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Aussies may be bastards, but they believe in themselves.

Written By: - Date published: 1:41 pm, March 26th, 2016 - 31 comments
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Here in Ballarat, Victoria we are having a mini-boom in manufacturing. Yes you read that right. We’re having trouble retaining good people because of the demand. Yes you read that right.

This is because Ballarat has actively invested in providing core capacities like:

We were lucky to get an early NBN rollout in FTTP. Some local pollie likely did the lobbying and work to get us up the front of the queue.

We have a strong education sector, good public and private schools, and two universities.

From the early gold mining days Ballarat had a strong heritage of heavy metal engineering, that while its taken hits in recent times, never completely died either. Now we have at least a dozen companies building high-tech agricultural machinery, mining industry plant, brickmaking machines, railway engineering, fabrication, and the like. A month ago I poked my head in what I thought was a disused old building, and it’s full to bursting with activity.

We protected our cultural and historic street front heritage. Places like Sovereign Hill and Eureka Stockade keep a steady flow of visitors and employment in town

Attractive new sub-divisions with really nice new homes at around $1000/m2, half the price of New Zealand, are constantly being added every year. So attractive I want to buy one, even if it makes no sense for me to do so.

New land and business zones opened up by the Council, and policy to keep big employers like Heinz, Mars and IBM here in town at scale.

Constant public investment keeping the town safe and attractive. While Australia does have awful crimes, on a day to day basis we feel much safer here than in New Zealand.

The State government has a strong Regional policy to ensure core functions are not just concentrated in Melbourne. Large and important state dept’s are actively located in places like Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat.

An immigration policy that deliberately advantages people working for regional employers

Federal govt policy that has identified the industry I’m working for to have strong potential. CSIRO agreements with industry partners that work, real funds for real innovation. Ministers that actually turn up, pay attention to what we are doing and then go away and get things done.

We can cycle most places we want, the roads are wide and safe. I ride 15 min to work along a route around a lakefront, through a wild-life reserve and lagoons and then down some lightly trafficked service lanes that make perfect cycle paths.

People work shorter hours and earn more money. Ordinary people have time to go running, sports like rowing and cycling that are big, mature and attract events nationally and globally. Cafes and bars have live music, or something fun going on. The Council has just thrown a series of four free Friday evening concerts in a historic square, there’s food, really good muso’s dancing and people enjoying themselves without aggro. It’s easy to make friends.

And while the Aussies love to moan about it, the 200km/hr V-Line into Melbourne is bloody magic if you absolutely need a fix of the big smoke. Oh and the trains are designed and built here in Victoria. One of my colleagues right now was part of the design team. That’s how industry clusters work, because they attract and maintain a pool of people who have the skills, energy and experience to get things done.

If I’d stayed at home I would have been happily employed, but the projects I’m working on here are on a global scale, innovative, audacious and challenging. Here I am at the last years of my career and instead of winding down, I’m winding up. I never expected this coming to what I originally imagined might be a quiet little place of 110,000 people a bit in the boondocks. This is the sort of town that should be dying, instead its bloody thriving.

Now of course you don’t have to dig too deep to find some downsides. They exist. But also they get a LOT more attention and social support. Climate change is a thing here. We’ve had to confront an awful legacy of sex abuse crime by the Catholic Church. The specs I’m wearing are not a wholly deep shade of rosiness.

I still love my home. I miss the kiwi mountains and rivers terribly, and my remaining family especially. Eventually we will come home, I’m just too loyal not to. But the longer we stay here, the more I realise how New Zealand is being robbed of so much by a lazy political elite with no vision and less competence. And even when they do encounter a good idea, as Labour is right now with the UBI, we can’t bring ourselves to take a firm grip on it. This is one thing Helen Clark did understand, but was never able to follow through on, that cultural, social and national identity … a pride in ourselves if you like … was the essential pre-cursor to positive change.

It’s why Key’s flag change failed. It had no story, no purpose we could identify with. Ultimately it was a limp tea-towel which meant nothing to us.

New Zealand could do so much more. There is nothing stopping us implementing Labour’s Ten Big Ideas, nothing stopping a UBI, but somewhere along the lines we just stopped believing in our better selves. We settled instead for selfies with Jokey at the shopping mall.

31 comments on “Aussies may be bastards, but they believe in themselves. ”

  1. Incognito 1

    Typo in the title.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      Ta. It’s funny how what’s going on in your head and what’s on the screen can be two different things 🙂

      • Incognito 1.1.1

        Thomas A. Anderson would agree with you 😉

      • Observer (Tokoroa) 1.1.2

        . Great writing RedLogix

        Congratulations. !

        The thing that bothers me as a New Zealander, is the smugness that reeks through the citizens.

        They even think if a kiwi scores a try – that they are the greatest in the world in EVERYTHING. Crikey, The best at this; and the best at that; and the best …and the best…and the best. It’s sick to the stomach.

        Sport has very little to do with a successful nation. It’s just a game for teenagers. But we in New Zealand play sport while all the fundamentals of a population get pushed to the back.

        Ballarat, smallish population, knows about Education; Manufacturing; Housing and things that matter.

        Excuse me. I must go and score another try. I will do it for my country. Bugger the housing; bugger the crime; bugger the jobless; bugger the lot I’m a Kiwi. Bugger the schools without qualified Teachers.

  2. BM 2

    Australian government debt is A$405.988 billion.

    Hard to fathom especially when you take into account all the tax made from mining.

    The lucky countries bubble could burst.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Given NZ’s govt debt is around $90b, with a population that’s about six times bigger you have to think the Australian debt is not so bad on a per capita basis.

      And yes the loss of income from mining has hurt, the WA govt especially. But then again it was the Liberals who chose policy that helped the miners minimise their tax.

      Yet the difference is this. While Turnbull enjoyed a remarkable honeymoon, mainly because he wasn’t Abbott, it’s gone off the boil with extraordinary speed. And issues like aggressive tax minimisation on the part of big global corporates is getting centre-stage attention in the political debate here. Aussies really don’t like being played for mugs.

      And that’s what my post is about.

    • Observer (Tokoroa) 2.2

      Hi BM

      Why don’t you get New Zealand fixed? You cynical, smug, self over-rated, useless Kiwi.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    What you’ve described there is exactly what Mariana Mazzucato describes in The Entrepreneurial State. That book is a must read.

    The government getting stuck in and making things happen through supporting businesses, funding R&D and building the infrastructure. Hell, Silicon Valley didn’t really exist until the US Federal government built a microchip fabrication plant there. That combined with good government support for the tech industry and it’s what we see today – a highly successful place of tech innovation (It’s just a pity that all those firms are now dodging taxes that made their success possible).

    The lesson that we should learn from this is that it’s not government becoming small and getting out of the way that gets innovation and entrepreneurship blooming as the RWNJs would have us believe. It’s the exact opposite.

    What the RWNJs ideology brings about is lack of innovation, lack of entrepreneurship and ever increasing poverty while a few people get very, very rich for being really big bludgers.

    • Ad 3.1

      I’m going to find and read that book.

    • AmaKiwi 3.2

      Productive versus non-productive investment is critical.

      $1 million spent on manufacturing is productive and good for people.

      $1 million spent on buying existing houses or farms is NON-productive. It just makes us tenants.

      The Left should slam the current government because we have sold the country and gotten nothing productive in return. A lot of what this government might claim is productive investment has been a huge waste: high speed broadband, roads instead of rail, environment destroying water schemes, charter schools.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        That’s just it. The private sector promised us that if we just left them to it they’d get all productive and make us all rich. This failed to happen because the private sector very rarely takes risks or does anything particularly productive. They’re much more into a short term sure thing. So we see over ‘investment’ into existing housing, playing the share-market and speculation on exchange rates.

        High speed broadband is, IMO, major game changer. People get to work from home (reducing the demand for roads) with anybody in the world. The product is weightless and so exports/imports and marketing are easy and cheap maximising returns.

        Then there’s the shift from going to the shops to going online to to all you shopping and getting it delivered.

        Pretty much agree with everything else you listed because everything else fits into the short term sure thing profiteering that the private sector and National do so well. Essentially, it’s all government guaranteed free-money for National’s cronies.

    • RedLogix 3.3

      @DtB

      Thanks for the book link. Absolutely I need a read of it.

      And it lines up with the mixed model economy idea I’ve been completely consistent about all the time I’ve commented here.

      Public sector = high risk, wide scale and long term

      Private sector = low risk, narrow scale and short term

      They both compliment each other, it is necessary they both function in good health for a society to thrive.

      And I’ve said it before, one really quick way of determining if something should be a private or public sector activity is to ask yourself one question, “If this enterprise failed would we as a society have to bail it out?”

  4. Incognito 4

    Good post; you almost had me sold on Ballarat and I mean that in all sincerity (and as a compliment).

    I agree that there seems to a self-defeatish streak running through NZ. Rather than selling ourselves with pride, and we should be our own biggest ‘customers’, we selling ourselves out or short, almost every time.

  5. Mark Stevens 5

    Because voting in Australia is compulsory, I would say that Australians in general are more politically aware than Kiwis or Americans. They can’t just shrug and say, “Nah, couldn’t be bothered.” They may vote informal but they have to turn up.

  6. Tautuhi 6

    In NZ we are so weak gutted we sit back and suck it up, we believe what the Roger Douglas’s and John Keys tell us and we believe what the media tells us.

  7. Ad 7

    Really encouraging post thankyou.

    Also makes me question my early retirement plan.

  8. david 8

    I live in Ballarat. There is inaccuracies in the above article.

    1. National Broadband network rollout is a JOKE. New areas and some old housing area have NBN but many areas don’t and nothing on the horizon. My suburb is 10-15 years old and I don’t have it. The cost of NBN by the Australian government is outrageous compared to New Zealand. Issues with competence.

    2. Public schools are not good. I am a believer in public schools through my experiences in NZ. The standards in public schools in Ballarat are awful, my teacher wife complains daily. I have sent my kid, mid-term , to the private school which is one of the best in Australia. The attitude of the teachers are not good, quality poor and lack professionalism. Start and finish on the bell, like the students. NZ has much better quality of teachers.

    3. Manufacturing jobs? McCain are reducing, Rivers’ distribution centre closed. Rates per house is higher than Auckland. Rates of $2400 per year on $500000 home.

    4. Public health system in NZ is better value for money.

    Saying that the quality and price of housing in Ballarat is good. Alot of commuters to Melbourne.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      The cost of NBN by the Australian government is outrageous compared to New Zealand.

      How are you carrying out the comparison?

      Start and finish on the bell, like the students.

      Exactly as it should be. When you pay someone for a forty hour week you shouldn’t then expect them to do 60.

      Rates per house is higher than Auckland. Rates of $2400 per year on $500000 home.

      My nephew has a ~$500k home and pays around $4000 rates.

      Alot of commuters to Melbourne.

      I assume that would be what the high speed rail is for.

      • david 8.1.1

        Oh I forgot.

        The V-line is limited now, it is not really high speed rail, 110 km takes 1 hour 10 minutes at the fastest or 1 hour 30 min. Technical and safety issues, messed up wheels and rail-crossing. My mate takes the bus to Melbourne, which takes longer but is free to make up for the stuff up.
        Not sure how long it is out for, out for months so far.

        I would prefer the teacher, to do the work and finish at 4 or 430 like NZ and not 845am- 330 pm and do jack all. If they work 40 hours per week, that would be great but they don’t. They work hard at the private school, we actually get some feedback on our kids. It was supposed to be one the better public schools here, ironically. Shame, I am in big believer in everybody getting an equal opportunity for advancement.
        Public service should be that, service. It should be a calling, not a make work scheme. Kids are the future.

        For the council, I would like an inorganic rubbish collection too for my considerable rates.

        Saying that, my salary is good but with the budget overspend over the years, it getting stretched in the public service over the next few years. My wife’s friends, locals, can’t get jobs after having kids, looking for years now. Training scheme after training scheme.

        Taxes are higher than NZ now. An Australian friend of mine, successful game developer, was considering moving to Wellington, NZ. For tax and progressive political reasons. Grass is greener, ironic.

        • RedLogix 8.1.1.1

          The V-line is limited now, it is not really high speed rail, 110 km takes 1 hour 10 minutes at the fastest or 1 hour 30 min. Technical and safety issues, messed up wheels and rail-crossing.

          As I said, Aussies love to moan about it. But on a clear run it is capable of doing 205km/hr which while it isn’t in the same league as the high speed European or Asian systems … is still way faster than anything NZ has.

          Compare this with the Wairarapa service I used for many years. Same distance and well over 2hrs most days. We used to call it the Hogswart Express … magic if it DID arrive on time.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2

          The V-line is limited now, it is not really high speed rail, 110 km takes 1 hour 10 minutes at the fastest or 1 hour 30 min. Technical and safety issues, messed up wheels and rail-crossing.

          That sounds like the illness that seems to be endemic to capitalism – cost cutting. They cut costs to boost profits and then it costs more to fix up but the fixing also comes with profits.

          For the council, I would like an inorganic rubbish collection too for my considerable rates.

          Have you checked out the actual spending that the local council has and determined if you’re actually paying enough rates?
          I ask because cities have this tendency to keep rates down so as to stop complaints about high rates while the interest bearing debt that they owe goes up. When such is happening then the cities ratepayers aren’t actually paying enough rates. Try running a business where the customers only pay part of the cost of the products/services provided. And, no, I don’t usually compare business with government as the two are significantly different but when it comes to covering costs they’re pretty much the same. They cover the costs in their charges for the services or they go under.

          My wife’s friends, locals, can’t get jobs after having kids, looking for years now. Training scheme after training scheme.

          Yep, been there, done that (except having the kids bit – I was in Uni and out of the workforce). It’s a major failing of WINZ in that the training courses don’t actually teach you anything. Nothing but profit spinners for the private sector I suspect.

          Taxes are higher than NZ now.

          They always have been.

        • greywarshark 8.1.1.3

          David
          I think it likely that you jump to conclusions when judging others. Teachers may not be teaching all of their working hours, but there is such a demand for keeping records and constant testing, that there is a lot of paperwork apart from reading through the submitted work from students. It is possible that much is done at home after dinner that you would have not a clue about.

          • greywarshark 8.1.1.3.1

            David
            My edit time has vanished. Yourwife knows about teaching here and in Oz.
            But the conditions here are quite tough. I think that Oz would have been protected by the universal union strength and wider commitment to them over the years, including teachers I should think. The stopping on the bell stuff sounds very much union based.

            But then have they introduced the various programs that require internal assessment and constant reporting? Here it adds shitloads of work for the teacher. And I believe is so demanding on them that it is impossible for student and teacher to work under, there is flexible reporting going on with children’s achievement levels being boosted by a notch or notches.

      • david 8.1.2

        NBN australia, so far 58 billion dollars and counting.

        NZ scheme, correct me if i am wrong, around 1.5 billion dollars. Correcting for population size, still way cheaper.

    • RedLogix 8.2

      Hi .. thanks for rounding out some of my points.

      1. You’re right, in the interests of brevity I took a bit of a short-cut on the NBN thing. The suburb we’re in was lucky enough to get the original FTTP as contracted under Labour. I’d already commented at more length yesterday on this:

      Labour’s Ten Big Ideas

      Nationally Turnbull’s hybrid is exactly as you say, a JOKE.

      2. Because we don’t have children here I’ve no direct experience with the schools.

      3. I don’t much admire their health system either. A ‘hospital’ seems to operate more as a building housing a collection of small businesses and every encounter we’ve had with it ain’t cheap. Waiting times in A&E aren’t pretty either.

      But this is the case most places in Australia where a creeping privatisation has compromised both the education and health sector. Absolutely this is a comparison, along with our ACC system, where NZ should look across the Tasman and firmly conclude we’ve got it right.

      Yet I stand by the underlying story of my OP. Regional cities like Ballarat have taken hit’s economically over the past decades. There are plenty of enterprises shut down or greatly diminished. But equally … and this is the point … where the state has been persuaded to invest in innovation, and infrastructure both physical and social there is a rebound.

      Look at the steady growth of those new subdivisions around Lucas and Alfredton David. This isn’t a town that’s dying.

  9. Joe-90 9

    I’m not contesting anything you say about the state of Ballart, which I have no direct personal knowledge of. What I would observe is that Australia is a larger country, with a larger population, which makes critical mass for many kinds of economic activity viable, and Ballart is very close to one of its major cities, with a population not a whole lot less than all of NZ. In economic geography literature all of these features alone would account for the comparative vibrancy of its economic performance – by rights it should be like a Hamilton or a Tauranga taking an overdose of steroids, versus say a Palmerston North. While there may be commendable political decisions (e.g. the high speed rail link), these build on the overarching comparative advantages rather than forming their basis – if Ballart was 2000km further inland I think you wouldn’t be able to write the same positive things about its performance. For these kinds of reasons, notwithstanding the lack of vision of the Key government, we should still be clear about what kinds of things the next Labour led government can build on, and which will be ineffective, because our regional towns are themselves 2000km further east of Melbourne, and despite the hype, high speed broad band is only a modest part of our future (keep in mind how much economic activity will not be done digitally). I’m just trying to provide some perspective, before we bash ourselves up about things we can’t change, or jump to policy conclusions about allocating finite resources. E.g. it could well be that another billion on WFF improves the general welfare more than the same funds on say, some of Ballart’s policies applied to regional NZ. Not saying that’s the case, just trying to at some objectivity to the discussion which puts Ballart in the best possible light.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      All the points you make are good ones, but remain tangential to what I’m saying.

      In pure economic terms New Zealand is indeed best thought of as another state of Australia at either 2nd or 3rd rank in size. It’s quite reasonable to compare NZ with Victoria in some respects.

      before we bash ourselves up about things we can’t change, or jump to policy conclusions about allocating finite resources.

      But what we CAN change is our belief as a nation, that instead of letting all the important decisions, all the ‘allocation of finite resources’, be made by the so called free market, that government can and should play an active role in making those decisions for the benefit of the whole of society … not just the money end of town.

      And I was using Ballarat as an example of where it’s working. Not perfect, but working.

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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #37, 2020
    2,082,476,000,000,000 Viability of greenhouse gas removal via the artificial addition of volcanic ash to the ocean  (not open access, unfortunately) walks us through the numbers on a particular means of CO2 removal, addition of volcanic tephra to the ocean. The mechanism is straight chemistry and the cost is fully an order of ...
    6 days ago
  • Barbados to become a republic
    Barbados is planning to remove the queen as head of state and become a republic in time for the 55th anniversary of its independence in 2021: Barbados has announced its intention to remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic by November 2021. [...] Reading ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Party Like It’s 1989: Bait and Switch is a Bad Look, Mr Hipkins
    At the 2017 election, the New Zealand Labour Party promised a Fees Free Policy for tertiary students. Basically, it would make the first year of university education free in 2018, with a second year in 2021, and a third in 2024. It also promised to restore Post-Graduate access to the ...
    6 days ago
  • Will the tropics eventually become uninhabitable?
    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 What is the impact of temperature increases in the tropics? ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • A first-hand look: What it’s like to live in a 2020 California wildfire evacuation zone
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Daisy Simmons It felt like 100 degrees in my in-laws’ Grass Valley, California, kitchen, but at least the lights were on and for the moment we were safely “distanced” from the Jones Fire. We’d just finished dessert, after pizza and a movie ...
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19 is not the only infectious disease New Zealand wants to eliminate, and genome sequencing is...
    Nigel French, Massey University Genome sequencing — the mapping of the genetic sequences of an organism — has helped track the spread of COVID-19 cases in Auckland, but it also plays an important role in the control of other infectious diseases in New Zealand. One example is Mycoplasma bovis, a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • A flaw in our electoral transparency regime
    A key part of our electoral funding regime is a requirement for some transparency around donations, on the basis that if we can find out who has bought our politicians (typically after we have voted for them) then everything is alright. There are a lot of problems with that regime ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Don’t Steal This Book
    On “In Defense of Looting” Matt Taibibi takes an entertaining look at this generation of woke activists and how they compare with Abbie Hoffman the iconic anti-Vietnam war counter-culture figure of the 1960s On Thursday, August 27th, the same day Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination, National Public Radio ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Carbon prices must rise
    When Parliament introduced the Emissions Trading Scheme, it was worried that carbon prices might get too high. So it introduced a "fixed price option", allowing polluters to pay the government $25 in the place of surrendering credits. The result was predictable: after we were thrown out of international carbon markets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Disclosure
    The government will finally be requiring large New Zealand companies to disclose their climate change risks: New Zealand finance companies will be made to report on climate change risk, Climate Change Minister James Shaw has announced. The policy will force around 200 large financial organisations in New Zealand to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Tackling the hard issues – trust and relationships
    By Claire Grant, Genomics Aotearoa Communications Manager Community consultation is becoming an increasingly important aspect of research programmes in New Zealand, and with that comes the art of relationship building. Engagement between scientists and user-groups is certainly nothing new. But as stakeholder involvement becomes more of a requirement for science, ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Equality Network – September Newsletter
    Read the Equality Network newsletter here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The Left’s Lost Allies.
    Rebels In A Wrong Cause: The truly frightening thing about Jami-Lee Ross’s and Billy Te Kahika’s success in persuading thousands of New Zealanders that Covid-19 is just another trick, just another way of stealing away their power, is realising just how many of them once marched at the Left’s side. ...
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: Low-Hanging Fruit
    In a couple of months, the 53rd Parliament will meet in Wellington, and approximately 120 MPs will be sworn in, many of them for the first time.They will all have political goals, some aligning with their party platforms, some not, some complex, and some simple, but they will gain one ...
    1 week ago
  • Closing the Gap thinks that Labour’s proposal to raise the top tax rate is great but………
    Media Statement For Immediate Release 10th September 2020 The income and wealth inequality lobby group, “Closing the Gap” thinks the Labour proposal a great start says Peter Malcolm, a spokesperson for the group. But they need to be aware of what many of the rich do and of what do ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: No nonsense
    ACT is pushing a "no-nonsense climate change plan". What does it involve? Repealing the Zero Carbon Act and Emissions Trading Scheme, reversing the fossil-fuel exploration ban, and allowing mining on conservation land. In other words, repealing any policy which might actually reduce emissions. Which is the very definition of nonsensical. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • My Climate Story: Coming full Circle
    This blog post is a follow up to my recap of Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Training I recently participated in. One of the exercises we were asked to complete was to write about our respective "Climate Story". This is a slightly updated version to the one I had submitted during ...
    1 week ago
  • A bill to criminalise wage theft
    Wage theft is a problem in New Zealand, with a widespread practice of forcing employees to work without pay, and regular cases of underpayment and exploitation. One reason why its such a widespread problem is impunity: rather than a crime, wage theft is merely a tort, dealt with by the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Liam Hehir: What the voting age debate tells us about our disconnected political media
    New Zealand’s media and online politics often reflect the values of liberal and progressive agendas. According to Liam Hehir, the current proposals to lower the voting age to 16 years – which the media overwhelming supports – is indicative of a wider mismatch with society, which is not good for ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Why Pay Taxes?
    My wife and I, through a combination of good luck and good management, have managed to retire in comfortable circumstances. We celebrate our good fortune by making relatively small but regular donations to a range of good causes – to rescue services like the rescue helicopters, St John’s Ambulance and ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Now everyone’s a statistician. Here’s what armchair COVID experts are getting wrong
    Jacques Raubenheimer, University of Sydney If we don’t analyse statistics for a living, it’s easy to be taken in by misinformation about COVID-19 statistics on social media, especially if we don’t have the right context. For instance, we may cherry pick statistics supporting our viewpoint and ignore statistics showing we ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More timid bullshit from Labour
    Over the weekend, Labour released its welfare policy: an increase in benefit abatement thresholds. And that's it. Faced with clear evidence of ongoing hardship among beneficiaries and a call from its on Welfare Expert Advisory Group to raise core benefits by between 12 percent and 47 percent, Labour's response is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Police Kill as Part of their Social Function
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (Bogota; 09/11/2020) The murder of Javier Ordoñez in the neighbourhood of Villa Luz in Bogotá, Colombia at the hands of two policemen brings to the fore the issue of police violence and its function in society. First of all we should be clear that we are ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #37
    Story of the Week... La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS...  Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... Story of the Week... Humans exploiting and destroying nature on unprecedented scale – report Animal populations have plunged an average of 68% ...
    1 week ago
  • The 2019 measles epidemic in Samoa
    Gabrielle Po-Ching In November 1918, the cargo and passenger ship Talune travelled to Apia, Samoa from Auckland, carrying a number of passengers who had pneumonic influenza. From these passengers stemmed the biggest pandemic Samoa had ever seen. With around 8,500 deaths, over 20% of the country’s population at the ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Shifting all Isolation/Quarantine Facilities to a Single Air Force Base: The Need for a Critical Ana...
    Prof Nick Wilson*, Prof Michael Baker In this blog the arguments for and against shifting all COVID-19 related isolation/quarantine facilities to a single air force base at Ōhakea are considered. The main advantage would be a reduction in the risk of border control failures, which can potentially involve outbreaks ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • The difference between Green and Labour: a tale of two Finance Ministers
    So the Greens co-leader James Shaw recently made a mistake. In his role as Associate Finance Minister approving funding for “shovel-ready” projects, he fought hard for a private “Green school” to get funding to expand their buildings and, therefore, their student capacity. There are many problems with what he did: ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    1 week ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Political Roundup – The missing election policy on free dental visits
    Over the last three years there have been growing calls for the government to provide dental services under the health system – universal free dental care. This is because at the moment there’s an anomaly in which teeth are regarded as different from the rest of the body which means ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #37
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 6, 2020 through Sat, Sep 12, 2020 Editor's Choice With California ablaze, Newsom blasts Trump administration for failing to fight climate change Trinity River Conservation Camp crew members drown ...
    1 week ago
  • Letter to the Editor
    Dear Sir, As we head into the run up to the upcoming election I feel it is my duty to draw your attention to the lack of fun we are currently forced to ensure by the Adern regime. In their efforts to keep the nation’s essential workers, health compromised people, ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    1 week ago
  • Participating in Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training
    It finally happened: about 13 years after first watching Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” (AIT) in 2007 when it became available in Germany, I recently completed the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training! Participating in this particular training had been on my to-do list for quite some time but it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Dysfunctional Design
    Windows 95 is famous for requiring the shutting down the system by clicking ‘start, like stopping your car by turning the ignition key on. Why are so many interfaces so user-unfriendly? The Covid app to register your entering premises can be so clumsy. Sometimes I have signed in, sat down ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Josh Van Veen: Can we trust the polls?
    Is the 2020 election result really the foregone conclusion that the polls and commentators are suggesting? Josh Van Veen suggests otherwise, pointing to some of the shortcomings of opinion polling, which could ready some politicians to say “bugger the pollsters” on election night.   In November 1993, opinion polls foretold ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 weeks ago
  • The UK wants climate action
    Back in 2019, six select committees of the UK Parliament established a Citizen's Assembly to investigate how to respond to climate change. The Assembly's deliberations were forced online by the pandemic, but it has finally reported back, and overwhelmingly supports strong action: Taxes that increase as people fly further ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • In the US, the End of Days.
    I am feeling a bit impish today and so for no particular reason I thought I would share this thought, which I first posted over on twitter: “Hurricanes, wildfires, floods, heatwaves, street protests, armed vigilante militias, a lethal pandemic and a corrupt authoritarian using the federal government for partisan and ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Government too slow in deploying military to assist with Covid-19 response, former defence minister ...
    Wayne Mapp (Photo: Tsmith.nz via Wikimedia) A former Minister of Defence says the government was too slow to involve the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) in New Zealand’s response to Covid-19. But Wayne Mapp, a National MP from 1996-2011 who served as Minister of Defence for three ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    2 weeks ago
  • Underwhelming
    Transport is our second biggest polluter after agriculture, making up 17% of our national emissions. Cars and trucks emit 15 million tons of CO2 every year. So, if we're serious about tackling climate change, we need to eliminate this entirely. Public transport and better urban design will be a key ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Five things we know about COVID-19, and five we don’t
    Five things we’ve learnt 1. We know where the virus ultimately came from We know that the virus originally came from bats, and most probably a species of horseshoe bat in South East Asia. However, the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2, which allows the virus to attach to cells and infect ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Stewardship land is conservation land
    The Greens' greatest disappointment while in government this term has been the failure to implement a ban on mining on conservation land. Promised by Jacinda Ardern immediately after gaining power, it had long been assumed that the problem was NZ First (who have a long history of environmental vandalism). But ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The price of Green co-operation just went up
    If they get into Parliament, everyone expects the Greens to form a coalition with Labour. But James Shaw has said that that might not be the case, and that they might instead choose to sit on the cross-benches: The Greens are prepared to forego a coalition or confidence and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Swimming with whales: you must know the risks and when it’s best to keep your distance
    Chantal Denise Pagel, Auckland University of Technology; Mark Orams, Auckland University of Technology, and Michael Lueck, Auckland University of Technology Three people were injured last month in separate humpback whale encounters off the Western Australia coast. The incidents happened during snorkelling tours on Ningaloo Reef when swimmers came too close ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Driving Out The Money-Changers Of Reactionary Christianity.
    Den Of Thieves: They describe themselves, and the money-making rackets they dignify with the name of church, “Christian”, but these ravening wolves are no such thing. The essence of the Christian faith is the giving of love – not the taking of money. It is about opening oneself to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Could academic streaming in New Zealand schools be on the way out? The evidence suggests it should b...
    David Pomeroy, University of Canterbury; Kay-Lee Jones, University of Canterbury; Mahdis Azarmandi, University of Canterbury, and Sara Tolbert, University of Canterbury Academic streaming in New Zealand schools is still common, but according to recent reports it is also discriminatory and racist. Also known as tracking, setting and ability grouping, streaming ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • A Time To Begin Again.
    A New Holy-Day: Perhaps, by accepting this gift of Matariki from the first arrivals in Aotearoa, we late arrivals, shorn of our ancestors’ outlandish fleeces, can draw strength from the accumulated human wisdom of our adopted home. Perhaps, by celebrating Matariki, we can learn to take ownership of our colonial ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s tax trauma victims and how they might help the Greens
    If there was any doubt left, we can surely call it now. Time and date. End of. Finito. Perhaps you thought you saw a flickering eyelid or a finger move? You were wrong. Labour has given up on tax reform for the foreseeable future. One of the key remaining left/right ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    2 weeks ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Political Roundup – Labour gives up on tax transformation
    Will the rich get richer under Labour’s latest tax policy? Based on the analysis in reaction to yesterday’s announcement, the answer would seem to be yes. The consensus from commentators is that inequality and severe economic problems will remain unchanged or even be made worse by Labour’s new policy. Although ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 weeks ago

  • Crown will not appeal Dodds v Southern Response decision
    The Crown will not appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the Dodds v Southern Response case, Grant Robertson announced today. “Southern Response will be paying the damages awarded by the Court to Mr and Mrs Dodds shortly. The Crown was already meeting their legal costs for this appeal. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    25 mins ago
  • Crucial PGF investments for Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $30 million in a diverse range of projects that will create immediate and long-term jobs and lift economic and social outcomes for Northland and its people. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement today in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • $27million investment in global vaccine facility
    The Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The COVAX Facility is a key part of our COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy to obtain safe and effective vaccines. It allows us to invest in a high-quality, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Government backing Māori landowners
    The Government will provide up to $1.69 million through the One Billion Trees programme to Māori landowners to make their whenua more productive through the planting of forests, both native and exotic, and improve economic and environmental outcomes, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced. “Around 1.5 million ha of land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New tools to make nature more accessible
    People planning to head outdoors now have a resource that lets them know how accessible an area is for people with varying levels of mobility, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The Halberg Foundation, Sensibel, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have launched Accessibel, a new tool which helps ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • PGF makes Māori history more accessible
    One of the most significant battle sites of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to improve the site and help tell the New Zealand story to visitors, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. Nanaia Mahuta ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Making it official: The journey of te reo Māori | Kia whakapūmautia: Ngā piki me ngā heke o te r...
    The journey towards recognising Māori as an official language and taonga has been captured as a web series and launched today during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “Te reo Māori is a living language, and understanding its significance, and pathways to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better-than-forecast GDP reflects decision to protect New Zealand
    Today’s better-than-forecast GDP figures show the expected impact of the decision to act quickly to protect New Zealanders from the global COVID-19 pandemic. GDP fell 12.2% in the June quarter from March, reflecting decisions to close New Zealand’s borders and enter Alert Level 4. “This result was better than the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Boost for COVID-19 related Pacific education needs
    The Government is investing $39.7 Million over four years to support the educational needs of Pacific learners and families in the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, with Auckland getting an immediate boost, Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa says.   “Like all New Zealanders Pacific families want learners to do well ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More resources for kiwi conservation
    New Zealand’s goal of 100,000 kiwi by 2030 is being helped by an extra $19.7 million in funding to accelerate iwi and community efforts to protect kiwi, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced. “$19.7 million of Jobs for Nature funding is being invested in kiwi conservation activities including increased predator ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Improving access to affordable electricity
    Ensuring New Zealanders can get the best deal on their electricity takes a step in the right direction today with the South Island launch of the EnergyMate pilot run by the Electricity Retailers’ Association, says Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods. EnergyMate is an industry-led programme providing coaching ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government achieves 50 percent women on state boards
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced today that the Government has reached its target of 50 percent on women on state sector board and committees – setting a new record level of women on state sector boards. “This Government is committed to having more women in leadership roles - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Record transport investment to help economic recovery and save lives
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford released today the final Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) 2021 which outlines the planned $48 billion investment in services and infrastructure over the next decade. “The final GPS supports our Government’s five-point plan for economic recovery by confirming our record investments in transport infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Advancing clean energy technology
    Three ambitious and cutting-edge research programmes that will lift New Zealand’s advanced energy technology research capability over seven years, have been supported by Government today, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The projects will each receive a share of $40.7 million investment from the Strategic Science Investment Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major milestone reached in Pike River Re-entry
    The critical area for forensic examination known as Pit Bottom in Stone has been reached in what is a major milestone for the Pike River re-entry project, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced. “The infrastructure located in Pit Bottom in Stone is of very significant interest in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Economic recovery guides Govt response to retirement income policy review
    The Government is working on how New Zealand’s retirement income policies and settings can best support Kiwis in light of the COVID-19 economic recovery, with the help of the Retirement Commissioner’s latest review, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said. “The Retirement Commissioner’s three-yearly review into New Zealand’s retirement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Iwi community hub opens in Murupara
    A new digital hub and development centre in Murupara will be instrumental in growing the region’s productivity, said Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau at the official opening of two community initiatives today. “I’m pleased to be here celebrating a significant milestone for two projects set to make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast
    PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast Unemployment to peak at 7.8%, down from 9.8% forecast in the Budget Year-to-June accounts show tax revenue, debt and OBEGAL better than forecast Global forecast downgraded as COVID-19 second waves and uncertainty grows Balanced plan to support critical public services, manage debt and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Spruce-up for Ōtaki community facilities
    The Kāpiti Coast town of Ōtaki will receive $1.4 million in Government funding for two projects providing scores of jobs for locals while improving community facilities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Māoriland Charitable Trust will receive a $900,000 Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) grant to upgrade the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PGF funding for Jobs for Nature programme
    The Provincial Growth Fund will provide $11.88 million to fund fencing and waterway projects nationwide that will improve the environment and create jobs in their communities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. “These projects will create more than 100 jobs nationwide with work starting within the next couple ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Procurement to promote jobs, Māori and Pasifika businesses and sustainability
    As part of the COVID-19 recovery, the Government has strengthened its procurement rules to ensure its annual $42 billion spend creates more jobs, uses more sustainable construction practices and results in better outcomes for Māori and Pasifika, Government Ministers announced today.   Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says the $42 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Timaru’s Theatre Royal to be upgraded and new heritage facility built
    The Government is supporting a major upgrade of Timaru’s iconic Theatre Royal and the construction of a new connected Heritage Facility museum and exhibition space with $11.6 million from the Government’s Infrastructure Fund, Jacinda Ardern announced today. “We heard the call from the community and the council. The Theatre Royal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • District Court judge appointed
    Chrissy Montague (formerly Armstrong), barrister of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Wellington, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Montague commenced practice in Auckland in 1987 and went into general practice dealing with Wills, Estates, Trusts, Conveyancing, Relationship Property ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Approval given to Commercial Film and Video Production Proposal
      A Proposal to provide for the development and operation of commercial film and video production facilities in areas of Christchurch has been given the go ahead. Hon Poto Williams, Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, has approved the Proposal, which was prepared and submitted by Regenerate Christchurch. Minister Williams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Supporting a thriving wānanga sector to benefit Māori learners
    As part of the Government’s focus on building closer partnerships with Māori and enhancing the quality of, and access to, Māori medium education, a payment of $8 million will be made to Te Wānanga o Raukawa in partial recognition of its Waitangi Tribunal claim (WAI 2698), Associate Education Minister Kelvin ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature boosts efforts to restore Kaimai-Mamaku
    The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has announced a $19 million investment over four years in an important forest restoration project involving a partnership between the Department of Conservation, iwi/hapū, the Bay of Plenty and Waikato Regional Councils, community conservation groups and organisations such as Forest and Bird across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand first in the world to require climate risk reporting
    New Zealand will be the first country in the world to require the financial sector to report on climate risks, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. The changes build on the huge progress this Government has made to tackle the climate crisis. “Today is another step on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Economic data highlights impact of Auckland moving out of Level 3
    Economic activity across the Auckland region and the country bounced back to levels experienced under Alert Level 1 following Auckland’s move out of Alert Level 3, analysis in the Treasury’s latest Weekly Economic Update shows. The analysis of economic data since Auckland’s move out of Level 3 shows: Auckland card ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM statement on Cabinet COVID-19 Alert Level review
    Takiri mai te ata, ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea, tihei mauriora! Tātou katoa ngā iwi o Aotearoa, tēnā koutou! Tēnā tātou e whakanuia ana i te wiki nei, te wiki o te reo Māori Greeting to you all from Otepoti, Dunedin.  This week is the Māori Language week and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More mental wellbeing services for young people in regions
    More mental health and addiction services are available for young New Zealanders in Rotorua and Taupō, Wairarapa, South Canterbury, Dunedin and Southland from next month, Health Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter say. “The Government is serious about making sure New Zealanders struggling with mental health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government joins forces with Central Otago communities to clean up waterways
    The Manuherekia catchment in Central Otago is the third exemplar catchment to be targeted as part of the Government’s plan to clean up waterways by supporting community-led programmes.   Environment Minister David Parker said the Manuherekia catchment is vitally important to the people of Central Otago.  “The Manuherekia rises in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government confirms new Dunedin Hospital design
    The Government has agreed on a preferred design for the new Dunedin Hospital featuring two separate buildings, and has provided funding for the next stages of work.   Minister of Health Chris Hipkins says Cabinet has approved in principle the detailed business case for the new hospital, giving people in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Join the one in a million reo Māori moment
    New Zealanders across the country are set to mark history as part of the Māori Language Week commemorations led by Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori this year.  Māori Development Minister, Nanaia Mahuta says the initiative will mark history for all the right reasons including making te reo Māori ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Education initiatives add to momentum of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2020
    More than 1000 teachers, support staff and school leaders have graduated from a programme designed to grow their capability to use te reo Māori in their teaching practice, as part of the Government’s plan to integrate te reo Māori into education, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Being trialled ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • The Toloa Tertiary Scholarships for 2021 aims to increase Pacific participation in STEM
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