electioneering platform that relies for the most part on a climate of fear. This largely irrational fear is due to on over reliance by the msm on police reports for their ‘news’.
            There are two obvious reasons for the msm ‘choosing’ to run with stories about crime and incidences thereof in preference to other news – the first being sensationalism, the second being cost (these ‘stories’ are usually just reproduced police reports, involve no investigative journalism and are thus largely free, apart from the stunningly irrelevant practice of sending someone to do a live cross from the scene at dinnertime)
            So, to précis, fear is one of the most effective emotions to manipulate people with, and that is why the totally irrational practice of pointing to the crime ‘bogyman’ and ‘toughening’ up laws continues.
            In regards to to senslessness of punitive work schemes (including work for the dole) and the lack of public support for such measures I totally agree.
            What prompted the speculation was the glaring inconsistency between the recent statement from the National party regarding ‘no new prisons’ and their policies which will result in greater levels of imprisonment. Really the only options are: put more people into the same prisons through measures like double bunking (already happening), non custodial sentences, or the most likely option, a PPP ‘solution’ which allows the Rats to claim we are saving money and also keep their ‘promise’ of not building more prisons, because someone else is doing the building.
            Changing the length of term of government is unlikely to address the problem we have in large per capital imprisonment rate however cross party endorsement of the law commissions recent report and the suggestions for drug law reform for example would be a great step in the right direction.

            • ianmac 6.1.1.1.1.1

              One of the Scandinavian countries has severely reduced its prison population and incidence of crime. Part of the deal was that MSM formed an agreement to vastly reduce the reporting of crime. Successive Governments here have used or been used to further the drive for punitive actions.
              Go soft on crime? Abolish three strikes? Reduce sentencing? Political courage needed and who is up for that.
              What would Bill English do given his “prisons are fiscally and morally wrong?”
              Or Phil Goff who has been on research projects and he knows the reforms needed.

            • PeteG 6.1.1.1.1.2

              This could be a useful trial:

              Rehab, not jail for drug court crims

              Offenders with serious drug and alcohol problems could get a chance to go to rehab instead of jail if a new drug court pilot goes ahead.

              The Law Commission recommended the establishment of a drug court pilot that would see sentencing delayed while offenders underwent rehabilitation and detoxification treatment.

              The Justice Ministry was working with other government agencies, including the Health Ministry, and would report back on the cost effectiveness and funding availability for the programme.

              If the pilot court goes ahead it is likely to be housed at the Waitakere District Court.

              Similar courts are used in many Australian states.

              Addressing the causes of offending is a sensible approach. Many with drug, alcohol and psychiatric problems are locked up and then released to repeat, again and again.

              • ianmac

                And more than half in prison are unable to read and write. Could be fixed in a similar way to drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

              • Campbell Larsen

                Lets not forget the rest of the report:
                http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/project/review-misuse-drugs-act-1975?quicktabs_23=report#node-2079

                Among the key proposals contained in the report are:

                A mandatory cautioning scheme for all personal possession and use offences that come to the attention of the police, removing minor drug offenders from the criminal justice system and providing greater opportunities for those in need of treatment to access it.

                A full scale review of the current drug classification system which is used to determine restrictiveness of controls and severity of penalties, addressing existing inconsistencies and focusing solely on assessing a drug’s risk of harm, including social harm.

                Making separate funding available for the treatment of offenders through the justice sector to support courts when they impose rehabilitative sentences to address alcohol and drug dependence problems.

                Consideration of a pilot drug court, allowing the government to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of deferring sentencing of some offenders until they had undergone court-imposed alcohol and/or drug treatment

                • Campbell Larsen

                  And the issues involved in compulsory treatment orders are to be found in:

                  NZLC R118 Compulsory Treatment for Substance Dependence: A Review of the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act 1966

                  http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/project/review-misuse-drugs-act-1975/publication/report/2010/compulsory-treatment-substance-dependen

                  The reports, like the recommendations do not make much sense when considered separately.

                  The use of compulsory treatment orders involve potential breaches of the Bill of Rights Act and the report makes it quite clear that this is not to be a blunt tool employed by anyone, including any proposed Drug Court.

                  • Campbell Larsen

                    Treatment centers are another name for prisons, I wonder now if that’s what the Rats have planned. There’s big money in ‘treatment’

                    I would note that nothing in the law commission’s recommendations are intended to remove more of peoples rights, and certainly not in an underhand semantic trick like that.

                    Forcing people to take psych meds or other ‘medication’ or forcing them to abstinence programs in which they are brainwashed into surrending to a ‘higher power’ is worse than just locking them up.

                    Coercion in the form of having to choose between a short sentence of brainwashing and drugs or long sentence in jail is also dangerous territory – a choice that is not a choice.

  7. Afewknowthetruth 7

    Paraphrasing James Lovelock, there are plenty of things that need to be done, but they are not the things that people want to do.

    Western industrial society is coming to an end, and there will major upheaval before 2015. It will be ‘all over by’ 2020, due to failure of the energy supply and environmental degradatiom. Needless to say, the industrialised food system will collpase.

    However, the last thing people want to do is reduce their energy consumption, protect the environment or produce food locally.

    Since the majority are more worried about propping up dysfuntional economic arrangements than dealing with the real future, it follows that absolute catastrophe is now a certainty for most people within a few years.

    It’s Easter Island all over again. (The Easter Islanders stripped the island of resources in a frenzy of statue building, and suffered massive population crash as a consequence).

    • Jim Nald 7.1

      Well, we have been, with Fonterra’s very vocal encouragement,
      indulging in a feeding frenzy for our sacred cows.

      While a small, minority group in the country has been doing well,
      most of us are told to continuing worshiping at the altar of a poorly diversified economy.
      And we pray and pray that we don’t slip back into third world status.

      In the meantime, more of our people cross the ditch,
      our profits cross the ditch,
      and we end up with more debt and bullshit.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      It’s Easter Island all over again. (The Easter Islanders stripped the island of resources in a frenzy of statue building, and suffered massive population crash as a consequence).

      There’s more than 2 farmable hectares of land per man, woman and child in this country. Hydrodams, gas and coal.

      There’s no reason why each household can’t get 200kWh or so of energy a month, going forwards.

      I don’t know why you’re being such a party pooper.

  8. randal 8

    nationals election plank was its our turn. it is beginning to look like that whoever deicdes whose turn it is is not the voting public.

  9. Graham 9

    When a society is facing tough financial times, it makes sense for the financial elite, who possess vast hoards of cash and assets, to bear the cost of getting things back on track, simply because they are the only ones who can.

    This unchallenged culture of greed is what caused the global financial crisis. This is why it needs to be regulated.

    Penalising a handful of beneficiaries (most of whom would love to be employed, if there were enough jobs), is going to cause social problems to escalate, costing a lot more money.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      This unchallenged culture of greed is what caused the global financial crisis. This is why it needs to be regulated.

      Sadly the regulators

      1) Have all been bought off.
      2) Have all been converted to neoliberalism: where the only good regulation is no regulation.

      The bankers have more than 200 years experience evading regulation, they can do it in their sleep these days.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Key’s threat to veto premature
    John Key’s threat that he might use a financial veto against the Bill that will introduce 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave is premature and based on inflated costings, says the bill’s sponsor, Labour ‘s Sue Moroney.  “The Government keeps saying… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Reflections on the plastic bag tour
    After a marathon public tour around New Zealand that took me to 29 different places around New Zealand from the far north of Kaitaia to the deep south of Invercargill to talk about phasing out plastic bag use, I wanted… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    14 hours ago
  • Labour celebrates Tongan language and diversity
    Tongan Language Week is a timely reminder of the importance and beauty of our Pacific culture, identity and language in New Zealand, says our first Tongan born, Tongan speaking MP Jenny Salesa.  The theme for Tongan Language Week in 2015… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Privatising CYF about ideology not care
    John Key’s suggestions today that Child Youth and Family could be privatized will be a terrifying thought for New Zealanders already dealing with the mess created in private prisons and plans to sell our state houses to Australians, Opposition Leader… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Govt must make most of Jetstar competition
    Government agencies should pledge to always buy “the best fare of the day” to maximise competition between Jetstar and Air New Zealand and ensure savings for taxpayers while boosting services to regional New Zealand, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Time for inquiry into petrol margins
    It’s time for an inquiry into petrol companies as margins are once again at the high levels that prompted concerns late last year, says Labour's Energy Spokesperson Stuart Nash. "Over the December January holiday period, petrol importer margins jumped to… ...
    4 days ago
  • More talk as Auckland congestion worsens
    The main impact of the Government’s agreement with Auckland Council today will be simply to delay still further decisions needed to relieve the city’s traffic congestion, says Labour’s Auckland Issues Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “Government has been aware for more than… ...
    5 days ago
  • Serco inquiry extended
    A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “My office received a tsunami of complaints so I’m not surprised the terms… ...
    5 days ago
  • Truck Shops ignore consumer laws
    A damning Commerce Commission report out today highlights the failure of the Government to protect poor and vulnerable families from unscrupulous truck shops, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer. “The report found that 31 out of 32 firms it… ...
    5 days ago
  • Taihoa at Ihumatao says Labour
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has called on the Government to rethink its controversial Special Housing Area in Māngere. Auckland Council is today meeting to discuss the development which borders the Otuataua Stonefield Historic Reserve. This project is to get… ...
    5 days ago
  • Figures suggest National deliberately excluded farming
    Figures showing the dairy industry would be categorised as high risk if there were a further five severe injuries within a year, strongly suggests National designed its flawed system to deliberately exclude farming, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    5 days ago
  • Bleak report on the state of our children
    A damning conclusion by the Children’s Commissioner today that ‘we don’t know if children are better off as a result of state intervention, but the indications are not good’ should make fixing CYFs a top priority for this Government, says… ...
    5 days ago
  • Dodgy data used to justify axing KiwiSaver kickstart
    National’s agenda to run down KiwiSaver has become even clearer from a scathing critique of the Government’s justification for axing the $1000 kickstart, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to power they have not only continually undermined… ...
    5 days ago
  • Unsecure website risks Ashley MoBIEson hack
    Experts have raised security concerns that vulnerabilities in MoBIE’s half million-dollar website could lead to a possible Ashley Maddison-style hack, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The real issue here is not what data is immediately available, but what… ...
    6 days ago
  • Democracy still the loser in Canterbury
    The Government has demonstrated once again how arrogant and out of touch it is in denying Cantabrians the same democratic rights as the rest of the country, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Environment Canterbury Bill which has been… ...
    6 days ago
  • Waiver cost still a mystery
    The Government still has no idea what it’s going to cost community and voluntary groups to get a waiver from the fees police will charge to carry out checks on their staff and volunteers, says Labour’s Community and Voluntary spokesperson… ...
    6 days ago
  • China exports fall 27 per cent in a year
    Exports to China have fallen by 27 per cent over the last 12 months - showing that the looming economic slowdown should have been expected by the Government, says Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark. “The Chinese economic slowdown should… ...
    6 days ago
  • National should support all families for 26 weeks
    Families with multiple babies, and those born prematurely or with disabilities, are the winners from moves to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks but the Government must give all babies the same head start in life, Labour’s spokesperson for… ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s health and safety shambles puts school camps at risk
    Reports that schools are considering scrapping student camps and tearing out playgrounds highlights just how badly National has managed its health and safety reforms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools have been left completely in the dark about the… ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools
    National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education… ...
    6 days ago
  • Takahe massacre supposed to get all New Zealanders involved in conservation
    The Minister’s claim that a  botched cull of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds was a way of getting all New Zealanders involved in conservation is offensive and ludicrous, Labour’s conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.  “An email from Minister Maggie… ...
    7 days ago
  • Serco circus rolls on with revelations of fight club practice
    Further revelations that a Serco prison guard was coaching inmates on fight club techniques confirms a fully independent inquiry needs to take place, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Minister’s statement today that a guard was coaching sparring techniques… ...
    7 days ago
  • Government targets put ahead of students’ education
    The Government must urgently reassess the way it sets NCEA targets after a new report found they are forcing schools to “credit farm” and are undermining the qualification, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “A PPTA report released today says… ...
    7 days ago
  • ER patients in corridors as health cuts bite
    Patients are being forced to wait for hours on beds in corridors as cash strapped hospitals struggle to keep up with budget cuts, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “People coming to the emergency room and being forced to wait… ...
    7 days ago
  • Not too late to fix Health and Safety for New Zealand’s workers
    The Government and its minor party supporters are showing an arrogant disregard for workers’ lives by not agreeing to a cross-party solution to the botched Health and Safety bill, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday I wrote to the Prime… ...
    7 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Council of Infrastructure Development
    Tēnā Kotou Katoa. Thank you so much for having me along to speak today. Can I begin by acknowledging John Rae, the President, and Stephen Selwood, the chief executive of the Council for Infrastructure Development. ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank points finger at Govt inaction
    In scathing criticism of the Government’s inaction, the Reserve Bank says Auckland housing supply is growing nowhere near fast enough to make a dent the housing shortage, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer today… ...
    1 week ago
  • Chickens come home to roost on climate change
    The Government’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has caused foresters to leave and emissions to rise, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “The release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Facts and Figures Report for 2014 on the ETS… ...
    1 week ago
  • Website adds to long list of big spends at MBIE
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s $560,000 outlay on its new website is further evidence of excessive spending by Steven Joyce on his pet project super ministry, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.  “Hot on the heels of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Brownlee warned over EQC repairs but ignored them
    Gerry Brownlee was warned that EQC’s underfloor repairs weren’t being done properly by industry experts, the cross party working group and in public but he arrogantly ignored them all, says Labour’s Earthquake Commission spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.  “Today’s apology and commitment… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco wants in on state house sell off
    The Government must keep scandal plagued outsourcing company Serco away from our state housing after their disastrous record running Mt Eden prison, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Today it has emerged that at the same time Serco was under… ...
    1 week ago
  • Come clean on Pasifika education centre
    Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iinga needs to come clean and tell the Pasifika communities if he’s working to save the Pasifika Education Centre or shut it down, Labour’s Pasifika spokesperson Su’a William Sio says.  “I’m gutted the Pasifika Education Centre funding… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for NZTA to work on alternatives to flyover
    The High Court decision rejecting the New Zealand Transport Agency’s attempts to build the Basin Reserve flyover must now mean that NZTA finally works with the community on other options for transport solutions in Wellington, Grant Robertson and Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shiny new system leads to record truancy
    Record high truancy rates shows the Government’s much-vaunted new attendance system is an abysmal failure, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Data released today shows truancy rates have spiked more than 15 per cent in 2014 and are now at… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Woodhouse wrong about quarries
      The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse was wrong yesterday when he said limestone quarries were covered by the farcical Health and Safety legislation, says Labour’s Associate Labour spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “He said he ‘understood’ limestone quarries… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taxpayers money spent on culling one of our rarest birds
    It beggars belief that four endangered takahe were killed by incompetent cullers contracted to the Department of Conservation and the Minister must explain this wanton destruction, says Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It must not be forgotten that there are only… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing NZ must immediately move family
    Housing New Zealand must immediately move a Glen Innes family whose son contracted serious and potentially fatal health problems from the appalling condition of their state house, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Te Ao Marama Wensor and community workers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No understanding of the value of overseas investment
     The Government has now admitted it has absolutely no idea of the actual value of foreign investment in New Zealand, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It is crucial that the Government starts to understand just what this overseas… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another bridges bribe from Simon Bridges
    Simon Bridges is embroiled in another bridges-for-votes controversy after admitting funding for a replacement bridge in Queenstown is “very much about… the 2017 election”, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Transport Minister is today reported as telling Queenstown locals… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Saudi tender process reeks of SkyCity approach
    The tender process for the $6m investment in a Saudi sheep farm reeks like the SkyCity convention centre deal and once again contravenes the government’s own procurement rules, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker. “The $6m contract… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maori Party should stand up for workers
    The Government’s proposed Health and Safety Reform Bill does not go far enough to protect those in specific industries with the highest rates of workplace deaths, says Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “We are told that Maori workers are more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain budget blowout
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must explain a budget blow out at Te Puni Kokiri, after the organisation spent more than 2.5 million dollars over their budget for contractors, says Labour’s Associate Māori Development spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “For the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Successful effort to raise the issue of GE trees in proposed standard
    Many thousands of people submitted on the proposed National Environmental Standard –  Plantation Forestry (NES-PF).  A vast majority of the public submissions were particularly focussed on the NES having included GE trees in its mandate. People want these provisions removed,… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Fair Share Friday – Thoughts and Reflections
    As part of our Fair Share  campaign, Green MPs have been doing a series of visits to community groups across the country to have conversations about inequality in New Zealand and what communities are experiencing on the ground. I visited… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Crucial Auditor General investigation welcomed
    The Auditor General’s decision to investigate the Saudi sheep scandal is important, necessary and welcome, Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says. “The independent functions of the Auditor General are a cornerstone of the New Zealand system of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver sign-ups continue to fall
    New KiwiSaver sign-ups in July were 45 per cent below the monthly average, despite John Key saying axing the kickstart “will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver”, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Contact bows to pressure
    Contact Energy’s decision to cut its pre-pay rates to be in line with its customers who pay monthly is good news and the company deserves credit for responding so quickly, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer.  “Two months ago… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • I’m pushing for a ‘fair go’ for solar
    My Fair Go For Solar Bill was pulled from the Members’ Ballot last week and is set for a vote in Parliament. In this blog post I explain some of the background to the bill and how it aims to… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Key must explain why Health and Safety Bill pulled
    John Key must explain why his Government is delaying the Health and Safety Bill when Pike River families have travelled to Wellington specifically to register their opposition, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday afternoon John Key suggested the bill may… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Diving for sustainable scallops
    Last week, there were calls for scallop dredging to be banned in the Marlborough Sounds, following scientific report saying that 70% of the Sounds had been lost from dredging, trawling, and sedimentation from forestry. At the same time we see… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere