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Social investment meets the surveillance state

Written By: - Date published: 11:14 pm, March 4th, 2017 - 45 comments

First they came for the budgeting services. Now we know that every social service agency  has to provide clients’ private personal data to the Ministry of Social Development or get no funding. Apparently it’s  essential to Bill English’s much-touted and little understood “social investment” strategy, which is sounding more like something out of Orwell’s 1984. […]

Thanks Annette

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, March 3rd, 2017 - 9 comments

I well remember going to see new Minister of Employment Annette King in 1989 to ask for support for group apprenticeship in the motor industry. “Seems like a good idea, we’ll put up $50,000.” she said. I nearly fell off my chair. It was not the usual response from Ministers in those days, but is Annette King to a T – positive, decisive, and supportive.

Good ideas in Gisborne

Written By: - Date published: 1:28 pm, February 17th, 2017 - 97 comments

Andrew Little’s announcement yesterday in Gisborne of Labour’s pledge of up to $20million to build a prefabricated timber plant there is a much-needed boost to the area and a sign that Labour’s 100,000 new house pledge first made by David Shearer in 2012 has legs.

Key gives up on us, keeps International Democratic Union.

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, February 10th, 2017 - 33 comments

The Herald informs us that Key is going on the speaking circuit and will go back into finance (not that he ever left). Like John Howard before him, he also intends to carry on  chairing the International Democratic Union of right-wing parties. Not a surprise.

Prof John Quiggin – After Reform, What Comes Next?

Written By: - Date published: 10:26 pm, February 9th, 2017 - Comments Off on Prof John Quiggin – After Reform, What Comes Next?

University of Queensland Professor John Quiggin, author of Zombie Economics, will speak on this topic for the Fabian Society in Wellington on Monday 13th and Auckland Thursday 16th of this month. All welcome, details and registration inside. Will be interesting.

Peter Thiel’s Libertarian Dream – for New Zealand?

Written By: - Date published: 11:08 am, February 2nd, 2017 - 86 comments

From a Business Insider article in the OIA papers: Thiel is a long-term thinker, so what’s the big picture? What could the contrarian investor see in a country of 4 million people whose economy is based on agriculture and tourism? Maybe Peter Thiel wants to turn New Zealand into the next Silicon Valley. Or maybe even the libertarian utopia of his dreams.”

75th Anniversary Battle of Endau

Written By: - Date published: 4:24 pm, January 26th, 2017 - 9 comments

Today marks 75 years to the day since the suicidal Battle of Endau, when obsolete aircraft were sent to prevent the Japanese landing. Of the 72 aircrew from Nos. 36 and 100 Squadrons who participated in the raids, 27 were killed, seven were wounded and two were captured. My uncle was killed but Ron Reid survived the raid and captivity. He is interviewed by Dave Homewood of WONZ in  memory of the day.

2017: Political Year in Prospect

Written By: - Date published: 7:28 pm, January 25th, 2017 - 9 comments

Morgan Godfery, Mike Munro and Stephanie Rodgers will discuss this topic Thursday 26 January at Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, Wellington at 5:30pm for the Fabian Society. All welcome – will be interesting.

Trump’s First Press Conference

Written By: - Date published: 9:38 am, January 12th, 2017 - 41 comments

You have to say he is not afraid to take on the heavy mob. A very direct attack on Big Pharma – a US version of Pharmac? A very direct attack on the armaments industry’s star program the F-35 fighter-bomber and its cost overruns. Then there is the intelligence community and the mainstream news media.  Read  the transcript for yourself.

Spy vs Spy

Written By: - Date published: 10:47 pm, January 9th, 2017 - 127 comments

It is MAD.  In the frenzy leading up to  Trump’s inauguration, we have the extraordinary spectacle of the CIA interfering in the US election by accusing the Russians of interfering in the same election. The CIA used only to interfere in other people’s elections. On the serious side this intervention means the war party hasn’t given up yet, no matter what Trump may say.

Of Leaks and Hacks

Written By: - Date published: 3:23 pm, December 20th, 2016 - 24 comments

Maybe the Russians weren’t coming. Or we must believe that “KGB chief Vladimir Putin put Inspector Clouseau in charge of Russian security and left him to get on with it.” George Washington discusses the evidence. Fodder for the net-savvy

Denial in Politics

Written By: - Date published: 9:26 pm, December 17th, 2016 - 33 comments

There’s a lot of it around. The Democrats and their media and spook allies are in a complete lather over Putin’s supposed personal influence in the US election. Confident of victory and its spoils up till midday on election day, the Clinton team are incapable of assessing just what a debacle of a campaign they ran, still less what they need to do now. Lessons abound.

Cabinet reshuffle – Haere ra McCully?

Written By: - Date published: 9:46 pm, December 10th, 2016 - 31 comments

Bill English gets to name his own cabinet on Monday. It will be interesting to see what happens to McCully. In February McCully announced his intention to stand down in East Coast Bays and that he would seek a list place, but only if he remained as Minister of Foreign Affairs after the next election. It’s an ultimatum he may have cause to regret.

Three’s a crowd

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, December 7th, 2016 - 24 comments

The policy wonk, the ambitious change-maker, or the no-bullshit bullshitter – the contenders for National Party Prime Minister set out their stalls yesterday with John Campbell. Just like the Kaikoura quake, their pitches exposed some complex fault-lines. It’ll be a long week in politics.

Fabian Event – 5th Labour Government – 30 October Auckland 1pm

Written By: - Date published: 11:18 am, October 27th, 2016 - 4 comments

All are warmly invited to hear Sir Michael Cullen, Hon Margaret Wilson, Hon David Parker, Mike Williams, and Dot Kettle reflect on the experiences of Helen Clark-led three-term Labour government – its achievements and its legacy and discuss its lessons for the future. Sunday 30 October 1pm-5pm Owen Glenn Centre, Auckland University, Grafton Road. Please register here.

Fifth Labour Govt – Challenges and Lessons

Written By: - Date published: 8:04 pm, October 18th, 2016 - 7 comments

Michael Cullen and Margaret Wilson will speak at the Fabian Society Seminar “5th Labour Government – Lessons from a time of Challenges” at Owen Glenn Centre, Auckland University, Grafton Road on Sunday October 30 from 1-5pm. Mike Williams, Dot Kettle and David Parker will be on the panel. Everyone welcome to discuss and debate. Guaranteed to be interesting – details inside.

Out of the mouths of babes

Written By: - Date published: 1:35 pm, September 29th, 2016 - 15 comments

Watch five-year old Brook Blair give it to Theresa May about homeless people. Got the right answers too. Brilliant!

“Itching Scratches” on Nine to Noon

Written By: - Date published: 6:27 pm, September 26th, 2016 - 61 comments

Matthew Hooton got carried away on Nine to Noon dissing Andrew Little’s views on political strategy and the centre ground that appeared to differ from Helen Clark’s. Stephen Mills piled in too on Jeremy Corbyn and the “missing millions.” All Little said was that he wants to connect with different groups of voters on issues important to them. Can’t argue with that.

Brendon Bonner supports Living Wage

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 pm, September 22nd, 2016 - 17 comments

Red/Green/Independent Brendon Bonner is a candidate for the Southern Ward in the Wellington City elections. PSA staffer and declared socialist, he would like Wellingtonians to know that he too supports the Living Wage. His campaign video is here and a list of the policies he supports is here. More information on Facebook.

Warren strips cross-selling bank CEO

Written By: - Date published: 2:02 pm, September 22nd, 2016 - 25 comments

Watch Elizabeth Warren strip Wells Fargo  CEO John Stumpf alive at a Senate hearing on ‘cross-selling’ of bank products customers didn’t need. Wells Fargo, one of the US’ biggest banks,  was fined $185million, and 5300 employees at branch and teller level were sacked. The senior executive in charge was allowed to retire with nearly $100million in stock benefits. Warren thinks the top management should be held accountable. See what you think.

Delivering the Green New Deal

Written By: - Date published: 3:40 pm, September 18th, 2016 - 2 comments

London-based macro-economist Ann Pettifor will speak on this topic at Wesley Church, 75 Taranaki Street, Wellington, on Tuesday 20 September at 5:30pm. Ann is a member of the Green New Deal Group, whose proposition  is designed to power a renewables revolution, create thousands of green-collar jobs and rein in the distorting power of the finance sector while making more low-cost capital available for pressing priorities. All welcome; more info inside.

Eileen Brown for CCDHB

Written By: - Date published: 10:01 pm, September 6th, 2016 - 2 comments

Capital Coast DHB candidate Eileen Brown chairs the Newtown Union Health Service Board, a primary care service for people on low incomes. For the last 10 years, Eileen has worked for the Council of Trade Unions as a senior policy analyst; previously she worked in nursing in many areas including mental health and neuro rehabilitation. Eileen is standing as a Labour candidate. She’d be great on the DHB.

Dr Kate Amore on Homelessness

Written By: - Date published: 9:52 pm, August 24th, 2016 - 17 comments

Dr Kate Amore and Rev Tric Malcolm will discuss this issue on Friday 26th August at 5:30pm at Connolly Hall, Wellington. Amore’s research released today shows “As the housing market gets tighter, single people have more flexibility and potentially more options open to them, whereas families with children don’t. People [landlords] are less likely to want them, and they have more requirements of housing,” she said. All welcome.

Leggett in Gollins’ pocket too!!!

Written By: - Date published: 9:46 pm, August 11th, 2016 - 18 comments

It gets worse – another property developer is rattling the tin for Porirua carpetbagger Nick Leggett for Wellington’s mayoralty. Chris Gollins has been asking for donations, with donors having to submit email addresses to nick@gollins.co.nz. It seems Andrew Little might have been right to warn Stuart Nash MP off association with Leggett’s campaign.

Leggett in Parkin’s pocket?

Written By: - Date published: 9:05 pm, August 9th, 2016 - 55 comments

Former Councillor Chris Parkin interviewed in Wellington’s DomPost shared his ambitions – investing in property in central Wellington, and getting Porirua mayor Nick Leggett elected in Wellington, of all places. Word has it that large billboards for Leggett around the town have been funded by Parkin. The last thing Wellington needs is a mayor who’s in a property investor’s pocket.

Labour’s Centenary History

Written By: - Date published: 4:29 pm, July 26th, 2016 - 12 comments

Covering 100 years in 250 pages, Unity Books’ Tilly Lloyd’s review described Labour’s centenary history by Jim McAloon and Peter Franks as a ‘coherent skim.’ Prefaces and prehistory take 50 pages to  get to the starting line. The 23 years from Helen Clark’s accession to the leadership to the present takes as many pages. Of the 32 persons interviewed 28 were Members of Parliament. Surprisingly Mike Williams, the second longest-serving President after Big Jim Roberts, was not included among them.

Rethinking Political Thought – Shamubeel Eaqub

Written By: - Date published: 10:21 am, July 14th, 2016 - 36 comments

We have many eminently solvable problems facing our society, like a shortage of state houses. We need to add some empathy, love and civic duty, to competition in our politics. We will be a better and fairer economy and society for it. Fabian Society, Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, Wellington Friday 15th 5:30pm.  All Welcome. Read more. Register here.

Spot the Plot

Written By: - Date published: 6:32 pm, June 29th, 2016 - 66 comments

The attempt to oust Corbyn was orchestrated by Portland Communications, blown up by a fake Gay Pride heckle, supported by the UK Fabian Society, and predicted in the Telegraph. It’s definitely a plot, but will it work?

Go Helen!

Written By: - Date published: 10:25 am, April 5th, 2016 - 65 comments

Great news that Helen Clark is putting her name forward for the very important post of Secretary-General of the United Nations. She has been a courageous champion for peace – perhaps the most important priority for the world today.

Guy Standing: Rentier Capitalism and the Precariat – Christchurch 30 March

Written By: - Date published: 3:43 pm, March 29th, 2016 - 8 comments

Guy Standing will speak on this subject in Christchurch on Wednesday evening at 6pm at the Fern Room, the Atrium, 455 Hagley Avenue. More detail here from his presentation in Denmark. Please register here if you would like to attend.

Rentier capitalism

Written By: - Date published: 11:01 am, March 24th, 2016 - 46 comments

Tautoko Murray Edmonds’ comment yesterday on this Michael Hudson interview This is an absolutely brilliant discussion of what contemporary economic theory SHOULD be all about, and why it is not (the main reason being that classical economic theory of the type that Key believes in, serves the 1% at the expense of the 99%). It […]

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