Brian Easton’s DL talk now online

Written By: - Date published: 1:27 pm, February 25th, 2009 - 33 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.

33 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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  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    3 days ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    4 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    4 days ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    5 days ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    6 days ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    6 days ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    7 days ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    7 days ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    1 week ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    1 week ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    1 week ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago

  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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