CTU’s Alternative Economic Strategy

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, October 12th, 2010 - 15 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags: , ,

The CTU has just released its Alternative Economic Strategy. Well, they call it ‘alternative’ but it’s not like the Nats have one beyond Key smiling and waving. Anyway, the CTU’s Economic Strategy is an extremely impressive document. It goes through the current problems and suggests 100 reforms for a more successful, fair economy and country.

There’s so much worth reading in the document itself that I’ll restrict my comments to brief asides in indented italics:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Capitalism has never been fair, nor has it cared for the environment. But under the neoliberal policies followed in New Zealand for the last quarter of a century not only have these conditions got worse but the policies have failed in their own terms. Those policies are rooted in the idea that less government is better government and that “the market” if left to itself will lead to faster.

We do not believe these unsustainable and unconscionable trends are necessary, nor do they reflect what is good in New Zealand.

It was the growth of a finance sector far beyond the needs of the real economy that encouraged and inspired neoliberal ideology, along with the powerful economic forces of corporate globalisation which demanded the increasing deregulation and undermining of the social functions of government which have been so damaging. They said “leave us alone and the world will be a better place”. In fact the financial sector enriched itself at the expense of the rest of the economy, taking absurd risks, too often behaving unethically and criminally, harming hundreds of millions of hard working people and causing huge damage to the real economy which blameless workers will be left to pay for in lost income and taxes.

In New Zealand these policies

§ stripped away collective employment and union rights so that workers’ wages have fallen behind their increasing productivity and workers are increasingly forced into vulnerable temporary or contractor jobs;

§ privatised swathes of services and assets whose new owners neglected infrastructural investment, failed to create new infrastructure such as broadband, and ignored needed services such as community banking;

§ slashed benefits to poverty levels, especially affecting families;

§ hamstrung social and economic use of the monetary system by limiting regulation to the control of inflation through interest rates, hindering development of the real economy;

§ grew banks that accelerated New Zealand’s international indebtedness and the housing price bubble, and a non-banking sector riddled with instability and fraud; and

§ entered international trade and investment agreements which removed much of our ability to manage our international economic relationships and made many of these actions difficult or impossible to reverse.

Despite the propaganda, New Zealand’s economic growth and international competitiveness have stagnated.

This Strategy is a response to these failed policies.

We seek a coherent alternative to current policy principles and institutional structures which will improve the position of working people and New Zealand. Current economic policies and principles have demonstrably failed. A new approach is needed which learns the harsh lessons of not just the financial and economic crisis, but the trend of economic events that led to that calamity. We also need to learn from New Zealand’s recent history and the unsustainable degradation of the environment. We want policies which work together to strengthen each other and are sustainable, not only from the point of view of government finances, but also because they create and nourish a healthy economy, a healthy society and a healthy environment.

They lay out three goals of a successful economic strategy:

Sustainable economic development

Decent work and a good life

Voice: real participation in decisions in the workplace, economy and community.

First off, they suggest measures to tackle the current employment crisis:

With unemployment forecast to remain high for two to three years, more government action is needed. This could include

§ Action some of the large range of possible initiatives which would both have long term benefits for the economy and quickly create jobs which the CTU put forward for the Job Summit.

§ Stop cutting government jobs.

§ Expand the Job Opportunities scheme, continue with Community Max, significantly increase Task Force Green and other environmental work.

§ For those unemployed over 13 weeks, an entitlement to a Skills Investment Fund Booster package that adds to the normal level of the Skills Investment Fund support to take to new employment, and provides access to individually tailored skills audits.

§ Co-finance projects with local government to bring forward infrastructural and environmental work such as water and sewerage projects.

§ Bring forward more national infrastructure spending such as investment in schools and hospitals, and green retrofitting of government buildings.

§ Increase spending in tertiary education to allow more people to increase their skills and education, with additional support to unemployed people and beneficiaries who wish to enter tertiary education.

§ Accelerate the rollout of tourism initiatives.

§ Government and SOE purchasing that assists New Zealand manufacturers and services.

§ Back New Zealand jobs in KiwiRail projects.

§ Partially underwrite bank lending to businesses according to agreed criteria in return for a guarantee of job retention for a specified period.

§ Build more state houses, and support iwi and local government housing initiatives.

§ Invest further in home insulation and clean heating.

Then, it’s down to the reform agenda:

Economic Development

§ A strategic approach to sustainable economic development

If no-one’s directing the ship, it’s not surprising that it doesn’t end up where we want it to go. As things stand, we haven’t even agreed where we want to go.

§ Priority to chosen sectors such as ICT, high level processing of agricultural products

Why shouldn’t we, through the democratic system, choose winners? The market has proven incapable. And the fact is that time and again, here and abroad successful innovation has come from government leadership (eg the Internet)

§ Strong powers preventing or regulating market power that is not in the public interest

The neoliberal model turned a blind eye as private monopolies or oligarchies were allowed to develop or government monopolies were sold into private hands. Unregulated capitalism trends towards monopolies. Any monopoly that is allowed to exist should be collectively owned.

§ Support the development of co-operatives, especially worker co-operatives

It’s an under-acknowledged fact that our largest exporter is a cooperative. Quite rightly the dairy farmers have resisted attempts to destroy their cooperative because they know the result will be profits going offshore. Cooperatives can be very successful business models because workers have a real incentive to contribute to the business and they get the just reward for doing so.

Infrastructure

§ National and regional infrastructural plans

§ National physical telecommunications network owned by central or local government

§ Buy back Telecom’s physical network priced to reflect its short life and long neglect

§ Begin to buy back the privatised electricity system to optimise it in the public interest

Leaving vital national infrastructure in the hands of private companies that do not have the same interests, or the long-term outlook, as the country is a recipe for disaster. It leads to underinvestment and asset-stripping, with the owners knowing the government will be forced to bail them out if everything comes apart.

§ Port and shipping strategies for better use of ports, and coastal shipping’s survival

§ Develop urban public transport and support local suppliers of bus and rail equipment

All the more important in the age of peak oil.

§ A “human infrastructure” fund for tertiary education and workplace training

It’s unbelievable that National is cutting education. It’s like a farmer eating the seeds for next year’s crop.

Innovation, Research and Development (R&D)

§ Support for R&D through shareholding, intellectual property ownership, or tax credits

§ Encourage open ownership of intellectual property or co-ownership with researchers

§ Preference for centres of research excellence and capability funds over contestability

§ Extension services to form a knowledge bridge between researchers and firms

I’d like to see universities be given a much more prominent role in tech development and holding on to the rights to the innovations they develop.

Government Procurement

§ Use government and state owned enterprise procurement to develop local industry

§ Tender conditions to reflect national benefit rather than narrow “value for money”

§ Commission products in sufficient numbers to support firms to develop scale

§ Responsible contracting policies to encourage adoption of good practice

With government spending totalling nearly 50% of GDP, the government can have a huge impact on the market if it chooses to. Why shouldn’t the government use that power to demand best practice in employment and environmental standards? It’s better than fluffing about with indirect measures like tax credits and grants.

Māori

§ Continuing support for Treaty settlements including capacity building and training

§ Support Māori co-operatives such as in the seafood industry

§ Greater support for housing on Māori land and assistance for community housing

Education and skill development

§ National network of high quality publicly owned early childhood education centres

A public system means we’re not having taxpayer money funding someone’s profits, while equality of access and quality control is easier to ensure.

§ Continuing professional development for teachers to maintain top educational practice

§ Tertiary education available to all with a reasonable likelihood of benefitting from it

§ Lower fees for learners willing to be bonded to work in New Zealand

§ Employer workplace training funding conditional on skill recognition in pay scales

§ Support life-long learning by right to one year of fees and allowances in every five

Financial System

Stability

§ Require regulatory approval for high risk financial services, sourced locally or abroad

§ A Financial Activities Tax (FAT) on profits and high-level remuneration

§ Reduce reliance on foreign funding; stop other risky behaviour demonstrated overseas

§ Define bailouts and deposit guarantees in statute; fund by a levy on institutions

§ Scale up Kiwibank to same size as the big four; move government accounts to it

The government accounts themselves aren’t highly profitable, but the huge increase in deposits they represent would allow kiwibank to upscale itself to be a major player

§ Ban offshore outsourcing of financial system infrastructure

Social responsibility

§ Increase public accountability of the sector reflecting its dependence on government

§ Require charges to be related to real costs; create a Financial Consumer Agency

§ Encourage the expansion of trustee banks, mutuals and co-operatives

Finance for economic development

§ Government owned development finance agency with public and private funds

§ Long term Kiwi bonds for infrastructure

§ Encourage NZ Super and Kiwisaver funds to invest more locally

These ideas could be brought together with the buying back of major assets in a New Zealand Future Fund mandated to secure this country’s economic sovereignty by buying key assets here and abroad. It would mean fewer profits heading overseas.

Monetary policy, exchange rate

§ Give the Reserve Bank the role and power to peg the exchange rate for stability

New Zealand’s is one of the smallest free-floating exchange rates. It’s madness that we have the tenth most traded currency in the world, it’s nearly all speculation and hot money.

§ Ensure the Reserve Bank has sufficient powers to manage international capital flows

§ Review Reserve Bank Act, and Fiscal Responsibility part of the Public Finance Act

§ Reduce reliance of monetary policy on interest rates (e.g. use capital ratios, liquidity)

The OCR is a blunt and increasingly ineffective tool – it doesn’t do its job and it causes too much damage as side-effects

§ Terms of reference to take account of employment, living standards, exchange rate

International economic relationships

§ Support moves to increase international financial regulation and end tax havens

§ Support an international Financial Transactions Tax (“Tobin Tax”)

Some countries have passed laws so that a Tobin Tax will come into effect in their country when other countries pass similar laws. New Zealand should join the club to ratchet up pressure for an international Tobin Tax.

§ Controls on foreign direct investment to enable selection of beneficial investment

§ No further concessions in international agreements that conflict with this Strategy

§ Remove constraints on development and stability in international agreements

§ Stronger international union collaboration and labour agreements

Taxation

§ A tax-free band and/or tax rebate for people on incomes under $35,000

§ Tax rates of 38% on income above $100,000 and 45% on income above $150,000

My own preference is for a negative tax/guaranteed minimum income which would also, by and large replace the benefit system

§ Reduce GST to 12.5% and progressively replace it with other forms of tax

Personally, I’m not so against GST in general. I agree with taking it off food but my priority would be less taxation of income and saving, not consumption.

§ Increase royalties on commercial use of resources; tax polluting/greenhouse emissions

§ Ensure lower income people do not pay an unfair share of pollution taxes

§ Change trust and company tax rules to cut tax dodging; restore company taxes to 30%

The neoliberals want to believe there’s some race to the bottom on corporate rates and we have to be part of it or companies will go elsewhere. Rubbish. Any decent company doesn’t make decisions of that scale on a basis of a couple of percent of tax.

§ Capital gains tax or a “Risk Free Rate of Return” assets tax, exempting primary home

Good stuff. But what about Gareth Morgan’s idea of a capital tax? It could be used to do away with a lot of income tax.

Environment and measuring progress

§ Comprehensive approach to ensure a “just transition” to a more sustainable society

§ Support for workers displaced as a result of the response to climate change

§ Invest in skills for the new economy; research and information freely available

§ Provision for assistance when a whole community is affected by climate change

§ Participation by workers in the approaches taken to climate change in workplaces

§ Adopt alternative measures of progress to use alongside GDP to guide priorities

GDP doesn’t actually measure anything very important. National Disposable Income is an existing measure that is more interesting. The Genuine Progress Indicator deserves more development work. Even just looking at changes in our net national wealth provides a more informative picture than GDP alone.

Decent work and a good life

Employment and Unions

§ Extend union coverage and collective bargaining to wider groups of workers

§ Mechanisms for national and industry level standards setting

§ Living Standards Review Authority reporting to a Tripartite Social/Economic Council

§ Full employment a central objective of government policy

Full employment and decent wages, the evidence shows, are the key foundations of a healthy society.

§ “Flexicurity” providing security of employment alongside flexibility for firms

§ Retain 90% of prior income for up to 12 months unemployment

§ Conditional on commitment to acquire new skills and job search

§ Fund through compulsory employer levies and taxation, underwritten by government

Not sure I agree. Seems likely to encourage abuse and most favourable to high wage people who lose their jobs. It would reduce the multiplier effect of recessions, though, were job losses cause a big drop in income and spending, sparking further job losses.

§ Active support to acquire new skills and find new jobs including relocation assistance

Social Security, Retirement, Housing, Equity, Inequality

§ Review benefits to eliminate poverty; set base rates proportional to average wage

§ Return ACC to a social compensation scheme funded on a pay as you go basis

§ Maintain NZ Superannuation and resume Fund contributions as soon as practicable

How many millions have we lost so far from the Nats’ short-sighted decision to cut the Cullen Fund’s contributions?

§ Kiwisaver enhancements after an appropriate inquiry could include:

§ Compulsory employer contributions of 6% phased in over 4 years

§ Compulsory employee contribution 2%; Government top-up 2%

§ Government contribution for women and others with low life time incomes

Kiwisaver has the potential to generate a massive domestic capital pool, reducing our reliance on foreign capital, which we pay interest on.

§ Create National Housing Strategy

§ Expand Housing New Zealand Corporation’s (HNZC) housing stock by 20%

National’s big plan is 30 houses were you can buy the land later. 30. Oh, and they slashed the money for building new state houses.

§ Encourage affordable housing in new developments

Shouldn’t that say require?

§ Reform tenancy laws to give greater security to tenants

§ Phase out accommodation supplements in favour of other assistance

§ Support public rental and third sector housing programmes

§ Subsidise home lending in tailored programmes for targeted and low income groups

§ During downturns, consider low interest Reserve Bank funding for new housing

I think the government should led in building new, eco-smart homes, rent them through Housing NZ but also be prepared to sell them to first home buyers with the condition they can’t be rented out privately.

§ Right for workers to require a workplace Pay and Employment Equity assessment

§ Extend paid parental leave to 52 weeks, raise pay to 66% of average weekly earnings

§ Increase the minimum wage rate to 66% of average ordinary time hourly earnings

Good. There’s no reason why it can’t be that high. It was in the past.

§ Electricity pricing entitling every household to a certain amount of low cost electricity

Get rid of daily charges and have a rising price scale per kw/hr.

Voice: real participation in decisions

Consultative structures, Worker Participation, Media

§ Government consultation with unions, business and others on all policy development

§ Active citizenship in the workplace: access for community consultation with workers

§ Recognise increased worker participation assists increased productivity

§ Firm, industry and national participative structures to sustain worker participation:

§ Involve unions in processes of change in workplaces and in skill development

§ Consider worker representation on boards and on-line workplace consultation forums

§ Encourage trust-owned “public service” non-profit newspapers and other media

§ Fund investigative print journalism through the equivalent of “New Zealand On Air”

I think they need to look at combining RNZ and TVNZ’s resources to create a single 21st century, cross-format media outlet with one goal: provide the best news service in the world.

15 comments on “CTU’s Alternative Economic Strategy”

  1. Bored 1

    I like what I have read so far, its a very balanced approach. What worries me is that (as I constantly state) we will have a long period of deflationary economic decline to a more “energy balanced future”. This will constrain any growth which raises the questions of how to implement our future economy fairly, and achieve the aims of this document. That said, its a good start.

  2. nzfp 2

    § Review Reserve Bank Act, and Fiscal Responsibility part of the Public Finance Act

    What exactly do they want to review? The Public Finance Act is one of the few pieces of New Zealand legislation that provides mechanisms for Direct Government Funding via the RBNZ without incuring debt – specifically interest charges to foreign banks.

    While I believe there is much good here, it’s what I don’t see – as a monetary reform evangelist – that concerns me. What I don’t see is Government responsibility for the creation of our money supply. Until we have full control over our money supply, we are doomed to parasitical financialised business cycles as demonstrated with computer models by Australian economist Steve Keen.

    I am also concerned that the Tax policies do not address the financialisation of assets as prefered tax status (homes, property) and that there is a focus on “tax polluting/greenhouse emissions” rather then taxing economic rent (land, resources) and using regulation to curb environmentally harmful behaviour.

    Otherwise – yeah it’s better then the system we have now – and its a start – and it encourages debate in the important areas of our society – so good on CTU for that.

  3. Roflcopter 3

    Pointless without all the $$$ involved in implementation, and where the $$$ is supposed to come from.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      the point is that we already have the wealth as a country. it’s just a hell of a lot of it is going on luxury consumption by the elite.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Capitalism has never been fair, nor has it cared for the environment. But under the neoliberal policies followed in New Zealand for the last quarter of a century not only have these conditions got worse but the policies have failed in their own terms.

    Well, they certainly got that bit right.

    § Co-finance projects with local government to bring forward infrastructural and environmental work such as water and sewerage projects.

    Stop borrowing money and start printing it and then spending it directly into the economy. Bailouts don’t work as they just ensure that the rich stay rich and don’t help anyone else as well as keeping an uneconomic unit going.

    § Bring forward more national infrastructure spending such as investment in schools and hospitals, and green retrofitting of government buildings.

    This is the stuff that should be happening anyway. It shouldn’t need a recession, caused by the collapse of the financial ponzi scheme, to initiate it.

    If no-one’s directing the ship, it’s not surprising that it doesn’t end up where we want it to go. As things stand, we haven’t even agreed where we want to go.

    Believing in the “invisible hand” is probably the most irrational thing about the free-market. If we want something, we have to plan for it. Every single self-help book I’ve read and business course I’ve done agrees with that.

    § Long term Kiwi bonds for infrastructure

    Not needed, a government never needs to borrow and should never do so. they just need to print the money and then use taxes to maintain monetary value (ie, removing excess money from the market).

    These ideas could be brought together with the buying back of major assets in a New Zealand Future Fund mandated to secure this country’s economic sovereignty by buying key assets here and abroad.

    If we demand economic sovereignty for ourselves then by what right do we deny that to anyone else?

    § Retain 90% of prior income for up to 12 months unemployment

    This is something that has been bugging me lately. People with a good job go out and buy a house and then the market crashes and they lose it through no fault of their own. This should not happen. A policy such as this will help prevent such injustices from happening.

    How many millions have we lost so far from the Nats’ short-sighted decision to cut the Cullen Fund’s contributions?

    How many are we about to lose when the double-dip into a full depression happens? Paper money is not wealth.

    § During downturns, consider low interest Reserve Bank funding for new housing

    All housing should be financed with 0% interest loans from the RSBNZ. These loans will have strict limitations on them to prevent a housing bubble.

    § Right for workers to require a workplace Pay and Employment Equity assessment

    What does that mean?

    § Electricity pricing entitling every household to a certain amount of low cost electricity

    Similar to my thoughts on the matter. Base plans with x amount of electricity for x amount of dollars with any extra used being charged at about 10x (or more) the present rate. This would both supply cheap electricity (the base amount) as well as encourage energy savings (because going over the base amount will be damned expensive). And, of course, bring the electricity sector back into full single entity government ownership so that it can be rationally managed.

    § Government consultation with unions, business and others on all policy development

    Make workplaces co-operatives (yes, a legislated change that removes ownership) instead of the dictatorial capitalist system and you get to have consultation between business and government. A lot simpler and more cost effective as you’ve removed the parasite element (the capitalists) that works hard to prevent rational discourse and planning.

    • Nick C 4.1

      “Stop borrowing money and start printing it and then spending it directly into the economy. Bailouts don’t work as they just ensure that the rich stay rich and don’t help anyone else as well as keeping an uneconomic unit going.”

      Hows that working out in Zimbabwe?

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        How’s countries borrowing all their money from banks working out in Greece? In Ireland? In Iceland? In the UK? In the US? In Japan?

        Try again Nick C.

  5. Bill 5

    There are some fine sounding words in there.

    I’m only going to comment briefly on two points that are suggested. (Actually, one is suggested and the other is implied by the language that is employed.)

    Second point first, then.

    The Alternative Economic Strategy Summary’ states: “We want a society that is fairer, that tolerates neither poverty nor the human costs of high inequality, and where people are no longer disadvantaged by being women, Maori or Pasifika.”

    Which is okay as far as it goes (there are many more identifiable criteria that attract disadvantage, but that’s beside the point). The implication is that the CTU as a body, currently accepts those very things that it wishes society didn’t tolerate. Read the quote again if you’re not sure what I mean. Was it unthinkable for the CTU to have stated something connected and vital…maybe along the lines of : “We are not willing to tolerate the human costs of high inequality such as poverty. And we are not willing to tolerate women or Maori or Pasifika being disadvantaged”

    Anyway. My second point, which was my principle one is simply this.

    Their particular brand of consultation is a recipe for being co-opted. There is no point at all in having worker reps sitting in on management. It does nothing to empower workers and everything to empower and deepen managerial cultures of exploitation and exclusion. There is a bloody good reason for unions, or any other worker body for that matter, being at arms length from bosses in a hierarchical work environment.

    The document also calls for worker co-operatives to be encouraged. And yet I’ll wager that there are no people in the union movement with any experience of setting up or sustaining co-operative ventures. If there were, then propositions for worker buy outs of businesses that were considering redundancies would be commonplace instead of unheard of.

    So anyway. There is no strategy. The whole thing, disappointingly, looks like a pot-pourri of fine sounding words and shopping list/wish lists with no concrete underpinning.

    Best I’d hope for is that it might generate debate that could eventuate in a strategy. And if anybody from within the CTU wants to engage me on matters of genuine worker participation, as opposed to the lip service type suggested in the documents, and/or the formation and ongoing viability of worker co-ops and collectives, I’m all ears.

    And not holding my breath. Because I suspect that the documents are being viewed as an end in themselves and therefore as reason enough for some gratuitous backslapping on a job well done on the way to a celebratory jar.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      If there were, then propositions for worker buy outs of businesses that were considering redundancies would be commonplace instead of unheard of.

      The unions should have been looking at that option from the 1990s but I doubt that they’ve thought beyond the hierarchical model enough, if at all, to do so. Even if they did they’d probably keep it as “union owned” rather than as a true co-operative.

  6. Green Tea 6

    Like most things CTU its big on words but low on action.

    • Craig Glen Eden 6.1

      Unlike National and John Key who have been so sucksessful in closing the wages gap with Australia!

      Stop smoking the green tea green tea.

  7. JD 7

    “Like most things CTU its big on words but low on action.”

    But they do stand outside (albeit the wrong venue) and wave placards which does constitute ‘action’.

    I think you meant to say they were low on influence.

    BTW have they managed to drive the filming of the Hobbit to eastern europe yet?

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      BTW have they managed to drive the filming of the Hobbit to eastern europe yet?

      Try standing up for fellow NZ workers for a change instead of backing the corporates by insisting that we compete on the same basis as low wage countries with no minimum working conditions.

    • Eddie 7.2

      The CTU is trying to negotiate a solution (even if the govt is trying to claim the credit). The dispute is between MEAA and the producers, not the CTU.

      I think the protesters at the Nat party conference you’re referring to were Unite.

      captcha – distinguish (i love this thing)

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    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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    5 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
    6 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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