Avoid big plans and win

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, April 4th, 2017 - 27 comments
Categories: election 2017, greens, labour, nz first, Politics - Tags: , ,

Recently, Whaleoil posted General Marshall’s 1947 speech to Harvard University that outlined the full post-World War 2 reconstruction of Europe.

The plan became known as the Marshall Plan, often referred to nowadays as a highpoint of command-and-control politics in which the results were largely successful.

Are we missing something in New Zealand, even before the 2017 general election really gets going? In some sections of the voting public there is still a desire for a grand plan and an ambitious state with a strong narrative about where a nation should be going.

What if, for example, politicians of resolute idealism like Sanders or Melenchon or Corbyn could rise with a similar facility for bringing it all together in a plan, grasp the political mood like the reins of a horse, and harness that capacity for good? If they could do that, could they not then reorganize whole states as Marshall, Attlee, and Fraser did seven decades ago?

It is now a common mode on both the left and the right to turn to nostalgia for commanding leaders who form great plans with precise emotional grasp to respond to complex crises and thus achieve otherwise inconceivable policy goals. “Make America Great Again” is political poetry that would have worked well for Republican and Democrat alike:

But there is no crisis so compelling to our public that such a plan or such a leader is warranted. The facts and the framing keep shifting. Depending on where you read about it, you will discover that the Gini coefficient has been steadily rising across the developed world, because of – what? Robots? Trade with China? Ruthanasian deregulation? Sheer financial depravity? Mass and uncontrolled immigration? It might be all of the above, but one cannot know for sure: the question remains open. Same for housing: too many causes and conditions, not enough answers, and the question remains open.

But then Donald Trump says that explanation is much more simple: It’s NAFTA, and China. “We’re living through the biggest job theft in the history of the world, folks,” he says. We can fix it easily. In terms of conviction and coherence, it’s getting close to General Marshall himself.

The axial point to convince New Zealand that we should change governments is not to offer a grand plan, but to frame the right question. Trump tapped into real human need better than the other candidate did. His base was not an army of gullible slouches and racists on sofas with guns, smartphones and a brief vocabulary. He rose from a large, disenfranchised chunk of society that was promised meaning through social mobility, got little of it, and after a generation of stagnating wages still has no clear answer to the question: why, after so many years of work, am I still suffering?

Our political leaders, particularly the lefty ones, don’t need a grand plan for New Zealand. If there is anything the last six political terms has taught us, our governments are capable of managing through multiple crises without pre-announcing anything too coherent. Indeed within living memory it’s the grand plans that have done the most damage.

You also don’t get a really bold plan in a democracy without a really strong leader. By strong, I mean Lee Kuan Yew strong. I mean Erdogan strong. Chavez strong. The full expression of civil rights tends to be curtailed fast, and even with that considerable sacrifice the results are unstable. Lee Kuan Yew may well have tamed the real estate market, and who there misses chewing gum really? But Erdogan is well on the way to shifting away from any kind of functioning democracy and into another civil war. Chavez presided over the largest oil boom in history, and yet left behind a hungry, ailing, economically ruined society. Their magic as leaders is that many still idolize them as saviours.

We don’t need to take that risk here.

There’s no crisis such our population demands a new Marshall Plan or anything like it. Granted, there’s an opposite occurring in a kind of drifting, soporific, incoherent mumbling way.There are also meaty problems for government to solve. But there is no crisis worth reaching for massive plans, super-strong states, super-strong politicians, or other dynamics that require destabilizing our core.

We have instead only precisely what we need, guided by MMP: a chunk of policy wonk (Labour), a little idealism (Greens), and a sprinkling of steady-as-she-goes conservatism (New Zealand First). We have seen the risks of “Make (X Nation) Great Again”, for left and right.

What is needed in 2017 is the right question to ask.

27 comments on “Avoid big plans and win”

  1. ianmac 1

    Just what determines the votes cast for them or the others?
    I don’t think it is the policy differences.
    It has been the images of contenders.
    It has been “mistakes” blown out of proportion
    It has been family history of support.

    But what will it be this time?
    Find the single overwhelming uniting question to which the people can respond with, “YES!”

  2. weka 2

    ‘Make NZ Great Again’, lolz at all the kiwis cringing (and rightly so).

    Sure, we don’t need a Grand Plan because there is no crisis in the public’s mind big enough to warrant one this year (and I largely agree with the general premise about this years election). But there is of course a huge crisis, but it’s long and slow enough at this point that we can still pretend it’s not happening. When we do get to the point of the public mind being focussed on it we will need a plan. Not sure about a Grand one, I guess that would depend on the state of democracy in NZ. The idea of National with a Grand Plan doesn’t bear thinking about.

    I’m curious what prompted the post. Has someone said that the left should have a grand plan?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Plans are nothing; planning is everything.

      We actually do need plans – and we need to keep them continually updated. It’s delusional to think that we can achieve anything as a society without planning to do so.

      If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

      Ask a bank for a business loan without a business plan and see how well you go. I can assure you, you won’t be getting a loan.

      So, why do people think that a society can get by without overall planning and when so many individual plans are in conflict with one another?

      The idea of National with a Grand Plan doesn’t bear thinking about.

      National has a Grand Plan, or perhaps you can call it a Grand Objective, which is to shift all of the communities wealth into the hands of themselves and their backers.

      • weka 2.1.1

        I didn’t say we shouldn’t have plans or planning (that would be ridiculous), so not sure why you have directed that at me. I responded to Ad’s idea of the Grand Plan (which is a different thing)

        Grand Plan and Grand Objective are not the same thing either, at least not in the context of this post. I took Grand Plan to be an actual strategy based around a perceived large crisis. But I agree with you about National’s objective.

  3. saveNZ 3

    One of the biggest unsaid issues in NZ is that our governments instead of making NZ no 1 place to be for Kiwis to keep our best and brightest here, have gone around to think that keep smart people here is too hard, charged them for their degrees without putting any money into investments that would keep them in this country and put in rules to keep labour cost low, contracts temporary and so forth to drive smart people out further.

    That has forced a lot of smart Kiwis to leave the country – at least most of Gen x had that opportunity to leave. The boomers didn’t have to leave because they had plentiful jobs. Now it’s much harder for Gen y to leave, because with all the neoliberalism and free trade agreements and wars leading to displacement of people, climate change many western countries have tightened up that type of migration. For NZ not being able to access work opportunities in Australia and EU has left them with less options than 20 years ago. Not just with housing but with work.

    To make up for our ‘brain drain’ the neoliberal option was to import skills shortages into our country. Often those migrants left though because they faced the same problems as the Kiwis, low wages, poor working conditions and poor job prospects in NZ once they came here.

    To overcome the GFC and to try to retain the migrants who kept leaving, the Natz fell on the idea of just importing anybody into NZ, petrol attendants, burger King workers, non english speakers, property investors, what have you anything to pretend all was well – tax havens attracted anybody wanting to launder money without anybody knowing who was doing it, and you didn’t even have to live here.

    The newest migrants came and gave short term relief for businesses in certain sectors, the banks, and employees who wanted minimum wages workers who didn’t ask too many questions. It also became clear that you could use this as a business opportunity to import more people in. The NZ passport business was born and still going strong. Sadly that has left even less jobs, less secure jobs, a massive social services problem for the future and not enough houses in the hot spots and now it’s spreading to most of the country.

    So the other day one of the poster’s was saying

    “The three other List parties are right that foreign demand and over-reliance on immigration for economic growth needs to be addressed. The left-wing parties are right that more measures taxing wealth need to be implemented to balance out the economy and cool down the housing market. ”

    I think the average Kiwis especially in Auckland are tired of that talk. We have been taxed to death already with degrees (and I had to pay 11% compounding interest on my student loans), user pays charges popping up everywhere, now to ‘pretend’ all this didn’t happen and start user pays to pay and house the last decades migration scam – sorry I think that when politicians and analysts open their mouth to voters Gen X and older, those types of dry words ring hollow with gaps in the logic and the truth unsaid.

    There is also a fairness aspect to it. How many times do politicians want to screw over their own people?

    Like the democrats in the US and Labour in the UK, who thought all this people and job movement with neoliberalism was a lovely idea and had zero impact on jobs and housing and anyone who disagreed was an uneducated racist and all that had to happen was distribute the wealth distribution a tweak and ‘overall’ we are all so much better off.

    Even today, apparently we can’t charge tourists anymore because locals need to pay instead.

    Lets face it, as well as the cows being sold off with our farms, Kiwi’s themselves are considered cash cows by governments to be milked.

  4. gsays 4

    For me the youth are the context in which many issues can be discussed.

    Inequality/poverty.
    Falling education standards.
    Housing.
    The violence visited on them by others.
    Environment.
    Water quality.
    Wages/labour conditions.
    Future of work.

    The question: what will this vote deliver to children/grandchildren?

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    …or other dynamics that require destabilizing our core.

    Or perhaps our core was destabilised 30+ years ago and that wobble is steadily increasing.

    What is needed in 2017 is the right question to ask.

    What is the purpose of the economy?

    HINT: It’s not too make a few people rich.

    • ropata 5.1

      The purpose of the NZ economy is to grow infinitely and always be in surplus so that Bill English can congratulate himself. It is all about converting human effort and natural resources into numbers in a spreadsheet as fast as possible. And minimising inconvenient costs like health, education, or the environment.

    • Adrian Thornton 5.2

      @Draco T Bastard +1
      “Or perhaps our core was destabilized 30+ years ago and that wobble is steadily increasing”

      Exactly right….as it was an internal revolution that co-oped the Labour to the dark side of the cult of neo liberalism , so it is that we need an internal revolution to remove that cancerous growth from the party now.

      BTW I would have thought that having solid answers for a New Zealand that is obviously on the brink of some sort of massive financial re-aliment would far be more important that asking questions?

      But then again Labour doesn’t seem to be in the business of having answers or solutions to real world issues that effect working people any more…so just keep asking questions…more and more questions.

  6. AB 6

    Aren’t we already living inside someone else’s grand plan?
    i.e. neoliberalism – for want of another word.
    But fair enough – we need a way of dismantling their grand plan by not announcing a new grand plan of our own. Just a steady erosion with the odd sharp punch in the solar plexus and all shrugged off with a few Kiwi-style homilies and sayings like “a fair go for the average rooster” or some such thing. A left-wing John Key would be a truly interesting phenomenon.

    • weka 6.1

      “Aren’t we already living inside someone else’s grand plan?
      i.e. neoliberalism – for want of another word.”

      Good point.

      Interesting too about how to dismantle that, and whether a Grand Plan is inherently problematic. “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”

  7. saveNZ 7

    Big questions for Labour/Greens 2017

    Can you justify increasing development for the so called economy at the expense of the environment ,increased debt, and the democratic process and expecting local’s to pay for it because user pays doesn’t apply for business or you are ideologically opposed to put in immigration controls because the markets and free trade should decide?

    If you say that’s ok, it’s pretty much agreeing with National.

    Or is there a new strategy – of putting trust in locals to build their own houses and infrastructure, pay for a decent education and training, give decent jobs that pay decent wages and value each individual citizen, working or not, retain your own best and brightest people, give grants to locals not foreign owned businesses, tax those who turn over millions but somehow pay zero taxes…tax those who own assets but don’t live here, have real foreign policy, share ideas and have a genuine relationship not based on fear, money and trade with other countries, have a much higher minimum standards of living… Do not give NZ residency and citizenship away as though it is worthless, value foreign visitors but not allow exploitation as their reason for coming, allow migrant families to visit but on long term tourist visas to keep the NZ population static so that social welfare can still be maintained, etc etc

    • weka 7.1

      Green Party Charter,

      The charter is the founding document of The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.

      The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand; recognises Maori as Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand; and commits to the following four Principles:

      Ecological Wisdom:

      The basis of ecological wisdom is that human beings are part of the natural world. This world is finite, therefore unlimited material growth is impossible. Ecological sustainability is paramount.

      Social Responsibility:

      Unlimited material growth is impossible. Therefore the key to social responsibility is the just distribution of social and natural resources, both locally and globally.

      Appropriate Decision-making:

      For the implementation of ecological wisdom and social responsibility, decisions will be made directly at the appropriate level by those affected.

      Non-Violence:

      Non-violent conflict resolution is the process by which ecological wisdom, social responsibility and appropriate decision making will be implemented. This principle applies at all levels.

      https://www.greens.org.nz/charter

      When enough NZers vote Green, that’s what we will get. In the meantime the Greens will work with the power and tools that they have. In other words, it’s not the Greens that need convincing of these things.

      • saveNZ 7.1.1

        @ Weka – well I’m a bit concerned that all the talk of more houses, more development in Auckland (spreading elsewhere aka Wellington) is outside of the Green charter. The unitary plan has been a disaster and an opportunity wasted to gift Auckland with sustainability and affordability criteria and increase community ties.

        Chloe’s Swarbrick, Mayoral policy on rates, was to charge the same amount of rates on land with buildings as with land. A dream for Act and National.

        So that means someone living in a caravan pays the same amount as the person that has a McMansion. The Spencer family with a 10 million dollar home pay the same as a neighbour with a 3 bedroom bungalow. It’s the opposite of sustainable and fair policy.

        I actually don’t even think Chloe understood the policy, but that’s what is the danger when you are 22 and making policy. Considering the Natz favourite game seems to be (like the Republicans in the US) to put in some innocuous sounding words hidden in a policy that are anything but and pretending it will do something else. My concern is that there is too much group think and policy wonks in power – rather than examining the entire premise they are just fighting over little bits and not looking at true alternatives.

        I guess Maori are just wasting their land by not building golf courses and motels as well as anyone else that doesn’t need much. (or can’t afford much).

        Anyway, just putting that out there, so Greens can make their public speaking closer to their policy, because my perception is, they are very supportive of current development paid for by public and private developers, which ‘apparently’ according to the right wing taken up by left wing commentators has some trickle down effect and “eventually” “maybe” someone renting can afford it, but the markets will decide what’s best.

        Too close to National thinking for my liking.

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          Chloe Swarbrick doesn’t make GP policy, and afaik she didn’t run for Mayor on a GP ticket, so I’ll just leave that out of the argument.

          As for the Greens themselves, I’ve explained the issue. If people want those kind of principles enacted in NZ they need to vote Green. The Greens literally can’t do what you are suggesting until they have a much bigger chunk of the vote/support from NZers. All they can do is ride the line between principles and pragmatics. In the meantime, they will work within the constraints that they have.

          In other words, we made the Green Party what they are.

          • saveNZ 7.1.1.1.1

            It should be the Green’s moment in history to shine. At a time where environment is so mainstream and current climate events are impossible to ignore, (floods, famines and drought) i’m not the only one surprised about the lack of environmental focus on their campaigns.

            The “great Green” campaign is not terrible but could easily be any party – labour or National. It is very advertising like – could be advertising breakfast cereal. Not too late to improve it I guess.

            The Greens best campaign effort was the one that focused on the children in the environment.

            Greens voters are worried about food quality and water issues. They want to preserve things, historical buildings, culture, environment, improve poverty, save the forests, birds and nature.

            I just don’t get that sense so far from what I get from the Greens, and that is a shame because they should be cleaning up this election.

            • weka 7.1.1.1.1.1

              The Greens spend a lot of time on environmental issues. Their campaign launch today said they for this election they are focussing on getting people to know who they are as people and a party. They say that their voters already know what the GP do environmentally, which matches how I see it too. Because they’ve spent so much time on that.

              Current environmental policy,

              https://www.greens.org.nz/policy/cleaner-environment

              https://www.greens.org.nz/policy/smarter-economy (yes, that’s got environmental policy in it too, because you can’t run an economy without the environment).

              Greens voters are worried about food quality and water issues. They want to preserve things, historical buildings, culture, environment, improve poverty, save the forests, birds and nature.

              Given that’s all the things the GP work on, I’m not sure what your point is.

              “I just don’t get that sense so far from what I get from the Greens, and that is a shame because they should be cleaning up this election.”

              Have you voted for them? Will you vote for them this time?

              • saveNZ

                My point is, clearly only 11% voted for them last time and the Green issues are now mainstream and if they bothered to highlight the environmental side rather than assuming ‘everyone knows that’ they could do a lot better and actually have more control over the environment.

                Yep, voted for the Greens in the past. Did not vote for them last election but thinking of voting for them this election or Labour.

                But now I feel Greens look too much like Labour. They should be a different voice for the same agenda, of change the government, not cannibalise each other’s votes by focusing on the same social issues.

  8. Spikeyboy 8

    Any chance of some citations with regard to Chavez that dont come from Western establishment media. Chavez may not have left the upper middleclasses better off but there is no doubt that there are far less below the poverty line now. Ill provide citations if you do.

  9. Poission 9

    Avoid big plans and win

    Ah Think Little

    The satirists await.

  10. adam 10

    Thanks for the conservative analysis the Ad, far better reading you than other conservatives.

  11. Spikeyboy 11

    Anyone interested in real analysis on Chavez and Venezuela could start with the Center for Economic and Policy Research
    http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/chavezs-legacy
    Better than just regurgitating the fox news line

  12. Tamati Tautuhi 12

    National & Labour Governments have been funding themselves by State Asset Sales and Offshore Borrowings, looks like Winston NZF is the only alternative this coming Election.

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    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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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 ...
    1 week 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
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago

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