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Death tax fake news

Written By: - Date published: 10:47 am, May 21st, 2019 - 62 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, australian politics, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, facebook, interweb, journalism, making shit up, Media, Politics, tax, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, twitter, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

As everyone gets their head around what happened in Australia news is coming out about the role that social media played.  And it was not a positive role.

This tweet caught my interest:

The responses are concerning.

The spread of misinformation appears to have gone far and wide.

And this particular allegation has been circulated for a while.  In April Labor demanded that Facebook take these posts down but clearly this did not happen.  From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Labor has demanded Facebook investigate apparent “fake news” posts claiming the opposition is planning to introduce a “death tax” on inheritances, in the first major test of the social media giant’s promise to crack down on false election material.

The posts and messages shared via Facebook messenger incorrectly claimed Labor had signed a covert deal to bring in a 40 per cent inheritance tax and carried a link to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s website, though the Liberal Party said it was not behind the posts.

“Labor, the Greens and unions have signed an agreement to introduce a 40 percent inheritance tax,” the crudely written message states.

“Everything you own cannot go to your kids or next of kin at death 40 percent goes to the govt. Please share this with all your friends.”

One Nation has been running with this line for a while, but the Liberals more recently got in on the act.  A Canberra Liberal advertising truck had the slogan, “Labor will tax you to death” printed on it, clearly implying that a death tax was on the cards, and Josh Frydenberg, LNP Treasurer said that an inheritance tax under Labor was not out of the question because the idea has previously been favoured by opposition frontbencher and economist Andrew Leigh as well as the union movement.

There was also a scaremongering press release from a fictitious housing organisation and Scott Morrison also got in on the act.  From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Mr Morrison said “it sounds to me that he has struck a deal with the Greens” and questioned what the terms would be.

“What is that deal with the Greens? The Greens are up for death taxes. Even Andrew Leigh is up for death taxes, let alone the union movement,” he said.

“What is the deal that Bill Shorten has with the Greens to get all of his taxes through and to get all of his carbon abatement policies, emissions reduction policies, which he won’t even explain to the Australian people.”

There was also the perennial if Labor gets elected your rents would go up with a scaremongering letter sent to many tenants.

From Danielle Wood on ABC news:

The lowest blow of this election campaign may have come from a firm of real estate agents that abused its position of trust to scare renters about Labor’s proposed negative gearing changes.

If you are one of those renters, relax. You have nothing to fear from the changes. You might even benefit from them. The only interests the real estate firm is protecting are its own.

Late last week Raine & Horne principal Graham Cockerill wrote to tenants saying Labor’s changes would be “devastating” and included material from the Real Estate Institute of Australia warning of what might happen if “the planned changes to negative gearing do go ahead”.

“The fall in property prices will decrease the value of 18 million Australians’ retirement nest eggs,” and “rents will rise” the material warns.

“Further, government savings will be less than estimated, unemployment will rise and our whole economy will be in jeopardy.”

Other renters have received official-looking material apparently sent by the Liberal Party reading “Final Notice: Rent Increase”.

It’s a jumped-up scare campaign. But some renters may give it more credibility than it’s worth because some of it comes from the people who normally notify you when your rent is going up.

Of course the claim is absolute bollocks.  Reversing negative gearing should reduce house prices which should then have a negative effect on rentals.  It is appalling that the claim was even made.

What effect did these have?  In a very tight election you have to wonder.

And what should we do?  Singapore recently passed a law that requires online media platforms to carry corrections or remove content the government considers to be false.  Penalties can be as high as prison terms of up to 10 years or fines up to NZ$1.1 million.

I am not advocating that New Zealand should do the same.  But Facebook and Twitter and the other social media providers should have a legal as well as moral obligation to deal with these events when they are pointed out to them.

If you really want to get concerned this discussion by Tom Barraclough about deepflakes and synthetic media will do the job.

We live in very interesting times …

62 comments on “Death tax fake news”

  1. Labour and the greens will have to be all over this when it happens, and it will happen, in 2020.

    From the get go, the story will have to be not the fake news, but those behind it, and not months later like with the Exclusive bretheren bullshit.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      I remember that well.  Back then it was a matter of the EBs doing a mass pamphlet drop.  This time it will be more spread out, more diffuse and harder to pinpoint.

      • The Al1en 1.1.1

        I'm sure we'll all pick up the death tax type ads in real time. It would make sense that when it does happen there is a coordinated push back to immediately go on the offensive. No point leaving it until after the damage has been done.

        • mpledger 1.1.1.1

          The problem is 

          “If you're explaining, you're losing.”

          ― Ronald Reagan, The Reagan Diaries

  2. higherstandard 2

    Hyperbole and outright lies being told at election time, I'm shocked…

     

     

  3. adam 3

    "remove content the government considers to be false."

    The censorship crowd, getting sillier with every day. 

    Maybe if the ALP offered somthing apart from hard right economics, it might have won. 

    • dv 3.1

      Yep really silly.

      Want to see lotsa lies 

       

    • The Al1en 3.2

      So according to you, the hard right labor lost to the harder right coalition with, in the two party preferred vote, a combined 100% of the total.

      Not much room for anarchic no hope merchants to swing a dead cat.

      • adam 3.2.1

        You will note I said hard right economics, probably a bit hard for your tiny brain to spot the difference.

        But keeping praying to not be a dumb ass, it might work out for ya. 

        • The Al1en 3.2.1.1

          That doesn't change the answer I gave, nor lessen it's impact on your badly made point. Either way, those hard right economics resonated with the voters, and makes your theory completely moot.

  4. Rapunzel 4

    It will happen to a degree it already does with "announcements" that by omission are not accurate, the fact that some MSM are paywalled means the general public who are resisting paying for rubbish may not see the "opinion" pieces that verge on this, often the headlines alone are already misleading, or the responses that refute the claims being made.

  5. Muttonbird 5

    Other renters have received official-looking material apparently sent by the Liberal Party reading “Final Notice: Rent Increase”.

    Far out, that is disgusting from the Liberal Party. Who the hell authorises that?

    It just confirms the evil within and without of right wing people the world over. What revolting people they are. 

    • Wensleydale 5.1

      Lie, lie and lie some more… just so long as you win. Fake it until you make it, basically. And yes, they are scum.

      “The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever becoming one.” — Billy Connolly

      And Real Estate Agents, eh? Suit-clad cockroaches for the most part. I'm sure there are probably exceptions, but I haven't met any. It's probably one of the few occupations whose practitioners seem to actively encourage you to hate them.

    • alwyn 5.2

      Gosh, your complaint rings a bell. Now what does it remind me of?

      Oh yes. Do you remember the disgusting official-looking material that was sent out to State House tenants in 2005 at election time? It purported to be an ejection notice. 

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10344943

      To correct your last two sentences

      "It just confirms the evil within and without of  left wing people the world over. What revolting people they are." 

      • Muttonbird 5.2.1

        Using David Benson-Pope in your defence? Mkay, then.

        And…National proceeded to evict tenants and sell state houses when they eventually did grab power.

        • alwyn 5.2.1.1

          You really do believe everything your beloved party tells you don't you?

          Well I guess it demonstrates that fake news works.

        • McFlock 5.2.1.2

          Yup. HNZ stock declined by about 800 dwellings a year under nact.

           

          • Muttonbird 5.2.1.2.1

            Tough love, eh? A bit of time on the streets never hurt anyone.

            Despite Benson-Pope being a right wanker he was spot on in this case. Have to thank alwyn for bring this to the forum’s attention.

            • alwyn 5.2.1.2.1.1

              "A bit of time on the streets never hurt anyone".

              I incline to believe that you have never actually had to exist while living in the street. Only a complete fool would make such a claim. What a miserable prick you are demonstrating yourself to be by telling us the truth about your disgusting beliefs.

              Perhaps you should come down to Wellington and try it yourself. Over the last year or so the number of people living rough on the streets has risen a lot. Come on down and tell them how good it is for them and how privileged they are to be able to live that way while the Government we are stuck with throws all our money at important things like all weather horse-racing tracks for their mates in the racing industry.

              • Muttonbird

                Missed the irony, alwyn? Not the only thing you miss.

                • alwyn

                  You said it sonny. No good now trying to pretend you don't mean it. When you reveal what you really think, even if you didn't mean to admit what a ratbag you are, you are just going to have to wear it. It's no good pretending that you didn't mean what you said. You are a schmuck and you might as well admit it.

                  • Muttonbird

                    This is pretty low level stuff, alwyn.

                    Thing I've noticed about all you RWNJs is you get a bit testy when your lack of compassion gets shoved in your mean, smug faces.

          • alwyn 5.2.1.2.2

            That is a pretty poor defense of the Labout Party b*s from you McFlock. I thought you could do better than that in defense of their outright lies.

            That letter went to about 70,000 people whose address on the Electoral Roll corresponded to a State House. Given the number of State Houses they were clearly trying to send a personally addressed letter to every State House tenant they could identify.

            They told every single one of them that they would be evicted if National became the Government. Every Single One. In other words it was a claim that National were going to get rid of every State House. Even the most gullible git of a Labour supporter must find that very hard to believe to have been the truth.

            Surely you aren't really so foolish? Or, as you and MB seem to be demonstrating, perhaps you really are so stupid.

            • McFlock 5.2.1.2.2.1

              "They told every single one of them that they would be evicted if National became the Government. Every Single One. In other words it was a claim that National were going to get rid of every State House. "
               

              Really? What was the full text of the "letter"?

               

              Speaking of lies, from your link:

              However, National housing spokesman David Carter reiterated last night that houses would only be sold to tenants who wanted to buy, and that existing tenants would be protected from market rents.

               

      • Stuart Munro. 5.2.2

        Reaching.

        The Exclusive Brethren leaflet of lies in the Coromandel was a standout. One of the claims that got my goat was a claim that the Greens would introduce a CGT. Having just spent several months trying to persuade them to adopt one, and failing, it was pretty off-pissing to see the liars impugning them for something they wouldn't do, a couple of days before the election. 

        Gnat paws were all over this pack of lies, as usual.

  6. Reality 6

    As the Prime Minister is a devout "Christian" (on Sundays) one wonders what his thinking is on the telling of falsehoods?

    • Wensleydale 6.1

      He probably feels much the same way as Catholic cardinals do about child sex abuse. "It's all completely fine just so long as no one finds out about it. Then it gets all awkward and embarrassing and stuff, and we have to pay people money."

  7. Ad 7

    We have probably only one more election in which we will win simply on Jacinda-power.

    After that we will need our own extreme headlines.

    Far better to fight fire with fire than complain about things being "unfair".

    We lose when we're polite.

    • indiana 7.1

      I thought star dust and prancing unicorns lasted forever!

      • Ad 7.1.1

        Baby+Massacre+Engagement extends the vibe pretty well

      • Gabby 7.1.2

        Ponyboy pulling the pin must've been a right ol kickinthguts for you indinana.

      • alwyn 7.1.3

        "lasted forever".

        That was only Puff the magic dragon. Since she got dumped by the UN Puff seems to have re-appeared on our shores trying to set herself up as the arbiter of what anyone is allowed to say, and what is allowed to go on at a stadium that has been there longer than she has. Is she back living in Mt Eden or does she just claim the right to speak on the local residents behalf?

        • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1.3.1

          Alwyn, which NZ female MPs do you rate?  Who’d make your 1st 15, or 30, or 45?

          IMHO, NZ female MPs with admirable principles &/or notable firsts/achievements include (in chronological order, excluding MPs elected for the first time in 2017):

          Elizabeth McCombs
          Mabel Howard
          Hilda Ross
          Ethel McMillan
          Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan
          Dorothy Jelicich
          Marilyn Waring
          Ann Hercus
          Helen Clark
          Ruth Richardson
          Margaret Shields
          Fran Wilde
          Margaret Austin
          Annette King
          Sonja Davies
          Jenny Shipley
          Lianne Dalziel
          Christine Fletcher
          Judith Tizard
          Ruth Dyson
          Sandra Lee
          Phillida Bunkle
          Pam Corkery
          Jeanette Fitzsimons
          Laila Harre
          Marian Hobbs
          Nanaia Mahuta
          Georgina Te Heuheu
          Tariana Turia
          Georgina Beyer
          Sue Bradford
          Sue Kedgley
          Winnie Laban
          Margaret Wilson
          Metiria Turei
          Maryan Street
          Jacinda Ardern
          Tracey Martin
          Mojo Mathers
          Eugenie Sage
          Megan Woods

          • alwyn 7.1.3.1.1

            H'm, a real challenge. I don't really know very much about the very early ones so they are probably going to miss out, perhaps unfairly. For example the only thing I know about McCombs is that she was the first, at some time in the 1930s. The only thing about Mabel Howard was her waving her XXXOS bloomers about in the House. She would be my first reserve.

            However my top 10 would be as follows. They are not in order and they have been chosen only from the short list you have prepared. Why you left out so many of the National woman is hard to understand. You certainly haven't chosen the best available have you? For example how could you possibly include a crook like Metiria Turei but leave out people like Collins and Bennett is beyond my understanding. Why you would include Jelicich or Mathers but not Tombleson is also impossible to understand.

            However, choosing from you rather odd selection of candidates I would pick

            Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan
            Marilyn Waring
            Helen Clark
            Ruth Richardson
            Fran Wilde
            Jenny Shipley
            Phillida Bunkle
            Jeanette Fitzsimons
            Tariana Turia
            Sue Bradford

            If I worked from a complete list of woman MPs I suppose half of my ten might survive into a final list. Why did you pick your list the way you did? Surely you don't really think they were the pick of the crop?
             

            • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1.3.1.1.1

              Thanks Alwyn – my (stated) criteria were "principles and/or notable firsts/achievements".  Should have included Bennett (first female deputy PM). Are you really puzzled that our lists might differ so?

              Metiria is a crook in your eyes (naturally), and has yet to be charged with anything – maybe you should get on to that.

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    "In a video posted to her Facebook page, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson can be seen telling people at the festival that Bill Shorten and Labor would reintroduce a 40 per cent death tax if they stormed to power."  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-09/money-pumped-into-federal-election-death-tax-scare-campaign/11092802

    On what basis is she making this assertion?  History, apparently:  "In an interview on Sydney radio station 2GB in April, Labor's assistant shadow treasurer Andrew Leigh, who once wrote in favour of the tax, was at pains to stress the party would not be implementing one.  "Inheritance taxes died at the federal level 40 years ago in 1979. Labor has no plans to bring them back," Dr Leigh said.  "Thirteen years ago I was an academic floating ideas. Now, as a policymaker, I've been asked repeatedly my views on inheritance taxes, death taxes over the years.  I've always said I don't support them. Labor doesn't support them."

    So her attempt to scare voters has an historical basis, but no valid basis in current reality.  Such fake news ought to be illegal, and heavily penalised.  I'd like to see her prosecuted for it.  However, I can see the other side too.  She actually predicted the future.  There's no law against that.  Caveat emptor!

    • Wensleydale 8.1

      Even a swivel-eyed loon like Hanson is correct occasionally. Very occasionally.

      • alwyn 8.1.1

        Such people seem to have had their brains scrambled by working in Fish and Chip shops. I suppose it must be the effect of leaning over large pans of hot fat and inhaling the grease that does their minds in.

  9. SHG 9

    Holy crap, you mean to say there's stuff on the Internet that's not true?

    Why was I not made aware of this sooner

  10. Sanctuary 10

    The solution is straightforward. Block the major social media sites for three weeks before polling day. 

  11. q and a last night said Trump would win the republician primaries… to face off against 20plus possible democrats. which doesn't make sense since the democratic run against each other in their own primary.

  12. Gabby 12

    So the writers and publishers will be sued no doubt, and the damages used to fund the next election campaign.

  13. Cinny 13

    Fantastic post, fascinating topic.

    IMHO, more people need educating, they swallow it up hook line and sinker and act accordingly, it's super messed up, but it's reality for too many.

    Manufacturing Consent should be compulsory viewing for all secondary students, two terms dedicated to the subject would be ace, they could align subject matter with the social media of today.  Heck screen it on the TV as well.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LVsiP0s33A

    It's going to be interesting watching how it all goes down, if something comes of it.  To me it reeks of Murdoch style brainwashing via social media, purely for political manipulation. 

  14. vto 14

    What to do about it?

    Charge them under the Fair Trading (in Politics) Act, sections 9 and 10, no misleading or deceptive conduct in politics.

    The Fair Trading Act works pretty well in commerce, so should be easily moved to cover politics. Actions are easy to take and simple to establish. 

    Bring it on.

  15. bewildered 15

    Baaaaaaaaawhaaaaa

    some  one was nasty to us 

    what I am reading  is every one here is real super smart and can see the truth, everyone else is stupid if they don’t agree with their world view and vote left 

    Ironically this is one of the reasons the left are not as popular as they think. They live in a bubble thinking every one agrees with them because the majority of sane people can’t be bothered been ;  lectured or hectored by zealots so simply smile, stay mum or agree.In the quite of a ballot box people are far more truthful 

     

     

     

    • vto 15.1

      Who said truthful is the right way to vote?

      Truthful humanity is often very ugly.

      No wonder you're bewildered

      • bewildered 15.1.1

        So high brow VTO are you a philosopher or just a tosser, silly question we all know the answer 👍

    • Cinny 15.2

      Are you saying it's fine to lie in order to win?

      • bewildered 15.2.1

        Shock news Cinny but Politicians and their  mates. lie or  tell half truths and the average Joe ( left or right) is well aware of such when they vote Cindy and labour had a ball at last election pretending they had a plan, big promises and bollock claims about national ( but hey that’s politics)

      • Drowsy M. Kram 15.2.2

        Apologies for butting in, Cinny – I know your the question was to bewildered, but IMO it's not OK for politicians to lie to voters.

        Don't believe "they're all as bad as each other" bullshit.  Some politicians are more honest than others, at least some of the time, and it's not difficult to identify the most dishonest, dirty, corrupt and self-serving of our elected public 'servants' – they tend to 'out' themselves sooner or later.

      • indiana 15.2.3

        Its like standing in a protest against the TPP, then implementing it once you are in power.  That's the kind of lying politicians do…not so much the explicit use of words when they speak to the public.

    • Gabby 15.3

      You can't be a lying sack of shit without legal consequences beewee, certainly not in a country that upholds Good Christian Family Values.

  16. greywarshark 16

    I'll put this in here.   It is a sort of cautionary tale about Toronto which I think the article says has been riven by neo liberal austerity and had lost belief in rational government making things better.   It sounds uncomfortably similar to us in some aspects. All sorts of dicy dealings and fake news was going on as a change at the top was up for grabs.
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/03/rob-ford-toronto-canada-mayor-austerity

  17. Peter 17

    Guess we'll have to wait for 5.9 billion responses about pre-election bullshit before we have a mention of Steven Joyce. 

  18. Tuppence Shrewsbury 18

    remember the good old days when the left loved Facebook and Twitter for their “grassroots” potential? When likes and hashtags could predict elections? And labour’s scaremongering about selling assets would be the doom of the economy. Now that was fake news. 

    • mpledger 18.1

      Provide citations.  

      Selling the electricity providers was stupidity.  The govt have already lost more in profits than they gained by selling.  It was a cheap handout to corporate interests and rich NZers at the expense of all NZers.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 18.1.1

        errrr, it's earning more in profits now than they were owning 100% of the company. strange how the scrutiny of the market lifts performance. 

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  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    4 days ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    5 days ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    5 days ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    5 days ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    6 days ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    6 days ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    6 days ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    1 week ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How much does flying contribute to climate change?
    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 How much does our use of air travel contribute to the ...
    SciBlogsBy Shaun Hendy
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The task before us
    Two weeks ago, the Zero Carbon Act became law. Right this moment, the Climate Change Commisison will be working on its initial budgets for 2022-25 and 2026-2030, and the UN has just given them a very clear steer:Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock
    Minor planet/asteroid (2309) Mr. Spock is named not for the character in Star Trek, but for a cat that was itself imperturbable, logical, intelligent and had pointed ears In a preceding blog post I introduced one of my favourite asteroids, (2472) Bradman, and also mentioned (6581) Sobers amongst a few ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Measles deaths and antivax misinformation
    Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Colombia: the state murder of Dilan Cruz
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh It is late here in Bogotá, almost 11.30pm on Monday the 25th of November as I write this. The day began full of hope with yet more massive marches throughout the country, a mix of the International Day of Non-Violence Against Women and the National Strike. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
    Anti-fluoride activists are rubbing their hands in glee over what they claim is “yet another study” showing fluoride harms the brains of children. But their promotion relies on IQ relationships which the paper’s authors acknowledge disappearing when outliers or other factors are considered. And they completely ignore other relationships ...
    1 week ago
  • The rise and collapse of classical political economy
    The feature below is the conclusion of A History of Economic Thought, whose author was a leading Marxist economist in Russia in the early 20th century, Isaac Ilyich Rubin.  The book arose from a course he ran at Moscow University following the Russian Revolution.  First published in Russian in 1929, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman
    There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great.  As a minor planet (synonym: asteroid) spotter, I have ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Some cheap soundbites i thought up while reading about the underwhelming Conservative manifesto
    Tory manifesto: big on austerity, low on promise, non-existent on delivery. The Tories: the party so big on ambition they couldn't be arsed writing a manifesto. MLK: "I have a dream!"BJ: "I'll just have a nap." Labour: Broadband!Tories: Narrow minds! Labour have hope, dreams and ambition. The Tories will save ...
    1 week ago
  • Measles vaccination required to travel to islands and Phillipines
    The Ministry of Health has announced that “people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji” are now on the list of national priorities for MMR vaccination. Given the outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji, the Ministry of Health is ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Giving the finger to Beijing
    Hong Kong has been protesting for six months for, demanding democracy, human rights, and an end to police violence. Today, they went to the polls in district council elections - a low-level of government with virtually no power, similar to community boards in New Zealand. But while the positions themselves ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia’s national strike
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On Friday 22nd of November a curfew came into effect and troops were deployed on the streets, here in Bogota. It was the first time since September 1977 that a curfew had been imposed on the city. The decision was a cynical pre-planned ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • National supports slavery
    Meanwhile, while the government is planning to restore voting rights to prisoners, National is promising to turn our prisons into US-style slave-labour camps:The Opposition is proposing compulsory education, training or employment for prisoners who are serving sentences of two years or more. [...] On Sunday, National Party Leader Simon Bridges ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Erasing the infamy
    Last year, the Supreme Court confirmed that National's prisoner voting ban - a law so shoddily passed that it brought Parliament into disrepute - breached the Bill of Rights Act. This year, the Waitangi Tribunal added that it also breached the Treaty of Waitangi. And now, the government has finally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Trade unions that never fight the sex industry bosses
    Excerpts from Being and Being Bought, by Kajsa Ekis Ekman Spinifex Press, 2013. Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book. This is the second part of a synopsis and brief commentary of the book by Daphna ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • A Team Approach to Tackling the Psychology Replication Crisis
    Dalmeet Singh Chawla In 2008, psychologists proposed that when humans are shown an unfamiliar face, they judge it on two main dimensions: trustworthiness and physical strength. These form the basis of first impressions, which may help people make important social decisions, from who to vote for to how long a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Big Pharma has failed: the antibiotic pipeline needs to be taken under public ownership
    Claas Kirchhelle, University of Oxford; Adam Roberts, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and Andrew Singer, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Antibiotics are among the most important medicines known to humankind, but we are running out of this crucial resource. Decisive action is needed if we are to retain access to ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bloody Great Political Story (From A Parallel Universe).
    Things That Make You Go - Hmmmm: “All right. Let me come at this another way. I’m guessing that what you’ve got in that box contains names, dates, bank account numbers – all the details you need to put Winston Peters and Jacinda Ardern squarely in the cross-hairs. So, the first ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Submit!
    The Environment Committee has called for submissions on the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill. Submissions are due by Friday, 17 January 2020, and can be made online at the link above. The bill makes a number of changes to the ETS, including linking it to the carbon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Message From Messenger Park.
    Coasters Turn Out In Droves: It’s precisely the widening gulf between those with actual experience of things like guns, chainsaws and drilling machines, and those who regulate their use, that accounts for the angry crowd at Greymouth’s Messenger Park on Sunday, 17 November 2019. In the rarefied atmosphere where decisions ...
    2 weeks ago
  • JFK’s assassination: a bit of physics
    There are perennial arguments about the circumstances of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, and in particular whether more than one shooter is required by the evidence (such as the Zapruder film). Those who know little about physics frequently claim that the sharp backwards motion of JFK’s head as ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Is car washing so bad we need to ban it?
    Apparently, some people enjoy washing their cars. Each to his or her own, I suppose. I mean, some people like duck shooting, some people follow Coronation Street, and some people’s idea of a good day out is to sit on a grass bank at Seddon Park and watch cricket all ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • If Shane Jones isn’t corrupt, he is trying very hard to look it
    Last week we learned that New Zealand First had apparently tried to enrich itself from public office, with a dodgy forestry company linked to a number of NZ First figures sticking its hand out repeatedly for government money. Today in Question Time Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones had his ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: We need to end fossil fuels
    Finally, governments seem slowly to be beginning to act on climate change. But its not enough. While they're publicly signing up to targets, they're planning to destroy the world by continuing fossil fuel extraction:The world’s nations are on track to produce more than twice as much coal, oil and gas ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • As bad as we expected
    Stuff has begun interviewing NZ First's secret donors, and it turns out that its as bad as we expected. They start with racing industry figure Garry Chittick, who is predictably grumpy about NZ First's coalition choices. Meanwhile, I'm looking at the list of pork NZ First has effectively given its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Second (And Final?) Crucifixion Of Winston Peters.
    Stag At Bay: Twelve years ago, Winston Peters was still robust enough to come back from the political crucifixion which his political and media enemies had prepared for him. In his seventies now, the chances of a second resurrection are slim. We should, therefore, prepare for the last gasp of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Earth’s artificial rings
    Satellites pass over NZ all the time (literally). Here I focus on the 187 Planet Labs ‘Dove’ Earth-imaging satellites, and I show that one can determine in advance where they will be, enabling scientists on the ground to correlate their environmental and other data collection with opportunities to get imaging ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Softy Jejune Parson – the new Mother Superior of Wellington
      The Council of Disobedient Women has learned that the Prefect of Aro Valley has been promoted to a new role with the blessing of the Pope of Wellington. Softy Jejune Parson has been appointed Mother Superior of Woke Wellington for the work she has been doing calling out heretics, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Atlantic shakeup: US and UK leadership contenders ripping up the usual scripts?
    On both sides of the Atlantic, some purportedly “contentious” and “difficult to deal with” leadership contenders to lead the US and UK, as President and Prime Minister respectively, seem to have thrown a few spanners into the works of the normal messaging most are used to hearing constantly. Except they’re ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston is the PM’s problem
    In Question Time today the Prime Minister was naturally facing questions about Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and his dubious party financing arrangements, which seem to violate electoral finance law. Her response was to pretend that it was nothing to do with her, and that she is not responsible for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Tertiary Education Commission Board announced
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced the appointment of Māori education specialist Dr Wayne Ngata and Business NZ head Kirk Hope to the Board of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Dr Alastair MacCormick has been reappointed for another term. “Wayne Ngata, Kirk Hope and Alastair MacCormick bring a great deal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Next phase of Pike River recovery underway in time for Christmas
    The next phase of the Pike River Re-entry project is underway, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little says. “Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Insurance contracts to become easier to understand and fairer for consumers
    New Zealand consumers will have greater certainty about their insurance cover when they need to make claims as a result of proposed government changes. “Insurance is vitally important in supporting consumers and businesses to be financially resilient when unexpected events happen,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • A new opportunity for Ngāpuhi collective and regional negotiations
    The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little and Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The Crown is also ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Referendums Framework Bill passes third reading
    A Bill enabling referendums to be held with the 2020 General Election has passed its third reading. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Act is important for upholding the integrity of New Zealand’s electoral process. “The Government has committed to holding a referendum on legalising recreational cannabis at the next ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Referendums website and initial cannabis Bill launched
    The first release of public information on the two referendums to be held at next year’s General Election was made today with an informative new Government website going live. Additionally, the draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill has been released, showing the strict controls on cannabis that will apply if ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to ban foreign donations
    The Government is taking action to protect New Zealand from foreign interference in our elections by banning foreign donations to political parties and candidates, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Legislation will be introduced to Parliament this afternoon and passed under urgency. “There’s no need for anyone other than New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Governments and tech converge to strengthen joint response to online terror events
    Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. The workshop aims to refine and strengthen the response in the event of a terrorist attack with online implications. Companies, governments, civil society experts and NGOs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Cancer Control Agency to drive improved care
    The new independent Cancer Control Agency has formally opened today, delivering on the Government’s plan to improve cancer care in New Zealand.         Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health David Clark marked the occasion by announcing the membership of the Advisory Council that will be supporting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supporting small business to prosper
    Small businesses who deal with government departments are set to be paid faster and have improved cash flow as a result, under a new strategy released today. The Government is backing recommendations from the Small Business Council (SBC) and has agreed to implement three initiatives immediately to support business and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bill has biggest education changes in decades
    The Education and Training Bill 2019, introduced in Parliament today, proposes the biggest education changes in decades and is an important step towards improving success for all our learners, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “The Bill’s rewrite of education legislation is long overdue. Indeed one Education Act, parts of which ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bali Democracy Forum to focus on democracy and inclusivity
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Bali to represent New Zealand at the 12th Bali Democracy Forum that will be held on the 5-6 December. “The Forum is a valuable opportunity for Asia-Pacific countries to share experiences and best practice in building home-grown democracy and fostering ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Innovative technology and tools to better manage freedom camping
    A package of new and expanded technology and other tools will encourage responsible camping and help communities and local councils better manage freedom camping this summer, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. “Our Government has been investing to improve the freedom camping experience for everyone because we want to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Improving wellbeing by understanding our genes
    The government is laying the groundwork to understanding our genes – work that can help us tackle some of our biggest health challenges, like heart disease and diabetes, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. $4.7 million has been invested in the Genomics Aotearoa Rakeiora programme. The programme will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government investing to future proof school property
    Nearly every state schools will receive a capital injection next year valued at $693 per student to bring forward urgent school property improvements, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.  The one-off cash injection is the first project to be announced from the Government’s infrastructure package ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Infrastructure investments to be brought forward
    The Government has decided to bring forward major investments in New Zealand’s infrastructure to future proof the economy. “Cabinet has agreed to a significant boost to infrastructure investment. I have directed the Treasury to help bring together a package of projects that can be brought into the Government’s short and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Future-proofing New Zealand
    It is a great pleasure to be with you today in Whanganui. Like the Prime Minister I grew up with the TV clip of Selwyn Toogood booming “What do you say Whanganui, the money or the bag?” to an unsuspecting ‘It’s in the Bag’ audience. For those under the age ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa track opened – an asset for the West Coast
    New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa Track, was officially opened in Blackball today by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage alongside the family members of the Pike 29 and Ngāti Waewae.  Local mayors and MP for the West Coast Hon Damien O’Connor were also in attendance. “Paparoa National Park ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • P-8A Poseidon base works commence
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark turned the first sod of earth on the infrastructure works for the new P-8A Poseidon fleet at RNZAF Base Ohakea today. “The Coalition Government’s investment in Ohakea will ensure the Royal New Zealand Air Force can manage, maintain and task the new fleet efficiently ahead ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Launch of the National Emergency Management Agency
    Civil Defence Minister Hon Peeni Henare today announced the establishment of the new National Emergency Management Agency from 1 December 2019.  The National Emergency Management Agency will replace the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. It will be an autonomous departmental agency, hosted by the Department of the Prime ...
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