Business confidence verses business certainty

Written By: - Date published: 11:13 am, August 31st, 2018 - 37 comments
Categories: articles, business, capitalism, Donald Trump, Economy, Free Trade, jacinda ardern, john key, labour, Media, Unions, wages - Tags: ,

Lately the news has been all doom and gloom about business confidence.

The gloom does not match the data. Rather it seems to be a fit of pique by a sector that is historically supportive of National and resentful that power has been taken away from them. The resent is peaking because of the “threat” of a living wage being implemented and because of an attempt to modestly walk back the anti union policies of the last Government.  If these really are a threat to our business sector we are in big trouble.

But falling business confidence is a phenomenon and something the Government is aware of. It is the reason that Jacinda Ardern spoke recently to the business sector.

She was more gentle with her analysis and rather than criticising business for taking an ideological position she said that the lack of confidence was due to uncertainty.  In her speech she said this:

When you line up business confidence with key economic performance measures over the last two governments there appears to be an inverse relationship between business confidence and the actual performance of the economy.

For instance, average business confidence scores under the Clark/Cullen Government were much lower than the Key/English Government, despite Clark and Cullen delivering higher average growth, lower unemployment, lower debt, larger surpluses and stronger wage growth than their successors.

We appear to have inherited a similar conundrum, we’ve run a strong surplus, have the best net international investment position ever recorded, stable and low interest rates forecast for some time which ought to spur investment and the lowest unemployment rate in a decade.

That then begs the question, if it’s not the overall economic indicators that is driving these figures, then what is? I have discussed this question with both business leaders and representatives, colleagues and officials. The answers I have had back are almost as diverse as the groups I have asked.

Some of those issues I will touch on today, but the overall sense I have is that it would be wrong to over simplify this survey and just call it out as being about party politics, just as it would be wrong to ignore it. It is telling us something, and that something is probably most accurately captured not by confidence, but certainty.

She is right but it is uncertainty created by negative framing and talking down of the economy.  Shades of the last Labour Government’s winter of discontent.

And there has been some scathing commentary from Mitch Harris at Radiolive about confidence surveys.

Another meaningless Business Confidence Survey has been released by ANZ Bank.

These surveys are used to beat up the Government, and they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. But what are they?

They are really two surveys. They ask business managers and owners what they think of their own company’s prospects, and they ask them how they think the overall economy will perform. Most of the recipients say their own business is doing okay, but the wider economy is going to hell in a handcart.

What would they especially know about the wider economy? Running a company is not the same as running an economy. What the survey is really telling us is that a sample of mainly National voters don’t like the Government.

Most of these so-called business leaders are just bureaucrats who have climbed the greasy pole in a large corporate.

ANZ plays the bad cop; with Sir John Key as its chairperson, it constantly releases these irrelevant surveys as some sort of economic canary in the coalmine, telling us that these exceptionally gifted business people are warning us that the Government has got it all wrong.

With Kiwibuild and an intensive housing construction boom in Auckland getting ready to start the lack of confidence seems to be misplaced.  And Herald business commentator, Brian Fallow, who is hardly a left winger, agrees.  From his article in this morning’s Herald:

Whether or not it works as outreach to a grumpy business community, the Prime Minister’s speech on Tuesday deserves to be read.

She makes some fair points.

The first is that the despondent state of business sentiment is really not warranted by the economic indicators.

Jacinda Ardern did not labour the point in a get-a-grip sort of way. So let me.

The cycle is getting long in the tooth and the best of it is behind us but the economy is hardly falling off a cliff.

Skill shortages and other capacity constraints are biting in some sectors. Profit margins are under pressure, the labour market is tightening and the migration cycle peaked a year ago.

But the population and workforce gain from that source is still very high by historical standards and the Government is working on plans for regional skill shortage lists, recognising the shortcomings of national ones.

For consumer-facing businesses, the unhealthy combination of a wealth effect from runaway house price inflation and a negative household saving rate is being replaced, at least partly, by some actual cash income growth.

And not just from the families package which kicked in two months ago. The number of people employed grew 3.7 per cent in the year ended June and their collective weekly gross earnings were up 5.5 per cent.

Some export commodity prices may be wobbling, but the overall terms of trade — the ratio of export to import prices — is at the most favourable level on record, boosting national income. And the exchange rate has moved in an exporter-friendly direction.

So rather than relying on trickle down, rampant immigration and run away house prices the Government is trying to affect the economy in a more far sighted way.  And some things such as Donald Trump’s wrecking of world trade is beyond the means even of Jacinda Ardern to control, talented though she may be.

So there is nothing for businesses to worry about.  Unless your business model relies on rampant immigration and run away house prices.

37 comments on “Business confidence verses business certainty”

  1. indiana 1

    No matter how Labour tries to sugar coat it, facts like this keep slapping them in the face:

    “Documents released by Treasury on Thursday reveal the agency repeatedly warned the Government against allowing HNZ to borrow money this way in the lead-up to the Budget, suggesting instead that the money should come out of normal Crown debt.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/106704499/billions-borrowed-for-new-state-homes-against-treasury-advice

    Not surprising that business perceivably goes against the rhetoric of:

    “For instance, average business confidence scores under the Clark/Cullen Government were much lower than the Key/English Government, despite Clark and Cullen delivering higher average growth, lower unemployment, lower debt, larger surpluses and stronger wage growth than their successors.”

    • mickysavage 1.1

      They warned the last Government too about this activity! Did you read where they said:

      “The advice echoed similar words given by Treasury when the National-led Government decided to allow Housing New Zealand to borrow over $1b in the last Budget.”

      Although I agree this should be on the crown’s balance sheet because it is cheaper. And the monetary policy rules should be changed.

    • Ad 1.2

      Has nothing to do with the business confidence survey.

  2. Wayne 2

    I was asked about this issue on RNZ this morning. So I did a bit of research prior to the interview, rather than speaking in generalities.

    To take the Auckland construction industry. Cement deliveries nationwide are down 5%, more in Auckland. While there are many cranes in the CBD (around 35) many of these are on projects that are coming to an end, without matching new projects. That is causing a lot of anxiety.

    Labour has talked a lot about new projects, but many of these are years from starting. Planning and consenting for light rail will take at least 18 months, probably more. To take the analogy I used on radio, instead of turning the tanker while it is underway, what is happening is the tanker is slowing, then being turned before it speeds up again.

    Business confidence is all about the future. A large number of businesses are looking at a real dip in the next 12 to 18 months, before Labour’s new plans kick in.

    That is why confidence is down. That is why many in the construction workforce are already going to Australia. It is why unemployment is likely to go up again in the next quarter.

    As Michael Barnett recently said, Labour needs to get some shovel ready projects going now. Sure these are largely from the previous govt, which Labour has canned, but there is a 12 to 18 month gap that has to be filled. Mostly they are roading and related type projects in the south and east of Auckland. While they may not be exactly Labour’s priorities, they will be be useful in freeing up traffic, especially in logistics and freight.

    And they will boost business confidence. Labour will be seen to be doing, and not just talking.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Cement is just one indicator. It may mean that a couple of major road projects have finished.

      What about building consents? These are up 28% on last year …

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12116219

      There will be lots of construction work happening. And Kiwibuild is in the pipeline.

    • Ad 2.2

      In construction and infrastructure that hole is exactly what we are facing.
      That has some pretty big employment effects while our public sector clients figure themselves out over the next year.

    • Pat 2.3

      The construction industry neednt worry about a 12 month lag in forward orders Wayne….it’ll take them longer than that in overruns and rework on the poor workmanship already completed

    • Blazer 2.4

      I heard your comments this morning.
      Hodgeson was more illuminating on the realities in the economy.
      The supertanker analogy is an old one and not particularly helpful.

      ANZ economist Sharon Zollner says 2/3rds of growth has been down to immigration.
      The tradeable sector has been quite stagnant for some years now as GDP growth has relied on property inflation and immigration .

      ‘Business confidence is all about the future. A large number of businesses are looking at a real dip in the next 12 to 18 months, before Labour’s new plans kick in.’

      If businessmen could pick the future 12-18months out they wouldn’t need to rely on the old boy network of cushy directorships to earn money,they could just trade futures.

      • Dennis Frank 2.4.1

        You got it right there. This is the crux of the issue: “ANZ economist Sharon Zollner says 2/3rds of growth has been down to immigration. The tradeable sector has been quite stagnant for some years now as GDP growth has relied on property inflation and immigration.”

        Throughout his entire tenure as PM, it was obvious Key was faking it. The most credit he deserves was for keeping the ship steady post-gfc.

        Importing lots of foreigners to create the illusion of economic growth was nothing more than the desperation of a drug addict. If neoliberalism hadn’t become dysfunctional, they wouldn’t have been any desperation. But instead of facing reality and telling the truth, the cheerleaders of capitalism have taken refuge in evasion & denial. Spinelessness isn’t the solution to the problem.

  3. Ad 3

    It’s vital that the government can demonstrate that it has instigated projects that are delivering results prior to the next election.

    Minister Twyford clearly knows that.

    I get the impression Minister Jones does as well.

    The PM can (mildly) complain about the dissonance between boardroom mood and reality, but much of the uncertainty is of her own making.

    – Few of these 170+ working groups have specific outcomes or finishing dates, and even fewer within this term

    – The business group she is clearly forming on the fly has little chance of being a true alternative node of business advice and leadership

    – There is no tax plan other than … something next term

    – There is no clear plan for the economy, other than some exceedingly high level bromides from the Minister of Finance, … speaking of which…

    – Her Minister of Finance is missing in action. Almost totally. WTF is the PM having to spend her political capital on a business audience? That is the Min Finance’s job.

    The PM should make Roberston accountable for bringing the business community around to the government programme.

    • mac1 3.1

      “– Her Minister of Finance is missing in action. Almost totally. WTF is the PM having to spend her political capital on a business audience? That is the Min Finance’s job.”

      Having the PM attend signals how important she sees that particular forum. The attendees would appreciate that.

      I recently attended the local Chamber of Commerce which had a lunch-time speech by the Minister of Finance?

      Missing in action? Nah. Just anti-government hyperbole, Ad.

      Robertson told the New Zealand Shareholders’ Association annual meeting in Auckland on Saturday. “As part of that process, we want to work on how we register the remaining million or so New Zealanders who aren’t in KiwiSaver,”

      Or the symbolism of Ardern speaking to the business advisory council meeting. One opinion leader says, “This week’s speech by the Prime Minister is a strong signal that the Government is listening. It is important for business to know that it has a voice, and that the Government is hearing it and responding.”

      Who said that? Kirk Hope, chief executive of BusinessNZ.

      He saw the symbolism of having PM involvement. Robertson was also there. He spoke later to the media on the meeting.

      https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018660132/finance-minister-hopeful-of-business-confidence-turnaround

      • Ad 3.1.1

        From the media coverage of major spending announcements, the Minister of Finance appears to be Phil Twyford.

        In any other government, the Minister of Finance is the second-highest profile politician in the country.

        I’m sure Robertson does speeches. Don’t doubt it. If Kirk Hope fell in a forest, no one noticed the noise.

        The business confidence survey is strong and consistent enough to show that Robertson’s appearances do not equate to the leadership required to make a difference in the business community.

        If Ardern has to spend this much political capital shoring up business, Roberston is not doing his job.

        • mac1 3.1.1.1

          Ad, (in a tired but resigned voice), who is the Minister of Housing? Which Minister makes housing announcements? It is a recognised fact that Minsters can spend money in their portfolio areas.

          As for dismissal of the opinion writer for a major news organisation you dismiss him why? Because he dares to have an opinion which does not align with your bias?

          If you are sure that Robertson (do take note of the spelling!) makes speeches, why do you dismiss him as “missing in action”. I gave you a reference which showed he was well in the firing line, quite well-armed and taking care of the action.

          The business survey more reflects the politics of those surveyed rather than the reality of the NZ economy. Funny how people in surveys say they themselves are doing quite well thank you but the economy is doomed, “Doomed, I say, DOOMED!”

          • Ad 3.1.1.1.1

            Cheers I am aware of the Cabinet. Twyford is the person making all major announcements that are affecting the economy. Not Robertson. The budget was regrettably a long, long time ago in politics. It is Twyford not Robertson showing the leadership in economic intervention.

            Making a speech should not be confused with leading. You would know it if you saw it, as would the business community. If there was leadership, the Minister of Regional Economic Development would have know that the CE of Air NZ was going to lead the new government business group. He was totally blindsided and said so to the media on Friday.

            There’s no doom. There’s still plenty of strong fundamentals. A good government would show how to build on that.

            There are no stories in the MSM saying that this government has a clear plan for the economy. The mood polls reflect the government’s own policy incoherence.

            There are no stories in the MSM saying that there are outstanding new listings in the sharemarket, nor rises in productivity, nor decreases in youth unemployment, nor wage rises, nor increases in consumer spending, nor a tilting of investment from real estate to business, nor an accelerated shift away from bulk commodity exports … nor any coherent plan to address any of that.

            And if they did, you betcha that business survey would improve.

    • Hanswurst 3.2

      Ad, your comment appears to take as read the lines that the current government can meaningfully be said to have established 170+ enquiries over and above what would previously have been usual practice, and that the latter is an indication that the government is not implementing any sort of programme. I am well aware that you don’t actually think that either of these claims paints the full picture, but I do think that you may have lost sight of any substantive point about coherency of policy and message in the pursuit of playing Devil’s advocate. I also sometimes get the impression from your posts here that you think your Devil’s advocacy is a lot more provocative than it actually is.

      • mac1 3.2.1

        Hanswurst, with mustard! 🙂

      • Ad 3.2.2

        Nope, I genuinely think that – Twyford aside – this government is as incoherent as it looks. No one is able to give evidence that it is. Not you nor anyone.

        Your “impression” stems from an unwillingness to expect coherent greater than that which we have had for the last 9 years of government. Learn to expect more.

        No one outside of Wellington now believes this government has a shining singular purpose. Particularly not with the economy. That really is the role of Robertson.

        This primary intervention this week – again Twyford aside – was two all-weather horse racecourses and an incoherent business group with neither scope, purpose for the government, or membership.

        Keep dismissing the consistent mood-of-the-boardroom reports if you like. Nordmeyer’s government did similar, and lasted a term.

  4. Paul 4

    I wonder if this is the same survey that existed in the Bank some 17 years ago when I worked for ANZ. Basically the most junior smuck (me) got the job to complete it and send it to Head Office. Quite frankly I had no more idea of business confidence than any other person and just filled in some tick boxes and sent it off – job done. Maybe its changed and actual businesses are surveyed now – maybe not.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    What would they especially know about the wider economy? Running a company is not the same as running an economy.

    Interestingly enough, Paul Krugman made the same point back in 1996:

    College students who plan to go into business often major in economics, but few believe that they will end up using what they hear in the lecture hall. Those students understand a fundamental truth: What they learn in economics courses won’t help them run a business.

    The converse is also true: What people learn from running a business won’t help them formulate economic policy. A country is not a big corporation. The habits of mind that make a great business leader are not, in general, those that make a great economic analyst; an executive who has made $1 billion is rarely the right person to turn to for advice about a $6 trillion economy.

    Why should that be pointed out? After all, neither businesspeople nor economists are usually very good poets, but so what? Yet many people (not least successful business executives themselves) believe that someone who has made a personal fortune will know how to make an entire nation more prosperous. In fact, his or her advice is often disastrously misguided.

    That’s an interesting article as he goes on to say that foreign investment must result in a trade deficit. Our own trade deficits have been increasing ever since we allowed essentially unlimited FDI and yet the business people have been telling us that we need more.

    Business people do not understand economics.

    Most of these so-called business leaders are just bureaucrats who have climbed the greasy pole in a large corporate.

    QFT

    Most business people and other capitalists are about as entrepreneurial and innovative as a door nail.

    So rather than relying on trickle down, rampant immigration and run away house prices the Government is trying to affect the economy in a more far sighted way.

    I’ll believe that when they start dropping FTAs and start developing our own capabilities.

  6. Poission 6

    The parablr of the self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The parable tells us that public definitions of a situation (prophecies or predictions) become an integral part of the situation and thus affect subsequent developments. This is peculiar to human affairs. It is not found in the world of nature, untouched by human hands. Predictions of the return of Halley’s comet do not influence its orbit. But the rumoured insolvency of Millingville’s bank did affect the actual outcome. The prophecy of collapse led to its own fulfilment

    Business confidence falls householders start saving (instead of spending).

    164,316
    165,332
    166,836
    166,332
    167,001
    168,973
    169,595
    170,096
    171,530
    172,677

    (Billions of dollars since election)

    https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/s40-banks-liabilities-deposits-by-sector

  7. katipo 7

    Business confidence might be down because their million dollar+ CEO’s are realizing their worker-bee’s have had a guts-full of working longer hours with little to no pay increases.

  8. infused 8

    You guys need to wake up.

    These are lagging indicators.

    We’ve had our worst month in the last two years. It’s been in steady decline since June. We are posting a loss this month.

    Everything has stopped. No new customers, no orders of hardware.

    I was just speaking tonight with a software dev firm tonight who I’ve had a close relationship for 10 years, and this is the first month 4 big clients held back paying funds. He had to do the ring around to pay his staff.

    There are industries doing well, like construction. But many who are not.

    The end of this year is going to be crushing for many SMBs I imagine.

    • Hanswurst 8.1

      Ah well, in the absence of strong economic indicators to back up your concerns, maybe you’ll just have to accept that you and your friends are a bit s*** at business. Happens.

      • infused 8.1.1

        Yeah, been in business almost 15 years now, 150% growth last financial year. I’m not the one who’s shit.

        • Hanswurst 8.1.1.1

          Well, according to your own evidence just above, you’ve lost your mojo since June. Happens.

  9. RedBaronCV 9

    Business confidence index to be renamed the business sulk index?

    Still businesses that have been overdosing on the crack cocaine of growth fueled by immigration may be feeling a little poorly. Dud business models are going to fail as they should. And don’t forget the massive social & infrastructure cost that the taxpayer is stumping up for this immigration.

    But business should be celebrating wage and salary rises – more money outside the door means more money inside it as well

    So are the owners anticipating decreased profits in their own pocket or having nothing to invest in the business. If it’s just their own pockets hurting a little – sorry no sympathy and even less for the grossly inflated wages at the top of the tree.

  10. Jackel 10

    30 years of neoliberalism finally catching up with NZ. Hopefully the Ardern government can do something the other administrations couldn’t.

    https://www.poundsterlinglive.com/nzd/7615-nz-dollar-and-massive-debt-levels

  11. Jenny 11

    Why do we measure business confidence?

    Confidence is an internally felt emotion, like all emotions it is a subjective feeling.

    I mean how do you measure feelings?

    Subjective emotions are often, (but not always), engendered by external objective metrics, so why don’t we just identify and measure these external metrics instead?

    And if the government should pander to subjective emotions, should they just be pandering to one sector?

    Rising wages might cause feelings of lack of confidence in business, but feelings of confidence in workers.

    Falling house prices might engender growing feelings of confidence in first home buyers, but engender falling levels of confidence in bankers and businessmen.

    While we are talking about measuring subjective emotions….

    While we assiduously measure the subjective feelings of confidence of the business community, why don’t we measure the subjective feelings of confidence the public has in these business people?

    Wouldn’t this give us a better idea of how much subjective weight should be given to the tender feelings of business?

    If it is found that the public at large has no confidence in our business community, wouldn’t this be grounds to discount the feelings of confidence or lack thereof of business?

    Personally I think the whole matter of measuring feelings and emotions is idiotic, and government should stick to verifiable facts and figures.

  12. Dennis Frank 13

    Business confidence lows are more impressive elsewhere actually:
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-36319877

    You kinda get the impression inflation is a concern too: “The annual inflation rate reached 83,000% in July”. IMF is predicting the rate will reach a million per cent by the end of the year. A cup of coffee now costs 2,500,000 bolivars & one suspects the govt printing machine may be overheating spitting out the wee buggers. Since the economic crisis began in 2014, 7% of the population have fled the country. The fastest learners.

  13. hone 14

    cut paye to 3%, cut business tax to 6%.
    slash most of the government workers and mp’s, most of them are pigs at the trough.
    raise import tax.
    end all armed forces, make a defense force.
    end all work visas, as nzers can do these jobs.
    pretty sure kiwis can work on farms in gas stations, supermarkets etc.
    end the dole and start work programs.
    stop all global warming taxes and programs.
    and act like trump, act for nz first.
    we will have close to full employment, kiwis will spend more.
    oh and make socialism/Communism illegal.

  14. CHCOff 15

    Good to be bringing in Lobbying.

    The ultimate objective to be lead by the local economy, when our NZ export lead prosperity is lead by our NZ local economy, then that will be really something of the values that NZ mixes into the world arena.

    At the moment our local businesses seem to be balkanised, with what seems like centralised puppet actors like Fed Farmers parroting the dominant media complexes for their direction.

    Hopefully this govt. period can bring back in some more real world capitalism to the demand and supply organisation of the NZ local economy, in growing prosperous NZ quality of life values to lead our export lead prosperity for the NZ ‘brand’ if you like, of why other countries and their societies love the benefits of trading relationships with New Zealand identity.

    NZ1st!

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    5 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    5 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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

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