Chris Trotter is on fire

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 am, November 19th, 2015 - 160 comments
Categories: capitalism, Economy, Environment, political parties, Revolution, Social issues, socialism - Tags: ,

I may be forced1 to buy Chris a drink next time that I met him where the bloody wine he likes to imbue is available. His latest post at Bowalley Road elegantly and clearly differentiates what I consider the key difference between the left and the right is.

What differentiates the Left from the Right is the former’s fundamental rejection of the strongest human-beings’ proclivity to dominate, coerce and exploit the weakest. Without this proclivity, none of the economic and social systems elaborated by armed minorities throughout history could have endured. Not the empires of the ancient world; not the feudal structures of the middle ages; and certainly not the capitalist system of the modern era. All of these civilisations were built on the ruthless exploitation of the weak by the strong – exploitation enforced by extreme and unreproved violence.

As it was, so it is still. Strip away all the piety, mythology and outright lies about our present, capitalist, civilisation and you will find, at its core, the domination, coercion and exploitation that its political guardians, the Right, recognise as its true essence, and will defend – to the death.

Actually he is wrong in that last point. The ‘right’ is usually more interested in putting other people to death. And he points out that often includes the revolutionary successor governments to oppressive regimes.

One of the Right’s most important misunderstandings of the Left is that it can, somehow, embrace domination, coercion and exploitation – and remain the Left. Notwithstanding its logical absurdity, it is the condemnation one hears most often from the Right: that the Left, in the shape of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, or the Communist Party of China, is responsible for upwards of 100 million deaths.

They forget, of course, that the vast majority of those killed were individuals who refused to accept the right of either of these parties to impose their will on the people in whose name they had accomplished the overthrow of the old oppressors. Whether it be the rebellious Russian sailors at Kronstadt in 1921, or workers and peasants across the whole of China from 1949 to the present day, whoever, in the name of justice and equity, takes a stand against an oppressive system of domination, coercion and exploitation is, by definition, a leftist.

And unfortunately that is the reality of bloody revolution from almost any perspective. They usually inherit the mantle of their predecessor regimes and then just become oppressors themselves. Sometimes they are better and more efficient oppressors like the Leninist or Maoist state. Sometimes they are the more stupid oppressors like the effect of the revolutionary Baathism of the 1960s. The downstream of that failure is still playing out in the middle east at present, most notably with the with the equally revolutionary and homicidal ISIS.

Chris then has a poke at capitalism. I have just as many issues as he does with unrestrained capitalism which is such a corrupting short term philosophy that usually takes little notice of the damage that it has in its pursuit of profit at all costs. Its basic problem is that the participants implicitly exploit the “commons” in a conundrum of capitalism known as the tragedy of the commons.

The tragedy of the commons is a term, probably coined originally by William Forster Lloyd[1] and later used by Garrett Hardin, to denote a situation where individuals acting independently and rationally according to each’s self-interest behave contrary to the best interests of the whole group by depleting some common resource. The concept was based upon an essay written in 1833 by Lloyd, the Victorian economist, on the effects of unregulated grazing on common land and made widely-known by an article written by Hardin in 1968. “Commons” in this sense has come to mean such resources as atmosphere, oceans, rivers, fish stocks, an office refrigerator, energy or any other shared resource which is not formally regulated, not common land in its agricultural sense.

The tragedy of the commons concept is often cited in connection with sustainable development, meshing economic growth and environmental protection, as well as in the debate over global warming. It has also been used in analyzing behavior in the fields of economics, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, game theory, politics, taxation, and sociology. However the concept, as originally developed, has also received criticism for not taking into account the many other factors operating to enforce or agree on regulation in this scenario.

But in my view it also is a key factor in the common failure of unrestrained capitalism in its short-term rush to exploiting the people who make up its workforce and consumers. It means that in the medium term unrestrained capitalism becomes indistinguishable from simple warlord behaviours founding aristocratic family behaviours, where it isn’t how talented you are but how well your parents were at concentrating capital that determines your opportunities in life.

The self-entitlement of the untalented progeny of the talented and humane capitalists throng the halls of elite learning and learn the skills to suppress the talents and skills of others. This is a pattern that isn’t hard to see in leading capitalistic states from Rome to the USA. Or for that matter in New Zealand. As Chris says

Capitalism kills. It has done so from its earliest beginnings, and it does so still. The only distinction between the history of capitalism and the history of the Mexican drug cartels, is that the cartels have never pretended to be advancing the progress of humankind.

The “left”, in my view are those people who provide the vision and tools that ameliorate pursuit of self-interest on the behalf of others.

Oh, how the Right will bridle at that last sentence! How loudly they’ll protest that capitalism has lifted millions – no, billions! – out of poverty. That it was capitalism which boosted incomes, upgraded housing, delivered improved health and education, and generally uplifted and prolonged the lives of the masses.

Poor creatures. They have to believe this. Because not to believe it: not to be absolutely certain that it was the system that sent gun-thugs to break-up strikes; adulterated food; presided over slums; polluted whole regions; and sent entire nations off to war; was (and is) the sole source of all that is wholesome and good in the world, raises the awful possibility that something, or someone, else is responsible for making life under capitalism just that little bit happier and more fulfilling for humankind.

And who could that possibly be? Surely not the trade unionists, who forced up workers’ wages? Or the social reformers, scientists and doctors, who discovered how to ward off illness and disease? Or the progressive architects and city planners, who designed cheap and sturdy housing for the poor? Or the progressive, social-democratic and labour parties, who gathered together all the agents of economic and social progress, won state power, and fastened a strong regulatory collar around the capitalist beast?

Surely, it wasn’t – no, no, it couldn’t possibly have been – the Left?

And that is why I support the left. Because most of the effective people in it are after progressive rather than revolutionary change. Most of the people of the left I know or admire don’t expect more than opportunities should be lifelong, or that over the long potential long lifetimes of humans, we can’t change the exploitation of the common resources. Like the horrifying climate change issues that have become quite apparent in my lifetime, or that we try to make peoples lifes better rather than merely providing a ramp for other vaulting ambitions.

I’m a devout capitalist because of the benefits that it has. But capitalism by its very nature causes the short-term profit focus on exploitation of the commons. I see the glaring deficiencies of it as an over-arching model, especially when people have such long lives – far far longer than the three year (or even quarterly) focus that many capitalists use. People have time to fail and recover from causes ranging from poor education, unexpected parenthood, injury or disease, addiction, or simply over-extending into failure in the way that capitalism depends on for growth into depending on the charity of their fellow citizens.

It doesn’t mean that they or their children should be consigned to the Colosseum mob in the way that this government and its paranoid preening idiot progeny and their unthinking imitators seems to view them. It just means that room should be provided for them to develop opportunities without being stomped on or exploited with those wielding capital into foiling the opportunities to grow to develop a better life for themselves or others.


 

  1. The proffering of wine is because I have been known to disagree him rather strongly often2. Both in person and with his writing and analysis. Plus I seem to have nicked a good proportion of his post as quotes while writing my post. Hopefully the offer of the wine will alleviate the wounds of both.
  2. And I fully expect that we will disagree over my variant analysis of what he is saying this time. When I get back from Italy…

 

Updated: If anyone is interested in an example of how the right reflexively responds without reading the content of a post in exactly the manner predicted by Chris, go and read Wayne’s comment that got shifted to OpenMike. Diversionary and completely off topic within my post, with what looks like a unthinking cut’n’paste of the usual right response. His comment at Bowalley Road was even more of an extensive example (but I can’t seem to link to that directly)

160 comments on “Chris Trotter is on fire ”

  1. Sabine 1

    well said, both of you.

  2. vto 2

    Good stuff and spot on

    Capitalism is good for making plastic buckets and other warehouse junk but that is about it.

    Capitalism is certainly no use in many other places – examples, mining on the west coast, weatherproof housing, banking, ….

    • lprent 2.1

      Capitalism is often useful for concentrating the resources to do those things and many others, but it needs regulation and legislation to constrain the abuses that it is inherently prone to. Indeed it inherently relies on that regulation to function.

      The most obvious aspect is that capitalism simply doesn’t function efficiently without the regulation that is built into the legal systems from everything from property rights to being able to rely on contracts. Without that, it merely becomes gang warfare.

      • tracey 2.1.1

        Like many “isms” in its purest form it may work but we have yet to see any ism in its purest form, devoid of the personal greed of those touting and exploiting it.

        • greywarshark 2.1.1.1

          That’s a really good summary of capitalism its advantages and problems lprent. Thanks for those well put words. Are you home now? It is great to have that input from you fitted in with other matters of importance.
          edited

          I see your note that you are still in Italy…
          Chianti now your preferred tipple?

      • vto 2.1.2

        Exactly agree.

        It is the particular exact issue that fools on the right just don’t see. Is it because they are proven to be of lesser brain and just don’t understand things?

      • les 2.1.3

        since the repeal of Glass Steagal the trend was de regulation and laughably self regulation by the financial sector.It gave us the GFC and today little has changed…cue the next crisis.The financial power of Wall St lobbyists ensures the status quo.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.3.1

          And who repealed Glass Steagal? Bill Clinton.

          Since that day the Clintons have received hundreds of millions in donations from the financial sector.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.4

        Capitalism is often useful for concentrating the resources to do those things and many others

        Nope, not even useful for that. Those resources are, pretty much by process, already concentrated. What we really need is the distribution of those resources to what the community wants to do with them and the best way to do that is actually democracy.

        The most obvious aspect is that capitalism simply doesn’t function efficiently without the regulation that is built into the legal systems from everything from property rights to being able to rely on contracts.

        Yep and the best way to produce that legal system is, again, via democracy. The one we have has been created by the capitalists over centuries and millennia and they reflect the laws that the capitalists need to “dominate, coerce and exploit the weakest.

        Without that, it merely becomes gang warfare.

        Gang warfare is a good description of capitalism even with the laws we have in place.

      • savenz 2.1.5

        @Iprent +100

      • Reddelusion 2.1.6

        Tend to agree capitalism leads to more efficient allocation of resources than government trying to pick winners, however a degree of regulation is required as markets are not perfect, hence why we have the firm or corporate as transaction costs due to market imperfection prevent pure entrepreneurial structures ( virtual firm with entrepreneur simply coordinating external resources with a claim on residual profits) as contracts are not costless.The interesting argument is why does firm ownership by far sit with patrons who provide capital and not other patrons, of the firm e.g. suppliers, buyers, workers etc who could adopt a more leftist leaning

        • tracey 2.1.6.1

          “a degree of regulation is required as markets are not perfect”

          no, because some humans are greedy to a poin tof harming others.

          Some German companies issue shares to their workers (only able to be sold when they leave the employ of that company), have worker committees that can feed ideas and feedback to employers (Boards, CEO’s) etc…

          It’s not rocket science, involving people in the business, feeling part of it, valued etc engenders loyalty and productivity.

          As long as we think it is either Capitalism or Communism, we (that is, the majority) lose, and the vulnerable are fucked in both systems.

          • Redelusion 2.1.6.1.1

            If employee participation has such an advantages Tracy why don’t we see more employee owned firms, I am not disagreeing with your point but there is no God given law that capital has to own the firm, capital can be supplied externally just like any other inputs to the firm. This is my challenge to the left and unions, go and start your worker owned firms, cooperatives etc, apply your beliefs and if you are right you should have a lower cost of ownership and a superior product and price

            • Tracey 2.1.6.1.1.1

              Because too many business owners are sticking to the way things have been run for decades. This notion that business owners and CEO’s or CFO are all innovative and change supportingis a myth. MOST owners are conservative.

              Just like it never made economic sense to mainly choose your employees from men, ignoring women (for various reasons) cos it meant you were not always employing the best, and yet, empoyers have done and do that.

              • Redelusion

                Your not getting my point Tracey

                There is no given law that a firm has to be owned by capital and the connotations you raise re capital owners CEOs, the agency cost and or conflict between capital owners, managers, employees etc. Go and start new firms that are employee, union owned, etc, compete and prove there is a better way, ie walk the talk

  3. left for deadshark 3

    Good timing with this post. thanks Lprent

  4. Shona 4

    Certainly a brilliant piece from Trotter.

  5. tracey 5

    I was at a lecture the other day where the speaker suggested (and I am super-paraphrasing) that the difference between Feudalism and Capitalism (in practice) is that Capitalism spent some of the profits on the business and the rest on creating/maintaining wealthy lifestyles, while Feudalism only did the later. The majority of the population continue to struggle to make ends meet in either system…

    For example, he quoted a source that states we have more people in slavery today than at any other time in our species history.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        all those are simply cover stories for the 0.01% who are raking in billions from across the world and giving a tiny bit, crumbs, to the poorest in order to have them work as serfs.

        • Daniel Cale 5.1.1.1

          Oh of course they are. The empirical data that supports the findings cited by PR is all the result of a conspiracy promulgated by some fictitious ‘.01%’ (whoever that is). Tin foil hat anyone?

          • Macro 5.1.1.1.1

            What empirical data?
            from the academic paper PR and you claim to “prove” that equality is improving and referred to in the articles:

            read and weep

            It is perhaps less expected that people who gained the least were almost entirely from the ‘mature economies’ – OECD members that include also a number of former communist countries. But even when the latter are excluded, the overwhelming majority in that group of ‘losers’ are from the ‘old, conventional’ rich world. But not just anyone from the rich world. Rather, the ‘losers’ were predominantly the people who in their countries belong to the lower halves of national income distributions. Those around the median of the German income distribution have gained only 7% in real terms over 20 years; those in the US, 26%. Those in Japan lost out in real terms.

            http://www.voxeu.org/article/global-income-distribution-1988
            (this is the article the ny times refers to in its spinner.
            my emphasis.

            Basically the academic article reinforces what Draco, CV, I and others have been saying for a long long time here; the effect of globalisation has been to “benefit” workers in developing economies at the detriment of workers in “mature” economies. Aided and abetted by FTAs. You will also note (or more probably not because it doesn’t fit your world view) that the incomes of the uber rich are excluded from the analysis.

            Unfortunately for your argument, the article “proves” that the workers of the whole world are becoming equally poor, it does not prove that inequality is decreasing.

            • Daniel Cale 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Your facts are correct, your conclusion utter nonsense. When the poorest of the poor are enhanced, we are all enhanced. When we trade with the third world, we enhance their lifestyles, improve their standard of living, and ultimately influence their political culture. Trade means less aid. The workers of the world are not becoming “equally poor”, and there is no evidence for that conclusion. Even your own citation reads “gained the least”…GAINED. Re-balancing inequality will never be achievable on an absolute basis evenly across all markets. It is a journey, and one capitalism is supporting well.

      • tracey 5.1.2

        Sorry? those with jobs are less unequal than they were so having more in slavery evens it out???

  6. reason 6

    Well of course wayne would put the worst spin on Iprent s post……….

    Just like I could say Wayne would probably support Hitler over Stalin ….. or over 1 million Vietnamese being killed by the u.s.a to fight socialism ( and lets remember the yanks and us lost that war but we did succeed in bringing pol-pot to power)

    Fair call wayne ????????

    Basically wayne comes here to the standard to spin in a very negative pro-national fashion ….. like infused and co.

    Most reasonable readers would have agreed with the thrust of post ……..

    “I’m a devout capitalist because of the benefits that it has. But capitalism by its very nature causes the short-term profit focus on exploitation of the commons.”

    • lprent 6.1

      I moved that comment thread to OpenMIke simply because he clearly hadn’t actually read all of either post. If he had then he’d have been arguing about Chris’s anticipation of his probable response. If you want to argue that, then do it on the OpenMike thread or I’ll start moving comments there .

      • Wayne 6.1.1

        Well you would be wrong.

        • tracey 6.1.1.1

          That’s kind of worse then Wayne…

          • lprent 6.1.1.1.1

            That is what I have to think as well. Trotter argued for a mixed economy. I argued even more for a mixed economy.

            In your reply, Wayne, you ignored that – and argued for a mixed economy.

            Chris also pointed the exact reflexive response that the right usually make, which we both argued was completely fallacious when applied to what we considered the left to be, which isn’t extremely coercive regimes (left, right, and even religious).

            Wayne, you used exactly the argument that we’d already referred to and countered without referring to our argument or viewpoint at all as far as I can see.

            Clearly you didn’t seem to have read and comprehended either post. Not your reading skills? Possibly your ability to understand anything more complex than a simple conditioned response to what you thought we’d missed (and wrote about).

            FFS Wayne – I realise it is early there for government work, but take some coffee or tea, read the posts again, and argue on what we wrote rather than using some idiotic rote line that you happen to know off by heart.

            • Wayne 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Actually I now realise I did not read your last two paragraphs. They are not what I would have expected, having read the prior material, which is what I had reacted to.

        • Morrissey 6.1.1.2

          Good to see you back, Dr Mapp. Now could you answer the question I asked you nine months ago? …

          http://thestandard.org.nz/a-concise-description-of-the-problems-in-the-middle-east/#comment-965063

    • tracey 6.2

      you can take the man out of the cabinet but you cant take the national party out of the man 😉

      • Tricledrown 6.2.1

        It’s their education policy
        Rote learning no room for any other ideas as lprent has pointed out.

  7. bearded git 7

    Well put by Trotter indeed.

    Now the real problem is getting the difference between Left and Right over to the electorate. Currently National revels in the meme ‘they are all the same” which perpetuates a voting pattern where many people who should be voting Left vote Right (for various reasons, such as they buy into Key’s “good-guy” manufactured persona) or they don’t vote at all because it makes no difference.

    Maybe Labour’s next election slogan should be “There is a Difference” and then a kind-of pledge card list showing the key differences.

    • Tiger Mountain 7.1

      yep, people clearly do vote against their material best interests for subjective reasons, or more likely not vote, for example in the 2011 election just the simple act of voting in a Labour/Green/Mana/ majority would have seen an increase in the minimum wage and no return to youth rates and no 90 day “fire at will”, not liberal social policies but bread and butter economist ones, money in the pocket but it did not motivate enough people to register and vote

      as society increasingly goes bad for hundreds of thousands even enrolling to vote which requires a stable address, is a step too far, let alone the unpublished roll which thousands could use also

      meanwhile others of course like SME operators and self employed/contractors of which there are over half a million, vote Nat exactly to keep house prices, rentals and unemployment up, oblivious to the eventual fate of accommodation supplements and other tax payer largesse from a lowered tax take

  8. Ad 8

    Firstly, hyper-sensitivity to criticism is not the unique gift of “the right” whatever that is. Hell, check out TRP going unhinged at CV the other day, announcing that CV was a “spittle-flecked loser”. And that was just within the Labour Party, in public!

    Secondly Trotter can’t figure out if the virtuous Left always rebelling against the nasty Right is good in a reformist sense, or a revolutionary sense. I’m sure there’s some Slippery Slope argument he’s making in there somewhere, but I just can’t see it for the historical arm-waving. His heart remains as ever somewhere on the Battleship Potempkin, but I think it was the film version.

    He also struggles to distinguish between individuals rebelling against structures – which is an instinct common to anarchists, existentialists, and Act – and oppressed groups rebelling against their oppressors, which is a progressive instinct.

    Chris’s post also presumes that only the Left do good in the world:
    ” And who could that possibly be? Surely not the trade unionists, who forced up workers’ wages? Or the social reformers, scientists and doctors, who discovered how to ward off illness and disease? Or the progressive architects and city planners, who designed cheap and sturdy housing for the poor? Or the progressive, social-democratic and labour parties, who gathered together all the agents of economic and social progress, won state power, and fastened a strong regulatory collar around the capitalist beast?”
    It’s really not that hard to roll off the Right’s own list of goodness.

    Once he’s finished with his rendition of “Can You Hear the People Sing?”, he’d realize that “The Right” also do good. In fact good change can happen on the left or right, whether it’s religious or otherwise, from the rich or the poor. Granted, good change is harder if you’re weak. But I don’t think Righties doing good are more or less egotistical, vain, damaged, weird, or virtuous than the Lefties.

    I have no idea what Trotter’s audience was, but he didn’t fool me for a second.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      he’d realize that “The Right” also do good. In fact good change can happen on the left or right, whether it’s religious or otherwise, from the rich or the poor.

      Do good yes … but for who?

      The right is far more likely to frame life as a competition in which winners take all, and if they feel generous may share some with the losers.

      So while I accept the left has no monopoly on virtue, I’m generally less impressed by the right’s record.

      • Ad 8.1.1

        Kinda unfair given that the Left as Trotter conceives it has only been around for a couple of hundred years, whereas the Right has ruled the earth forever.

        • RedLogix 8.1.1.1

          I’d argue there always has been a ‘left’, just not in the modern secular form we know of it today.

          The tension between our individual and collective interests is as old as humanity itself, and the scars of that battle are writ deep in our DNA.

          • Ad 8.1.1.1.1

            Which kind of waters it down to the banality of the baddies versus the goodies since Adam was in short pants, doesn’t it?

            • RedLogix 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Not really – the Right has found many ways to assert it’s drive towards individual dominance over the course of history. Unconstrained capitalism being just the latest.

              Equally the left has always devised it’s own responses but given that history does tend to get written by the winners, we have not gotten as many headlines. But I’d still argue strongly that the secular left is merely our most recent adaptation. We’ve been around a lot longer than the Labour Party.

              To dismiss this deep story as a banality of baddies and goodies does it no justice whatsoever. Indeed I’d argue the opposite, the modern left would do much better to examine it’s historic roots and ancient motives a lot more carefully than we normally take the time for.

        • Sabine 8.1.1.2

          not quite,
          you could argue that it was the left that wrote the “magna Carta” which is in ‘caucasian’ european’ terms the first human rights document. And people died for that one .

          As I don’t think that you will actually click on a link i do a copy paste job of ‘human rights issues’ in Europe

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Europe

          The history of human rights in Europe is marked by a contradictory combination of legislative and intellectual progress and violations of fundamental human rights in both Europe and its colonies.
          Pre-1945[edit]

          Pre-1945[edit]
          1215: Magna Carta
          1222: Golden Bull of 1222 of Hungary defines the first time the rights of the nobility.
          1264: Statute of Kalisz – the General Charter of Jewish Liberties introduces numerous right for the Jews in Poland, leading to an autonomous “nation within a nation”
          1367: Statutes of Kilkenny
          1463: Sultan Mehmed II’s firman grants freedom to Bosnian Franciscans after the Ottoman conquest of Bosnia
          15th to 19th centuries: African slave trade
          1505: Nihil novi in Poland forbids peasant from leaving their lands without permission from their feudal lord
          1529: Statutes of Lithuania
          1550–1551: Bartolomé de Las Casas debates Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda on human rights (Valladolid debate)
          1573: The Warsaw Confederation confirms the religious freedom of all residents of Poland
          1650–1660: Jesuit priest Antonio Vieira fights for the human rights of the indigenous population of Brazil and obtains royal decrees against their enslavement
          1689: The English Bill of Rights is established
          1689: The Claim of Right Act is passed by Scottish Parliament
          1690: The Second Treatise of Civil Government by John Locke
          1750–1860: The Inclosure Act is passed by the United Kingdom Parliament, enclosing common land and assigning private property rights to lands which formerly had not been private
          1772: British court ruling by William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield sets a precedent that slavery had no basis in law
          1781: Serfdom is abolished in the Habsburg countries through the emperor Leopold II ( Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia)
          1783:
          Serfdom is abolished in the first German state, Baden[clarification needed]
          Poland-Lithuania abolishes corporal punishment
          1789: The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is introduced in France
          1790: Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
          1794: France abolishes slavery
          The Proclamation of Połaniec, Poland partially abolishes serfdom and grants substantial civil liberties to peasants
          1802: France re-introduces slavery
          1804: The Napoleonic code forbids privileges based on birth, establishes freedom of religion, and specifies a meritocratic system for government jobs
          1807: Britain abolishes the slave trade (but not of slavery itself)
          1810: Prussia abolishes serfdom
          1832: The British Reform Act extends voting rights and legalizes trade unions
          1833: Britain abolishes slavery
          1845: Another United Kingdom General Inclosure Act allows for the employment of inclosure Commissioners, who could enclose land without submitting a request to Parliament. Private property rights over formerly unenclosed lands expand.
          1848: France abolishes slavery
          1859: On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
          1861: Russia abolishes serfdom
          1863: The Netherlands abolishes slavery
          1867: Britain’s Second Reform Act extends voting rights to all urban male homeowners
          1884: The British Representation of the People Act extends male voting rights from the town to the country
          1906: Finland is the first European country to introduce universal suffrage in national elections
          1917: Finland extends universal suffrage to local elections
          1918: Another British Representation of the People Act grants suffrage to nearly all men, along with property-owning women over age 30
          1933–1945: The Holocaust
          1945–1984[edit]
          1954–1956: Britain tortures and kills at least 50,000 Kenyans in the Mau Mau Rebellion
          1954–62: Both France and the FLN use torture in the Algerian War of Independence
          1961: French police massacre pro-FLN Algerians in a peaceful demonstration later known as the Paris massacre
          1972: British Army shoots unarmed protesters in Northern Ireland, later known as Bloody Sunday
          1974: Turkey invades and ethnically cleanses 80–87% of the population of Kyrenia, Ammochostos, Rizokarpaso and parts of Nicosia Cyprus. Turkey’s use of Napalm on civilians is condemned. Systematic Rape requires the passing of emergency legislation by the British Parliament to allow Medical Officers to perform emergency abortions of raped women. Missing people number about 1,652. Footage of civilians taken to Turkey reveal some people were taken alive but still remain unaccounted for.
          1978: European Court of Human Rights rules that torture by the British government of suspect IRA members constitutes “cruel and inhuman treatment”

          ———————————————————————————————————–

          there is more at the wiki page that i have linked too, you could read it if you wanted too. And I am sure that in civilizations that are older then the european one such as China and India, or that have vanished from the earth by now – Sumerians, Ancient Greeks, Ancient Eqyptias and others , we will also find documentations that will discuss precisely that, what are human rights, how to enshrine them into law and how to protect them. And throughout people will have fought and died for them, and throughout we will find examples of ‘human rights’ legislation passed that is in fact nothing more then a blue print to exterminate a group of people deemed ‘Untermensch’ or ‘wrong kind of’.
          It is only the term “lefty” that is relatively new, the struggle for the rights to live a live in decent conditions free of abuse and harm is a very old one.

          • RedLogix 8.1.1.2.1

            Thank you sabine. I’m now embarrassed that I was too lazy to do my own homework to support my own case 🙂

          • Ad 8.1.1.2.2

            Is this what Trotter was on about? Human rights? Really?

            Anyone can do a version of history. Hobsbawm has the full red-tinted spectacles.
            Then there’s AJP Thompson, for the statist British view.
            Nice counter-statist ones from Negri.
            Histories about the liberation of sex from Foucault.
            Whole Marxist historiographies from Lucacs and spooky melancholic ones from Adorno.

            There’s all sorts of filters to run an interpretation of history’s great and good, however one defines it. But Trotters’s Left Melancholy of that kind is just an insidious disease.

            That’s half the problem people like Trotter have – they want history to be written by the left, but, regrettably, history is written by the victors.

            Your list doesn’t support Trotter’s rant at all. Or anything.

            And please do better than just cutting and pasting someone else’s stuff.

            • les 8.1.1.2.2.1

              stop showing off.There are many versions of history.How can you have a ‘victor’ in the chronology of history?

              • Ad

                How many Maori histories of the whole of New Zealand have you read?

                • les

                  I’ve read the Land Wars by Belich…does that count?

                  • Ad

                    By Maori histories of the whole of New Zealand, I mean written by Maori. They are exceedingly rare, and pretty unusual, and angry.

                    • les

                      whats your point?

                    • ropata

                      Read Ad’s first comment above. Ad makes an overly harsh critique, seeming to forget that Trotter’s piece is a blog post not an academic essay on political philosophy.

                      Trotter is merely contradicting the sweeping and idiotic claims from vested interests that ‘capitalism’ (whatever that means) is the cure for all problems.

                      The claim that Capitalism is an inherently good force in history is laughable, perhaps Ad is referring to biased works like Niall Ferguson’s “Ascent of Money” … briefly reviewed here
                      http://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/nov/02/money-niall-ferguson

          • tracey 8.1.1.2.3

            Thanks for this Sabine.

            People historically (and currently) born “Right” by virtue of the wealth of their fathers doesn’t enshrine them as Right for life.

    • Mainlander 8.2

      Well said Ad, the most intelligent comment I have read here for a long time, Chris writes some good stuff but he has one major failing that many of us on the left have and that’s the longing for and comparisons of the “good ol days” problem is when both major parties are fighting for the centre, those days are well and truly over, I find it pleasant to reminisce but find no value in living in the past as Chris to often does

      • RedLogix 8.2.1

        Well all I can do is repeat a comment I made earlier but got moved to Open Mike along with the comment it was attached to.

        Whether you agree or disagree with Chris Trotter’s precise political analysis, I have always found his moral compass exceedingly reliable. The reason for this is because he knows where we have come from.

        When people get lost in the bush the SAR experts tell us that oddly enough the last thing most people think to do is to backtrack the way they came until they recognise where they are again. (Instead most people blunder on with some illusory idea or wrong-headed strategy that they’ll eventually ‘walk out’)

        Trotter not only knows where we have come from, but offers thoughtful and provoking analysis’ of why and how we took these paths. Voices reminding us of our past are not always comforting or pleasing to us; but we’d do well to respect them little more than we are in the habit of.

      • greywarshark 8.2.2

        It seems that Chris is arguing for a longer memory than encompassing what happened a few decades ago. We have just spent considerable money on honouring the dead from 1915, and I think that we should be able to draw some useful lessons from that time and apply them today. Also that commemoration because of some year with a 0 at the end, is part of using selective memory for the past.

        Mainlander you are guilty of that by simplifying and decrying looking to the past for examples to guide us for the future.

        • Mainlander 8.2.2.1

          @Grey
          My comment might seem a bit harsher towards Chris than I intended as I fully agree with you, after all where would we be without learning those lessons from the past, maybe its just Chris’s melancholic tone that leads me to think as I do and he has become a lot more reflective of days gone by in some of his posts in recent times, but then as I type this I realise I will probably be one of those “back in my day” type of people myself one day, although not to soon I hope

          • greywarshark 8.2.2.1.1

            Mainlander
            Chris seems to be doing a wide sweep of background and past history. He was no doubt melancholic which drove him to do so, and reading again about those past events has magnified his distaste for the lack of absorption of the reasons for those events and the lessons they carried. I think that is how he feels, I feel like that.

            Its so sad to be old and not see the wisdom of age and experience applied to the present day. Only a few more years left till … irreversible climate change, I die, large numbers of potentially wonderful humans isolated and ignored by gated minds of the self-satisfied comfortably off, kiwis become extinct, the country laid bare and brown or under an umbrella of vines, good people muted or disappeared by a fascist callous regime – more than one of these is definite.

            Good thinking people need to support each other, most of the time.

  9. The lost sheep 9

    LPRENT
    “I’m a devout capitalist because of the benefits that it has.”

    CHRIS
    “Capitalism kills. It has done so from its earliest beginnings, and it does so still. The only distinction between the history of capitalism and the history of the Mexican drug cartels, is that the cartels have never pretended to be advancing the progress of humankind.”

    Chris, is there a middle ground between those 2 statements?
    Can you conceive of a version of Capitalism that fulfills all the ideals of The Left, or is LPRENT a deluded adherent to a system that is inherently and irredeemably evil?

    • Grindlebottom 9.1

      Does Chris Trotter post here sometimes?
      I’ve always thought regulated capitalism (such as implemented by Western social democrat/Labour style governments of the 1940’s to 70’s) is the middle ground.

      • The lost sheep 9.1.1

        Does Chris Trotter post here sometimes?

        I’d be surprised if he doesn’t follow things here at least.
        Would be very interested to hear his response if so?

        Personally I think his worldview view is flawed by a classic Leftist preoccupation with human systems , while not granting enough significance to the human nature that actually drives the systems we have evolved.

        Capitalism ‘works’ about as well as any system tried so far can work if it is to accommodate human nature.
        That is, it’s about as perfect as human nature itself.
        But to a workable degree, all the varying manifestations of human nature can find a way to be partly satisfied in our current democratically regulated Capitalist societies, and relatively few people feel completely thwarted in their ability to express their nature.

        Consequently, few people would claim it is anything like perfect, but even fewer would support a complete ditching of it for an alternative.

        The issue with any alternative that has been tried seems to be that a significantly large number of people will feel the alternative is stifling their nature to a degree that is intolerable. And so they set about subverting it…..

        • Sabine 9.1.1.1

          I think that one could have a look at Germany.
          We don’t do ‘capitalism’ per se, but what we call a “sociale Marktwirtschaft’ a social Market society. The market is largely self regulating, but the Government has a duty to regulate for the greater good.

          A good example is housing.
          The Market can build Houses, to the size and the amenities it believes it will get best monetary value for, and offers these for rent or for buy at the best price. This is classic Capitalism.

          The role of the Government now is to insure that those that are left out by the Market planning and production are still being housed. It can do so via regulations.
          A. Housing Benefits that everyone can apply for – no discrimination here, but only those that qualify will receive it.
          B. Housing Corporations. Everyone can join a Housing Co-oporation, pay a anual stipend / fee and get put on a list for a flat at cheaper rates then the free Market offers. The Government can provide grants to these Co-operations to build and maintain their housing stock. People often live their whole lifes in these flats, decorate the walls and bring their own carpet. Children have the right of first refusal should elders die.
          C. Social Housing. Housing that is build for people of low income, such as young families, students, people living on a disability allowance, retirees without any extra income. All people can apply for, but only those that qualify will receive a place to rent. These arraignments will be periodically rewied as that housing stock is for those on a very low income/social welfare income.
          D. Housing Rent Mirror (loosely translated), i .e. the Government regulates how rents can be set. I.e. location, amenities such as public Transport, Schools, etc, how many rooms, central heating, double glazing, cave/attic space, new build, old build etc. All these will impact the setting of a rent. So naturally some places will be cheaper then others. However, non will have leaking roofs, or mould on the walls, as Rental Properties have to have a certain minimum standard. Cheapest rent is usally $ 10 per square meter. So a student on a fixed income should be able to rent a 30 sqm Flat for 300$ a month.

          Now you see, the Government is actually not regulating the market. The developpers still can build to their liking with a desired return in mind. But, the rules regarding rentals stipulate that the Walls can not be moldy, that the roof can not leek, that double glazing is now a standard building requirement and so is insulation, and that a room needs to be at least 8 sqm large.

          And as such the Government fulfills its role to protect the ‘commons’ or the greater good of society, houses its people safely, reduces the sick days taken per year, reduces the cost of emergency hospital care etc etc etc .

          And i would venture to guess that one could not accuse Germany of not being a capitalist nation, or a hot bed of revolutionary lefties. I would consider us rather pragmatic and practical. And sometimes revolutionary also, The iron Chancellor Bismark implemented his laws in regards to unemployment benefits, sickness benefits because as a capitalist/royalist/conservative he knew full well that if he did not regulate to the best of all Germans, revolution would have been the plat du jour for all, inclusive the very rich.

          • Ad 9.1.1.1.1

            I freaking love Germany.
            For a lot of those reasons.
            Plus involving workers at Board level.
            Plus really strong universities.
            Plus open arms to immigrants since unification.
            Plus diverse industries with great salaries.
            Plus they understand what a nice strong state is good for.
            And train stations and train systems so good I just want to stand at the great Berlin Station and shout for joy.

            None of which is an argument in favour of Trotter’s post. After all the Spartacists lasted all of what six days and got creamed.

            Definitely supports Lyn’s line though.
            Highly regulated capitalism: definitely.

            • Sabine 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Just for the record Germany has taken refugees well before the Unification, we have Syrian Christians and Muslims, Vietnamese, Kurds, Palestinians, Iraqis, Turks, Lebanese, Iranians, Cambodians, Tibetans, South Africans and plenty others living in Germany. The unification has nothing to do with our immigration policies.

              And yes all of it supports Trotters Post. Bismark had a choice, allow the hungry, unwashed and unhoused masses that worked for the robber barons and lived in company towns to finally just revolt or implement some of the demands of the leftwing socialist agitators – the red brigades or the red socks – and keep the Peace.

              I suggest you read up on some of the ancestors of the lefties, you might find it interesting
              Rosa Luxemburg
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Luxemburg – killed and thrown into a canal in berlin, a classic case of ‘othering’ and removal of the human right to dignity and a funeral in her name.

              Karl Liebknecht
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Liebknecht – killed and brought to a morque without name, a classic case of ‘othering’ and removal of the human right to dignity and a funeral in his name.

              Clara Zetkin
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Zetkin – she went to Russia and died there in 1933 after Hitler came to power and dismantled the communist party in Germany.

              Mother Jones
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Harris_Jones – named in 1902 the most dangerous women in the USA, cause clearly advocating for a bit of fairness for children would go in the way of profit cause capitalism.
              Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living – Mother Jones.

              these are just a few to name, but without these and many many others, we would have non of the rights that we take for granted today. The child would work still in mines because it would be cheaper then the man or the women, you could get docked for damage done to a machine that just ripped your arm off, you would work 12 – 16 hours a day and if you could not do that you would be without a job. You would have no rights to medical care unless you could pay for it. You would have no rights to education unless you could afford to go there or send your child to school instead sending it to the fields or mines. Your wife would not be allowed to vote, she would have no control over her fertility, she would give birth until a. she died, or b. stopped having sex. You would work until you dropped dead cause feeding families with 10+ people is hard work and cost a lot of money.

              Capitalism only ever gave you the choice between the red pair of shoes or the black pair of shoes, the left fought and died for your right to earn enough money, and have enough free time to choose one pair or buy both.

              • Ad

                Save me you are trying to capture Bismark for the Left? I haven’t heard a stretch like that for a while. What next, Kaiser Wilhelm was a commie?

                I am pretty familiar about the Left’s antecedents. Like I said before, do better than just posting links.

                But now let’s go at Germany. It’s the exemplar modernist state. Now.

                Do I have to remind you what it’s gone through in the last 100 years to get to that point? Hardly some leftie’s utopia was it? Hardly in fact any good illustration at all of Trotter’s frantic frothing.

                It’s not too much of a stretch, if I remember my Adorno and Horkheimer rightly, that the actions of Germany over the last century near-broke not only the idea of socialism permanently, but also damn near broke and certainly permanently damaged the idea of enlightenment, rationality, and in fact the entire concept of Europe.

                So putting Germany up as an example of leftie goodness in support of either Trotter or Lyn is a really bad idea.

                • sabine

                  No I am not saying that Bismark was a lefty. Maybe he was, but i would not know and he would not tell, so lets just stick to what he was, deeply conservative, deeply royal and deeply loyal german.
                  But it was him that gave Germany retirement benefits, unemployment benefits and accident compensation. Not as we know it now, but the ancestors of our current benefits if you so want.
                  Why did he do it? Cause it was either do something for the people or risk a French revolution in Germany.
                  In fact the term welfare state comes directly from his ‘social staat’
                  The German term Sozialstaat (“social state”) has been used since 1870 to describe state support programs devised by German Sozialpolitiker (“social politicians”) and implemented as part of Bismarck’s conservative reforms.[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_state

                  Smart man that Bismark dude. You can read up on him a bit, but i copy paste a small expert to make it easier for you
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_von_Bismarck

                  “Bismarck implemented the world’s first welfare state in the 1880s. He worked closely with large industry and aimed to stimulate German economic growth by giving workers greater security.[68] A secondary concern was trumping the Socialists, who had no welfare proposals of their own and opposed Bismarck’s. Bismarck especially listened to Hermann Wagener and Theodor Lohmann, advisers who persuaded him to give workers a corporate status in the legal and political structures of the new German state.[69] In March 1884, Bismarck declared:

                  Franz von Lenbach’s portrait of Bismarck, painted in his 75th year.
                  The real grievance of the worker is the insecurity of his existence; he is not sure that he will always have work, he is not sure that he will always be healthy, and he foresees that he will one day be old and unfit to work. If he falls into poverty, even if only through a prolonged illness, he is then completely helpless, left to his own devices, and society does not currently recognize any real obligation towards him beyond the usual help for the poor, even if he has been working all the time ever so faithfully and diligently. The usual help for the poor, however, leaves a lot to be desired, especially in large cities, where it is very much worse than in the country.[70]” Quote end.

                  That does sound eerily familiar does it not? So maybe he was a lefty, reluctantly but never the less.

                  And while he was very reluctant to do many things he did this : Quote: The program included sickness insurance, accident insurance, disability insurance, and a retirement pension, none of which were then in existence to any great degree. Quote End.

                  And frankly i really suggest that you read up on it, as it is excellent reading material.
                  You can then offset what this guy did with another really good read, Sleepwalking through History – the Reagan Years , which would be John Keys Hey Days at the traders desk.
                  https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/capsule-review/1991-06-01/sleepwalking-through-history-america-reagan-years

                  So putting up Germany as an example of lefty goodness in support of Trotter and Lyn is a really good idea. Because it is a fine example of a ‘regulated’ capitalism in which the capital flows freely, innovation is demanded and sought after, where business can be undertaken very successfully, where people are having a relatively high living standard, good schooling, good vocational training be it via apprenticeships or university, where people can be naked in a public park without causing outrage 🙂 – try that in the US..:), and so on and so on.
                  Yes and they have free trade agreements, and they export knowledge to China, and they invest in green technology, and they still have money, and music, and beersies…and stuff.

                  In fact, Germany is the poster child of what Capitalism can be, when the Government does the job it was elected for, namely protect the wellbeing of the country and not just a few rich country men.

                  • sabine

                    And in saying that, Germany itself is in danger of negative change. First Chancellor Kohl and Schroeder now Merkel. ouch.

                    Europe is in interesting times, and Germany will most likely change. Time will tell.

          • RedLogix 9.1.1.1.2

            And much the same could be said of Britain. It has been said that the British upper class owed a huge moral debt to the Unions and Labour party for introducing just enough reform to forestall a bloody revolution in the 1930’s.

          • The lost sheep 9.1.1.1.3

            And no one would argue Sabine that Germany also does the production of wealth side of Capitalism quite well.

            It seems to me that the best kind of Capitalist countries are those that understand that the more cake you make, the more you are able to share around the table.

            • tracey 9.1.1.1.3.1

              The more you must share around the table

              • The lost sheep

                Absolutely Tracey
                My point being that, given a genuinely democratic system of government, the more cake you have to discuss, the more likely it is that a higher % of the people will be happy with the sharing.

                The smaller the cake the fewer the options.

                • tracey

                  yes but the cake (GDP) has been getting bigger for decades and yet the gap between the bottom and top is FAR greater… Able to has not equated to is.

                  • The lost sheep

                    I agree absolutely that there needs to be a readjustment in the way the cake is being shared, and that’s a discussion that is well underway throughout the Democratic world.

                    But what you leave out of your comment is the crucial point that even if the gap has been increasing, the great majority of citizens have been getting a bigger piece of actual cake over time.

                    And they know it. As long as that is the case, and democratic systems are maintained, Capitalism will continue to be the dominant economic system.

            • sabine 9.1.1.1.3.2

              look at it from this way.

              Marie Antoinette did not loose her head because she had cake.
              She did not loose her head because she liked cake.
              She lost her head because she expected people to eat cake without sharing the only cake that was. She lost her head because she did not share her cake.

              • tracey

                While I agree with the concept I cannot agree with the perpetuation of the notion of Marie Antoinette and cake. Ther eis no evidence she ever told anyone ” let them eat cake”.

                YES she was privileged but she was also maligned, firstly by those who wanted to usurp the power of her husband and then by those seeking to throw aside the monarchy. For example cartoons were distrbuted depicting her having sex with her household pets, her ladies in waiting, and so on. She was easily vilified because she was Asutrian and it descended fromt here. She is much maligned, and in so far as she was privileged and part of the higghest aristocracy, perhaps deserved, but much of that maligning was made up, by those seeking, wait for it, power for themselves.

                Back tot he cake, Antonia’ Fraser’s research suggests that IF she said “let theme at cake” it wa smore likely out of her ignorance and belief that if there was no bread, the eople should be given cake. A tip to her total lack of knowledge about flour and how bread (and cakes) were actually created etc….

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.1.3.3

              Never in your wildest dreams would it occur to you that the sharing comes first, and in doing so fosters the productivity.

            • Ad 9.1.1.1.3.4

              Only now it does.
              And only after ridding itself of state-backed socialism completely.

              Better question would be: if that’s what it takes to make a really good modernist state, was Germany’s last 100 years worth it?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.2

          I note that your comment above is couched in such vague and ill-defined terms that it has no meaning.

          Is this the same ill-defined notion of “human nature” that leads you to post arrant nonsense about “choices”? I note you failed miserably to provide a single piece of evidence that any of these things you refer to exist.

          • The lost sheep 9.1.1.2.1

            I have observed many times that you reject the existence of both ‘human nature’ and ‘choices’ OAB.
            Little surprise then that you are endlessly surprised and outraged that real people in the real world do not behave in accordance with your worldview.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.2.1.1

              I have observed many times that you’ve failed to provide any evidence that they exist in any meaningful fashion. What do you mean by them that hasn’t already been completely unpicked?

        • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.3

          Capitalism ‘works’ about as well as any system tried so far can work if it is to accommodate human nature.

          Ah, the RWNJ cry of No, it can’t change because we’re always going to be the same… despite the fact that, over the last few thousand years, we’ve obviously changed and evolved.

          But to a workable degree, all the varying manifestations of human nature can find a way to be partly satisfied in our current democratically regulated Capitalist societies

          Our society may be capitalist but it’s not democratic. In fact, capitalism is anathema to democracy.

          The issue with any alternative that has been tried seems to be that a significantly large number of people will feel the alternative is stifling their nature to a degree that is intolerable.

          I haven’t noticed any alternatives being tried as the capitalists don’t allow them.

        • tracey 9.1.1.4

          Sabine

          Giving them a home for life, not wondering if the Landlord is going to sell up and throw em out, giving them a space to feel proud off. In Auckland rental yields are pathetic, hence the buy-sit briefly-sell cycle.

    • tracey 9.2

      I can, but we are not living in it. And as you point out the crux is sharing. Not the ability to share but the desire to share.

      I know many people living in lovely homes, earning more than 6 fiures per year (often both partners), have overseas travel, bach and so on. And they regularly bemoan how much tax they pay to prop us others and so on and so forth. We have to find a way to address that, and feeding a nasty self interest/importance isn’t going to resolve that (but it does elect parties).

  10. Ad 10

    I do actually agree with Lyn’s point that capitalism delivers well for people but needs constantly kicking up the arse to stop its own arrogance and destructiveness.

    Boadly: Revolution Bad, Reform Good.

    Agree.

    • weka 10.1

      Except we could have a well controlled capitalism that more evenly distributes wealth and still have climate change. It’s the power imbalance between those with capital and their agenda and everything else that’s the problem. So socialist capitalists could still be environmental ignoramuses. Reform won’t be enough to deal with climate change.

      • Ad 10.1.1

        Disagree.
        A well regulated global economy hasn’t really been tested.
        Coherent globalized international trade law, and global climate change agreements, will be more effective and less disruptive to society than some revolutionary onslaught.

        9 times out of 10 revolution does far more harm than good.
        9 times out of 10 diplomatic agreements work.

        • weka 10.1.1.1

          revolution doesn’t have to be onslaught, although I get that that’s how Lynn was using the term.

          “A well regulated global economy hasn’t really been tested.”

          In which case the best we can say is we don’t know whether it will work or not 😉

          But let’s say we had a traditional Labour government that was regulating the economy well. It’s still taken Labour until now to start to get serious about CC. We needed that 15 years ago. So we could have the coherent globalised law etc, but if the people running those things don’t have the right consciousness (eg environmental) then those things won’t get dealt with adequately. It’s an issue of who has the power. No matter how good willed they are, if the power is centralised it’s always going to serve the people in charge first.

          Or, maybe explain how this regulation would accommodate the Rights of Nature, which is going to be the new emerging ethico legall issue of the next few decades. The people on the edge know what is what. If the people in power don’t listen to them, how is good regulation going to help?

          • Ad 10.1.1.1.1

            I would refer you to my post precisely on the relationship between climate change and industrial change. I explored industrial patterns, and government responses through regulation, and other stuff, through it.

            Also, thanks to MMP, we don’t have to imagine the standard old Labour Command and Control economy of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. The Greens will have to be in there.

            • weka 10.1.1.1.1.1

              I read your post Ad, it’s very good. I haven’t followed the main link yet.

              I don’t think that answers my point though. If capitalism can deal with the issue that I raise, I’m interested to hear it. I’m not sure if you are saying that well regulated capitalism works, or if you are saying that’s the best we can do with the situation we are in now (being the pragmatist that you are, and I have some sympathy for that approach). Nevertheless, well regulated capitalism is still dependent on the hearts and minds of the people in control and I don’t see how they would (have) gotten to grips with CC in time.

              I wasn’t thinking of old Labour, I was thinking of a hypothetical more leftist (caring) modern Labour in an MMP environment but still working from a place of power over. Even now Labour would exclude the GP and their advanced thinking about CC if they could. It’s a fucked model, and MMP gives us an opportunity to correct some of the worst of it but MMP is still open to abuse (looking at your Winston Peters).

        • Tracey 10.1.1.2

          revolution assisted the birth of Capitalism surely?

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    His latest post at Bowalley Road elegantly and clearly differentiates what I consider the key difference between the left and the right is.

    Capitalism Kills: Why, For The Right, The Left Is Always Wrong

    Actual link to Trotter’s post. I assume that you copy/pasted the link and didn’t realise that you weren’t on the page for the post (Been there, done that).

    His comment at Bowalley Road was even more of an extensive example (but I can’t seem to link to that directly)

    Link to Wayne’s first comment
    Link to Wayne’s second comment

    The link to a comment on blogspot is the date at the end of the comment.

  12. G C 12

    The strongest physically and/or by number will conquer OR successfully defend a nation. Many a weak person has ruled a nation or had a hand therein. Greed causes the corruption of social equality and leads to the exploitation of the poor and uneducated.

    To say the stongest exploit the weakest is therefore wrong. Those who are sick on the inside with the disease of greed or lust for power – they exploit. The proposition that greed makes you stong is a misnomer.

    Though the skum may often rise to the top – take solace knowing pride comes before a fall.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      This is not about “strong people” vs “weak people.”

      This is about people with power, privilege and authority vs those without.

      Don’t you get the difference?

  13. Morrissey 13

    “Ha ha ha, ho ho ho, he he he! Get him a bucket of water!!!”
    An unusually inane and depraved edition of The Panel

    Radio NZ National, Thursday 19 November 2015
    Jim Mora, L. Prent, Lisa Scott, Morrissey Breen, Susan Baldacci

    L. PRENT: Chris Trotter is on fire.

    M. BREEN: Chris Trotter’s on fire?!?!?!?!? I’d pay to see that! Where is he?

    J. MORA: He can jump in the ocean near where he lives!

    M. BREEN: Haw haw haw haw haw!

    LISA SCOTT: Yeah! Ha ha ha ha ha!

    M. BREEN: Haw haw haw haw haw!

    BREEN: Yeah! Ha ha ha ha ha! Or get him a bucket of water! THAT’s what he needs!

    LISA SCOTT: Ha ha ha ha ha!

    SUSAN BALDACCI: He he he he he!

    TROTTER: I suspect whoever set me on fire was just sick of the sight of me! “Are you ever going to LEEEEAAAVE?”

    JIM MORA: Bucket of water! Get him a bucket of water!!!

    LISA SCOTT: Ha ha ha ha ha!

    http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-14062013/#comment-648511

  14. esoteric pineapples 14

    I’ve been thinking in the past couple of months that consciously or unconsciously, the genocide of indigenous people, among the most famous in North America, was about destroying any other system that could prove humans could exist comfortably and in great numbers in alternative economic systems to Capitalism. It is now thought that there were upward of 50 million indigenous peoples living in North America when Columbus arrived, funded by capital provided by the Spanish Court, which demanded a profit in return which Columbus was obliged to return, leading to a holocaust on the island of Hispaniola, the levels of depravity of which equaled many a Nazi in World War II.
    Prior to the arrival of Capitalism, it wouldn’t have all been wine and roses but the levels of happiness and prosperity of the indigenous peoples were probably not much different than what is being achieved now.

  15. Phil 15

    Updated: If anyone is interested in how the right reflexively responds without reading the content of a post in exactly the manner predicted

    There is a charming irony that lprent would, after so frequently and vociferously reminding us there is no “the standard” but instead a collaborative of authors each with their own independent viewpoints, calling one comment “the right”.

    • lprent 15.1

      Good point. Added in the words “an example of”, which is what I meant. It was referring to the part in Chris’s post where he said that the reflexive response of those on the right is to reach for ‘the left is stalin’ and similar stupidities. Basically grabbing the variant of Godwin’s law as a comforter.

      I don’t do as much proof reading on updates as I’d like.

  16. Saarbo 16

    Yep, agree. Mr Trotter has nailed it.

  17. Daniel Cale 17

    Capitalism and market economics is by some distant the system most likely to lift the masses out of poverty and into a life of some quality. Socialism and Communism have failed virtually everywhere they have been tried, and rather spectacularly. But that’s not my main reason for being a capitalist. In the vast majority of cases where it is deployed, capitalism is aligned with liberty, with freedom of thought, of expression, of association. The absolute opposite is true of socialism and communism. The latter economic system seems to be only able to be sustained under duress of the population, and is invariably associated with suppression of individual expression, of the freedom of thought and other liberties. Communism becomes a type of ‘theocracy’, where the god of the state is to be obeyed at all costs. Even unto death.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      What a lovely strawman, Daniel. Did you make it yourself?

      The thrust of the argument is that Socialism plus Capitalism plus Democracy has worked better than any of the other systems that have been tried.

      As Chomsky says “Capitalism? Show me some!” by which he points out that your first sentence is meaningless, since you can provide zero examples of purely Capitalist systems.

      By comparison, Socialist Democrats can point to the New Deal, or the NZ Labour Party’s relative track record on unemployment or per-capita GDP. Not to mention child poverty and homelessness.

      • tracey 17.1.1

        Daniel Cale first blessed us with his presence on 2 November 2015 to comment on the post about Slater’s comment about ISIS, muslims, “they”, kill “us”… (bear in mind Slater editted his comment which caused some confusion). Since then he has joined us here to share his particular brand of wisdom.

      • Bob 17.1.2

        OAB – “The thrust of the argument is that Socialism plus Capitalism plus Democracy has worked better than any of the other systems that have been tried” for once we are in agreement, but then you go and ruin it by saying “By comparison, Socialist Democrats can point to the New Deal, or the NZ Labour Party’s relative track record on unemployment or per-capita GDP. Not to mention child poverty and homelessness”, you still haven’t given citation for any of this because history shows very little difference overall between Labour and National on any of these points:
        http://thestandard.org.nz/bill-englishs-groundhog-decades/#comment-1039938

        • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1.2.1

          history shows very little difference overall between Labour and National on any of these points

          So there’s a difference then, which you’ve quantified as “very little” and I’m calling “better”.

      • Daniel Cale 17.1.3

        Socialist democrats do not advocate socialism. Socialism is a very different beast.

        Social democrats support capitalism and work within a capitalist economic environment to achieve social justice. They support private ownership and enterprise, but use the levers of state to influence the distribution of rewards from that endeavour. NZ has employed a type of social democrat society for decades, and most certainly over the past 30 years as progressive capitalist policies have delivered economic results (with the exception perhaps the last 3 years of the Clark/Cullen debacle).

        Socialism is about ‘society’s’ ownership of the means of production. Private ownership is not necessarily outlawed, but it is actively discouraged. Socialism displays many of the anti-democratic affronts to liberty I touched on above.

        The notion of socialism + capitalism + democracy is a fictional construct. Socialism and capitalism as economic systems are incompatible.

        And I would make this point. It strikes me as interesting that the left is now beginning to embrace capitalism. I have observed this overseas, and it is clear that the left is waking up to the fact that most of the planet’s inhabitants have rejected the failed experiments of both communism and socialism and have realised that capitalism, in it’s various forms, is the only economic system that lifts the spirits and lives of humanity.

        • Tracey 17.1.3.1

          “the left is now beginning to embrace capitalism.”

          Are you really Rip van Winkel??????

        • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1.3.2

          Yawn. I note that the only way you can address the argument I’m making is to misrepresent both it, and the nature of Capitalism.

          • Daniel Cale 17.1.3.2.1

            I haven’t misrepresented anything. You don;t understand the terms you are using, that is clear.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1.3.2.1.1

              I just think it’s foolish to claim all the benefits of a mixed democratic economy for Capitalism. Or perhaps utterly ignorant of history, which is a very special kind of foolish.

    • tracey 17.2

      Makes you wonder why this Government ( and some prior) have deteriorated the freedom of democracy thingy through abuse of the OIA Daniel? Together with use of urgency, more widespread powers for the state to collect information of citizens and so on. John Key promised ttransparency and higher standards. We all foolishly thought he meant than the prior Labour Government, but evidence shows that was not who he meant. Who did he mean Daniel? Who was his benchmark when he ,ade those promises? The currency trading industry perhaps? Nothing more “Capitalist” than that aye.

      • Daniel Cale 17.2.1

        Governments have always passed legislation under urgency. Governments have always passed legislation that the majority of citizens disapprove of (remember the anti-smacking law?). Governments have always engaged measures to ‘protect’ their citizens, sometimes well meaning, sometimes not. But every three years you and I have a free and democratic choice about whether they continue to govern.

        And while we’re at it, who gave Cullen the authority to commit economic sabotage with kiwirail, the extension of WFF, interest free student loans? Who approved of Labour’s over spending that saw their legacy as a decade of deficits, and a low growth/high interest and inflation economy? And so we did what we can do again with the Nats. We booted them out. It’s called democracy.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 17.2.1.1

          There was no overspending: Lab5 paid down debt and ran nine surpluses in a row. The so-called decade was a prediction by Treasury based on completely unrealistic premises.

          If you cared a shit about “overspending”, by the way, you’d be bagging National for fiscally irresponsible tax cuts, and you’re a hypocrite, so you won’t.

          • tracey 17.2.1.1.1

            The faeces is strong in thise one OABie

          • Daniel Cale 17.2.1.1.2

            Huh? No ‘overspending’? Labour ‘bought’ the 2005 election with the interest free loans. WFF was the largest middle class welfare bribe in christendom. As for surpluses, they left a huge deficit (2008, 09), and despite what you say, Treasury were predicting 10 years of deficit funding. Finally, tax cuts aren’t ‘spending’. They are fiscally responsible ways of stimulus during recession, a recession Labour caused even before the GFC.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 17.2.1.1.2.1

              A Treasury prediction, you say! Based on what assumptions?

              Lab5 ran nine surpluses in nine years. I’m not sure where your version of history comes from, although I note some fiscally irresponsible tax cuts in 2008.

              Government spending was the same proportion of the economy in 2007-08 as it was in 1998-99. So much for your drivel.

              Here’s a little pop quiz: who said “this is the rainy day the government has been saving up for”, and when?

        • tracey 17.2.1.2

          My God you are just one slogan after another arent you. Its not free when people are being conned. You are either the conned or the conning…

  18. gnomic 18

    Yes, what has happened to Chris? Is something being slipped into his tea? Once a rather moderate historian of the labour movement in New Zealand, he now seems to have decided on a bid to be the Lenin of our times. Very odd, but I like it. After all someone needs to decide what is to be done. Along with sipping chardonnay 🙂

  19. Vaughan Little 19

    trotter’s description is pretty weak. “the left are the left until they’re bad, at which point they have become right wing”. did the farrar and whale oil slip leftward today when they stuck up for dolestas against the nats’ retrospective law change?

    Alasdair MacIntyre discusses the fluidity of ideas in his short history of ethics. he’s a brilliant marxian philosopher who turned Catholic several decades ago. his point in the book is that there’s no such thing as a transcendent idea such as, say, justice, but that many people have meant many things by the same word over time. I’d liketo make that point here in relation to the tterms ‘left’ and ‘right’. these terms have meant different things to different people, and all these meanings don’t resolve into one transcendent concept that sits somehow outside of history.

    we really need a new discussion on power. it’s framed quite negatively in contemporary culture, but then what of divine power or aesthetic power? I raise power as a concept cos I think that power is what distinguishes the right from the left, not perverse domination. both right and left dominate perversely, but through different powers. the left through state apparatus, the right through capital. they’ve both left enormous trails of destruction, but this is to focus on the negative. if we’re all creatures of a loving God, we need to be sensitive to the gifts the people who are different from us have to offer.

    so who’s your favourite tory? mine is Chris Patten, who did a world of good as the last British governor of Hong Kong…

    (this is a bit truncated due to time limit, hope readers can get the gist)

    • tracey 19.1

      Left and Right is just a convenient (lazy?) wy to divide and distract. I do it myself sometimes for the former, not the later reason.

  20. Observer (Tokoroa) 20

    To: Sabine Concerning Marie Antoinette

    “Marie Antoinette did not loose her head because she had cake.
    She did not loose her head because she liked cake.
    She lost her head because she expected people to eat cake without sharing the only cake that was. She lost her head because she did not share her cake.”

    Your analysis seems to me to be exactly correct

    The few who have the wealth and power, whether gained by fair means or foul, are subject to the demand of the human species that wealth be shared.

    As we all know, The Resources of the world are owned by fewer and fewer. Which makes the right so obscene midst the poverty, degradation and slavery they push onto the masses. Whether their names be Talley or Bill English or Elizabeth Windsor – they are Antionettes with so called divine rights.

    Lots of ordinary people suck up to the wealthy hoping for crumbs from the rich table as they grovel on the floor. “Yes Sir” “No Sir” “Three bags full”

    Which is why we have to read so much grovelling comment from brown nosing supporters of the Right on The Standard.

    • Grant 20.1

      While I agree with the sentiment expressed by Sabine the historicity of ‘let them eat cake’ is dubious at best. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_them_eat_cake

      • Tracey 20.1.1

        agree.

      • greywarshark 20.1.2

        The let them eat cake background is something I have mentioned here some time ago. And it is all believable.

        We know from our own comments here all typed up and most of us being literate, that some people are unable of reading more than the top sentence of each paragraph. From that they fill in the rest from their own prejudices. I’ve done it myself, to my shame. And notice it frequently with others.

        No wonder the story can get around about Marie A and the cake. Though it is a good line to toss in when one wants to illustrate the contempt and disinterest of the upper crust for anyone poorer than themselves. The wealth are into style and have developed ways of doing things that the hoi polloi are unlikely to know, thus being revealed as non-persons and of no standing. (You don’t use the fish knife for butter, you cut your bread slice into four then butter it, you call a champagne glass a flute, you don’t say ‘golly’ when surprised, you don’t indicate surprise as that shows you aren’t in the loop of gossip etc. Or so I believe!)

  21. Bob 21

    “I’m a devout capitalist because of the benefits that it has. But capitalism by its very nature causes the short-term profit focus on exploitation of the commons. I see the glaring deficiencies of it as an over-arching model, especially when people have such long lives – far far longer than the three year (or even quarterly) focus that many capitalists use. People have time to fail and recover from causes ranging from poor education, unexpected parenthood, injury or disease, addiction, or simply over-extending into failure in the way that capitalism depends on for growth into depending on the charity of their fellow citizens.”

    lprent, based on this statement our view on how the political landscape should lie is fundamentally the same. I view myself as centrist rather than Left though (and certainly not Right wing as I am generally labelled here), and by Chris Trotters definition so are you… “One of the Right’s most important misunderstandings of the Left is that it can, somehow, embrace domination, coercion and exploitation – and remain the Left”, “Without this proclivity, none of the economic and social systems elaborated by armed minorities throughout history could have endured. Not the empires of the ancient world; not the feudal structures of the middle ages; and certainly not the capitalist system of the modern era”, you see, by Chris’ definition you cannot be a ‘devout capitalist’ and ‘Left’.

    • lprent 21.1

      If you ever read what I actually write about myself, I make it perfectly clear that I personally operate somewhat to the right of any “centre”. The centre takes up most of the political centre anyway apart from the nutter fringe – everyone thinks that they are the centre. Basically I’m just the type of arrogant over-educated self-centred and sarcastic bastard that everyone I ban thinks I am.

      But I’m completely uninterested in the acquisition of toys because the process of acquiring it isn’t that interesting. It is too simple a problem.

      However I’m also acutely aware of the limitations of the warlord/capitalistic/aristrocratic model which seems to demand that we respect the stupid unthinking progeny of otherwise intelligent parents worth respecting. This is an attitude that defies the biologics of genetic and environmental inheritance. Generally they are dumber and less effective than their parents, usually quite a lot more.

      But that particular genetic trope of parents looking out for their kids denies more interesting kids their opportunities to add to our community. It also directly leads to the violent suppression of those with talents and ideas to allow their damn kids room to become a social disease.

      So politically I’m left and in my actions towards others including my own reflects that. It is basically keeping the idiots who let their biology overcome their brains under control.

      My attitude is quite orthogonal (nice word) to any of the usual ethos. So I help those I think tend towards a better future for all kids. It does help that I haven’t managed to find time or a willing partner in time (ie before having kids became risky) to pick up that wee curse of humanity.

      Now look through Trotter’s take on it, and you’ll find that he is is much more of a conservative. 😈

    • Tracey 21.2

      Bob

      yesterday I was most vehemently attacked by one poster as being anti Labour and not attacking the National Government, enough and too left.

      IF that then makes me the centre, then from many of your comments I would suggest we are not in the same centre

      😉

      • Bob 21.2.1

        In general terms I think we are the same center, we just have very, very different views on how to get similar outcomes 😉

        • One Anonymous Bloke 21.2.1.1

          Oh, and the part where the outcomes you say “will” happen under your policy prescription, don’t. Ever. Anywhere on Earth.

  22. greywarshark 22

    I heard a report on APEC, supposed to be discussing economics, was thinking about action against terrorism. What was said about the disgraceful actions of a wealthy Malaysian businessman setting much of Indonesia’s forests on fire and causing health risks to neighbouring countries as well as locals. The locals include endangered orang outang. Where’s a responsible politician when you want one- they make them out of shoddy facsimiles these days.

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      NZ had cleared the entire country of its bush by the late 1800s. England got rid of almost all its forests by the 1700s. These other countries are just doing the same.

  23. greywarshark 23

    CV
    Yeah but I don’t think you want them to do you. That was then and now we have to say taiho. Or whatever that is in Indonesian and Malaysian, Chinese or Australian et al.

  24. Hi Vis. 24

    Yes. Good can come from the right yet don’t overlook that the truth can come from the Middle.
    I wish to CAUTION the contributors to the use of the word “KEY”

    May I suggest that one definition of this word is’…such that affords a means of clarifying a problem..’ I DON’T think so,
    We have a “KEY” problem in our country, and that is the Prime Minister.

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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Gut Reactions.

    Trump Writes His Own Story: Would the “mainstream” media even try to reflect the horrified reaction of the MAGA crowd to the pop-pop-pop of the would-be assassin’s rifle, and Trump going down? Could it even grasp the sheer elation of the rally-goers seeing their champion rise up and punch the air, still alive, ...
    5 days ago
  • Dodging Bullets.

    Fight! Fight! Fight! Had the assassin’s bullet found its mark and killed Donald Trump, America’s descent into widespread and murderous violence – possibly spiralling-down into civil war – would have been immediate and quite possibly irreparable. The American Republic, upon whose survival liberty and democracy continue to depend, is certainly not ...
    5 days ago
  • 'Corruption First' Strikes Again

    There comes a point in all our lives when we must stop to say, “Enough is enough. We know what’s happening. We are not as stupid or as ignorant as you believe us to be. And making policies that kill or harm our people is not acceptable, Ministers.”Plausible deniability has ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:The inside stories of KiwiRail’s iRex debacle, Westport’s perma-delayed flood scheme and Christchurch’s post-quake sewer rebuild, which assumed no population growth, show just how deeply sceptical senior officials in Treasury, the Ministry of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • What's that Jack Black?

    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket.https://yellowscene.com/2024/04/07/trump-as-jesus/Just to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record

    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    5 days ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network

    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!

    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:30 am on Thursday, July 18 are:News: Christchurch's sewer systems block further housing developments RNZ’s Niva ChittockAnalysis: Interislander: Treasury, MoT officials' mistrust of KiwiRail led ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The politics of managed retreat

    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    6 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    7 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    1 week ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.

    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago

  • Sir Don to travel to Viet Nam as special envoy

    Sir Don McKinnon will travel to Viet Nam this week as a Special Envoy of the Government, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced.    “It is important that the Government give due recognition to the significant contributions that General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong made to New Zealand-Viet Nam relations,” Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    55 mins ago
  • Grant Illingworth KC appointed as transitional Commissioner to Royal Commission

    Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden says newly appointed Commissioner, Grant Illingworth KC, will help deliver the report for the first phase of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, due on 28 November 2024.  “I am pleased to announce that Mr Illingworth will commence his appointment as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • NZ to advance relationships with ASEAN partners

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters travels to Laos this week to participate in a series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-led Ministerial meetings in Vientiane.    “ASEAN plays an important role in supporting a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Mr Peters says.   “This will be our third visit to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Backing mental health services on the West Coast

    Construction of a new mental health facility at Te Nikau Grey Hospital in Greymouth is today one step closer, Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey says. “This $27 million facility shows this Government is delivering on its promise to boost mental health care and improve front line services,” Mr Doocey says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • NZ support for sustainable Pacific fisheries

    New Zealand is committing nearly $50 million to a package supporting sustainable Pacific fisheries development over the next four years, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This support consisting of a range of initiatives demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to assisting our Pacific partners ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Students’ needs at centre of new charter school adjustments

    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says proposed changes to the Education and Training Amendment Bill will ensure charter schools have more flexibility to negotiate employment agreements and are equipped with the right teaching resources. “Cabinet has agreed to progress an amendment which means unions will not be able to initiate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Commissioner replaces Health NZ Board

    In response to serious concerns around oversight, overspend and a significant deterioration in financial outlook, the Board of Health New Zealand will be replaced with a Commissioner, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.  “The previous government’s botched health reforms have created significant financial challenges at Health NZ that, without ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Minister to speak at Australian Space Forum

    Minister for Space and Science, Innovation and Technology Judith Collins will travel to Adelaide tomorrow for space and science engagements, including speaking at the Australian Space Forum.  While there she will also have meetings and visits with a focus on space, biotechnology and innovation.  “New Zealand has a thriving space ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Climate Change Minister to attend climate action meeting in China

    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts will travel to China on Saturday to attend the Ministerial on Climate Action meeting held in Wuhan.  “Attending the Ministerial on Climate Action is an opportunity to advocate for New Zealand climate priorities and engage with our key partners on climate action,” Mr Watts says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
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    7 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
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    1 week ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
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    1 week ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
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    1 week ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants

    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • District Court judges appointed

    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins

    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended

    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

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