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All aboard for awesome public transport

Written By: - Date published: 10:03 am, November 30th, 2017 - 40 comments
Categories: local government - Tags: ,

‘It’s less fuss, take a bus’ is a tagline for public transport campaigns from Hamilton to Northampton. And it’s true, buses, trains and ferries are not only better for the environment, if run well they are cheaper and faster than being jammed in motorway gridlock and fighting for carparks. Public transport options are also vital for the young, the old and those without the space, money or ability to own a car.

A good public transport network makes a huge different to your quality of life if you either choose not to, or can’t, add to New Zealand’s 3.6 million motor vehicles already on the road.

If you’re one of the 34% of New Zealanders who use our local public transport networks, you have probably noticed that the people working hard to keep us moving aren’t entirely happy. Union members have had to take or consider industrial action in both Wellington and Auckland to protect their terms and conditions of work, and in some cases minimum safe staffing for passengers. Transdev, the French rail operator in Auckland is proposing introducing ‘driver-only trains’. Unstaffed services are several hurdles away from reality, but nonetheless concerning to those with decades of experiencein passenger management and industrial engineering. In Wellington the bus drivers are holding a stopwork meeting to discuss how they can protect their income and employment conditions when our bus services are taken over by a new provider. In Auckland, drivers have already had to take pay cuts after a changes to bus service contracts, despite the ticket price for commuters staying the same.

The best thing about public transport is it’s ours – funded by taxes and rates, it’s a great example of how things just work better together. We pool our money and give it to central government or councils to get the best value for money while getting us from A to B reliably and safely, without clogging up our roads with taxis or private cars. But unfortunately under the last Government, councils became less free to pick the operator that best reflects the local values of their region, or a service model that ensures quality experiences for commuters.

Under the ‘Public Transport Operating Model’, which is just a fancy name for the ‘rules’ to choose who runs your services, councils are forced to tender for companies who can ‘reduce reliance’ on ‘public subsidies’ – which is actually the point of a publicly funded service. What this means in reality is if you are an existing local company,  even a big established one like Kiwirail, you can be squeezed out by competing tenders based on lower wages, like those from big multinationals Transdev or Hyundai Rotem. As our need for public transport increases, these giant companies can easily scale a business model by screwing down local employment conditions and often sending the profits from ratepayers offshore. If the financial bottom line is the primary decision criteria for council members, then of course it’s harder for local providers who respect good wages to win tenders.

But the people who take and fund public transport in New Zealand also live and work in our communities. They don’t want a bargain basement bus or train service with all the expected delays caused by skimping on train guards and quibbling over weekend rates. One can only imagine the level of care that goes into safety and maintenance if getting cash back to the shareholders is the company’s whole reason for being. Rather than a Scrooge McDuck tendering system, we think that if you want to play with our public rail set you have to promise to treat it carefully including guaranteeing fair wages and conditions. And that locals should be able to tell the Council what they want out of their pooled money.

If we are going to meet our international climate change commitments, or our vision of people-friendly cities, we’re going to have to fast-track the expansion of clean, affordable and reliable public transport services. There are fantastic models overseas where you don’t even need to check the route or timetable, you just turn up at the station knowing the next service will be along soon. In Japan, they apologised recently for a 20 second deviation from the train schedule! This kind of quality model requires highly valuing the skills of everyone employed to deliver it. And that’s less fuss for us all.

If you support people working on trains, you can sign up to keep train carriages safe on All Aboard here.

If you want to say ‘Thank you driver’ to our bus staff in Wellington who are facing an uncertain future with a new employer, you can support them here.

You can support your local bus drivers in Auckland and find out more about the tendering issues on First Union’s site, Bus Fair.

 

~ Sam Huggard (courtesy of Together)

40 comments on “All aboard for awesome public transport”

  1. cleangreen 1

    We as a community NGO support all rail services be they either; “freight/passenger/tourism/excursions activities.”

    Earlier today we posted an article on TDB on why we need rail services returned to all our regions.

    I would like to post it here as a rail based article.

    Our response was also placed at parliament earlier and clearly supports this article, so I offer it here as we have already sent it to the labour coalition ministers at parliament this morning.

    30th November 2017.

    Dear Ministers;
    On our current truck routes through our regional towns/cities; we do not want it four lined roads as that will only “encourage more trucks and other vehicle use – we need return of rail freight and passenger services.

    Our communities are badly in need relief for the East Coast regions below for ‘truck gridlocked’ routes & road mitigation through our city’s residential zones in HB/Gisborne.

    As the rail closed in 2012 truck freight increased dramatically through Napier on the “so called HB Expressway” we do not want it four lined as that will only “encourage more trucks and other vehicle use.

    We need our rail services returned to our regions firstly please. Regarding road improvements, we do not want or need more road building as it only promotes more truck use and less rail use.

    On our current truck routes through our regional towns/cities;

    We just need ‘lower speed zoned residential locations’ with noise walls and all residential areas be given back our previous (OGPA) “low noise road surfacing” the former Labour Government placed in 2006 (at our request) now removed savagely in 2014 by the last National Government.

    Here is our today’s blog on this issue;
    Todays blogs. 30/11/17.

    Over on The Daily blog we responded to a similar article on the future rail improvent/actions ec’t.

    Our response was placed there earlier and clearly supports this article, so I offer it here as we have already sent it to the labour coalition ministers at parliament tis morning.
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/11/30/guest-blog-mike-lee-fear-and-loathing-auckland-transport-and-the-super-city/#comment-409470

    “The so-called ‘Super City’ it must be remembered was Rodney Hide and Steven Joyce’s baby and was imposed on Aucklanders without any vote.”

    Thank you Mike for placing the blame rightly on two evil politicians who during their time as “public servants” did nothing meaningful for all NZ of our “public communities” and instead imposed their own personal style of uncaring nasty hardships of less services and more taxes on us all for their own ‘grandiose plans’ for ‘highways to nowhere’.

    These ‘highways to nowhere’ must really be seen as just very ‘extravagant ’yet more public taxpaid roads just to their own beachside properties, and not for other any benefits for other NZ regions, which now must be investigated by the labour coalition Government in the coming months.

    For instance our Napier/Hastings/Gisborne regions has for many years been damaged by poor roads and declining road maintenance and mitigation measures such as “low noise road surfacing of (OGPA) ‘open graded porous cement’ on truck routes and noise barriers for all our city’s residential zoned roads that are now being impacted by a massive increased amount of truck freight traffic that is now harming the health and wellbeing of many thousands of those residential property dwellers/owners.

    http://www.pce.parliament.nz/media/pdfs/Hawkes-Bay-Expressway-Noise-and-air-quality-issues-June-2005.pdf

    One example is the shoddy built highway known as the “HB Expressway” built to a lowest cost standards then without any noise walls or smooth road surfacing as the trucks pass through residential zones at the time of building the roads, and any improvements in mitigation was only made after some residents spent many years fighting for their rights to fair mitigation as the residents on “the highways to nowhere” received. Sadly in many cases when we look back now most of the urgently needed mitigation requested by those residents were ignored by NZTA or the former Transit NZ and even some of the smooth road surfacing has now been replaced by cheaper noisier rough chip road surfacing, and the residents have still no relief from increasing truck noise, vibration and air pollution brought to them by steadily increased freight truck movements through their residential areas.

    These same politicians Steven Joyce and Rodney Hide actively promoted closing down regional rail services in these regions at the same time making matters far worse now.

    This is pure corrupt politics by two of the most “devise politicians NZ has witnessed in our history, which now must be investigated by the labour coalition Government in the coming months.

    The current lot of NZTA regional managers who allowed this to happen must be sacked as a result of a sadly woeful lack of services offered to these regional communities so badly affected by their inactions.

    Warmest regards,

  2. roy cartland 2

    And just on cue, what the Public Transport supporters have feared is coming to pass:
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/news/99327881/travel-times-in-and-out-of-wellington-getting-slower-despite-new-expressway

    $650 million. On a road that just clogged up again after a few measly months. Imagine if that eye-watering sum was spent on public transport for the region.

  3. The best thing about public transport is it’s ours – funded by taxes and rates, it’s a great example of how things just work better together. We pool our money and give it to central government or councils to get the best value for money while getting us from A to B reliably and safely, without clogging up our roads with taxis or private cars.

    Cooperation is always better than competition. Competition costs us more while providing less.

    Under the ‘Public Transport Operating Model’, which is just a fancy name for the ‘rules’ to choose who runs your services, councils are forced to tender for companies who can ‘reduce reliance’ on ‘public subsidies’ – which is actually the point of a publicly funded service.
    If the financial bottom line is the primary decision criteria for council members, then of course it’s harder for local providers who respect good wages to win tenders.

    This is the most expensive way to provide government services. There are added expenses in:
    1. The tendering process
    2. The extra bureaucracy needed for the ‘competition’
    3. The dead-weight loss of profit

    If the councils did it all in-house then we’d either get the same services for less or better services for the same cost.

    The idea that the private sector can always do it better is a load of bollocks.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21929310-200-state-of-innovation-busting-the-private-sector-myth/
    http://neweconomics.org/2017/01/railways-failed-next/
    http://neweconomics.org/2017/03/big-care-providers-wasting-taxpayers-money/

    I haven’t seen anything to indicate that privatisation would be any better in NZ.

    • Marcus Morris 3.1

      Spent three weeks in Kuala Lumpur recently – what a fabulous public transport system. Handy to our apartment was an elevated railway which was very cheap (for us anyway), very modern and we never waited longer than four minutes for a train to KL Central (except Sundays). It was fully automated so no drivers!!.

      Spent last weekend in Sydney – another wonderful public transport system – $2.50 all day on Sundays for buses trains and ferries. They are actually re-laying a light rail track (where the trams used to be) out to the S.E suburbs (Randwick et al). For too long our government has been in the pocket of the Road User Association although it is interesting to note that the two biggest companies, Main Freight and Toll are strong proponents of rail.

      • Grey Area 3.1.1

        Same experience Marcus. We visited KL a couple of years back and found the public transport extensive and reasonably priced. The rapid rail to and from the airport was brilliant. We enjoyed the novelty of the monorail (as you do) and found the commuter rail services regular and convenient.

        We visit Melbourne a bit and always use the trams and rail services extensively.

        I’m sure with the current government we will see a significant shift away from the myopic vandalism of National and New Zealand will move ahead. I doubt we will ever catch up with many overseas cities when it comes to public transport and transport infrastructure but things should improve markedly.

      • halfcrown 3.1.2

        Well said Marcus. One of the arguments I have heard about our public transport system is the lack of population. Adelaide with a population of about 1.3 million to Aucklands 1.5 million has a far superior public transport system with buses and rail to the outer suburbs plus the last time I was there in 2008 the Adelaide O-Bahn where buses run on a special track from suburb to suburb

        • feels surreal 3.1.2.1

          That’s what a friend told me – regional rail would never work as the population was too small. But when I countered that then the same logic goes for duplicate motorways up north or wherever, he didn’t have an answer.

      • greywarshark 3.1.3

        Marcus M
        Fully automated so no drivers. How naice for you. Soon you may be able to enjoy a virtual experience with headmask on by your computer in your comfortable living room, and never have to mingle with the hoi polloi. Put it on so real, like being there, and there won’t be any need for infrastructure to be built the experience will be fully technologised, so no passengers as well as no drivers.

        It would be good if people who have a bit of money can find enough in their pockets to interact financially with the people who live where they gather and mingle. The wealthy paying tips to waiters, buying street food, taking rickshaws, looking for ways to be part of people supporting themselves. If tourists then they are not cutting people out of the tourist poster leaving person-sized gaps.

        When one goes to one’s bach it would be good to go to the local shop and buy some of what they have for sale, be part of the throng, the people, wherever you are and let’s not go for automation as a forward move.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3.1

          Fully automated so no drivers. How naice for you. Soon you may be able to enjoy a virtual experience with headmask on by your computer in your comfortable living room, and never have to mingle with the hoi polloi. Put it on so real, like being there, and there won’t be any need for infrastructure to be built the experience will be fully technologised, so no passengers as well as no drivers.

          /facepalm

          You really are a technophobe aren’t you? You seem to think that all technology is bad.

          Passengers don’t meet the drivers on trains so automating them doesn’t remove the socialisation that you seem worried about. Does make them more reliable, safer and cheaper to run though.

          And getting more people on to trains through better services is probably better for socialisation as well.

          • greywarshark 3.1.3.1.1

            Oh dear. I am concerned about people having a place in society with a job or something that earns them a living and carries respect, but may be not. The chap that emptied the effluent in the old days wasn’t respected but that was a very important task for health and sweetness. So we probably will always be snobs and call some people slobs. That’s why it is important for people to have a job they get paid for, so they can have pride in themselves. You gloss over that in your Great Schemes DTB.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3.1.1.1

              That’s why it is important for people to have a job they get paid for, so they can have pride in themselves.

              There’s better jobs available. No point wasting time doing stuff that can be done better by machine.

    • cleangreen 3.2

      Hi Draco,

      Privatisation was a plan to take away any public owned services and rort the system nothing alse was planned to imoprove our services it was to actually run them down as we saw happen with our privatisation of our rail system the Labour government have saved and now intends to build our regional rail up again.

      Now as was seen this week UK is now reversing the years of loosing a third of their rail services also to “privatisation” (Beecham) and are now taking the closed rail lines back and beginning to restore them too.

      This is finally hope for our rail system we have all bee waiting for since 1993 but never came under two innings of national Governments who since 1993 have proven they wanted rail dead.

      • Privatisation was a plan to take away any public owned services and rort the system nothing alse was planned to imoprove our services it was to actually run them down…

        Privatisation is a way to shift public money into private profit and have that profit government guaranteed because the government couldn’t let the services fail.

        …as we saw happen with our privatisation of our rail system the Labour government have saved and now intends to build our regional rail up again.

        We’ve seen it in more than just rail. Telecom and power come to mind.

        • cleangreen 3.2.1.1

          Yes Draco, 100% there,

          Selling our State Electricty generaters & our Community trust power networks also to privateer’s is shameful here.

          I lived in Canada and Florida for 11yrs from 1987 to 1998 and all electricty providers were either provinncial owned or state owned respectively and I came home again and everything is getting bloodywell privatised here!!!

          And so it will be household water next as ‘privateer’s’ set about by privateers already pushing for metering all homes in NZ now, so we expect they will move to take off Municipal autorities our water supply then, and then charge the premium per litre for what is our natural elemental right to have free water.

          Stop the sale of our “life sustaining essential services” Government please!!!!!!

        • halfcrown 3.2.1.2

          “Privatisation is a way to shift public money into private profit and have that profit government guaranteed because the government couldn’t let the services fail.”

          How true Draco. Branston(as in pickle) Branson is a typical example. He gets massive subsidies from the Taxpayers for running Virgin Rail Then the fun-loving prick salts it all away in a tax haven.

          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/truth-richard-branson-virgin-rail-profits

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/10376341/Ive-been-a-tax-exile-for-seven-years-says-Branson.html

          I do love that word “entrepreneur,” In other words another cheating fraudulent limelight seeking fucking spiv.

  4. savenz 4

    Excellent post by Mike Lee about Auckland council and Auckland Transport.

    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/11/30/guest-blog-mike-lee-fear-and-loathing-auckland-transport-and-the-super-city/#comment-409509

    For example at Auckland council Recent disclosures about an unbudgeted blowout on staff salaries amounting to $42m, ‘communications’ costing $45.6m per year, and $1.3m spent on business class travel and luxury hotels… while having a 15 per cent public satisfaction rate with the council’s performance and only 17 per cent trust in the council to make the right decision.

    And most of the rates money going to AT who provide an appalling service with poor wages for staff that actually do the work driving the buses and trains while paying themselves handsomely, and are completely unaccountable to rate payers.

    • For example at Auckland council Recent disclosures about an unbudgeted blowout on staff salaries amounting to $42m

      Depends upon how it came about.

      That said, the top pay rates are far to high but I doubt that cutting them to where I think they should be would save more than a few million.

      ‘communications’ costing $45.6m per year

      Communications happen to be really important. Like consulting with with the public and informing people of projects and stuff.

      and $1.3m spent on business class travel and luxury hotels

      They’re going to need some people to travel and stuffing them into the cargo hold and a show box will get less work done while they travel.

      while having a 15 per cent public satisfaction rate with the council’s performance and only 17 per cent trust in the council to make the right decision.

      I suspect that’s more to do with people’s ignorance than anything else. If things were really that bad our city wouldn’t be functioning at all. This is the problem with perceptions based upon ignorance.

      And most of the rates money going to AT who provide an appalling service with poor wages for staff that actually do the work driving the buses and trains while paying themselves handsomely, and are completely unaccountable to rate payers.

      Except that the service provided is actually pretty good and getting better. Still, the low wages and unaccountability are a problem and need to be addressed.

      • Stunned Mullet 4.1.1

        lol comedy gold.

        • savenz 4.1.1.1

          The terrible Auckland council performance of the supercity is one of the few things that the righties and the lefties agree on.

          • greywarshark 4.1.1.1.1

            The RW having a go at Auckland Council is part of their trickster, malicious approach. They made it, they took it out of people’s hands and said we know how it should be, so STFU and now things that were very likely to happen because of their choices and methods have happened, and the RWs don’t accept responsibility.

            Their closest to that would be to say that it is their fault for not cutting harder and faster and closer. And to blame poor productivity (a regular cry which nobody really understands but it implies slack workers), drugs and bad choices by customers or something. I have nothing but contempt for Hyde and the cream-skinning sycophants that gather like wasps around meat.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2

          Got anything other than stupidity to show?

          • Stunned Mullet 4.1.1.2.1

            Let’s face it when it comes to showing stupidity we must all defer to your complete mastery.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2.1.1

              Still no argument? Still just throwing out ad hominems?

              Yep, still showing your pure stupidity.

              • stunned mullet

                I am in awe of your bespawling.

                • It is truly amazing at how you RWNJs consider trolling and belittling people to be high-conversation.

                  • Stunned mullet

                    Not as stunning as your intellect you cumberground.

                    • In Vino

                      Hi Mullett A mullet is not all that bright in the first place, and apparently you are also stunned – an additional handicap. Your idea of comedy gold is an illusion you may want to cling to, but I think that you are basically wasting the useful life of your keyboard, and that you would be better advised to spend your time on other activities than ineffective trolling.

  5. bwaghorn 5

    Instead of striking and pissing of the very people the workers want on their side . is it possible to run the vehicles but not charge the passengers.

    • Probably not. All electronic.

    • cleangreen 5.2

      Shit bwaghorn,

      Piss off us?

      We have just been through the last nine terrible black years of our lives, where everything has been flogged off around bus all, dont you think we have already gotten used to being “pissed off”?

  6. McFlock 6

    A good public transport network makes a huge different to your quality of life if you either choose not to, or can’t, add to New Zealand’s 3.6 million motor vehicles already on the road.

    Even if you do have your own vehicle, good public transport is awesome. You can park farther out, rather than in the inner city. You can go out for works drinks without worrying too much about how to get home. You have a backstop if your vehicle breaks down. Visitors can come straight to your place or town, rather than you going to pick them up at the airport and being reamed for a cuppa while you wait.

  7. Chris 7

    9Wellington has excellent public transport

    Probably the best in NZ when it comes to citys

    We don’t even mind the workers striking if it is for a fair cause. Which it looks like it is.

    It is just the annoyingly short notice that is a pain in the ***se

    But all good

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The IGIS annual report: Dead letters and secret law
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released their annual report today, and I've been busy reading through it. In amongst the usual review of what they've been doing all year, there's a few interesting bits. For example, a discussion on "agency retention and disposal of information", which points out that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A referendum on bigotry
    The End of Life Choice Bill passed its third reading last night, 69 - 51. Thanks to a compromise with NZ First - which looks to have been necessary on the final numbers - the commencement of the bill will be subject to a referendum. Given the ugliness of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Political parties and GMOs: we all need to move on
    Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    5 days ago
  • Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Ideology
    by Deirdre O’Neill Under Thatcher and then Blair and continuing up until our contemporary moment, the working class has seen its culture slowly and progressively destroyed. The change from an industrial society to a service society produced a marked shift in focus from the working class as the backbone of ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Irony
    Since 2013, the Australian government has detained refugees without trial in Pacific gulags, where they are abused, tortured, and driven to suicide. The policy is not just an abuse of human rights and possible crime against humanity; it has also had a corrosive effect on the states Australia uses as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    1 week ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    1 week ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 week ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    1 week ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    1 week ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    1 week ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    1 week ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
    This is the third of the 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. Unlike the humble cup of coffee and t-shirt that we looked at in ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    5 hours ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    6 hours ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    6 hours ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    1 day ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    1 day ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    5 days ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    6 days ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill passes first hurdle
    An independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission is a step closer after it unanimously passed its first vote in Parliament today.  The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill lays the groundwork for establishing the Commission as a fully independent crown entity – delivering on a key recommendation of He Ara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 mins ago
  • Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued
    We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to screen travellers for border and immigration risks off-shore before they travel to New Zealand. It was launched in August and became mandatory on 1 October 2019. More than 500,000 NZeTAs have been issued since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Plan of action to protect seabirds
    A proposed national plan of action to reduce the number of seabirds caught in fisheries is being circulated for public feedback. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage say New Zealand is a global centre of seabird diversity with about 145 species in our waters. It has more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • National interest test added to overseas investment rules
    The Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. Associate Finance Minister David Parker said under current Overseas Investment Act rules, assets such as ports and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
    Eleven men from a pilot forestry training programme for prisoners in Northland now have full time jobs or job offers upon release, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. The ‘release to work’ programme was a collaboration between Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Reform of public service a step closer
    Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins today introduced into Parliament a Bill that will make it easier for the public service to tackle the biggest challenges facing Governments. The Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced further support as the Government of Samoa responds to a serious measles outbreak. “New Zealand will deploy a further 18 vaccination nurses, bringing the total to 30 working in Samoa over the next four weeks,” Mr Peters said. “A New Zealand Medical Assistance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
      Fa’atalofa atu, malo e lelei, Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you to the Child Poverty Action Group for asking me to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have been happening across my the social development portfolio.  Can I firstly acknowledge the vast ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
    ***Please check against delivery*** Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning to open this year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Conference and AGM. Firstly, thank you Dr Alan Jackson, NZTR Chair for your introduction. And let us acknowledge also: The NZTR Board; Dean McKenzie, Chair ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
    The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer and more secure, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi has announced today. Both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
    A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve - is being celebrated today at a community event in Tairāwhiti/East Coast attended by the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “The creation of this marine reserve in November 1999 was a game ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
    ew, modern emergency department and outpatient facilities at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital mean better emergency care for the growing tourist mecca’s visitors and locals, says Health Minister David Clark. Today Dr Clark officially opened the hospital’s redeveloped Emergency Department and Outpatient facilities. The new facilities include: •    An extended Emergency Department ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Contraception important for New Zealanders
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says today’s release of sexual and reproductive health data reinforces the significance of the Government’s commitment to providing free or very low-cost contraception. The Ministry of Health today published statistics from the Ministry of Health’s 2014/15 Health Survey. “It is important people can make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ medical staff and measles vaccines going to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that at the request of the Samoan Government, New Zealand will be providing further support to Samoa as it faces a worsening measles outbreak. “In response to a request from the people of Samoa, New Zealand is providing 3000 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Disability Action Plan 2019 – 2023
    “The new Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 moves us towards the inclusive and accessible New Zealand that this government has committed to,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today.  “The Action Plan was designed by disabled people, their family and supporters, the disability sector and government agencies. It will ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint Statement – Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting
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