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All aboard KiwiRail

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, July 1st, 2008 - 40 comments
Categories: economy, Environment, labour - Tags:

Today marks the launch of KiwiRail. It’s great to have rail back in Kiwi hands, after a decade of asset-stripping. Now comes the task of building up the network so it can provide cheap and clean transport. Businesses are keen to take more freight off the road in the face of skyrocketing fuel prices and long-distance car travel is also getting out of reach for many; KiwiRail will provide an alternative.

For me, the Labour-led Governments’ biggest achievements have been in work rights (ERA, record low unemployment and minimum wage up 9 times in 8 years etc), tackling child poverty (Working for Families, doctors’ fees, 20Free etc) and in building the infrastructure for a sustainable, fair society the Cullen Fund, Kiwibank, Kiwisaver, and, now, KiwiRail. This kind of visionary work is something we only ever see from a leftwing government.

Meanwhile, National has shown how out of touch it is (with economics, the environment, and public opinion) with its pathetic Crosby/Textor line about Cullen buying a ‘train set’.

All the polls and all the conversations I’ve had show that Kiwis recognise that a well-run train service should be the backbone of our transport network. They know this will happen now the trains are back in public ownership.

40 comments on “All aboard KiwiRail”

  1. Billy 1

    All the polls and all the conversations I’ve had show that Kiwis recognise that a well-run train service should be the backbone of our transport network. They know this will happen now the trains are back in public ownership.

    Why will it happen when the trains are in public ownership? That is certainly not what happened the last time the governemnt owned it.

  2. Billy, well it was much better than it is now, and it could have been done much better if it had been run as a commericial organisation, rather than also being used for job creation.

    Fact is, NZRail was a well-run SOE when it was privitised and asset-stripped. It could be something great by now but a decade of private ownership has redcued it to a shadow of its former self. Now, we can rebuild and do better than before.

    I’m going to write to Bolger and suggest that wee Kiwi soft-toy as official mascot

  3. insider 3

    Yes same old faces on the gravy train again…

    Wonder how much we spent coming up ith that highly original name?

    Wonder also if we’ll find out how much we actually paid for it?

    creepy capcha all Economy

  4. Liam Rutherford 4

    I agree what a smart purchase. It really does show a government that is switched on. The rail service in New Zealand has been a joke since it was sold. This has been a prime example of what can happen if we let the market control what happens.

    I also love the irony of Jim Bolger Kiwirail, i wish him all the best.

    This is going to be great for shifting trucks off the road, and in the future could provide a sensible and cost effective mode of public transport.

  5. Billy 5

    How’s that investment in Air NZ going?

  6. Patrick 6

    Well, given that we still have a national airline, I’d say it’s going pretty well thanks Billy.

  7. gobsmacked 7

    Liam, yes, the irony is wonderful.

    John Key: “The 1990’s don’t matter, old news, never happened, move on, I wasn’t here, ignore the old faces behind me, National are Fresh and New”, etc.

    Jim Bolger: “Hello, everyone, remember me?”

    JK: “Oh, crap …”

  8. Well, Billy, the public has recieved over a quarter of a billion dollars in dividends since the purchase, allowing the govt to buy things that otherwise would have had to be paid for out of tax and, more importantly, we still have an NZ based airline, meaning that we still have flights to smaller regional centres – flights that a less profitable than other routes and would have been the first to be cut if AirNZ had been absorbed into Singapore Airlines.

    Oh and I believe there’s a paper profit on the shares currently too (and it was much bigger before oil rpices took off) but who cares if we’ve got a paper profit of $5 million of $500 million? They’re not up for sale so the value at any one time is only notional.

  9. Lew 9

    The other thing we have is a competitive domestic airline market. You think Pacific Blue would have launched their $39 flight promotion if they’d been the only credible player in town? Think again.

    L

  10. mike 10

    Will nanny sell pies on the trains or just healthy choices with pie’s once a month if the public behave?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/4602703a23918.html

  11. mike – what does the pie possess in the sentence you’ve written?

    Also, is not selling obesity causing foods the worst thing you can think of that the Government has done in 9 years? And does that really outweigh:

    “work rights (ERA, record low unemployment and minimum wage up 9 times in 8 years etc), tackling child poverty (Working for Families, doctors’ fees, 20Free etc) and in building the infrastructure for a sustainable, fair society the Cullen Fund, Kiwibank, Kiwisaver, and, now, KiwiRail.” and all the rest?

  12. Tane 12

    “pie’s”???

    Sounds like mike could’a done with a bit more learnin’ and a little less pie eatin’ at school.

  13. Steve:”All the polls” so the reccommendation to buy back the trains was made by the governments PR consultants not treasury ?

    [no, the polls after the decision to buy back. And the two aren’t mutually exclusive anyway. Clutching Bryan, clutching. SP]

  14. mike 14

    “Kiwibank, Kiwisaver, and, now, KiwiRail”

    Man I can’t wait for National to change the tacky names of these next year – it makes me cringe. One of Labours many consultants must have advised them that the Kiwi brand is a winner.

  15. bill brown 15

    What do you suggest:

    overseas-capitalist-asset-stripperbank, overseas-capitalist-asset-strippersaver and overseas-capitalist-asset-stripperrail?

  16. gobsmacked 16

    As every third word that John Key uses is “Kiwi”, I wouldn’t get your hopes up, Mike.

    HardWorkingKiwiRail? KiwiFamilySaver? KiwiMumsAndDadsBank?

  17. lprent 17

    Steve:

    …more importantly, we still have an NZ based airline, meaning that we still have flights to smaller regional centres – flights that a less profitable than other routes and would have been the first to be cut if AirNZ had been absorbed into Singapore Airlines.

    More importantly we have a locally based air-freight business. I couldn’t give a damn about passenger traffic, but that air-freight is critical for a number of key export businesses. Some of those are very dependent on having air-freight available at quite specific times.

    Looking at how air-freight lacks continuity elsewhere in the free market, I’m damn glad that the government decided this was strategic. The economic value of the business to NZ business and economy goes far beyond its share price or dividends.

  18. andy 18

    Man I can’t wait for National to change the tacky names of these next year – it makes me cringe. One of Labours many consultants must have advised them that the Kiwi brand is a winner.

    Is that a crosby/textor NZ sucks line?

    Nationalism may be cheesy (oops!) but positivity about your country regardless is quite a nice trait.

  19. Steve: “For me, the Labour-led Governments’ biggest achievements have been….(Working for Families, doctors’ fees, 20Free etc)”

    Yes, all very well, but at the cost of 8 years of declining productivity.

    “The Outcomes of Income Transfers by Australian economist Mark Harrison, estimated that a transfer worth an extra dollar to low-income households could result in an efficiency cost (a loss of national income) at least as high as $2.30 because incentives for productive activity are blunted. Income redistribution is justified to help the genuinely needy, but it inevitably comes at a cost to growth and the risk of welfare dependency.”

    Hmm, s0 we spend $2.30 to get a dollar back. KiwiRail is beginning to look like a bargain.

  20. Steve: “a well-run train service should be the backbone of our transport network.”

    Now I know this quote is for passenger rail services not freight but it is interesting all the same:

    “government transit spending per passenger mile is nearly $0.95, while all government spending on roadways is less than $0.04. Some bias. Transit spending is 25 times highway spending. This does not consider the fact that roads carry a large share of the nation’s freight. Transit carries none.”

  21. Felix 21

    Does anyone even bother to read Bryan Spondre’s comments anymore?

    [lprent: I did because I was interested in a link on productivity. Oh well meaningless charts]

  22. lprent 22

    Bryan:
    How about getting your productivity charts relevant to a useful debate.

    Firstly the detailed graph only shows 6 years not 8 years.

    Secondly the data is so badly sourced as to be unusable. The first question I wanted to know was did it include the whole of the potential working population. Because any productivity measurements just looking at the in-work population are ludicrous as they don’t look at the whole economy. The stated source for these graphs was “Statistics NZ”. That is crap – what figures? Which tables? It could be the change in productivity for people with mental handicaps for all that I know.

    Thirdly. I regard this as another example of how to lie with numbers.

    It is something you frequently bring up with Steve. I think I’m going to pay more attention to these numbers you bring up.

    If you don’t have sources on these charts then they’re really just pissing in the wind for all of the use they are for your side of the argument.

  23. Matthew Pilott 23

    I still read them Bryan’s comments! There’s even the odd one I agree with. Not so here though…

    Bryan, those figures don’t really mean anything for relative cost of transport. Firstly, there’s no source so I can’t tell if it’s even in NZ, I suspect they’re american.

    Second, there’s a comment that says ‘transit carries none’ (transit being an odd (US?) term for public transport) in regards to freight. Is this trying to imply there’s one set of rails for freight trains and another for passenger trains? Or a poorly constructed comment?

    Lastly, you make your all-too-common mistake of looking at something from a market-only perspective, and since the market is an abject failure to internalise its problems, it’s not a useful measure.

    Not a very useful criticism of mass-transit!

  24. Rob 24

    Well Michael Cullen has got his Train set back that labour agreed to sell with National when National was last in Government for 900 million what a bargain not!!
    But wait there’s more he had to rush through an SOP paper today because he forgot all about the poor workers superannuation funds being protected. However not one comment from a union official imagine the Hue and cry if it was National doing this. All it illustrates is that Cullen isn’t capable of doing commercial agreements and the New Zealand Public should never have had to pay so much for so little.

  25. Pita 25

    “How?s that investment in Air NZ going?”

    Good question, the Government owns 82% of Air New Zealand which it purchased at $890 million and whose revised profit forecast still shows a profit of $200 million before tax.

    Kiwirail cost one billion, and will cost much more with no forseeable profit…great comparison, great investment!

  26. Draco TB 26

    Now I know this quote…

    Yes, I can see how a quote about somewhere in the USA applies here…

    /sarcasm

    The economic value of the business to NZ business and economy goes far beyond its share price or dividends.

    This is true of almost all of the SoEs sold. All they needed was a little restructuring and they would have been good either running at break even or at a profit. Hell, Telecom was running at a significant profit in 1985 ($272m) even with all the bad decisions that were being made.

  27. Phil 27

    BB,

    “stripperbank” “strippersaver” “stripperrail”

    I’m so there!

  28. coge 28

    Steve, you claim NZ rail was a well run SOE.
    How can that be when at one stage it was losing 1m a day on average? The facts were, at the time it HAD to be sold.

  29. Matthew:”and since the market is an abject failure to internalise its problems”

    What does this phrase mean ? Why is the market an abject failure to internalise it’s problems ?

    lprent: The Labour Government points to the income redistribution of WFF as a major achievement. My concern is that this has done nothing to increase the wealth generating capacity of the country and simply gives the highly skilled more reason to leave ( as the migration numbers indicate they are).

    To quote Treasury “New Zealand ranks 22nd among the 30 OECD nations
    in terms of labour productivity and this matches the ranking on GDP per
    capita, despite having the fifth highest utilisation of labour in the OECD.”

    “New Zealand’s annual labour productivity growth (5-year moving average)
    slowed from almost 2% in 2003 to around 1% in 2006, the lowest among
    this group of comparators.”

    So as SP is always reminding us unemployment has dropped significantly however all these extra employed people aren’t producing particularly well.

  30. insider 30

    HC said owning rail was a crucial to reducing New Zealand’s carbon footprint.

    The billion or so paid for rail would have funded our kyoto liability.

    So I wonder exactly how much carbon buying rail will save and how much that works out to per tonne? I suspect it will be far more than the $15-$50 per tonne cost of carbon being used in most calculations.

    Sounds like biofuels where consumers will pay more than $100m in additional fuel costs to save something like $17m in carbon.

  31. insider: “HC said owning rail was a crucial to reducing New Zealand’s carbon footprint.”

    Presumably to reduce our carbon foot print using rail means:

    a) completing electrification of the rail network
    b) building additional electrical generation to supply the rail ( or perhaps putting the alum. smelter out of business with the ETS)
    c) subsidising the rail network to the point where it is cheaper than diesel powered trucking ( or restricting trucking via legislation)

  32. Paul Williams 32

    I travel most days by train to and from work. I also tend to take my daugther to childcare by train too. Sydney’s network is significant, not as big as London’s but still pretty wide. There’s been quite a few problems of late, including fatal derailments, however trains still provide transport for a significant number of the city’s workers. I was impressed, when last in Akl, with the Akl network. It’s clearly not large enough and needs double tracking but it’s got to be the way to go. I hope NZ can soon boast a rail system suitable to the population’s need and it’s pretty obvious that wasn’t going to happen under the previous arrangements.

    Re Bolger. I have to say I was anything but a fan during his tenure as PM but he’s clearly become one of NZ leading statemen since.

  33. Will the engines and carriages be painted Liarbour red with the air brushed photo of Miss Clark appearing on each of them?

    Toot toot Helen.

    [lprent: I’ve popped a few of the more irritating misspellings into the moderation stack. I’m tired of reading people bitching about them. Looks like you found one.]

  34. insider 34

    Yes Bryan perhaps back to the old 40mile trucking rule of the 60s/70s?

    More the point, where are the cost/benefit analyses of the ability of rail to deliver such reductions in co2?

  35. lprent 35

    Bryan:

    My concern is that this has done nothing to increase the wealth generating capacity of the country and simply gives the highly skilled more reason to leave ( as the migration numbers indicate they are).

    The migration I’m not really concerned about. It is something that I’ve seen quite a few times before and including the chicken little reactions. Specifically it always happens when aussie has their cyclic mining boom.

    You have to understand that I really don’t give a shit about short-term transient things except where they do impact what I’m interested in. I’m interested in long-term trends. The reason I picked on your productivity figures was because you were saying that the delta was down. What I was interested in was if that was across the whole population, ie including beneficiaries, pensioners, etc.

    The biggest hassle we have is how to get a diminishing workforce to pay for a larger pensioner population over the next 30 years. That is the artefact of the muldoon years. Immigration is unlikely to be able to sustain it long term because the rate of growth in world population is diminishing as affluence levels rise worldwide.

    If the current people in the workforce were paying for the shortfall in their superannuation then they should increase taxes and increase payments into the ‘Cullen’ fund massively.

    An alternate route is to increase local birth rates. The best way to to attack the economic costs of having children – ie WFF.

    However people in NZ seem more intent on having a taxcut and to cut things that alleviate their liabilities. That is effectively trying to shift their debt on to future generations – exactly the same way that Muldoon did. The standard right argument is that increased productivity released from taxcuts would take care of the future liability. But that is irresponsible because a few minutes calculation shows the risk levels involved are incredibly high that you don’t get any productivity increases.

    Besides when you’re looking at how to pay for liabilities you act conservatively, and work how to pay it from known income. If you get a productivity gain then you count it into profit. To do anything else is to go bust as often as an entrepreneur.

    Anyway, I’ve meandered, so I’m heading off for food.

  36. lprent: “The biggest hassle we have is how to get a diminishing workforce to pay for a larger pensioner population over the next 30 years.”

    Agreed and I can see how WFF reduces the financial barrier to reproduction. The wealthier members of society (who probably have fewer children because of the time investment required to earn more) are paying the poorer to breed as an assurance policy for their old age.

    I am less convinced that the increase in migration to Australia is just cyclical. Migration to Australia is linked to Australia having a GDP growth advantage over New Zealand. The RBNZ is forecasting that Australia will have a GDP growth advantage over New Zealand for several more years therefore we are unlikely ( as SP has suggested) to have seen the peak of migration to Australia.

    Furthermore in the May 2008 year 63% of migrants to Australia were between the ages of 15-44. If we don’t do something to improve productivity and growth we are danger of becoming a breeding ground for Australian workers.

  37. Lipper 37

    The Train Set purchase is not only ill-advised, but the price paid is

    a very long way above normal commercial consideration.

    So the Government admits it has paid a premium.

    My question (s) is simple?

    Why did they have to buy it for so much money?

    What is the EBITDA ratio?

    Not like Toll could have taken it with them. The best thing that can

    happen to any railways in the World, is for them to have their tracks

    removed, and levelled for a heavy duty road surface. That way trucks,

    and other heavy units can fully utilise all the land taken up in the infrastructure properly.

    Rather than have a train every 10 minutes, just imagine how much more efficient the countrys logistic would be?

  38. Swampy 38

    What we know about this deal is that it carries a significant load of political baggage along with it. On the same day as the Government announced KiwiRail, they rushed out a secretive announcement of an immediate rise in Road User Charges for trucking firms.

    This follows a predictable pattern which goes something like this:

    1. Labour sees an opportunity for their Government to dominate or control a sector of the marketplace.
    2. Labour sets about, by whatever means possible, getting to that position. (Re)nationalise, bureacratise, whatever.
    3. Cue ritual flogging of private sector providers in that sector.
    4. Having weakened the competition, State control is assured.

    In this case, a multi step approach. Toll could have operated the rail tracks themselves. But the government buys those back giving them a means to back Toll into a corner. As long as the Government was unreasonable about the Track Access Charge they could always force Toll to come to the sale table. Then they buy back Toll and call it Kiwi Rail, a name loaded with political symbolism. Now they have the means to flog the private trucking firms. Why else would you raise the price of RUCs on the same day except to pay for the political largesse that is writ large all over this deal?

    This pattern has been followed heaps of times in all major areas where the Labour Government wants to run some part of the economy or market themselves. Telecommunications, electricity, health, education, you name it. This is an underhand road to communism. Would you accept it if it was spelt out like that? That is why I am waiting for the change of government at the election when Labour loses. Because no matter how much spin or hype can be generated, Labour has managed only to cement up a few thousand votes of the Rail Union employees and their families which will make virtually no difference to their abysmal poll ratings. And so it should be if we want to live in a free country where people recognise that the price of that freedom is small government which does not meddle and interfere unreasonably in the marketplace or seek to nationalise it all into the State.

  39. gobsmacked 39

    Those who see the bigger picture take a different view – a New Zealand to be proud of, as seen from the UK:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/03/newzealand.transport

    (insert famous Robert Burns quotation here)

  40. Swampy 40

    “Steve Pierson
    July 1, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Billy, well it was much better than it is now, and it could have been done much better if it had been run as a commericial organisation, rather than also being used for job creation.

    Fact is, NZRail was a well-run SOE when it was privitised and asset-stripped. It could be something great by now but a decade of private ownership has redcued it to a shadow of its former self. Now, we can rebuild and do better than before.”

    ================================================================

    Fact is, it was not commercial for the same reason it is not going to be commercial now. Labour wants the rail network to be restored to a freight monopoly dominance position again. They haven’t actually stated such a policy yet, but it is in line with their trend in other sectors where they are gradually moving in that direction.

    If Labour were by some total statistical aberration to win the next election, I would expect to see moves to renationalise Contact Energy and Telecom happening in the next term. Labour has already got Telecom on the ropes using the LLU and caused a big loss of value to the business.

    The SOE model is really a smokescreen because it was originally intended to get these businesses ready for privatisation. They are not really that independent at all as long as they remain in government ownership. There have been some changes already to the SOE model and there will be more to bring them more under the control of the relevant Minister.

    NZRail was not a well run SOE. It could not make a commercial profit, even after a billion dollars of debt was written off.

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    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    6 days ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    6 days ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    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 According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • More bad faith
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bite-sized learning
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    1 week ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    1 week ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How much does flying contribute to climate 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 How much does our use of air travel contribute to the ...
    SciBlogsBy Shaun Hendy
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The task before us
    Two weeks ago, the Zero Carbon Act became law. Right this moment, the Climate Change Commisison will be working on its initial budgets for 2022-25 and 2026-2030, and the UN has just given them a very clear steer:Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock
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    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles deaths and antivax misinformation
    Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia: the state murder of Dilan Cruz
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh It is late here in Bogotá, almost 11.30pm on Monday the 25th of November as I write this. The day began full of hope with yet more massive marches throughout the country, a mix of the International Day of Non-Violence Against Women and the National Strike. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
    Anti-fluoride activists are rubbing their hands in glee over what they claim is “yet another study” showing fluoride harms the brains of children. But their promotion relies on IQ relationships which the paper’s authors acknowledge disappearing when outliers or other factors are considered. And they completely ignore other relationships ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The rise and collapse of classical political economy
    The feature below is the conclusion of A History of Economic Thought, whose author was a leading Marxist economist in Russia in the early 20th century, Isaac Ilyich Rubin.  The book arose from a course he ran at Moscow University following the Russian Revolution.  First published in Russian in 1929, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman
    There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great.  As a minor planet (synonym: asteroid) spotter, I have ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Some cheap soundbites i thought up while reading about the underwhelming Conservative manifesto
    Tory manifesto: big on austerity, low on promise, non-existent on delivery. The Tories: the party so big on ambition they couldn't be arsed writing a manifesto. MLK: "I have a dream!"BJ: "I'll just have a nap." Labour: Broadband!Tories: Narrow minds! Labour have hope, dreams and ambition. The Tories will save ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles vaccination required to travel to islands and Phillipines
    The Ministry of Health has announced that “people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji” are now on the list of national priorities for MMR vaccination. Given the outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji, the Ministry of Health is ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Giving the finger to Beijing
    Hong Kong has been protesting for six months for, demanding democracy, human rights, and an end to police violence. Today, they went to the polls in district council elections - a low-level of government with virtually no power, similar to community boards in New Zealand. But while the positions themselves ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia’s national strike
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On Friday 22nd of November a curfew came into effect and troops were deployed on the streets, here in Bogota. It was the first time since September 1977 that a curfew had been imposed on the city. The decision was a cynical pre-planned ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.  The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt releases funding to support South Canterbury
    A medium-scale adverse event has been declared for the South Canterbury district, which will see up to $50,000 in funding made available to support farming communities which have been significantly affected by recent heavy rain and flooding in the area, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two weeks of solid rain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech at launch of Rethinking Plastics Report
    Thank you Professor Juliet Gerrard and your team for the comprehensive and extremely helpful report and recommendations. Thank you too to all the stakeholders and interested parties who have contributed ideas and thinking to it. “Making best practice, standard practice” is a great framework for change and the action plan ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt pledges next steps on plastic waste
    The Government will phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year and the release today of a pivotal report for dealing with waste. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealandreport, released by her Chief Science Advisor ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
    International education continues to thrive as the Government focuses on quality over quantity, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. The tuition revenue from international education increased to $1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960. The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Government Economics Network 2019 Conference
    I want to talk about one of the most pressing issues in our national life: the housing crisis and the poor performance of our cities. The argument I want to make to you is that generations of urban land use policy have lacked a decent grounding in economics. The consequences ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • DHB leadership renewed and strengthened
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new appointments to DHBs represent a significant changing of the guard, with 13 new chairs including four Māori chairs. Today 76 appointments have been announced to complement elected board members, as well as eight elected members appointed as either chair or deputy chair.  Four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost for ethnic communities
    Ethnic communities will be able to plan and deliver more community initiatives thanks to an increase in Government funding, Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Jenny Salesa said today. “Ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place we can all be proud to call home has been a key priority of our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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