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

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    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    4 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    5 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    5 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    5 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    5 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
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    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
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    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Extra support for rural families
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