2012 cabinet report card

Written By: - Date published: 12:25 pm, January 2nd, 2013 - 17 comments
Categories: national, Politics - Tags:

After Eddie dissed the usual beltway year in review style of column/post I was a little chary about doing this one. And then I realised the good thing about The Standard is we do real world and beltway issues. So here goes my once-over assessment of the 2012 cabinet performance and what it’s likely to mean for the future.

Bill English

Policy: English’s hand’s off approach has been a total mess – high unemployment, low growth, growing debt. The petrol tax stunt at the end of the year to allow him to forecast a token and meaningless “surplus” shows his total lack of vision. However assessment of many political actions can be divided into “stupid” or “evil”. With regard to English’s policies the former analysis is the most charitable – he could simply be too stupid to see he’s trashing the economy (even though it’s his second time around). Those who favour the “evil” analysis may feel inclined to point out that almost every policy he has enacted has involved handing the very wealthy a greater chunk of the ever-diminishing pie. Depending on which goal English is striving for he’s either done very poorly this year, policy-wise, or very well.

Politics: He’s got away with a lot, mostly because the various economic debacles have been isolated political incidents – or rather they haven’t been tied together into a single strong narrative by the opposition. Dumping the petrol tax at the end of the year is a calculated risk – he’ll be hoping National has recouped some political capital by the time the tax kicks in. I think he’s miscalculated.

In terms of internal politics, English’s camp has grown this year but isn’t strong inside Cabinet. Losing Nick Smith was a blow but Smith has used the blue-greens as an organising tool – there are few new MP’s who are not in the English/Smith camp now. Their problem is that, with Power gone, they’ve got no viable candidate. That said, you don’t always need to be the leader to run the caucus.

Gerry Brownlee

Policy: What a disaster. Pretty much everything Brownlee touches turns to sh*t. With regard to his abysmal performance as the Emperor of Christchurch there’s simply not space to highlight even a small percentage of his failure but I think it’s worth pointing out that he’s terrified of the insurance industry as he seems to back them over the people of Christchurch every time.

Politics: Not a good year for Brownlee in that he goes from PR blunder to PR blunder. That said his job seems to be to soak up the political hits before they damage the Prime Minister so perhaps he’s not doing so badly at all. While he holds a fair bit of sway in Cabinet right now I can’t see him sticking around past next term. If he does he’ll need to be moved on or National will start to have the same problems every party does when it lets has-beens run the show.

Steven Joyce

Policy: A couple of years ago I pointed out that Joyce had this weird magic about him in that, although everything he touched turned into fiasco (ranging from the 2005 Exclusive Brethern debacle, to the Roads of National Significance) he still manages to bully his way through. In terms of his policy, MBIE, his biggest accomplishment so far may yet be his undoing…

Politics: Early this year Joyce was quietly positioning himself as the next leader of National – he had his flying monkeys out and about undermining Judith Collins hard out (including feeding the ACC debacle). However he appears to have bitten off more than he can chew with his play to be minister of everything – he’s had to take his eye off the internal politics ball and his leadership stocks have dropped. And, true to form, he seems to think he can bully his way through every one of his portfolios – which one of his little stouches will become his eastern front is yet to be determined. I think he’s in for a very interesting 2013.

Judith Collins

Policy: A trail of destruction. Basically Collins’ M.O. seems to be to make a mess and then leave it to someone else to clean up. I may be wrong but I can’t think of one substantial policy she’s produced since she became a minister (Collins supporters feel free to correct me).

Politics: 2012 was the year Collin’s dropped the “crusher” moniker and decided to rebrand herself as a statesman. This is a work in progress as can be seen by her end of year Bain shenanigans. However she’s been courting the media well and has seen off Joyce well enough that she’s now considered the prime candidate to take over from Key. Her camp has grown somewhat (and there’s a lot of leg-work being done among backers) but the leadership stuff is still very much cold-war at the moment and she’s got a way to go before she’s a shoe-in. It’ll be interesting to watch her next moves in terms of brand development.

Tony Ryall

Policy: I’ve got to admit I haven’t followed health that much this year but it seems Ryall is quietly shifting money away from prevention and into more quantifiable areas. With an aging electorate this might be good politics or it might actually be an appropriate strategy. There’s very little to point either way.

Politics: I’ve been told Ryall does a really good job with his sector relations and it seems to show. People complain about Maryan Street not taking him to task in health but forget that Robertson had the portfolio before her and didn’t make any hits and even Kevin Hague (who knows the sector inside out) isn’t making any ground. As far as I know Ryall is still very much in English’s camp.

Hekia Parata

Policy: There’s already been screeds written on this.

Politics: and this.

Chris Finlayson

Policy: Findlayson has worked hard to fairly settle some significant treaty claims and is clearly seen as a safe pair of hands having held both the Environment and Labour portfolios after Ministers resigned (he’s still got Labour).

Politics: The only time I can think of Findlayson playing dirty politics was during the Hobbit dispute when he released a very select line from Crown Law advice on collective bargaining for contractors (declaring it illegal). Despite repeated OIAs the full advice is still being withheld. It may come out this year.

In terms of his profile, Findlayson is little-known outside of the beltway and I think that’s just the way he likes it, my impression is he’s very much an outsider, even within his own caucus. It will be interesting to see if he keeps the Labour portfolio or if it’s passed on early in the New Year (perhaps to Simon Bridges). Personally I hope he keeps it.

Paula Bennett

Politics: Bennett doesn’t do policy. Every single “policy” move since she became a Minister has been primarily a political move, mostly to provide bene-bashing cover. That said, the attitude at WINZ has hardened as she’s changed the culture but with no Christine Rankin to rely on the job’s not been done as root and branch as it was in the 1990s.

Politics: Paula looks after Paula and has ever since her student politics days. But like so many that run on blind ambition she seems incapable of taking a long-view. I suspect that at some stage she’ll outlive her usefulness and that’ll be it for her. I’ve neither seen or heard anything that suggests she’s got any organised political muscle of her own.

David Carter

Policy: I’m drawing a blank here. A little help?

Politics: Well he’s gonna be the speaker…

Murray McCully

Policy: Gordon Campbell puts it better than I could:

Then there were the McCully reforms at MFAT, which have thrown one of our most competent departments into total disarray in pursuit of illusory cost savings. (Again, if a centre-left government had disabled the foreign affairs arm of government so comprehensively, the wretch responsible would have faced calls of treason, and been drummed out of office months ago.)

Politics: Make no mistake, Phil Goff hasn’t been scoring points off McCully for any other reason than the MFAT ratbags have done his opposition research for him and handed him his lines. It says something about the “Machiavellian genius” of the National Party got his arse handed to him by a bunch of civil servants. Oh well, at least he had the world cup. Time for Murray to get his gold watch I’d say.

Anne Tolley

Policy: A very quiet year for Tolley. Other than capitalising on some of the PR opportunities set-up by the former minister she’s not done much.

Politics: Given Tolley’s lack of PR fiascos since she left Education I think it might be fair to say Parata’s not solely the author of her own demise. That said neither her nor Tolley are much chop really. One would assume she’s in the Collins camp but it probably doesn’t matter one way or another…

Jonathan Coleman

Policy: The cost cutting in defense, particularly the move to sack defense force personal and then hire them back as civilians with lower terms and conditions, puts a lie to the claims National has previously made about supporting the troops. And, although he probably has little influence in the decision making, the myriad of issues surrounding our continued involvement in Afghanistan are his responsibility.

Politics: Another Minister who has had a quiet year. The defense restructuring never really hit the headlines and John Key fronted on Afghanistan.

Tim Groser

Policy: 2012 was the year Tim Groser made us look like dicks at DOHA. I’m reasonably sure he doesn’t agree with his own policy but that’s collective responsibility for you.

Politics: Groser has had nothing but bad PR this year. He was never a personality the NZ public would find that sympathetic but this won’t help. Interestingly Simon Bridges has answered for him quite a few times this year – whether that’s because Groser’s not been around or whether it was because he had difficulty shopping a line he disagreed with? Who knows. Nonetheless Bridges did an excellent job of standing up, running the lines, and then sitting down – he’ll go far.

Phil Heatley

Policy: In energy, Heatley has basically just done what Joyce and Gerry have told him to. Which is probably why all that oil and gas that was going to make us all as rich as teachers never eventuated. In housing Heatley is quietly working through selling houses in good suburbs and claiming more suitable houses are going to be built in more suitable locations but it seems there is very little public information about what’s actually going on.

Politics: Energy has been handled by Joyce. Housing? My impression is that Heatley’s got someone good in his office seeding politics-of-envy stories about beneficiaries living in million dollar state houses (they always seem to come from directed OIAs). Given housing is such a big issue for the opposition, Heatley seems to have had an easy ride.

Kate Wilkinson

Policy: Wilkinson was starting to do some good work in the labour portfolio particularly with regard to health and safety. So much so that many in the unions didn’t want her to stand down after the Pike report was released. In conservation she’s overseen “cost savings” in DoC that are already having negative environmental effects.

Politics: Wilkinson took responsibility for Pike that should have been sheeted home to Gerry Brownlee. It’s no secret that decisions made in the Labour portfolio (and indeed in her conservation portfolio) were driven by Brownlee when he was energy minister. She really does appear to care about conservation but doesn’t appear to be able to advocate for it – I suspect she’s excused quite a lot of bad publicity by a media and a sector that know she has little say in her own portfolio.

Nathan Guy

Policy: Very little has changed in immigration, probably as there’s not much worth changing right now.

Politics: The only significant immigration story of the year was Winston’s “highflyers scandal”. Which was fronted by Key and didn’t really seem to have any legs. Other than that, Guy seems to have been off the radar.

Craig Foss

Policy: I’ve not really paid much attention. Anyone got any ideas?

Politics: N/A

Amy Adams

Policy: Oversaw the demolition of the emissions trading scheme which means we’re going to see vast amounts of wealth transferred from the taxpayer to polluters over the next few years.

Politics: Adams hasn’t done well with environment. To be fair, she followed Nick Smith who was across the portfolio like nobody else in the last couple of decades but she seems to have be caught out several times by things that a more experienced minister would have taken in their stride whether they knew the portfolio well or not.

John Key

Policy: N/A.

Politics: Well, where to start? Key started the year with the tea-tape hangover, then got hit with dot-com, he’s put his foot in his own mouth on several occasions, and is presiding over so many policy failures it is simply astounding he can do so well in the polls.

But he does. I think Key will make a big show of starting this year on the right foot possibly with a cheap but liberal policy such as food in low-decile schools or perhaps something environmental. I also think that the 2014 election campaign will begin this year and that the Nats will start putting the pressure on Labour after February.

And then there’s the reshuffle. That’ll be bad news for Parata but will probably bring Bridges in and Nick Smith back. That’ll appease the gallery as they love having their predictions come true but it won’t make a blind bit of difference to the policy settings or the internal power balance.

What will be interesting to see next year is the relationship between Key and his caucus. Especially if they don’t rally in the polls.

17 comments on “2012 cabinet report card”

  1. Matthew Hooton 1

    Far too generous to Parata.

    • IrishBill 1.1

      Nope. I just think there’s a consensus on how abysmal she’s been that I didn’t feel the need to add anything. I’m also not sure she’s done that much worse than, say, Brownlee.

      • Marty 1.1.1

        How much is Parata, and how much is it a sabotaging department?

        Nevertheless, Key will “promote” her safely into another position.

  2. bad12 2

    Here’s my wild card, Maurice Williamson, yes He of the Hairdo that at times seems to ascend to the heights of the ‘Hairdo from Ohariu’ Dunnes version of dead animals treated badly,

    Befor Carter, Slippery the Prime Minister tried to shoe-horn Williamson into the Speakers Chair, Maurice wouldn’t have a bar of it, which says to me that Maurice thinks He still has places to go in politics and the National Party,

    When the time comes to give Slippery His come-uppance i think it will be the English camp with Maurice as it’s chosen heir apparent that will trounce any leadership amibitions that Collins might be entertaining,

    Williamson has sat as quiet as a mouse as a Minister outside of Cabinet and in doing so hasn’t tarred Himself with the regular s**t-storms of major policy and political machinations that have been regular features of Collins and Joyce’s Ministry’s…

  3. Rhinoviper 3

    National will start to have the same problems every party does when it lets has-beens run the show.

    I can’t think that that wasn’t pointed at Mallard, Goff, King… and their mini-mes like Chippy.

  4. just saying 4

    Astute analysis IB.

  5. xtasy 5

    Good try, Irishbill, I would have recommended a more ruthless and detailed attack assessment in the form of such “cabinet report card”, for sure. You are much too diplomatic and kind, and I feel you missed too much out, that should have been mentioned and put in here!

    Also I would not have spared the Labour Caucus and “shadow cabinet” there, as we have sadly too many under-performers in that lot, to make a difference so far.

    NZ is short of political talent, and it is showing. This is a terrible state of affairs for the future of this country, and TS should really raise this. Many of some contributers and commenters here were at Labour’s last major conference, spoke kindly and enthusiastically about the grass root member commitments, input and resulting changes, so get some more from that level to replace the hangers on that sit on the leather cushioned, green chairs inside the House a.s.a.p., please.

    The opposition needs, talent, fresh blood and a really keen, motivated lot there, that take this rotten government to account, not just with a few questions in question time, but across the whole front of political trench fighting and what else belongs it. 2012 was a real disappointment, apart from the occasional good performance.

    Shearer has one real last chance, get Cunliffe involved and committed again, or you will stuff up something terrible, for all of Labour!

    Get moving, get going, get stuck into it, a real bloody shake-up is overdue in coming weeks, or get real and found a NEW social democratic, left of centre, inclusive, potential party, a.s.a.p., please!!!

    • David H 5.1

      “Shearer has one real last chance, get Cunliffe involved and committed again, or you will stuff up something terrible, for all of Labour!” WRONG!
      Shearer has to resign, the whole Caucus needs to be dumped. Cunliffe needs to lead, and pick a winning team. The time of stuttering and stammering has gone. And now Labour NEEDS a new leader. Someone who can string a sentence together and think on his feet, and not need a week to rehearse a couple of lines!

      • Crimson Nile 5.1.1

        But are we sure that David Cunliffe has a remaining interest in the Leaders position? Think of the day after getting your ‘promotion’ – a poison chalice trying to discipline an unruly caucus full of implacable and generally right wing “ABC’s”. What would make him take up a challenge like that?

  6. Ad 6

    A reshuffle will be too late for them. Their history is fully written and IrishBill’s summary is as much of an epitaph as they need. So if they are on the out, another column could concentrate on the key officials: which ones should stay, which should be asked to resign as soon as the next govt steps in.

    Kibblewhite at DPMC, what of the EPA would you keep, what to do with MBIE and Smol and those massively powered Dep Secs, who at Treasury. Etc.

    With such a disaggregated and corporatised state however, we would need to evaluate the other layers; Landcorp, Solid Energy, the power companies that remain, the CRIs, the Vice Chancellors, the quangos. Boards and CEs to express confidence or not.

    Because you don’t necessarily have to throw the whole structure up in the air to make a leftie government work. But you have to put the fear of God into them.

    It’s pretty clear now Labour will not have a plan for government other than CGT and other basics from last time. So we need to signal that this will be a change government, and that it will be officials and CEOs and Boards who will form those plans.

    It’s not comfortable, because we usually presume the Left can think. Odd that Labours Policy Council appears bereft of leadership or drive now. But the membership can require of caucus a government of powerful change. The rest will be up to the public sector to come up with. It’s a debate we need to start, beyond the political personalities.

    • Tiresias 6.1

      ” It’s a debate we need to start, beyond the political personalities.”

      A debate we need to start?

      Seems to me that activists, party members, concerned members of the public have been pressing the start button now for a couple of years, and all they’re getting is the brief whine and expiring puff of a flat battery.

      • Ad 6.1.1

        True to a degree, and political discourse often channels us to personality cults, but look, even the Constitutional changes were essentially replacements for hard debate about ideals. Can hardly fault the commentators here. We simply need more “what we want” debate.

  7. Treetop 7

    When it comes to housing Heatley is going from bad to worse, his latest excuse for empty HNZ homes is they are an earthquake risk. (Homes in Christchurch yes, else where far and few). A woman on RNZ this morning is unable to sell her home in the Hutt Valley for what it is worth, she said she would not have purchased it five years ago had she known what HNZ would do. A third of the homes in her street have long grass, graffiti on the homes, boarded up windows, planks from fences are been taken to be used as firewood, she described the area as being like a ghetto and that derelict people are being attracted to the area.

    The mayor from the area is going to clean up the graffiti and threatened to send HNZ the bill. The 0800 number to ring HNZ is nothing but a run around when it comes to the woman’s complaints. HNZ have increased patrols and think that long lawns are being cut. To be boarding up windows says it all.

    I vaguely heard King say later in the day that were the properties occupied the situation would be different.

    HNZ is the sickest I have ever known it to be. It is now common to hear that when a person has to leave a HNZ property due to the property being sold or unable to be lived in, there is not another HNZ property which is suitable.

    Less and less are being housed when the demand is that more and more need affordable housing.

  8. Treetop 8

    With the fiscal cliff in the US being avoided by using a band aid solution for the next two months, another recession cannot be ruled out. Every minister (in the above) has now got a ready excuse for tightening the screws even more, which they were going to do anyway.

    One thing about English is that he has a clear manifesto as he beats the drum regarding selling the power companies and being in surplus by mid 2015 even though he is dreaming.

    Is it better to have a manifesto which is a pipe dream than not to have one at all?

  9. exkiwiforces 9

    Jonathan Coleman is setting up the NZDF for a major policy fail/fall in the 5yrs and some of the Chickens are starting to come home such as:
    1. Pilot and Aircrew Standards are dropping, (I blame Labour for that one)
    2. The Middle management (Officer Corp- Captain to Major and SNCO’s for example my uncle who is SNCO in RNZAF of 32 plus yrs of loyal service to his country is leaving as he has a guts full of the cut backs)of all 3 Services are leaving which puts more pressure on those left to get the job and doing more with less is going to get people killed this has already happen
    3. The Navy’s Fleet Tanker is needs to replace in the next 3 yrs, The Seaspites are about to fallout of the sky and the ANZAC weapon and combat system upgrade will be cheapest bidder not the needs of the Navy or the needs of the other 2 services/country in other words a half arse job.
    4. The Army can’t/ won’t be able to do an INTERFET mission ie Chap7, Chap6 and Chap5 peacekeeping missions without destroying the defence budget and any other tasking that Navy or Airforce may doing at the time remember the summer 99-00 anyone.
    5. The C-130’s may have a new cockpit, but they still have same maintenance problems as you would’ve for a 50 yr old airfames , yes folks they entered service in the 1965/66 and how they haven’t fallen out of the sky yet god only knows (I refuse to fly in them).
    Sorry for the long rant, but as someone who has been inside NZDF and now working alongside the NZDF in a foreign defence force, the future of the NZDF is not good whoever is in power after the next election.
    It may pay for some of you to check out defencetalk.com or wings over new zealand forum site for further information on the NZDF at a grass root view.

  10. Rogue Trooper 10

    dearie me, i people think i’m a prophet of doom 🙁
    back to the joinery for this cabinet, feed it through a band saw

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    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    6 days ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 days ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    7 days ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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