Brownlee, not the brightest spark

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, May 7th, 2008 - 48 comments
Categories: economy - Tags: ,

Here’s Gerry Brownlee in the Herald today:

Brownlee said the [Whirinaki] power plant, near Napier, was intended as an emergency backup to be used seldomly in dry years.
But he said the figures – from use over 32 days in the three-month period – suggested otherwise.
“Its increased use is more evidence that Labour has failed to future-proof our energy sector’

No, Gerry, it’s not; it is evidence that the system is working as intended. Whirinaki is intended to ensure supply continues in dry years. We are in a dry year and the New Plymouth natural gas power plant at is off-line for upgrading. Whirinaki is running at well-under full power (2.3% of capacity in January, 6.5% in February) to cover the short-fall, just as it was intended to do.

Brownlee is also huffing that 7.6 million litres of diesel have been burnt this year by Whirinaki. But that is replacing gas that would have been burnt in New Plymouth. If the New Plymouth plant were operational, the Whirinaki plant would not be running (both are used as reserve but New Plymouth is used first by Contact as it’s own reserve and Whirinaki is the Electricity Commission’s back-stop reserve). Ironically, the Whirinaki plant is actually more fuel efficient than the old New Plymouth plant, so we may well be getting more bang for our buck (and more power per kg of carbon dioxide).

Brownlee is clueless on electricity, and he wants to be your Energy Minister come November.

48 comments on “Brownlee, not the brightest spark”

  1. Benodic 1

    You should’ve heard him up against David Parker on Morning Report the other day. Parker was on top of his brief and had all the facts and arguments at his fingertips. Brownlee was a shouting buffoon.

    Regardless of my politics I’d simply rather have an energy minister who knows what he’s doing. The thought of “sexy coal” Brownlee being responsible for our energy supply scares me.

  2. Santi 2

    “Brownlee is clueless on electricity, and he wants to be your Energy Minister come November.”

    I prefer him any day over the dim-witted David Parker, who was trying to impose his harebrained ETS on New Zealand, and who has now been overruled by his masters Cullen and Clark.

    The socialist Labour government only backed down due to political pressure.

  3. Yes it does sound like Gerry Brownlee was trying to manufacture a scandal: but I understand that is the function of the opposition. I guess David Parker will be in the same position post November.

    It does however raise an interesting question of how Labour is going to handle the Greens “keep coal in the hole” policy. Given current polling Labour is going to need them to have any chance of hanging onto power. Where does that leave our security of supply ?

  4. Damn, I forgot to comment using my whizzy new Gravitar ID. Congratulations on implementing this, it is a great innovation.

  5. We burn very little of the coal we produce. Most of it is exported and most of the coal we consume is imported (different grades), so its not a energy supply issue for us, it’s an export earnings issue.

  6. Steve: thanks. So why don’t we burn more for electricity generation ?

    I know Solid Energy has a vested interest but I found these two quotes on their website interesting:
    “New coal-based electricity generation could maintain the wholesale electricity rate at near current prices – 5 to 6c/kWh – for hundreds of years.” “These increase the efficiency of coal-based electricity generation from 25-40% to 50% plus and pollutant emissions can be reduced to near zero,” said Dr Elder. “http://www.coalnz.com/index.cfm/1,212,587,49,html/Record-Year-for-Coal-Producer

  7. insider 8

    Steve

    Agree with you on this – I think there is a military axiom along the lines of not much point having reserves if you don’t deploy them.

    Minor point, WHirinaki is more likely substituting at present for hydro. NP was a baseload winter plant and may not have been running at this time of year if lakes were fuller. There is adequate energy around at the moment, the issue is that we need to conserve water. So yes if NP was around it would probably be fulfilling that role but mainly to conserve water.

    capcha –James pinkos

  8. Tane 9

    Steve, best avatar ever.

  9. insider 10

    mawg

    On coal I think Huntly does use a fair bit of Waikato coal but that can’t meet demand so imports indonesian.

    Why not buid more coal, well I suspect because the coal is in the south and the demand is in the north, and who in Auckland (which is where the need is) and I doubt anyone wants a new coal plant there. Building it close to the lignite supplies presents big issues in terms of getting it to market.

  10. Tane. for some reason I can’t see it. In fact I can’t see half of the avatars.

    I feel so left out.

    [lprent: client side caching. You could tell your cache to empty, or just wait a while]

  11. Also, we don’t want to build more coal because we’re trying to move away from carbon emitting generation, and coal is the worst..

    captcha: Mrs hints… how intriguing

  12. Tane 13

    It’s an ongoing dilemma: Coal miners, awesome. Coal, sucky.

    Though neither are particularly “sexy”.

  13. higherstandard 14

    SP

    Is that the old symbol for the British Labour Party ?

  14. Insider: so are you saying its more efficient to ship coal from Indonesia than the South Island ?

    Insider/Steve: What about clean coal technology ? As an Aucklander I would probably choose a clean coal fired plant in Auckland over expensive or unreliable electricity or dealing with greedy Waikato farmers. Think back to the Auckland CBD transmission line failure last decade & the farm of diesel generators in Queen St: I think most people will choose reliable electricity over the environment .

  15. Matthew Pilott 16

    Tane – hang out in Reefton long enough and you’ll change your mind.

    I gather our coal is top-quality and ‘too good’ to be used in power generation, hence exporting it. the coal we import is of a lower grade.

    I’d have though after his last foray into Whirinaki’s output and diesel use, Brownlee would have learned. Once bitten, twice as dim.

  16. outofbed 17

    Contast and compare the bio for these two candidates for Illam
    Gerry Brownlee:National
    Kenny Graham : Green

    Gerry was born and educated in Christchurch and has lived in the Ilam electorate all his life.

    After leaving St Bede’s College, Gerry began his career in the family timber business. He trained to be a carpenter, gained several trade qualifications and operated his own business.

    In 1980 Gerry trained as a secondary school teacher and, taught at Ellesmere College for five years. He was appointed Head of the Technical Department at St Bede’s College, where he taught until 1995.

    KENNDY GRAHAM is currently a Senior Adjunct Fellow at the School of Law at Canterbury University. He has received Fulbright and Fletcher scholarships, a McCarthy Fellowship (1986), and was Quartercentenary Fellow at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, England (1995). Dr. Graham served in the NZ foreign service for 16 years, specializing in global security and the UN, his last diplomatic assignment being counsellor in the NZ Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. He has lived and worked in nine countries in Asia, the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.
    From 1999 to 2004 he worked for the United Nations University, first as Director of its Leadership Academy (Amman, Jordan; 1999-2002); then as director of its Regional Security & Global Governance Project (Bruges, Belgium; 2002-4). In 2004 he was commissioned to provide a paper for the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Paper on Threats, Challenges and Change.

    In 2005-6 he has been Senior Consultant to the UN’s Dept. of Political Affairs in New York, assisting in the preparation and convening of the Secretary-General’s high-level meetings, and the Security Council’s meetings, with regional organizations.

  17. outofbed 18

    bloody blockqoutes

    [lprent: I see what you mean – they’re there in the comment code, but not displaying. They even have the correct spelling. I’ll look into it tonight]

  18. Patrick 19

    Not sure if anyone picked up on this, but Vector is planning on finally upgrading their Cook Strait cable…

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=37&objectid=10508045&ref=rss

    Which will undoubtedly help the situation.

  19. Santi 20

    That Green candidate Kenny Graham appears to have never done anything productive in his life! From academia to the useless United Nations (advising that honest and bright Kofi Annan).

    Impressive titles and positions, yes. But what has he done other than drawing a fat cheque every month?

  20. Yeah. because that’s all those positions exist for, Santi. Academia, the United Nations,New Zealand Foreign Affairs… they’re all just cons to trick you out of your money.

    maw. appearently, it’s different grades of coal – I know, it sounds stupid to me too but I’m not a coal expert. Clean coal, it ain’t here yet.

  21. Tane. that picture’s from your wedding day, eh?

  22. Tane 23

    Civil union, clearly.

  23. mondograss 24

    The West Coast coal is “coking” coal and is used by the steel industry as it’s needed to support a blast furnace (i.e. burn very hot circa 2000 deg). What you burn in a power station is “thermal” coal and is used to boil water to make steam to drive the turbines. It doesn’t burn as hot (since water boils at 100 deg). Essentially coking coal is very high quality and thermal coal is everything that’s not coking coal quality.

  24. Matthew Pilott 25

    mondo – cheers. That explains why our coal goes to China, and we import coal from elsewhere.

    Steve, you know Santi’s right. Academia is useless, if it can’t give you a half-yearly profit then it’s a waste of time. Clearly.

    Cap – dixie boycott – this what happens if Obama is selected for the Democrats?

  25. I know what you mean Matthew. Just think of all those useless academics – Einstein, Newton, Oppenheimer, just to name three physicists. then there are all those useless academics learning more about human biology, psychology, social behaviour, and what ever comes out of their work except better health treatments, better food, better living environments, better teaching and rehabilitation methods etc etc. then there’s a the academics who worked out the electronics and information theory that lets me talk to you over the interweb. or people like Kennedy Graham who do work on jurisprudence and legal theory, as well as teaching the practice of law to young people so that we can continue to live in a functioning state and international system governed by the rule of law.

    waste of time

  26. insider 27

    mawg

    it is obviously more efficient to import coal from Indonesia otherwise why would it be done? I think Solid Energy are talking about generating energy close to the fuel source and exporting that rather than bulk coal. There are major economic and technical issues with exporting more energy from Southland. Could also be that Huntly is not suitable for burning lignite or that the price is much lower.

    Clean coal doesn’t exist, it’s a possibility only at this stage. I’m sure it can be done but at what cost?

    IF you have to go back 10 years for a power cut that was not only very isolated in terms of impact and due to local lines infrastructure than lack of energy, you have a very different definition of unreliability than me.

    How would a new power station have solved that? It’s like saying the answer to the affect of a washed out road on your travel plans is replacing your family sedan with a mack truck.

  27. Steve: thanks, that makes sense now re Indonesia.

    My concern about limiting productivity growth through additional “greenhouse” taxes is that it limits our ability to generate the money we need to invest in new technologies like “clean coal”.

    “With coal likely to remain one of the nation’s lowest-cost electric power sources for the foreseeable future, President Bush has pledged a new commitment to even more advanced clean coal technologies.”http://www.fossil.energy.gov/programs/powersystems/cleancoal/

  28. Bearhunter 29

    Amazing that Brownlee has a more working-class bio than Graham. Much as I abhor the fat b*stard, I still think that – notwithstanding all the whole “human biology, psychology, social behaviour, and what ever comes out of their work except better health treatments, better food, better living environments, better teaching and rehabilitation methods etc etc”, I’d rather have a carpenter with me if I was shipwrecked on a desert island than an academic.

  29. insider: the Greens used the RMA ( and proudly trumpeted the fact in their recent promotional video) to block Project Aqua. Labour has said they won’t allow fossil fuels for electricity (if they remain in power of course). That leaves geothermal, wind, tidal & nuclear.

    Nuclear appears to be coming in from the cold with a few brave commentators starting to question the superstitious nonsense that led us down the anti-nuclear path ( e.g. Bryan Leyland). However I don’t think I will see a nuclear electricity plant in NZ in my lifetime.

    The Kaipara tidal scheme has the potential, I understand, to generate 3% of our current load if not our future load. I imagine it will be an RMA nightmare with all the sandal wearing snapper huggers lining up to lodge objections.

    Replacing our thermal plant with wind would take a large area of wind farms, these would inevitably be subject to significant frustration by the RMA jockeys.

    Meanwhile we have hundreds of years of cheap energy locked up in coal.

  30. Matthew Pilott 31

    Mawg – the Great Hope at present has got to be hydro-stream generation, the Cook Strait Tidal trubine plan. From memory it’s not exactly on the rails at present, but simply put, you put whopping great turbines undersea, where there’s a solid, consistent current.

    The Cook Strait being one of the better spots apparently. I heard figures of 8000MW being bandied about. Imagine a wind turbine with a far more consistent energy input, and a medium 800+ times the density.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_stream_power Check out the reference #2, in regards to the Cook Strait.

    When you are talking about ‘clean coal’ are you referring to Carbon Sequstration? The idea has merit – whilst carbon is nasty stuff in the atmosphere, extracting it from the exhaust of a coal-fired power station, and you have big cubes of non-toxic black stuff. Could be worse!

    However the idea is very much in its infancy (as are tidal stream turbines), though if developed could save the world, in a rather literal sense.

  31. mondograss 32

    The Neptune power turbines about to be trialled in Cook Strait have a lot of potential IMHO, probably more than the Kaipara concept.

    Clean coal is something of a misnomer though, it’s not that it’s clean, it’s just that you do something with the emissions rather than releasing them into the atmosphere. We still don’t have any real idea of how to do that efficiently, nor do we really know what the long term effects could be of the suggested approaches. Filling coal mines or oil wells with recaptured carbon may well lead to leaching and contamination that hasn’t been considered. After all, there’s nothing to suggest the recaptured carbon is more (or less) stable or toxic than what you’re taking out of the ground, we simply don’t know.

    Hydro still has potential, but Aquas biggest problem was it’s scale and the fact that it was doing it in an area that had so much existing recreational usage. Geothermal has a lot of potential in NZ too.

    I think with regards to nuclear, people have lost the fear of it, but it’s still not right for NZ. The economics aren’t there because it simply doesn’t scale down for an economy as small as ours. The smallest plant you can get is about 1GW, which is just under 10% of NZ’s total usage. They cost $bn’s to build at that size and then what happens when it needs maintenance (and lets face it, you want to do that maintenance). You still have to cover the shortfall for weeks at a time (takes about 6 weeks to shutdown and restart a reactor). Then of course, which of NZ’s many fault lines do you build it on? So really, you’re no better off.

    I still think solar has a lot more potential to be realised and there have been some good gains in this field with Massey scientists developing solar fabrics etc.

    The ultimate situation is that power generation will come from many different and complementary sources for many years to come. There is no silver bullet.

  32. Matthew Pilott 33

    mondograss – think we wrote that at roughly the same time. Last I recall hearing, the Strait wasn’t progressing very well – I gather that may not be the case from what you’re saying. Do you have any info about the trial or what’s happening there?

    A note about Aqua – it used the same water as a sizeable percentage of our current power generation, and would therefore be succeptable to the same vagaries in climate.

    And w.r.t. nuclear generation – my thoughts exactly – a baseload generator can’t be such a huge percentage of total output. We also have a significant lack of requisite people to build and maintain such a plant – and with international demand hotting up, I don’t think it’s the time to get into the market for nuclear power technicians.

    I think a lot of New Zealanders are saying they’re pro-nuclear because they see the anti-nuclear movement as a PC Nanny-State Green-Wacko kind of thing and they’re frustrated by the bombardment of doomsday information regarding peak oil and climate change – in reality, they haven’t given it any rational thought. There are clearly better alternatives for NZ.

  33. Ari 34

    Wow Matthew, I’m quite impressed that you took the rational route to making your decision on nuclear power after seeing you beat up a candidate just because their work was a little too academic for you.

    Apparently prejudice isn’t universal 😉 Whether someone is “working class” or not matters a lot less in politics than whether they can act as an effective proxy FOR the working class individuals. In that respect, Kennedy Graham looks a lot more attractive to me than Gerry Brownlee- but then again, I am a Green. 🙂

    The fact is that Gerry, like most Nats, seems to like to conveniently ignore the way things are actually functioning in this country, like say the power plant in question, in order to “spin” the truth to his favour. (this is also known as “lying” in some circles) If he wants to be in charge of our nation’s energy supply, he needs a much better grip on how we manage our backup power in dry years, which plants are most efficient in order to conserve water or for emergency backup generation, and what our strategy should be to expand our ability to deal with dry years. So far, his modus operandi seems to be empty criticism without offering better alternatives. If I were choosing people to be stuck with on a desert island, I’d much prefer someone who can make a choice effectively to someone who can criticise one without getting his facts straight, or even correcting them afterwards.

  34. outofbed 35

    I’d rather have a carpenter with me if I was shipwrecked on a desert island than an academic.

    Yes I agree but having met both Brownlee and Graham.
    In this case I would prefer the academic over the chippie

  35. Felix 36

    Desert island, Bearhunter? Are you ****ing serious?
    It’s not an episode of Survivor. He wants to be the minister responsible for energy.

  36. Matthew: “I think a lot of New Zealanders are saying they’re pro-nuclear” , do you have a link to a published poll on that ?

    As you say the earthquake & cost issues probably make nuclear a non-starter for New Zealand but I understand that there was work done in the seventies looking at siting one north of Auckland.

  37. Bearhunter 38

    “Desert island, Bearhunter? Are you ****ing serious?
    It’s not an episode of Survivor. He wants to be the minister responsible for energy.”

    Yes, I am serious. I’d rather have a doer than a theoretician.

  38. Bearhunter 39

    By the way, Gerry grandstanding is just that. He is politicking here, trying to make Labour look bad. And it appears to be working. The problem with power supply in this country has been that people have been trying to amke a network designed to supply 3 million people supply four million people. It’s down to 30 years of short-sighted nopn-investment by governments of all stripes.

  39. insider 40

    Bearhunter

    what non investment are you talking about?

  40. Felix 41

    BH:
    Which ten albums would you like him to bring?

  41. Matthew Pilott 42

    Ari – my comment on academia was sarcastic, though I guess it’s not always that apparent – I am trying to resist using smileys but they do serve their purpose!

    Mawg – no, not sure if there has been a poll on the topic as such. In saying that “I think a lot of New Zealanders are saying they’re pro-nuclear because they see” I didn’t mean that there was a large increase in people who are pro-nuclear (not that I’m aware of anyway), but that of those who are, their reasons are the ones I detailed.

    Have a look through
    http://tinyurl.com/5gz54w (link to NZHerald site)
    for a selection of thoughts. The related story actually has info about a poll on nuclear power.

  42. r0b 43

    Yes, I am serious. I?d rather have a doer than a theoretician

    A doer, a carpenter, I guess you’re stuck on your island with Bob (the Builder) Clarkson. Enjoy!

    Less facetiously, both theoreticians and practitioners are equally necessary. Those who sneer at “blue collar workers” are snobs, and those who sneer at academics are just one step removed from book burners.

  43. Felix 44

    He said a doer, not a nutscratcher. I don’t think Bob and an island is a party anyone wants to be invited to.

    As for carpentry, I’ve worked in that field for a few years myself and while I consider that my skills would indeed be handy in a “stuck on an island” type of scenario I don’t believe that they in any way qualify me to be Minister for Energy.

  44. mondograss 45

    Regarding the Cook Strait trial, this is the most recent thing I’ve seen so I’m guessing they’ve worked out whatever bugs they were having and are going to trial, hopefully to calm some of the issues around the effect on marine life as well as doing a P.O.C.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=37&objectid=10504122

  45. Macro 46

    M P

    “I think a lot of New Zealanders are saying they’re pro-nuclear because they see’ I didn’t mean that there was a large increase in people who are pro-nuclear (not that I’m aware of anyway), but that of those who are, their reasons are the ones

    1 in 5 is 20%…

    Now when I was at school that was way less than 51% which would represent a SLIGHT majority.

    I fail to see how you (or the Herald for that matter) can get a MAJORITY out of 20%.

  46. Matthew Pilott 47

    Macro, you’ve misread what I said, though I admit it’s not that clear.

    When I said “a lot of new Zealanders” I meant of the New Zealanders who hold the view in qustion (pro-nuclear), I believe many do so for the reasons I mentioned. “a lot” doesn’t mean more than 50% in any event.

    I also didn’t say ‘majority’ anywhere – when I was at school you weren’t meant to make things up either! Didn’t see it in the Herald article either…

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    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    4 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    4 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    5 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago

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