Brian Easton’s DL talk now online

Written By: - Date published: 1:27 pm, February 25th, 2009 - 32 comments
Categories: drinking liberally, economy - Tags:

easton-croppedFor those of you who missed Brian Easton’s recent talk on the recession at Drinking Liberally Wgtn (or just couldn’t hear over the rain) the papers are now up online.

It’s fascinating reading, if a little frightening. Part I on the world economy is here, and Part II on the New Zealand economy is here. Both are essential reading if want to understand how we got into this mess, and what it means for us here in New Zealand.

[Hat tip: Just Left]

UPDATE: Oh yeah, and before I forget, DL Wgtn is happening again tomorrow (Thursday) evening with guest speaker Grant Robertson. Topic is “No time for slash and burn: the future of public services in NZ”. 5.30pm, Southern Cross. And it’s inside this time so you won’t have to worry about the rain.

32 comments on “Brian Easton’s DL talk now online”

  1. jbc 1

    Interesting reading.

    Surprised there was nothing in there about the huge consumer imbalance that has resulted from the very easy credit markets of the past decade or so. The so-called ‘bubble’ economy. The collapse was inevitable given the sustained consumer/producer imbalances.

    Now the credit pendulum has swung too far back the other way – but surely we don’t want to fix this by returning to the days of spending significantly more than we earn. Some serious lifestyle adjustment is needed for the hire-purchase / car-loan economies of the west.

  2. Ianmac 2

    As a person of low Economic skill, I was as usual impressed by Brian Easton’s explanation. What does it mean for me and mine? I don’t know nor can I guess whether it is wise to spend up large and keep the internal economy alive, or whether to contract my spending, or whether what I do will have no (collective) effect at all.
    Is our Govt’s cautious approach a good strategy?
    What happens if that $90 billion debt is not serviced?

    Oh. My brain hurts!

    • You mean the $90 billion in counterfeit money created out of thin air by private banksters charging us interest in real world wealth?

      I say to the Guillotine with the banksters and let’s take our money back where it belongs; with us and our legally elected representatives whom we will keep a serious eye on to do the right thing.

      It worked for the Dutch, the French and the Americans for a while and it’s time we cull the greedy lot back to bearable levels once again.LOL.

  3. Is it me … or does the name of the person who wrote the post no longer appear?

    I can still work out SP’s posts tho 🙂

    I do like the reply function tho.

    [lprent: Fixed. Default was incorrect. Had another malware intrusion this morning from a hole in wordpress 2.7.0. It was fixed in 2.7.1 so there was a rapid upgrade with the new version sitting on my dev system. Didn’t go quite as easily as I’d have liked….]

  4. Rex Widerstrom 4

    While normally I accord anyone with the title “economist” about as much credence as I do a witchdoctor, Brian Easton is the exception. And he’s just so good at explaining economics in a way that minimises the use of actual numbers (which aren’t my strong suit… just ask my bank).

    This talk should be required reading before anyone clicks through to a discussion about “the financial crisis”… and for a few journos before they write anything else about it.

    One thought kept recurring to me as I read about “toxic assets” amassed on banks’ balance sheets…

    We entrust things to people every day and we hold them to a high standard of accountability even if their intention was not criminal. If an airline pilot crashes his plane,or a schoolbus driver his bus and is found to have been in error there are consequences. They are expected to atone for the grief and suffering caused by their error – and, mostly, they accept that they must do so. They’re even gratified, in a way, to have some chance to step up and accept, and apologise for, their errors and the harm they’ve caused.

    Yet some bankers have, through sheer greed and recklessness, crashed our economy. Perhaps no one was killed (though a few more might starve or freeze to death I guess) but there is still a lot of suffering caused to a lot of people.

    But where are the consequences? If it’s good enough to expect there to be consequences for third strike offenders, why are governments the world over sending the message to bankers that it’s okay to over-reach and fail. Not just okay, but that we (the taxpayers) will insulate you from even the personal costs of failure (provided you accept a “reasonable” salary of US$500,000).

    I argue that we wouldn’t need “3 strikes” if consequences were made plainer sooner to more people. The same applies to money traders. Since we’ve failed to discipline them adequately for “minor” infractions where one or two companies or banks might have collapsed in the past (or even for the whole S&L fiasco) I really can’t understand why the opportunity is not being seized now – not even by nominally left wing leaders like Rudd or Obama – to impose consequences as a warning against future excesses.

    • Ianmac 4.1

      Yes Rex. Somehow the “Bank” is anonymous where the bus driver is that bloke with the dark glasses. (Just checking the reply button.)

    • Interesting questions Rex,

      You might find some answers here and here

      And a man by the name of F. William Engdahl, a specialist in Economics wrote a series of very readable articles about why we are in this predicament and why bankers do not have to worry about the consequences of their actions.

      And by the way, it wasn’t a couple of greedy individual bankers or “bad apples” as it were. It is a scam on a humongous scale. Each and every top Wall street and City banker is part and parcel of that system and that includes John Key

    • jbc 4.3

      Rex: “Yet some bankers have, through sheer greed and recklessness, crashed our economy.”

      Yes they have. And it’s not over yet (Eastern Europe…)

      My point above (which seems to have fallen on deaf ears) is that while the bankers had their feet planted on the credit “accelerator” the masses enjoyed the ride and lapped up that credit like there was no tomorrow.

      If the bankers had been conservative (drove the economy like granddad on his way to lawn bowls) then a large part of the economic miracle of the past decade would never have eventuated.

      The problem now is that even if the money is there; nobody wants to borrow it. If there’s a credit crisis then why haven’t those annoying telemarketers pushing cheap and easy loans put down their headsets for good?

      • Pascal's bookie 4.3.1

        “If the bankers had been conservative (drove the economy like granddad on his way to lawn bowls) then a large part of the economic miracle of the past decade would never have eventuated.”

        Given that the miracle turned out to be old fashioned prestidigitation, I’m not sure what your point is.

        (captcha is on fire: whether margins)

        • jbc 4.3.1.1

          prestidigitation. Indeed. [I confess I had to look that up]

          Perhaps I needed to be more explicit. To look at this as simply a banking/credit/borrowing problem seems to miss the greater predicament: that a lot of the borrowing (including what Easton mentions) is just “papering over” some fundamental imbalances.

          I’m not suggesting that any of Easton’s reasoning is wrong, but that it only describes a part of the problem we are facing.

          What I find more disconcerting than the banking crisis is that a fair proportion of the growth (in incomes and employment) may have been fueled by “financial steroids” peddled by these bankers.

          Even if the banks were all fixed and started behaving themselves, and if NZ found some new overseas lenders, then we would still have a big problem.

        • Travellerev 4.3.1.2

          Pb,

          and don’t forget that old double-shuffling, honey-fugling, hornswoggling and skullduggery”.LOL.

  5. He guys,

    You may have been off line a bit longer than you anticipated but the reply function is awesome. Nice for some sub-threads without feeling like you hijacked the whole thread. LOL

    Very curious how it will be used here.

    Cheers,

    Trav

    • lprent 5.1

      Yeah. There was outbreak of a malware intrusion this morning through a nice hole in 2.7. Upgraded using the development version. But had a few problems with double UTF8 coding.

      I’m still bringing things online…

      • Daveski 5.1.1

        God help me … I agree with Eve 🙂

        I find Drupal upgrades scary but straightforward. I gave up on manual upgrades of WordPress and now slum at wordpress.org.

        Good job on the upgrades – the functionality gets better each time.

        • lprent 5.1.1.1

          Don’t thank me. Thank the open source people. The only thing that I’ve got customized in here is the css on top of the k2 theme.

          The auto-upgrades on wordpress are getting pretty good.

  6. Ianmac 6

    Cannot access “ACT MP caught Out”. Is it me or everyone?

  7. Ooh oops I landed in purgatory I think.

  8. vto 8

    I been thinking on this for some long time now. The last few years I have been annoying people around me with one of my theories which was that the world was heading for another great depression – reasons: 1, the house of cards called the world of debt obligations which was so massive and complex, and 2, it is a natural cycle which can be seen throughout history. My pick was that it would occur sometime 2010 – 2015. Started a bit earlier (or did it?). Other part of the theory was that govts, due to politics, would try to arrest it but eventually fail – result, a double-bottomed bottoming.

    Anyway, plenty people said similar blah blah..

    My currently developing theory is that these toxic assets etc can best be dealt with by sudden and painful lancing. This again will be driven by politics. The risk to nation states across the world is high and rising – picture say an east european country, say a …ania, …via or …istan where the armed forces have always been somewhat removed from political control. They sense the time is coming for the removal of so-and-so politico. And they will have the ability to do so. Who will prevent them? Only the west imo. But will the west? And how? (politically and physically)(perhaps a time to be thankful for Russian brutality).

    Among other unrest.

    Western political systems will recognise that if they are not super strong then they too will get dragged down etc. Hence one part of the appetite for a massive lancing of the boil that is toxic assets and other such creatures. Public will appreciate and understand the strength, despite massive splattering from the toxic boil, and get behind some new structures etc.

    … It is a developing theory and those a few random strands that I haven’t yet completely weaved …

    Bringing those strands to Mr Easton’s points one such area that stuck out for such a lancing could be “it also includes equities owned overseas, corporate and personal debt, trade credit and host of other sorts of liabilities.” Clearly the consequences would be massive. And worldwide. But perhaps a ‘wiping of the slate’ is the only way …

    to be continued…

    captcha: organize industry (there is definitely a wee gnome somewhere making these up)

    • vto,

      That is an interesting opening for debate.

      I would like to point your attention towards point 2 you bring up; the fact that there is apparently a natural cycle. Sort of like what goes up must come down and there is nothing you can do about it. A mysterious financial force of nature. Something none of the smarty pants who regulate our financial world know how to deal with. And above all something we just have to endure and live through.

      That doesn’t sit well with me. This is for various reasons

      1/ Money is man made. It is issued somewhere, somehow and for some reason sometimes more money is issued that there is in existence and based on mathematical issues that have no bearing on real world wealth and all of a sudden for some reason that money disappears.

      2/ When that money disappears it is always the poor and the middle class who get poorer and the upper class and the rich get richer. (A generalisation but you get my drift)

      3/ When the world drifts into a recession and god forbid into a depression it always seems to coincide with wars and destruction based on strange ideologies which leave entire continents destroyed in their wake and millions upon millions of people dead.

      4/ The only people who never seem to be affected by this somehow unmanageable financial cycle are the people managing our financial world. They just get richer and richer.

      You see if these financial giants where like us they would be, like us, fallible and there would be, like in our lives, sometimes unpleasant consequences if they made stupid decisions.

      You grow to fast in your business and get over extended you might go bankrupt, you cheat on your partner he/she kicks you out the door, you cheat on your tax return and they find out you get done, the list is endless.

      When you’re a banker and I mean not your average commercial banker who lends some money to a business and hopes to see that money back with some interest but one of your really big behind the scenes Money Masters that never seems to happen.

      One case in point is for example something that happened with Merrill Lynch and the LTCM hedgefund, the first fund too “big to fail“. (Accidentally the collapse of this hedgefund was the reason that John Key had to fire hundreds of his colleagues earning him the name of the “Smiling Assassin”)

      the LTCM hedgefund was heavily involved in manipulating the Asian Currencies and the Russian Rouble causing both the Asian and the Russian Crisis and when it collapsed as a result it was bailed out by amongst others Merrill Lynch under supervision of the Federal Reserve.

      One theory as to why this happened was stupidity and greed but another is that the LTCM hedgefund was used to break the independence of the Asian currencies (Which where bailed out by the IMF with serious conditions attached to it and which by many in those countries is experienced as a form of colonisation) and the Russian Rouble (Russia also had to accept IMF aid and equally heavy conditions). This opened up those currencies to massive speculation and made Wall street very happy thank you.

      By the way you are aware that John Key’s speciality was the Asian financial market and Over-The-Counter derivatives or OTC’s don’t you and that at the time of the events with the LTCM he was both the head of foreign Exchange and the European head for Bonds and Derivatives and that after he successfully aided and abetted Merrill Lynch in their endeavours with the LTCM he was invited as one of only four advisors to the Federal Reserve of New York for the Foreign Exchange committee.

      A position held three years previous by Robert Rubin, (AIG Trading)

      Another major player in this hedgefund was, by the way, a man called George Soros, the same man who just paid $ 30.000 to help finance a debate about New Zealands drug laws prepare Kiwi’s for financial intervention by big money now that the Election law has been repealed. (I bet him and John Key are old mates seeing as they both know a lot about speculation in Asian currencies.)

      Seeing as there were no consequences for the banks involved in the LTCM hedgefund stupidity is not what comes to the fore in my mind.

      According to this article it was the first time that Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve of New York bailed out a group of banks and a hedgefund sending a message to the banksters that no matter how hard they gambled they’d always be bailed out.

      Interesting eh?

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    By ‘lancing’ you mean what?

    By ‘wiping of the slate’ are you suggesting a biblical jubilee style debt forgiveness type of thing?

    Edit: Meant to say. interesting comment. ta.

    I’d be worried first and foremost about Mexico on the failed state watch list. 3 news actually ran a bit tonight on what is probably the most underreported story of the last couple of years. Essentially the drug cartels are running the border states. They probably outgun the govt, and certainly out-finance them. It is a war, on a par with Iraq. If Mexico collapses, you will have millions of refugees heading for the US over land border, with news coverage 24/7.

    • vto 9.1

      In some form or other yes. But not ‘forgiveness’. It is partially underway already with the idea of govts buying up the toxic assets (pretty much for simple disposal in a safe fashion), so perhaps simply a ramping up of that approach. In a big way. Perhaps probably coordinated between govts.

  10. rave 10

    Easton is just producing the usual liberal hashup of the crisis. Its about financiers out of control and the need to regulate them with some form of revived Keynesian state management of the economy. Well that’s already happening except the bankers are managing the state managing the economy. The state is subsidising the losses of the capitalists with the future income generated by workers. Its advancing our pensions to pay their profits. So state management is no answer. Nationalisation under workers control (not Gordon Browns) is the answer.

    The reason Easton doesnt come up with a workable answer is that he doeasnt ask the important question. He doesnt address the question as to why such a huge amount of finance was invested in assets which proved to be worthless. Capitalists normally invest in real assets to produce value (employing workers to create the value). How come all of a sudden they invest in assets which have a vastly overinflated value compared to their cost of production?

    The only feasible explanation is that the productive system seized up and the surplus capital had to find new outlets to make a profit. This capital was invested in buying and selling existing assets thus driving up their value out of all proportion to their actual value. The bubbles that resulted were bound to burst. Should we pay for this speculative crisis? No! Let the bastards that made their profits out of driving up the prices of housing and who are ducking for cover and putting the cost of their crisis on to the backs of workers pay for it.

    The uprisings in Greece, and Gaudeloupe, and the big strikes in France and Italy are only the beginning of the refusal of workers to pay for the çapitalists crisis. We will not allow them to sack us, criminalise us, shoot us, and otherwise shit on us because it is their rotten system that is falling down.

    Auckland Protest against the 90 day Act where the bosses are lining us up a cheap labour reservoir for their Jobs Summit plans to save their skins by flogging ours…

    Aotea Square Saturday 12 noon.

    Years ago Rosa Luxemburg said we face a choice between socialism and barbarism. Recently Istvan Meszaros said: barbarism if we are lucky.

    Here’s a Marxist talk by Meszaros on the current crisis if anyone is interested:
    http://welcometotheneworldisorder.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/istvan-meszaros-the-new-crisis-of-capitalism-30mins/

  11. rave 11

    Here’s an interesting quote from a COUNTERPUNCH article:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/
    “How the economy was lost” by Paul Craig Roberts Feb 24th.

    “The bald fact is that the combination of ignorance, negligence, and ideology that permitted the crisis to happen still prevails and is blocking any remedy. Either the people in power in Washington and the financial community are total dimwits or they are manipulating an opportunity to redistribute wealth from taxpayers, equity owners and pension funds to the financial sector.”

    Which is it? Dimwits or manipulators?

    How better to manipulate while appearing a dimwit. Sound familiar?

  12. higherstandard 12

    Very good article Rave………. I suspect the answer is ‘dimwit’ as the author says in relation to the US economy.

    “our best hope is that the rest of the world is even less competent and even in deeper trouble”

    • Hs,

      Paul Graig Roberts is is an economist and a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate. He served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration earning fame as the “Father of Reaganomics”. He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He was a post-graduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and Oxford University where he was a member of Merton College.

      In 1992 he received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States according to Wikipedia.

      He is also a lifelong Republican and one of our foremost spokespersons in our quest for a new and independent investigation into the events of 911.

      He is very much of the opinion that stupidity and ignorance are not what is driving the economic collapse. Why don’t you google his name and educate yourself a little now that you have read one of his pieces.

  13. RedLogix 13

    Roberts makes considerable mention of the negative consequences of ‘offshoring’ jobs from the USA.

    I have read endless tributes to Wal-Mart from “libertarian economists,’ who sing Wal-Mart’s praises for bringing low price goods, 70 per cent of which are made in China, to the American consumer. What these “economists’ do not factor into their analysis is the diminution of American family incomes and government tax base from the loss of the goods producing jobs to China. Ladders of upward mobility are being dismantled by offshoring, while California issues IOUs to pay its bills. The shift of production offshore reduces US GDP. When the goods and services are brought back to America to be sold, they increase the trade deficit. As the trade deficit is financed by foreigners acquiring ownership of US assets, this means that profits, dividends, capital gains, interest, rents, and tolls leave American pockets for foreign ones.

    Not of course to be outdone, any bungle the Yanks can do, we can do better:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4860134a13.html

    Only the Greens opposed the FTA with China.

    • rave 13.1

      Except that Americans now own a large part of the world economy. There is no “offshore” anymore.
      And everyone else pays for US indebtedness because it prints the world money and has the biggest guns. Globalisation has meant that the US is now a global economy and the US domestic economy is an anachronism. The US is the only economy in the world whose “protectionism” means a protection racket for the globe, not its own borders. Obama is going to kill the subsidies to US agribusiness and beef up the military “protection” of its oil interests in Asia. The US IS the world economy. It has China and Russia in its sights.
      NZ on the other hand with a bankster running it is just part of that US global economic empire. Its always been an entry in the ledger of some imperialist bank. Now its only a matter of which US bank survives to run us. What is your pick? My pick is BOA. Ask John.

  14. vto 14

    busy day, but one other thing to add to the mix…

    The so-called bubble economy was not in fact such a bubble. All the procudtion actually produced. Mankind produced numerous house, mansions, boats and yachts and ships, ferraris and suv’s and corollas. Everyone was gainfully employed and things were ctually physically made. It was a reality. A physical reality that still exists today.

    I think it should be borne in mind that if anything the bubble is on the downside. Now. ffs, houses are selling so far below the cost of replacement that if anything is surreal it is this current ‘value’ placed on houses. Over the longer term value must equal cost. At the moment it is more out of wack than it was on the upside.

  15. BLiP 15

    Rave said:

    ” . . . Except that Americans now own a large part of the world economy. There is no “offshore’ anymore. . . . ”

    I would say China pretty much owns the USA. China need only call in its loans and the yanks would have to go to war or start digging up Wall Street for a veggie patch.

    • rave 15.1

      China has a large chunk of US treasury bonds. But if it suddenly tried to sell the bonds back what would be the result? A massive fall in the US dollar which would devalue the bonds considerably, and a similar revaluation of the RMB and consequent loss of exports to US much greater than is already happening.
      Why would China cut its own throat?

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    1 day ago
  • Hard News: The Day After Tomorrow
    The Westpac McDermott Miller consumer confidence index dipped marginally this week, but, said the bank's chief economist, "households remain in good spirits". In truth, our good spirits rely on us not looking too far ahead.New Zealanders' perception of their current ...
    1 day ago
  • Rotten to the core
    How rotten is WINZ? So rotten that they use false names for those serving on their internal Benefit Review Committees, and present them as truthful to their statutory appeal body. As if that's not bad enough, they then continued to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • The Grow Room Profiles – Villette
    Local Alt R&B songstress/producer Villette discusses some of her formative musical experiences, her positive forecast for Women within Aotearoa's music industry, and finally drops the name of her new mixtape. This video was made with funding support from NZ ...
    1 day ago
  • The Singles Life: What happened to political music in New Zealand?
    Welcome to weekly series The Singles Life, where known experts Katie Parker and Hussein Moses peruse, ponder and pontificate on the latest and (maybe) greatest in New Zealand music. In these trying times, political music feels like it would ...
    1 day ago
  • Media Link: Chinese influence operations, Hillary’s blame game, Trump’s incoherence and NZ’s 3...
    As part of the series of radio interviews I do with Mitch Harris on RadioLive on Wed nights, this week we decided to be a bit more free ranging than usual (since the normal focus of the radio version of ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 day ago
  • The beginning of the end for nuclear weapons
    "I have been waiting for this day for seven decades and I am overjoyed that it has finally arrived,” said Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow in July, when a new treaty banning nuclear weapons was agreed at the United Nations in ...
    1 day ago
  • Election Transport Policy Roundup
    Transport featured prominently in this election, particularly in the opening weeks of the campaign. At the same time, the differences between the parties when it comes to transport policies has been stark. It’s also worth remembering the outcome of the 1News ...
    1 day ago
  • The loneliness of the election hoarding
    Every three years the institution of the election poster gives us an object lesson in psychogeography, remaking the country into red zones, blue zones, contested zones. A sign erected on a private fence or put up at one’s window makes ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    2 days ago
  • This is how civil wars start
    As I write this, Spanish police are raiding Catalan government offices and arresting government officials in an effort to prevent Catalans from voting in a referendum on independence:Spanish police officers have raided three Catalan regional government departments and arrested 12 ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Election edition of It’s Our Future Bulletin
    A vote for National is a vote for the TPPA-11 Kia ora koutou katoa, This will be a short Bulletin as you are all, no doubt, up to your eyeballs in political spin and campaign rhetoric. The general election Saturday ...
    Its our futureBy Stephen Parry
    2 days ago
  • National Increased and Introduced 18 New Taxes, How Many More to Come?
    While National have been the failed Government of New Zealand they have increased or introduced 18 taxes on the ever suffering New Zealand public!   These included an increase in GST, taxing your Kiwisaver contributions, increased your Prescription ...
    2 days ago
  • Bugger
    Still, the Greens look safe. That's SOMETHING.And if NZ First don't get back in (assuming Winston loses Northland and they slip 0.1% more ... Well, I'll try very hard to lament the undemocratic wasted vote while punching the air and ...
    2 days ago
  • It takes just 4 years to detect human warming of the oceans
    We’ve known for decades that the Earth is warming, but a key question is, how fast? Another key question is whether the warming is primarily caused by human activities. If we can more precisely measure the rate of warming and ...
    2 days ago
  • Why I was an idiot for not voting last election
    Three years is a long time.   Image: The Wireless/Luke McPake   I have a flatmate who probably won’t vote. He says he might, but it’s not looking good. A capital gains tax could persuade him, but Labour’s ...
    2 days ago
  • Not That Kind of Voting
    As is customary in the run-up to an election, there is some hand-wringing going on about what turnout is going to be like.read more ...
    PunditBy Leonid Sirota
    2 days ago
  • Bill English is incompetent
    When John Key handed Bill English the poisoned chalice of a third term, it was pretty clear that the smiling assassin was getting out while the getting was good. After all, English had been largely left out of most of ...
    2 days ago
  • Pre-emptively poking holes in the land tax bucket
    Land taxes have – unexpectedly – become a hot policy topic in the run-up to the election. Land taxes were originally suggested by the economist and social reformer Henry George as a fairer alternative to income or business tax. The ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis support a water tax
    The prospect of making farmers and water bottlers pay for their use of public water has been a big issue this election campaign. Irrigation-dependent dairy farmers hate the idea, of course - they're freeloaders who don't want to pay their ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • National censors NZTA
    Last month, when the National Party announced ten expensive new roads as the core of its election campaign, the Greater Auckland blog noticed something interesting: the business case for one of them, Whangarei to Wellsford, had disappeared from NZTA's website. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Follow the Leader: Winston Peters – NZ First
      ...
    2 days ago
  • Access: Disabled floater voters 3: Education and Justice
    This is the third of a series of blogs from the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA).   We have used DPA’s strategic areas of focus, as identified by our members, as a guide to examine key areas of each party’s policies. We ...
    2 days ago
  • Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (ono)
    . . You show me yours, I’ll show you mine… . Perhaps the most ill-considered public statement from NZ First leader, Winston Peters, was his recent (11 September) demand that Labour disclose it’s full tax plan as a pre-condition for ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • The mystery of the Wellsford-Whangarei business case solved
    Exactly a month ago, the National Party announced the biggest element of their transport policy for this election, $10.5 billion on 10 new Roads of National Significance. These are: Wellsford to Whangarei East West Link in Auckland Cambridge to Tirau Piarere ...
    2 days ago
  • Which New Zealand are you voting for?
    I was walking out of a meeting with two fine people the other day, one a National Party supporter and one a Labour Party supporter. The centre-right man reckons his team has lost it, but he sighed, "the economy's going ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    3 days ago
  • Farmers blame absence of Bill English for failure to summon Cow God
    Farmers were deeply disappointed when an incantation meant to summon the Cow God instead summoned Winston Peters. Dairy farmers have spent the better part of today blaming Prime Minister Bill English for their failure to summon the Cow God beneath ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • Trust women to decide: Greens
    The Green party has renewed its calls for abortion law reform, after a woman who was declined a termination considered suicide.    Under the Crimes Act, an abortion must be approved by two licenced specialist doctors.  Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski ...
    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day is now about equal pay for many women
    The fight goes on.   Merinda Jackson. Photo: The Wireless/Max Towle Women wearing suffragist dress gathered outside Wellington’s central library this afternoon. They periodically broke off into small groups and disappeared inside for a few minutes at ...
    3 days ago
  • How WINZ got social housing costs so wrong
    Last year, National bowed to public pressure over homelessness and replaced emergency housing loans - under which the homeless were saddled with odious debt to be put up in price-gouging motels - with a grant. Their initial budget for these ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Narcissistic men are more likely to troll on Facebook – study
    “Aggression, manipulativeness, low agreeableness.” Sound familiar? Illustration: 123RF A new study analysing people’s motivations for trolling has found men are more likely to bully others on Facebook because they’re more narcissistic. Researchers from Brunel and Goldsmiths universities ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate change: This is going to cost us
    For the past six months, National have been suppressing Ministry for the Environment guidance on coastal hazards, which show that sea level rise and the resulting storm surges threaten $19 billion of coastal property. This government malfeasance isn't just bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • National has failed our health system
    Along with a number of other worsening sectors in New Zealand, the public health system has become increasingly degraded under a National led government. The statistics clearly show a complete failure to meet growing demand for services, especially in peak ...
    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day
    Today, September 19th, is Suffrage Day. 124 years ago today, women gained the right to vote in New Zealand. Its one of our greatest achievements as a nation, and yet its not one we publicly mark. That needs to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Collins and the swamp kauri petrol crisis
    The ruptured fuel pipe that runs to Auckland Airport looks set to cause more chaos as fuel shortages start to impede people trying to fill up at the pump.Already a number of international flights have been diverted or cancelled due ...
    3 days ago
  • Facts about fluorosis – not a worry in New Zealand
    This sort of serious dental fluorosis does not occur in New Zealand A recent issue of the Fluoride Exposed Newsletter gives us the facts about dental fluorosis – a subject very often misrepresented by opponents of community water fluoridation. Ever ...
    3 days ago
  • PT Ridership around New Zealand
    Auckland had a pretty good year for public transport ridership in the last financial year (to the end of June). Overall, compared to the 2016 ridership increased by 5.5 million (7%) to 88.44 million trips, the highest point since 1955. ...
    3 days ago
  • Australia tries to deport Rohingya to persecution
    Myanmar is currently waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against its Rohingya minority. So naturally, the racist Australian government is trying to force Rohingya detained in its concentration camps to return to persecution:Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Chevron’s Amazon Chernobyl Case moves to Canada
    After perpetrating what is probably the worst oil-related catastrophe on Earth - a 20,000 hectare death zone in Ecuador, known as the “Amazon Chernobyl” - the Chevron Corporation has spent two decades and over a billion dollars trying to avoid ...
    3 days ago
  • 5 reasons the car industry needs to change its ways now
    Today the world’s biggest motor show gets underway in Germany. The Frankfurt Motorshow is the moment many of the world’s best known car manufacturers get together for a grand display of vehicles that have been polished so hard it’s a ...
    3 days ago
  • Access Granted: Kat Greenbrook – From insight to action
    Kat Greenbrook (@katgreenbrook) is on a mission to increase the number of data insights actioned as she sees a growing gap between analytics teams and decision makers, stemming from a breakdown in communication.  Kat, through her own company Rogue Penguin, works across ...
    3 days ago
  • When The Country Goes To Town.
    Pretty Ugly, Pretty Quickly: That the demographic and cultural divide between rural and urban New Zealand remains a source of deep unease to farmers cannot be doubted. Equally indisputable, historically-speaking, has been the militant, even violent, character of rural New ...
    3 days ago
  • More on Kiwi Rail De-electrification
    *This is a guest post by Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders KIWIRAIL’S NIMT DECISION EXPOSED IN LEAKED DOCUMENTS Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders1 Leaked documents show that KiwiRail’s decision in December 2016, to ...
    Transport BlogBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • Limits to growth?
    Mounting concern with housing, transport and diversity issues in Auckland point to a consensus that growth trends are exceeding our ability to readily cope. This is aggravated by reports that portions of our wilderness tourism areas are being hammered by ...
    Briefing PapersBy Charles Crothers
    4 days ago
  • Winston Peters hijacks National’s protest
    There was a lot of anticipation surrounding a farmer’s protest in Morrinsville yesterday, a protest over Labour’s proposed levy of 1 to 2 cents per 1000 litres of water used for irrigation.Federated Farmers and Dairy NZ in particular have been ...
    4 days ago
  • Just when will the fat lady start singing this election?
    Now we’ve entered the last week of the election campaign, Saturday’s finishing post is in sight. Once the polls close at 7pm on that day, no further ballots may be cast.read more ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • Prediction
    There's nothing stupider on the internet than putting down your thoughts in an indisputable form.  So that, of course is what I am going to do:NAT – 42%LAB – 39%NZF – 8%GRE – 6%TOP – 2%MAO – 1.5% (With electorate ...
    4 days ago

  • Housing report earns Nats the red card
    National’s failure to acknowledge and fix the housing crisis will be their legacy. Labour will tackle the housing crisis head-on, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 day ago
  • Sluggish growth reflects nine years of drift from National
    Today’s GDP figures reflect an economy that the National Government has allowed to drift along on the basis of growing population rather than improving productivity and adding value, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is important to recognise that ...
    1 day ago
  • National’s campaign of deception an affront to democracy
    Voters this week have a clear choice between Labour’s optimism and honesty, or rewarding National’s campaign of relentless lies, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Day after day National has been deliberately spreading lies about Labour, our intentions and what ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s economy scorecard: D for drift
    New Zealand’s economy is failing the very people it is supposed to uplift, characterised by stalled productivity, exports going backwards and a Government content to let it drift, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Voters have a clear choice ...
    2 days ago
  • Another day – another health crisis
    News today that the emergency department at Waikato has turned 180 patients away is another crisis for the Government and its besieged health system, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “It’s astonishing that the Government has had to rely on ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour will get tough on loan sharks
      Labour will take a tough stance on loan sharks and make sure that the Commerce Commission is properly resourced to protect Kiwi consumers, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson Michael Wood.   “People on low incomes must be protected from ...
    2 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    3 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    3 days ago
  • Tax cuts when kids go hungry shows National’s lack of moral compass
    National’s campaign of tax cuts that give $400 million to the top 10 per cent of earners, at a time when 120 Kiwi kids every year are being hospitalised for malnutrition, shows they have lost their moral compass, says Labour’s ...
    3 days ago
  • Freight being shifted off planes as fuel crisis worsens
    Export freight is being shifted off flights because of the Government’s failure to manage the risk of disruption to jet fuel supplies, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson Stuart Nash. “It has been revealed to Labour that non-perishable export freight is ...
    3 days ago
  • Apologise now Jonathan
    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman must apologise for his part in a $2.3 billion shortfall that has contributed to delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “All the Minister could say in an interview this morning ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s health report card shows need for new plan
    From increased GP fees, to kids getting sick from cold homes, to denial of important surgeries, National’s underfunding of health has hurt Kiwi families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.   “It’s time to invest in the health of ...
    3 days ago
  • Eye clinic wait downright dangerous
    The fact that 9,500 Kiwis are waiting one and a half times longer than they should to get follow-up eye appointments is unacceptable and dangerous, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “These people are entitled to the reassurance that if ...
    3 days ago
  • National has serious questions to answer over Auckland fuel crisis
    Thousands of air travellers looking for answers to Auckland Airport’s fuel crisis should be demanding the National Government come clean over its failure to secure fuel supply for the airport, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “There are serious questions the ...
    4 days ago
  • Come clean on trade before the election
    In the two days before the election, New Zealand MFAT negotiators will attend a negotiations meeting in Japan on the successor to the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), now called the TPP-11. The negotiations are shrouded in secrecy but we ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    6 days ago
  • National unravels on transport
    The release of extraordinary information showing that the East-West link could be the most expensive road in the world, at $327 million per kilometre, shows that National is fiscally reckless and out of ideas on transport, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson ...
    6 days ago
  • Saudi cover-up a perversion of democracy
    The Government has been exposed as dishonest after it was revealed that  they were wrong to claim they paid out $11 million dollars to a Saudi businessmen after legal advice, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Parker.  “OIAs revealed on ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour supporting Te Reo Māori in schools
    Labour will support a future where New Zealanders from every background will have the ability to use Te Reo Māori in everyday conversations, says Labour’s Deputy Leader and Māori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “Labour will commit to a target that ...
    1 week ago
  • Is National planning a secret fuel tax?
    Sources suggest National is considering a secret fuel tax to fund its controversial Roads of National Significance (RONS) programme, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood. “While the Government keeps up its stream of lies about Labour’s tax policy, sources indicate ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan for West Coast prosperity
    Labour’s regional development plan for the West Coast will build on its strengths in engineering and tourism, while delivering a much-needed upgrade to the Buller Hospital, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “Labour’s vision is for a thriving regional New Zealand, ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour committed to fair and progressive tax system
    Labour is committed to a tax system where everyone pays their fair share and where we start to address the imbalances that have fuelled the housing crisis, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson and Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. "Today ...
    1 week ago
  • A challenge to Bill English
    ...
    1 week ago
  • Flavell’s fake news an insult to Māori voters
    A desperate Te Ururoa Flavell has resorted to fake news about Labour’s position on his unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s tax cuts reckless and irresponsible
    It is time for Bill English and Steven Joyce to stop the scaremongering and lies, and front up to New Zealanders about the impact of their tax cuts, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Bill English has no credibility on ...
    1 week ago
  • Calculator shows Labour’s Families Package delivers
    Labour has launched a new online calculator that show how much extra families with kids will get from Labour’s Families Package, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Families can go to www.labour.org.nz/calculator and see how much better off they ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening New Zealand’s identity through Labour’s media and film policy
    Labour has today launched its media and film policy aimed at strengthening New Zealand’s identity and providing sustainability for the industry, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to invest in parents and babies
    Labour will fund an additional 100 Plunket and Tamariki Ora nurses to increase the help available for vulnerable parents and babies, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “It’s so important that our children get the best start in life. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes and state houses in Hawke’s Bay
    Labour will build a mix of 240 affordable KiwiBuild starter homes for first home buyers and state homes for families in need in Napier and Hastings, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “In 2016, the populations of Napier and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges more for Whānau Ora
    Labour will strengthen the oversight of Whānau Ora and provide an extra $20 million over four years to improve outcomes for whānau and families, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis.    “We’ve created a new position of Whānau Ora Reviewer ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s housing band aid
    Throwing subsidies at an under-supplied housing market is one last desperate bid by National to be seen to do something about the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “First home buyers have been the collateral damage of National’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing, families, education and environment top priorities in Labour’s first 100 days
    Labour will take urgent action in its first 100 days in office to expand support for families and students, make rental homes warm and dry, find solutions to the mental health crisis and accelerate efforts to clean up our waterways, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges to unlock funding for Te Hiku sports hub project
    The Labour Government will inject nearly $3 million into the Te Hiku Sports Hub project, to help realise a much-needed health and recreational facility for the Far North, says Labour Deputy Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s plan to get job seekers into better work
    Labour will provide real support for people looking for work by increasing the amount of money someone can earn before their benefit begins to reduce, reinstating training incentives, and putting a renewed focus on upskilling and training, says Labour’s Social ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour sets strong target and plan for climate action
    Labour will set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and take the necessary steps to achieve it, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment. We have to take our place ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are education cuts missing in National’s Fiscal Plan?
    National needs to explain why its plans for cuts to school transport have not been announced in its fiscal plan, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.   “Buried in the Pre-election Budget update is a $5m a year cut to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce must come clean on Health and Education funding
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and tell them whether he will fund health and education to meet increasing cost pressures, or risk seeing services cut and costs increase for parents, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis is National’s legacy
    Reports of tenants languishing in boarding houses for years because they cannot get a state house is yet more evidence National’s legacy is the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We used to pride ourselves in this country ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour calls for release of report into civil defence flaws
    The National Government must stick by its word given to other political parties and release a technical report before the election addressing critical flaws in New Zealand’s civil defence capability, Labour Civil Defence spokesperson Clare Curran said today.  “Cross party ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Credibility shot as Government runs out of steam
    New Zealanders are witnessing the desperation of a government clinging to survival, evidenced by policy on-the-hoof, dodgy maths and dirty politics, says Labour MP Phil Twyford. “New Zealand had been hoping we’d seen the end of dirty politics, but what ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Steven Joyce must apologise to New Zealand
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and apologise for his patently false and cynical attack on Labour’s Fiscal Plan, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Every respected economic commentator has come out and said that Labour’s Fiscal ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill English didn’t answer because the Oreti is badly polluted
    Last night Bill English was asked by Paddy Gower in the Leader’s Debate: “Which river did he swim in as a kid, and is it now polluted?” Bill English named the Oreti River, but did not answer whether it is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats put out dodgy numbers – again
    National’s promise to increase the number of elective surgeries to 200,000 is bizarre, given Jonathan Coleman has claimed 200,000 electives are already being performed, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s Award to encourage young people into trades training
    Labour will introduce a $2,000 award for the best pupil in vocational courses in each public secondary school, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “We know there’s huge demand for trades workers, particularly in the building sector, where construction ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not another Nick Smith wild goose chase
    Only the election on September 23 can save the country and the RMA from Nick Smith, say Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford and Environment spokesperson David Parker. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government supresses Climate Change report
    The Government has deliberately sat on a critical Climate Change report for 5 months which they must now release, election or no election, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “I want the report released immediately, so that New Zealanders ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Joyce gets it wrong on Labour’s Fiscal Plan
    Labour’s Fiscal Plan is robust, the numbers are correct and we stand by them despite the desperate and disingenuous digging from an out-the-door Finance Minister, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Steven Joyce has embarrassed himself. This is a desperate, ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Making renting secure and healthy
    Labour will move to make renting a more stable and healthy experience for families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 weeks ago