Closing the Gap: who’s listening?

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 am, January 27th, 2012 - 31 comments
Categories: equality - Tags:

Anybody who has read, or even heard of, The Spirit Level knows that science is finding links between income inequality and the health of the society we live in – and the health of its citizens among other things.

In the UK the debate has gone very mainstream, with all 3 major parties vowing to fight income inequality, and their leaders signing a pledge along similar lines.  From that they’ve had the High-Pay Commission working out how to stop those at the top carving themselves ever bigger slices of the pie by awarding themselves ever bigger salaries and bonuses.

They’re working on rules to reduce the ability of CEOs to award themselves salaries largely unfettered by shareholders.  RBS’s head is likely to get his bonus cut in the next few days – to below GBP1 million!

The mood has even affected Davos as the wealthy and powerful gather for their annual meeting in Switzerland.  Last year the head of JP Morgan was applauded by his peers for his plea for an end to banker bashing; this year – after the Occupy movement has swept the world – no-one would be so bold.

To quote the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston:

The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, caught the mood yesterday when he pointed to the perceived unfairness that it was the well-heeled bankers who caused the mess we’re in, but it’s those on average and below-average incomes who are paying the price.

Even relatively mainstream economists are questioning the consensus of the past 30 odd years which said that the only way to grow the cake for all is to incentivise the great wealth creators by allowing them to have more and more of that cake

So what’s happening locally?

John Key’s National seems committed to discredited trickle-down theory.  Indeed even National’s new MPs aren’t onto new economic thinking; from Maggie Barry’s “we must look after the rich [as they pay our taxes]” when asked about income inequality, to Mike Sabin’s comfort in letting school children starve pour encourager les autres.

It seems it’s not just our business CEOs but also our council CEOs that are taking the mickey, as well as the money with double-digit pay rises in straitened times.  They’re getting pay rises bigger than their average employee earns in a year – there’s none of the UK’s rules to restrict public sector pay below the Prime Minister’s here (and our Prime Minister earns more than his UK counterpart too…).

But some outside the left are taking the message on board.

Closing the Gap aims to be an apolitical organisation pushing the message of Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (authors of The Spirit Level) in Aotearoa.

Their aim is:

to raise public awareness of the benefits of a more equal society to such a level that our leaders take notice and act.

I’m hoping they do well, as income inequality is one of the major issues of our time.  It is a major driver behind child poverty, which will shape the future of our nation.  It lessen our democratic values as some get less of a go than others.  It affects the very trust that bonds us together as a society.

I’m signing on with them – and I reckon you should too.

31 comments on “Closing the Gap: who’s listening?”

  1. Gosman 2

    The Spirit level is hardly good science. It is apparently regarded as rather shabby by many epidemiologists mainly because of the failure to exclude outliers.

    • McFlock 2.1

      It is popular science. It illustrates what is known, in really big letters, in the context of the real world. If you want to examine the “good” science, maybe you should look up their source documents. 
       
      On its worst day, “The Spirit Level” is better science than most economics “research” (read “fantasy”) printed today.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2

      Gosman, how would you know? Link to someone credible, because you certainly aren’t.

      • aerobubble 2.2.1

        Smart losers know they can’t win so they change the rules. In the internet world that’s a troll.
        In the real world that the speculator classes who think that if they just keep changing or removing the rules they will come out on top.
        They aren’t so smart after all.

    • Frank Hanlon 2.3

      The accusations of poor science are old news and have been answered fully on the website http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk

    • The sample is countries though, so it’s a different order of business excluding outliers there as outliers are essentially an aggregate of an enormous amount of data, and there may be significance to the fact of their outlying, unlike models where each data point is an individual datum that is likely of equal importance to all the others, when analysing a country there are a lot of complex factors that can’t be analysed quite so easily, so it is important to include outliers and discuss what may or may not be significant about their outlying.

      • Ah yes, here we are, I was curious so I’ve been reading through these rebuttals, and I found the example you’re talking about.

        On outliers, the rebuttal you want is here:
        http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/docs/hughnobletslrevisited.pdf
        It starts halfway through page eighteen.

        To sum up the metaphor for people who don’t want to download and read the pdf:
        The drawing of conclusions from sample groups of data is sort of like taking measurements of mountains. In our analogy, one sample group is a mountain. The correct situation to remove outliers is when you’re trying to determine the height of a single mountain, and get six measurements, with one much taller outlier. You discard it as it is likely due any number of small mistakes you could have made- from reversing a set of digits when writing down a number to adding a cloud to the height of the mountain by accident.

        The next part of the analogy talks about taking measurements once each from dozens of mountains in the Himalaya range. The measurements are broadly similar (because the range is shaped by similar geographical forces) and tend to lie within 6,000-7,000 feet. But at about 29,000 feet, is Mt. Everest an outlier? Well, no, not without further checks, because you’re measuring different mountains. There are causes and drivers of those causes as to why Mt. Everest is so much higher than the rest of the Himalayas, and back to the graphs of the Spirit Level, the USA, Singapore, Japan, and other anomalous countries may be anomalous for reasons that support the Spirit Level’s conclusions.

        But that’s still not analogous to the Spirit Level- in their data, it’s more like you got a measurement of three or four mountains at the foothills and of measurement of Mount Everest, and are trying to determine a trend in the slope of the Himalayas. You can see that, assuming Everest was indeed measured correctly, there is a strong upward trend in that direction. You can’t tell whether it’s linear or curved due to a lack of intermediate data points, but you know the trend exists if you can confirm that Everest is indeed that tall or even close to being that tall, and with some careful analysis of the geological environment nearby, we could determine why.

        There are bound to be other causes of social ills in the USA than just inequality- the question is: Which are also caused by inequality too…
        (for instance, controlling for race demographics can weaken the trend, but that’s because white and black americans experience different amounts of inequality, and because even controlling for income, being black is sadly an inequality of status of itself in the USA at the moment)

        …and which aren’t. (for instance, nonrestrictive gun laws and gun ownership are likely to increase homocide rates, but there are also very equal societies with these characteristics)

    • mik e 2.5

      Groseman The OECD has researched the Gap and come to the same conclusion.

  2. Tamati 3

    Can someone please explain how someone sitting in a boardroom miles away from average wage job affects my well being. I mean, how can he getting a pay rise effect my livelyhood?

    Of course it makes sense that if the poor were richer then we would all be better off, but if the rich were less rich, how does this benifit anyone?

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Capital extraction by corporations and large business owners takes wealth directly out of local communities, expatriating it to foreign shareholders, or hoarding it in a small proportion of the already wealthy.

      but if the rich were less rich, how does this benifit anyone?

      it would only benefit the community if the financial capital being hoarded by the wealthy was spent back into local circulation to increase worker incomes and the activity of every day commerce.

    • Bunji 3.2

      Read the book… Although to be fair their research is largely the analysis of statistics that say it does more than the reasons why.

      Apart from the obvious that the bigger slices of pie grabbed by the top few mean less pie for the rest of us (history says the pie has grown much slower under neo-liberal economics than previously), it also results in much less social mobility – he’s able to give his children every advantage that yours don’t get.

      Poor social mobility results in many things, including a massive waste of talent. If you’re struggling to feed yourself, you’re not setting up a business with your entrepreneurial skills and the necessary seed money. You likely give up trying to get ahead – go on the dole, or commit crime, or just look for instant pleasures like drugs & sex – leading to high teen pregnancy rates. You’re stressed, you can’t afford proper health care – your physical and mental health declines.

      Meanwhile the rich have much further to fall, so they’re stressed too, protecting what they’ve got. Their mental health isn’t great as they create panic rooms in high security gated ghettos. Both sides lose empathy for the other, trust is broken down, and as Maggie Thatcher’s prophesy comes true: “There is no such thing as society.”

      That and much more, we’re all very inter-related complex funny things, us humans. No man is an island – I read that somewhere.

    • McFlock 3.3

      Because if the CEO is getting 15 times the income of the workers, and the stockholders’ return on investment is constant, then a reduction in the CEO income is shared out among the workers. 
       
      It affects you personally because boosting the size of the middle class by lifting people out of working poverty is excelent for consumption and the circulation of money throughout the economy. 
       
      Luxury expenditure is a bit like an eddy in a stream – it tends to circulate around other rich people and doesn’t flow through the rest of the economy, because money is attracted to money. By injecting money throughout the economy, the money flows through more sectors of society than just tumbling around the Auckland CBD. The CBD serves important functions in the economy (particularly around investment in enterprises), but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of NZ.

    • Uturn 3.4

      Last time I looked, those of a certain salary and social position are far more likely to influence the politics of a country than your average low wage earner. Beautiful people are rich and everyone wants to listen to rich beautiful people, even if they’re selling snake oil and especially if they tell people they can be just as rich as them if only they believe it. So Chairman X has the ear of MPs and politicians, whereas Street vendor Y, does not. Now Chairman X has one thing on his mind, bettering his lifestyle and staying in a position of control. He’ll do this in any way and at any cost, especially at the cost of people he’ll never meet – like Street vendor Y. How Chairman X gets his money and makes his profit will effect you; either environmentally via resource use or by your wage being reduced, or even by you being laid off. Is any of this ringing bells for you? It’s a simple join the dots exercise. Not so surprisingly, it matters not at all whether Chairman X is of Left or Right political orientation.

      On top of that, Chairman X has as many faults as the next man, but he doesn’t have to face quite so many, because while money can’t buy you happiness, surprisingly it can be used to drown out the sound of your own insanity. This is the point at which social politics starts getting nasty and that effects many people, maybe even you directly. In short, no one is an island and nothing happens in a vacuum. Just because the ship you see on the horizon is small, doesn’t mean the marines it carries won’t be effective once they land on your beaches. Or how about this… if enough trees fall in the forest and everyone lives in the city and X Factor is on TV, (so they don’t notice the trees falliing) is the forest getting larger or smaller?

      Your next question gives away your perspective – as a troll. No the world would not be any better if the poor were rich. Redistribution of wealth is not the hallmark of the Left or even a solution. It’s a stop-gap that usually turns into a game of switching seats while the status quo remains. Labour’s (and to be fair, the rest of the Left in NZ) current leadership is playing this game right now. Obama plays it too. There’s sweet f -all people actually need, and the rest is waste and pollution and compensations for ignoring aspects of humanity that are messy, dangerous and important. The current 1% have destroyed enough of the world and encouraged the on-going damage to new generations so effectively that bringing the other 99% in on the same act would be environmentally and socially catastrophic. Politics is not the path forward for humanity, it is just an indicator of human progress.

      Thank you for your statements dressed as questions and please direct all further statements to this website: http://www.troll_blackhole.com

    • Draco T Bastard 3.5

      The economy is a zero sum game. More of current period GDP going to a few people really does mean less going to everyone else. It also means, due to interest and other contrived means of wealth accumulation, that in the next GDP period even more will go to those few who have and less to the many.

      Simply put, them having more means that you have less.

      Then, when we start talking about the real economy rather than the delusional one that the economists propagate it gets even worse as those few actually control the resources needed for you to live.

    • Frank Hanlon 3.6

      Read the spirit level The more unequal the country is the worse the statistics are relating to morbidity, imprisonment, mental health, ill health and general social dysfunction for everyone.

  3. randal 4

    it is proven without doubt that a high wage economy is synonomous with high rates of unionisation.
    only in NZ is the idea current that wages will rise if unions are smashed.
    if they swallow kweewee then they will swallow anything.

  4. bbfloyd 5

    all this arguing over relativity is fine as it goes, but i have to say that, to the majority of people i know, this is no more than the nobs stealing the money us peasants took from them over the last couple of centuries……

    the bonus for them is that they have been able to do it by squeezing the golden goose over a century of wealth redistribution has created…..utilising a program of instilling personal greed, and ambition to gain the acquiescence of the middle, and artisan classes in order to carry out this grand plan without serious impediments along the way….

    to say it has been wildly successful is an understatement…..to say that there is no plan other than locking up the side effects of this removal of our ability to evolve in a healthy way would also be an understatement…..

    we should be pitying the likes of gosman et al, as they display their victim mentality for all to see….they will be the ones most hurt by the reality crashing in on their world view in the brutal manner that it inevitably will… nothing new here.. just another false start destined to fail for the same reasons as always….. our inability to submerge our personal self interests for long enough to allow the evolutionary process to develop past the first menopausal stage……

    which, of course would render our childish concepts of self largely redundant…..that’s what happens when maturity comes about….being able to see the the parts that make up the whole clearly(and understanding how important each individual stream is) is what is missing at present…..we have innumerable examples in the world all around us of just how interconnected every part of any ecosystem is, and how quickly that ecosystem breaks down once the balance has been altered…..

    welcome to the results of the latest lurch boys and girls….

  5. Royton De'Ath 6

    Ahh, Gansmann, you are a delight to Us. Your reflexive reactionary responses to certain stimulii are a credit to the unquestioning acceptance of the specious-arguments training you have received.

    We are particularly pleased with your air of gravitas when critically “analysing” – if we can use such a grand term for voiding your psyche as you do – science, and We note the placing of your capacity and credentials to distinguish between “good” and ‘bad” science in the public domain is a heroic act, given the actual state of those “attributes”. But, of course, this is of no import to one such as yourself.

    Of course, the diversion of attention towards the “many epidemiologists” who have grave doubts about the “ouliers” is a master-stroke. The appeal to authority, and the servility that should induce, is just so mindlessly authoritarian. Well done. Can you please “showcase” the doubts about the “science” in The Spirit Level expressed by hordes of metrologists, mobs of etymologists and masses of urologists too?

    But, do not, under any circumstances, let people know of the disciplinary distinctions between social epidemiology (where W & P operate) and that of disease and non-disease epidemiology. If you do your already tenuous standing would, sadly for you, become totally untenable.

    Wilkinson & Pickett have defended the statistical bases of their Devil’s Work very ably, we understand (some people have actually read the critiques and authorial responses!). It appears that one of the more trenchant criticisms of their work is its lack of adequate attention to class stratification (Goldthorpe, 2009). Damn these people! We cannot have a class-based analysis applied to this Devil’s Work. What would happen next? A greater degree of attention on Our (legitimate, of course!) rapacity? And, in consequence, more demands for equality and emancipation?

    (By the way, we noted that your extremely tiny piece did not get the response it should have got in the comments section. We may have to discuss your usefulness to Us if you can’t do better. You know the price of non-performance).

  6. foreign waka 7

    Income inequality is a recurring issue chewed through since the industrial revolution. All that seem to happen is that the distribution of income relative to the people receiving it is getting thinner and spread wider. Now, taking inflation into consideration that can only mean that we are being constantly hoodwinked and the “fairer” distribution is in a cynical way an illusion as the spoils of the hard work is just divid up at the same ratio.The top 20% has enjoyed the growth and the 80% on the other end have to share what is left. The new trend is that the taxpayer funded government officials are getting increases the leaves one breathless for comment and the receiver feels that he/she have an ENTITLEMENT to the money! These are the same people who will tell a person with a minimum wage to reduce expenditure, cut down on “non essentials” etc. It looks to me that we have a Renaissance of the yesteryear 14th century. Waiting for Robin Hood…..

  7. M Schwartz 8

    ***Anybody who has read, or even heard of, The Spirit Level knows that science is finding links between income inequality and the health of the society we live in – and the health of its citizens among other things.***

    Unfortunately, the claims in that book do not stand up to scrutiny. I would recommend you read criticisms by economist Tino Sanandaji*, or the book “The Spirit Level Delusion”. It seems that the authors of the Spirit Level tend to omit countries which contradict their hypothesis. For instance, Singapore and Hong Kong have the highest income inequality in the developed world, but have low rates of crime, infant mortality and most other health and social problems.

    http://super-economy.blogspot.com/2010/02/spirit-level-is-junk-science.html

    http://super-economy.blogspot.com/2010/02/spirit-level-is-junk-science-part-deux.html

    • RedLogix 8.1

      I would recommend you read criticisms by economist Tino Sanandaji*, or the book “The Spirit Level Delusion”.

      Yes we have. They’ve been debated here on and off for ages. There really are only three possible hypothesis:

      1. Inequality is bad for social outcomes

      2. Inequality has no effect on social outcomes

      3. Inequality is good for social outcomes.

      Right now inequality in generally is very high across the whole world, and when we examine the social outcomes it’s very hard to argue for a good result. This makes the second and third hypothesis rather hard to support by simple direct observation.

  8. M Schwartz 9

    @ Frank Hanlon,

    Thank you for the link with responses from Wilkinson & Pickket. May I ask have you looked at the critics response to the answers? I think you should keep an open mind 🙂

    http://super-economy.blogspot.com/2010/07/spirit-level-writers-caught-lying.html

    http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/spirit-level-debate-summary#questions

    • just saying 9.1

      Are you keeping an open mind M Schwartz?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.2

      “There is thus zero evidence in this paper (or anywhere else in professor Heckman’s seminal work) supporting Wilkinson and Pickett’s claim that other people having a higher income is bad for you.”

      What a load of gobshite. Is this feeble crud the best you can do?

      Here is a more balanced look at Prof. Heckman’s work for anyone who’s interested. He’s very keen on evidence based policy.

      Heckman’s work is widely cited in this context by other authors than Wilkinson and Pickett, but you, Schwartz, got taken in by a blogger. Pathetic.

      We need better wingnuts.

    • Frank Hanlon 9.3

      The blogger is entitled to present their opinion, but the spirit level is based on decades of research subject to stringent examination. All their analyses have been either replicated by other researchers or published in peer reviewed journals, and are fully referenced. What can mr. super-economy present to support his points.

  9. Bunnykinz 10

    Not too sure if anyone else noticed, but I found it amusing that David Cameron had invited
    Mick Jagger along for a cuppa at Davos , but Sir Jagger objects to being used as a political football.

    I thought it was interesting that DavCam decided to invide along a very famous tax avoider (apologies for using the Daily Mail!), one of whose most famous albums was recorded during his previous period of tax exile.

  10. I’d say John Key has not been listening because it is not in his plans for NZ.

    John Key’s plans for NZ are becoming more obvious by the day, selling farms to the Chinese so get a foot in the door and obtain more land and build their mega factories where live animals go in one end and goods ready for market come out the other end.

    John Keys vision of a low wage economy will sit very nicely with the Chinese mega factories, no worries that the wages paid is not sufficient for a family to live on, John and his boys don’t want to know that after all NACT thinking is if you are a manual worker then you are there to keep your country working and other than that we don’t give a rats arse about you.

  11. Karl Sinclair 12

    Hey Johnny Boy……

    UN:
    Health and education must improve, it says. Subsidies on fossil fuels should end, and governments must look beyond the standard economic indicator of GDP.

    Say no more….

    Your a fossil……..

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16775264

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Simon Bridges: the 15 March Christchurch massacre and winning at any cost
    . . Just when you thought Simon Bridges couldn’t sink any lower – he has. After the March 15th  Christchurch terror attack, the (current) Leader of the National Party issued strong committments to support urgently needed gun law reform; “We will be ready and prepared to be constructive and to ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 day ago
  • Only the least intelligent students, with bad parents, will attend the nonsense climate strike
    We all know that bad parents simply don’t care about their children’s education. Most truants have loser parents, and grow up to be involved with crime, or in low paid employment usually like their parents. The nonsense so-called “climate strike” coming up will be attended mostly by the least intelligent ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    2 days ago
  • Professional Internet Trolls being used to push manmade climate change lies
    Is the terrorist Organisation Greenpeace and the loony Green parties around the World hiring professional internet trolls? I have noticed a trend lately where if you post research, news articles or even comments that show the manmade climate change scam to be just that, you are immediately attacked, often within ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Strike!
    Today is the first day of the global climate strike. Led by schoolkids, people all around the world are going to protest to demand action on climate change. New Zealand isn't doing it till next Friday (join us!), but if you want to get active early, there's plenty to do ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Squandering our opportunity?
    The Herald has a story today about the 400 MW of wind power currently under construction. Good news, right? Except that none of it is being driven by policy (instead, its about replacing Contact Energy's Taranaki Combined Cycle gas-fired power plant, due to shut down in 2022), and most of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protect The King!
    To Protect and Serve: When the Prime Minister finds herself enmeshed in the coils of a full-blown political scandal, her colleagues and party comrades have only one priority: to release her as swiftly – and with as little lasting injury – as possible. Is this what Jacinda Ardern’s colleagues and ...
    2 days ago
  • The rot at the top.
    When military leaders cover up and lie to elected civilian authorities, the foundation of democratic civil-military relations is undermined because it is those authorities who are entrusted to hold the military accountable to the public that they mutually serve. But this is only true if civilian political authorities take their ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 days ago
  • Challenging the voting age in court
    The Make It 16 campaign to lower the voting age is launching this afternoon, and they have already announced plans to challenge the law in court:The campaign, named "Make it 16" will launch at Parliament on Friday, with plans to take their case to the High Court, testing the rights ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Israel’s elections herald a long siesta
    by Daphna Whitmore The long years of Netanyahu’s reign are drawing to an end. For years he has epitomized reactionary zionism as he oversaw hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers seize land in the West Bank. There are now 700,000 settlers, putting an end to the myth that Israel was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Petrol companies promise prices will come back down once peace is restored to the Middle East
    BP, Z and Mobil all insist that petrol price hikes are temporary, “in a very literal sense.” The nation’s major petrol providers are trying to allay customer fears over prices, promising that they’ll move to lower them again “immediately” when the Middle East is returned to its formerly peaceful state. ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • All Blacks unveil boat for Rugby World Cup 2019
    South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat. In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign. In a press conference that went ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • An increasingly shoddy coverup
    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    4 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    4 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    5 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    6 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    6 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    7 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

No feed items found.