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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    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    4 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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