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Archive for July, 2009

Our traditional allies

Written By: - Date published: 6:53 pm, July 27th, 2009 - 67 comments

It seems the US want us to commit our elite SAS troops to Afghanistan. I’m not a big fan of the Taliban but I’m not a supporter of occupations either. Morally I think we can supply engineers and the like for reconstruction (assuming that’s what they do). But the SAS has only one purpose and […]

What they’re really playing at

Written By: - Date published: 4:55 pm, July 27th, 2009 - 7 comments

Business Roundtable chair Rob McLeod has a piece in today’s Dom Post motivating the case for amending anti-discrimination laws to allow “affirmative action” in the private sector workforce. As an exercise in intellectual dishonesty it’s truly a masterpiece. Selectively quoting the Chicago School academic Richard Epstein, a favourite in BRT circles, McLeod tries to motivate […]

Productive editorial

Written By: - Date published: 11:40 am, July 27th, 2009 - 29 comments

Interesting editorial on National’s new Productivity Taskforce in Saturday’s Herald. Australia’s Productivity Commission (independent, highly successful, and enjoying cross-party support) could have served as a good model, but: That possibility was ditched with the appointment of Dr Brash, whose excellent credentials as a former Reserve Bank Governor are compromised by his political partisanship. This will […]

More cycleway spin

Written By: - Date published: 10:35 am, July 27th, 2009 - 19 comments

[At the outset of this, let me restate, once again, I’m all for cycleways. Indeed, I wish the Key government hadn’t cut millions from urban cycling in the Budget. What I object to is the overhyping of a few possible cycleways as if they constitute some kind of economic recovery plan] Key has identified seven […]

‘Green-shoots’ wither in UK

Written By: - Date published: 9:19 am, July 27th, 2009 - 11 comments

Like New Zealand, the UK has had a deluge of ‘green-shoots’ news from the corporate media and the financiers desperate to jawbone the economy into recovery. The spin became so pervasive that the consensus among economists was the UK economy would have shrunk only -0.3% last quarter and would be growing by now. It shrunk […]

Govt opts for weak climate change target

Written By: - Date published: 6:21 am, July 27th, 2009 - 44 comments

As expected, the Key Government has decided not to listen to the scientists on climate change. Rather than the 40% reduction in emissions by 2020 that the scientists are saying the the minimum developed nations need to achieve to start greenhouse gas levels heading back to safe levels, they’ll be setting a weaker target instead, […]

Sunday reading: Life in sub-prime America

Written By: - Date published: 1:29 pm, July 26th, 2009 - 7 comments

Exiled Online, a US site, has excellent coverage of the recession and the sub-prime crisis from a ground-level view. Yasha Levine moved to Victorville an ‘exurb’ of LA (100 miles from LA centre) to experience the crisis first-hand. His reports are a must read – well written, well researched, hard hitting (hope you’re not too […]

Goff: yes, stuff-ups: no

Written By: - Date published: 11:35 am, July 26th, 2009 - 84 comments

Bill Ralston quotes me and some other Left bloggers on the Burgess debacle suggesting it means Goff’s neck is on the line and a leadership challenge might be coming. Well, sorry, but that’s just an old Tory’s daydream. Goff’s leadership is secure. There is no prospect of him being overthrown. His support in Labour is […]

Dark visions

Written By: - Date published: 9:53 am, July 26th, 2009 - 29 comments

I still get the chills some times remembering how close the Left came to losing the 2005 election. If it hadn’t been for Brash being caught out in his lies over links with the Exclusive Brethren’s smear campaign, National might just have squeaked the win. The Hollow Men would have been in charge. Wholesale privatisation, […]

Coated in privatisation pixie dust

Written By: - Date published: 5:13 pm, July 25th, 2009 - 29 comments

I like Colin Espiner’s writing. He’s got he best of the journo blogs. He’s focussed on issues rather than politicking. But does he ever drop some clangers – saying the Chief Justice could be fired, confusing numbers on the dole with the number who are unemployed, saying the Prime Minister can’t affect wages, and this: […]

Back to the future: electricity privatisation

Written By: - Date published: 2:12 pm, July 25th, 2009 - 89 comments

Bill English says he doesn’t much care whether monopolies or businesses with monopolistic power are owned by private companies or the Government does. He doesn’t care whether power companies are publicly or privately owned because he thinks he can make the electricity sector competitive. He’s dreaming like he was in the 1990s. Monopolies are a fact of life […]

Wobbling boobs distract Darby from Global Warning

Written By: - Date published: 3:49 pm, July 24th, 2009 - 21 comments

Just saw this…pretty good. Didn’t realise Darby was another Signer Oner. Nice to see a bit of humour injected into something as grim as a toiling planet.

John Key, centrist

Written By: - Date published: 3:49 pm, July 24th, 2009 - 23 comments

IrishBill commented last night that “John Key the centrist” is a narrative we’re not hearing much from the commentariat any more. I thought this was strange given that was the brand they were all so dutifully selling us in the leadup to the election campaign. John Armstrong couldn’t get enough of it. I wondered what […]

Nats grandstanding on legal reform

Written By: - Date published: 3:17 pm, July 24th, 2009 - 21 comments

Today we saw Justice Minister Simon Power get a front-page story for proposing a ‘reform‘ of the justice system that is actually just existing law (one wonders whether there’ll be days of recrimination coverage in Granny arising from that). In a few months, we’ll see National table a Bill to remove provocation as a partial […]

More facts on the table

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, July 24th, 2009 - 42 comments

Now, yesterday a couple of righties didn’t want to believe the evidence in front of their eyes that the GDP per person gap between Australia and New Zealand doubled during the neoliberal economic revolution. They got upset at my conclusion that repeating those same policies (which is what Don Brash’s 2025 Taskforce will inevitably recommend) […]

The house built on sand

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, July 24th, 2009 - 29 comments

Pick up the paper. The stories are ‘consumer confidence recovering’, ‘house prices stablising’ etc. These are taken as indications that the recession is close to over. Probably right. Weak growth in December. But that weak growth will be built on the same foundations that crumbled here and abroad sending us into recession in the first […]

Left needs to unite in Supercity race

Written By: - Date published: 9:16 am, July 24th, 2009 - 56 comments

A UMR poll out yesterday suggests that Len Brown, currently mayor of Manukau, would be the Left candidate with the best chance of winning the mayoralty of the Auckland Supercity next year. The poll has Brown on 35% ahead of John Banks on 34% – but with margin of error, all that can be said is […]

Quick question

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, July 24th, 2009 - 26 comments

What does the Maori Party think of National’s plan to relax rules on foreign investment?

The reform that wasn’t there

Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, July 24th, 2009 - 36 comments

Justice Minister Simon Power: I believe we need to have an open debate about the way in which sexual violence cases are conducted. In this regard, I am currently considering potentially far-reaching reforms, including:…Making evidence about previous sexual relationships between the complainant and any person inadmissible without prior agreement of the judge. umm… Evidence Act […]

This is the secret agenda

Written By: - Date published: 10:13 pm, July 23rd, 2009 - 28 comments

Remember the mantra about John Key being a centrist? Doesn’t get much play nowadays does it? And it shouldn’t. Not with the government cutting spending while unemployment rises, dragging Brash and Rankin back from the grave, spending large on private schools, contracting out public services, tax cuts for the rich and the snouts-in-troughs sham that […]

DL Wgtn and Palmy tonight

Written By: - Date published: 4:03 pm, July 23rd, 2009 - 4 comments

No Right Turn reminds us: Drinking Liberally is happening tonight in both Wellington and Palmerston North. In Wellington, the guest speaker will be Geoff Keey from Greenpeace, who will be talking about their Sign On campaign. In Palmerston North, we’ll have the Greens’ Metiria Turei, talking about the upcoming “anti-smacking” referendum. When: 17:30, Thursday, July […]

Show-pony

Written By: - Date published: 3:50 pm, July 23rd, 2009 - 32 comments

Y’know, as John Key tries to get stuck into Phil Goff, I think it’s time for a quick recall of recent history. Key is a man who lied directly to the New Zealand people about his Tranz Rail shares. Key is a man who hid from the public every time he was asked about substantive […]

Provoking change

Written By: - Date published: 2:45 pm, July 23rd, 2009 - 13 comments

Good interview with Labour’s Justice spokesperson, Lianne Dalziel this morning on her private members Bill in the ballot that would remove the defence of provocation (audio on the rnz site, including an mp3 version).  It looks like there is a real momentum for change with ‘the Crimes (Abolition of Defence of Provocation) Amendment Bill’ going into the member’s […]

Closing the gap

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, July 23rd, 2009 - 13 comments

I take it all back. Key really is a genius! I didn’t think he could do it, but I underestimated him. Under his leadership, the country has closed the gap with Australia. By 30 centimetres. “Massive New Zealand quake moves country West” — r0b

UMR has Len Brown ahead of Banks

Written By: - Date published: 1:45 pm, July 23rd, 2009 - 30 comments

UMR’s just released a poll showing Manukau mayor Len Brown as the preferred mayor of the Auckland Super City, slightly ahead of John Banks. The poll shows Brown on 35%, Banks on 34%, and 31% undecided. They’ve also done a matchup between Banks and Auckland Regional Council chair Mike Lee. Banks left Lee in the […]

Back to the future

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, July 23rd, 2009 - 36 comments

Winston rising

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, July 23rd, 2009 - 32 comments

Like some bad horror movie, from beyond the political grave, it stirs again. Christine Rankin? Unbelievably – yes. Don Brash? Well yes, him too (fresh new thinking from National!). But these are but side shows to the main event. Winston Peters is back. Ironically it is National that has opened the door wide for Winston […]

Phil, get your shit together

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, July 23rd, 2009 - 41 comments

Phil Goff. Please get your shit together. This latest fiasco of running up a guy who owns several properties as a case of a Kiwi hurt by the recession is just inexcusable. I don’t doubt the dude’s having cashflow problems. But using him as your poster boy was only ever going to backfire. There are […]

Justice, provocation, and the media

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, July 23rd, 2009 - 38 comments

Provocation is a partial defence to a charge of murder. It reduces murder to manslaughter if the jury accepts that actions of the victim would have caused a ‘reasonable person’ to lose self-control. The problem is that it is clearly being abused in some circumstances, like the Weatherston trial, to drag the victim’s name through the […]

Those who don’t learn from history…

Written By: - Date published: 4:19 am, July 23rd, 2009 - 67 comments

Supposedly, we need Don Brash and a gang of his right-wing cohorts to tell us how to close the wealth gap with Australia. Brash and his merry gang are the same old faces from the neoliberal revolution of the late 80s and early 90s. Back then, they ruthlessly applied neoliberal economic theory to our economy […]

New union blog

Written By: - Date published: 5:03 pm, July 22nd, 2009 - 3 comments

Public Sector Eye. A new blog from the PSA written by the union’s two national secretaries, Brenda Pilott and Richard Wagstaff. Finsec’s been running the gossip for a few years now, but this will be the first blog written by union national secretaries on issues affecting their members. Given current events it should be interesting […]

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