Democracy can be refined

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, November 15th, 2016 - 125 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, democratic participation, Politics - Tags:


Democracy allows dumb people to vote, so dumb things happen. They stay dumb even though average education and qualification rates climb. Left or right, or whatever side you’re on, the results can look like dummies did it. Can we remedy that fault in democracy with better aggregated facts, AND keep a broad-based high participatory democracy?

Consider: if you buy a car, a house, a spade, or a fridge; you do your research. After all if you make a smart choice, you reap the rewards. And if you make a bad choice, you suffer consequences. Over time most people learn to become better consumers.

Whereas: if my university professor told my class that “Three months from now, we’ll have a final exam. You won’t get a personal grade. Instead, I’ll average all your marks together, so everyone will get the same grade.” No one would bother to study, and the average would be F.

But it’s the Professor’s version that compares to voting; it’s a class of four million voters. Most voters are ignorant or misinformed because the costs to them of acquiring political information greatly exceed the benefits. Voting is more like doing the wave at the Sevens tournament, than actually mandating a set of policies.

So here’s a couple of alternatives.

Central banks, public superannuation funds, and public insurance entities periodically make changes to short-term interest rates, reserve requirements, investment mixes, and other policy parameters. Such actions are made to smooth out business cycles, limit inflation, account for consistent rates of return, and promote growth rates.

Some argue that public entities like ACC or NZSuper or the NZ Reserve Bank should just hire knowledgeable people, keep it all at arms’ length, and then let them go for it. Others argue that there should be more political accountability (although we hardly ever argue about injury liability or pensions anymore).

Information about the state of the economy that is now given to monetary officials and asset managers could instead be made public, and hence available to market speculators. Monetary experts would have to persuade market speculators to influence monetary decisions. Market speculators would have to decide, like buying a car, which experts over time were more accurate.

The job of elected representatives would be limited to defining and overseeing X, a measure of national welfare. Bet on policy at your local stock exchange and TAB!

Ever six months – or 3 years – parties as we have now are provided with a live model of the NZ economy, society, and environment. They can write their own model, or agree to a common one (or use Civilization v3!). A model that operates a set of algorithms mashing the cumulative effects of all their policies. The results are published in all media to a constitutionally set sequence.

Currently all District Health Boards must publish data on a variety of health outcomes. They don’t get related to District Health Board elections at all, but they should be. GINI coefficients are regularly published, as are a whole raft of stats easily related to policy projections: population, real estate, crime, transport, GDP, environmental effects, etc etc. parties can choose their own inputs. So the baselines are there.

Anyway, choose your own fact set. Choose your settings. Run the model. Make a gameshow of the programme running live. What a teaching resource! Vote as a citizen tv viewer/cellphone user/newspaper reader on the results for the party you want to take over, based on the results of the models they present. You can still use paper voting and polling stations if you like. Policy via Simon Cowell’s panel, and no-one had to make Stephen Joyce sing!

A fully corporatised version would be run solely with a public Statement Of Intent (SOI). Auckland Council is an extreme version of this within the OECD. But it only runs on about 30% citizen turnout, with barely an aggregated fact needed other than last quarter’s rates bill.

I am sure there are anarcho-syndicalist versions. Go for it.

What I was looking for was a couple of ideas that would broaden the decision-making access of democracy AND aggregate data sets for smarter voting AND support a current New Zealand nation-state.

Many people enjoy their illusions about politics and policy. It might needlessly hurt them to forego such illusions via better information aggregation. Even today, media often avoid telling viewers distasteful details of how legislative sausage is made.

But this is the age of big data and big models. There’s no need for dumb or under-informed voting, or indeed for a dumb democracy.

125 comments on “Democracy can be refined”

  1. James 1

    There are plenty of items that people disagree on. The problem with the left is that they always seem consider people who disagree with their views as dumb / stupid / racist / whatever.

    They believe their views are more intelligent and informed. Hell even this blog posted a picture of a left voter with things like “informed”, “studied” etc in their brain when the right voter had “Fox News” and “slogans”.

    Truth is people have far different views on prettt much everything. Just because someone else’s view differs – there could be a good reason for it – the only dumb thing is thinking they are dumb because they disagree with you.

    • Ad 1.1

      There’s a bit of truth to that on both sides.

      My general point however is about enabling decisions to be made by the most fully informed public possible.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Universal free education. That’s why the right hate and destroy it.

        • Chuck

          “Universal free education”

          No such thing as “free” OAB.

          Maybe you meant Universal state funded education?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Thank you for illustrating my point so clearly.

            In fact, education is an investment which yields a return. You understand this, which makes your malice even more egregious.

            • Chuck

              Yes correct, an investment that benefits both the student and state.

              Don’t know how you get “malice” from me pointing out that nothing is free?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                It’s the frame you’re building. I’ve seen the plan hundreds of times and I know exactly what the collapsed pile of rubble looks like when it’s finished.

                It isn’t just that your argument narrows its focus to the cost of everything, it’s the conclusions you draw from this rhetorical device.

                What possible motive, other than malice, could you have?

                • Gosman

                  Alternatively we could turn your argument around and argue it is is you who is trying to frame the argument such that you want to encourage people to think that somehow something can be provided for free with no cost involved and that the State has some sort of ability to achieve this. Why is it okay for you to do this but right wingers trying to do so are somehow evil manipulators of the truth?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    You could argue that, and in doing so illustrate my point again: the narrow focus of your argument betrays a conflict of interest.

                    • Gosman

                      Why is my argument any more or less narrow than yours and why does yours not betray your conflict of interest?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Reading is a skill: the answer is contained in my existing remarks. Why explain myself further to a recidivist liar like you?

                  • Clump_AKA Sam

                    Well how Dee Doo Dee goose. Just wondering if you’re still trying to breath life into the dead corps that use to be the TPPA?

                    Because the argument Keys put forward was devalue the kiwi, make our exports less expensive, make imports more expensive while boosting domestic demand and trade. I hope you can see the floors in that argument.

                    Soo when I shared my concerns about TPP with you your reaction was typical of hard right ideology, so I give you no respect in naming you goose because your analysis is straight up crazy.

                    This is what happens when PR meets content creation. You end up with dead corpses in media/identity politics/trade/investment and professionalism in general.

                    So the reserve bank lends out bonds for government spending, rinse and repeat, I suspect you will ideologically oppose that because of spending. And that’s a fatal floor. Being such a spoiled brat is a fatal floor.

                  • Clump_AKA Sam

                    Shut up goose. The 1% have abandoned you, you cog

              • Draco T Bastard

                Yes correct, an investment that benefits both the student and state.

                Incorrect. It benefits only the state.

                This is because the person is part of the state/nation/society.

        • james

          That is not whats going to address this issue of “dumb” voters. Some of the biggest idiots I know have university educations.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            It isn’t an issue at all. Smart people can be wrong too. That’s why they get peer-reviewed.

            The political equivalent of peer-review is voter participation. That’s why you hate it.

        • Nessalt

          And yet you stand against charter schools who ask for no “compulsory” donations? the paradoxical abuse that emanates from you is astounding.

        • Ad

          You’ll never get “fully informed”. The aim is ‘slightly better’.

          • Puckish Rogue

            Not trying to be argumentative but if we take the American election as an example Clinton wasn’t elected because the people who voted didn’t want more of the same so they voted the candidate that was different (he’ll probably turn out just like the rest) so they made an informed choice, in their eyes anyway

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              The US public knows what works for them. That’s why right wingers do their damnest to prevent them from voting at all.

              • Puckish Rogue

                Bollix, the left didn’t vote (especially in those swing states) for Clinton because they didn’t want Clinton they’d have preferred Saunders

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Yawn. I wasn’t talking about the recent clusterfuck. It provides examples though.

                  Your thugs hooning around in pick-up trucks intimidating voters. The way your leader egged them on. The visceral hatred of twenty-five years of cynical smears and failed “investigations” into nothing bore fruit.

                  Keep marching happily behind your leader, Pucky. I’m sure he has a uniform with big shiny buttons for you.

            • Ad

              I was thinking of little old us here in New Zealand.

              I would like to think that National’s policies were weak and corrosive, and relied far too much on the charisma of their leader. These vast engines in Google and Facebook and indeed the sharemarket all aggregate far greater analysis than the mind of one small voter. We must be able to use those models to align the febrile minds of mere voters with the great fact-machines at our disposal.

              After all, those great database machines are used upon our lives every moment of the day already. It’s time to find ways to merge them to gain better decisions. Democracy is but a route to a good decision, not an end in itself.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Here too, the right deliberately pursues the strategy of electoral disengagement, of making politics as dirty and cynical as possible, because it provides them an electoral advantage.

                They cried crocodile tears when Lusk was outed doing it. They still select candidates who employ him.

                • Ad

                  I don’t think that’s the preserve of the right.

                • The lost sheep

                  Have you fully embraced the ‘post – truth’ age OAB, or are you still committed to the quaint idea of ‘credible evidence’?

                  If so, maybe you’d like to link to some credible evidence that backs your claim the NZ Right is deliberately pursuing a strategy of electoral dis-engagement, and that this alleged strategy has in fact been successful in preventing Left Wing supporters from voting?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    There are a few basic propositions with negative campaigning that are worth knowing about. It lowers turnout, favours right more than left as the right continues to turn out, and drives away the independents.’ In short, many people stop participating in politics. If politicians cannot be trusted, if politics looks like a petty or ugly game, and if no one seems to be talking about the things that matter, then what’s the point of bothering to participate? Just leave them to it. There are innovations in US Republican Party thinking on this point; election tactics do not have to be just about winning votes; they can be equally effective if groups of people in society just stop voting altogether.

                    Simon Lusk .

                    The National Party made a pretence of being shocked, and then carried on using his “services”

                    Here he is training their corrupt little shills.

                    • weka

                      great response OAB.

                    • The lost sheep

                      I ask for ‘credible evidence’ and you produce one mans opinion unsupported by any kind of fact, and with no evidence what so ever linking his opinion to any policy followed by a NZ political Party.

                      Sigh. And this is the same OAB who only a year ago wouldn’t accept a weather forecast unless it was verified by peer reviewed academically credible research published in a reputable Journal….

                    • weka

                      If you’re not going to believe a pre-eminent professional in the field, what are you going to believe?

                    • The lost sheep

                      ‘what are you going to believe?’

                      Regardless of the ‘preeminence’ of the source, I would not believe any statement of substance unless it was backed by some form of ‘credible evidence’ that it was in fact true.
                      Simple stuff like a range of peer reviewed research, or evidence of a wide spread agreement across a range of genuine experts, or some case studies demonstrating the validity of the phenomena.
                      If the claim is true, that kind of stuff will be easy to reference. Is it too much to ask?

                      But I especially wouldn’t take anything as truth coming initially as a rant from an anonymous internet troll, and then backed by an opinion from a politically motivated Dirty Politics operative like Simon Lusk. ( Being ‘a pre-eminent professional’ in the field of political manipulation only diminishes his credibility IMO.)
                      Do you take everything Lusk says at face value without question Weka?

                      I do understand that evidence of the level presented by OAB is considered perfectly adequate in ‘Post Truth’ politics, and you may be happy with it on that basis, but I think I’m going to remain resolutely ‘pro truth’, and keep my bullshit detector set at an old-fashioned maximum sensitivity.
                      At this point it’s telling me that OAB is knee-deep in it.

                    • McFlock

                      So, just to clarify, when you’re asking for evidence of the objectives of leading nz right wing spin doctors, the explicit claims of those right wing spin doctors don’t count as evidence?

                      If I’m ever up on a charge and confess in a moment of stupidity, I want you on my jury.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      You’d like more evidence?

                      Elenbass & de Vreese 2008.

                      Kahn & Kenny 2014.

                      Your bullshit detector is pointing the wrong way.

                    • The lost sheep

                      No McFlock.
                      Top marks for the attempt to conflate the discussion, but I wasn’t asking for proof of what the spin doctor said, it was evidence to back the 2 very specific claims OAB made…
                      1. the NZ Right is deliberately pursuing a strategy of electoral dis-engagement,
                      2. this alleged strategy has in fact been successful in preventing Left Wing supporters from voting.

                      Thanks for the references OAB, if you could just provide links to the papers themselves?

                    • McFlock

                      Dirty politics outlines some of the negative campaigning by the right.
                      It also has a quote from lusk, who is right wing, saying that these are the benefits to the right of negative campaigning.
                      And NZ voter turnout is pathetic.

                      Seems pretty spade-like.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Lusk’s employment status and statements are the evidence that the National Party is involved. The strategy has plenty of evidence to support it – as the above cites show.

                      Sooner or later you “good Germans” are going to have to face up to your complicity.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Thanks OAB.
                      Read those, and great to see that my bullshit detector calibration is spot on.

                      Neither of your references make any claim that negative campaigning is more inherently favourable to either the Left or Right and that it results in LW people being less likely to vote than RW.
                      They are also completely devoid of mention of NZ, let alone containing any evidence to back your claim that the ‘NZ Right’ is deliberately targeting a policy of electoral dis-engagement. (Why would they if there is no RW advantage to that?)

                      So your ‘proof’ remains one unverified statement from one of the least reputable people in NZ politics, with no linkage at all with any strategy of ‘deliberate dis-engagement’ by any NZ political Party, let alone by the generic entity of ‘The Right’.

                      In Post Truth debate I guess that’s what you call the Golden standard (sarc)

                      I just wish you would take some personal responsibility for your cynical and deliberate attempts to obfuscate the truth.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Gee, and if for the sake of the discussion we accept your logic that negative campaigning is an advantage to the Right (I don’t of course), and applied that to the 2014 election, what must we deduce?

                      Dirty Politics, Dotcom, Greenwald……the overwhelming tone of the campaign was negative, and that tone was set by The Left.

                      So by your rationale it is The Left that was responsible for the dis-engagement of Left voters that gifted victory to the Right?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Keep telling yourself that. On Earth, we have Lusk’s own words, verification that the effect is real, Lusk’s employment status, and such events as the Mt. Roskill by-election smears.

                      On the one hand, the National Party donkey deep in it, on the other, your feeble attempts to conflate Dotcom, Greenwald and Hager with the Labour and/or Green parties.

                      I don’t expect you to accept this, because you already believe so much shite your brain has adapted to lying (Garrett et al 2016).

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    The papers you’re looking for (which are but two of the many that examine these phenomena) are called “The Effects of Strategic News on Political Cynicism and Vote Choice Among Young Voters” and “Do Negative Campaigns Mobilize or Suppress Turnout? Clarifying the Relationship between Negativity and Participation.”

              • Puckish Rogue

                I’d personally suggest that the only things that need to happen in NZ is some tinkering, like for example some say no publicity for polls leading up to the election which sounds good in principle (and I wouldn’t be opposed to it) but you know some party will claim that their private polling is high or what ever

                So maybe a ban on polls one week before the election if the other issues can be sorted out mightn’t be a bad idea

                The other would be for all parties to be slammed when it comes to messing around with the electoral process

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Jailtime for people who attempt voter suppression strategies is a great idea. Who will replace the National Party?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2

      What “views”? You don’t have any. Oh sure, you pay lip service to lies, like “personal responsibility”: while you exhibit none whatsover, or the “free” “market”, which doesn’t exist.

      Finding a counterview and forming an opinion are not the same thing.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      There are plenty of items that people disagree on.

      Interestingly enough, the majority of people actually agree on many things. That poverty should be addressed, that people should be looked after, etcetera.

      What they disagree on is how to bring that about and that disagreement is down to our delusional monetary system and the false belief that people have to be incentivised with money (It’s actually only the sociopathic that are incentivised by money).

    • b waghorn 1.4

      ”The problem with the left is that they always seem consider people who disagree with their views as dumb / stupid / racist / whatever.”

      That is a broad generalisation probably arrived at because you get a hard time at the standard. I know a few nat voters and like most of them and don’t consider them dumb , wrong or voting in self interest would fit them more.

    • Guerilla Surgeon 1.5

      Fine. Where is the intellectual right these days? In the US it’s basically been destroyed. The days of William F Buckley are over. Even though he was a racist prick, he did have some intellectual depth. Fox news and Breitbart have taken over and dumbed conservatives down considerable. 🙂

    • Michelle 1.6

      Actually James the left voters that say some of the right are racist are right they are also discriminative but really the systems is all of the above. Who set our systems up James and who do they benefit the most. ( top down people) I don’t think NZers are dumb I think they are lazy and apathetic and too trusting. John key has not been telling the truth he makes promises he doesn’t keep and he gives people false hope.(pike rive mine) He does not have the guts or spine to be honest and upfront two important qualities a good leaders needs to have. He promised the highest standards from his government now has this happened? I don’t think so. Wake up James its because of people like you our country is in such a mess.

  2. pat 2

    “Consider: if you buy a car, a house, a spade, or a fridge; you do your research. After all if you make a smart choice, you reap the rewards. And if you make a bad choice, you suffer consequences. Over time most people learn to become better consumers.”

    Except your premise is wrong….consumers seldom do research, often buy on price and frequently make poor choices.

    All your alternatives require even more effort on the part of the voter and I would suggest one of the drivers for disengagement now is the fact it is all to complicated and there is already too much information (generally conflicting) for your average citizen , and we don’t vote on analysis but emotion in any case if the pundits are to be believed….are they?

    And as to dumb decisions…..who’s yardstick?

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    The erosion of democracy has nothing to do with electoral stupidity (although that can of course be exploited) and everything to do with the ongoing deliberate destruction of democratic freedoms and principles by right wing politicians and their owners.

    Argumentum ad nauseam (She’s corrupt, I seen it! Hulungrad! Crime Family! Emails!), post truth politics, whatever.

    Destroying things is so much easier than putting them back together, even if you can find all the shards.

    What was it that caused the outbreak of social democracy in the first place? Those violent revolutions and wars in which the right were defeated.

    • Siobhan 3.1

      Money, and by that I mean massive amounts of money..from any direction, Right and Middle being where the money is…and it has destroyed the Democratic process in America, and its more than capable of undermining things here is we are not ever vigilant.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    How about telling everyone what resources that the country has available (Skills, land area, what land is good for what type of farming, iron ore availability, etcetera) and then get everyone to vote on how those resources are used and show how their vote changed the availability of those resources?

    • Ad 4.1

      Lovely link there.
      Available “resource” would be one part of it, sure. I prefer to conceive of our place as “environment” first. It gets pretty instrumental pretty fast otherwise.

      There are bunch of other appropriate stats to use that are published already.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        I envision available resources as being what’s available after you’ve ensured that the environment is looked after. I also include sustainability so we would also have to take into account how much of a resource is within our lands and how we can make that limited amount last indefinitely.

  5. Pasupial 5

    Ad’s post seems fairly tongue in cheek to me (though it is interesting to see who takes the bait). However, the main lesson I learnt from the US election so far is that we need more democracy, not less. Specifically; that we need fewer hurdles to voting. Compulsary voting would seem to be the easiest way to ensure that there was no advantage to voter suppression.

    The raw number of votes rose: About 1.4 million more Americans voted in this year’s election than in 2012, a total which itself was down from 2008. But the electorate was growing in the meantime: About 57 percent of eligible voters cast ballots this year, down from 58.6 percent in 2012 and 61.6 percent in 2008, which was the highest mark in 40 years. Turnout still remained well above levels for most presidential election years from 1972 to 2000.

    Crosscheck in action:
    Trump victory margin in Michigan: 13,107
    Michigan Crosscheck purge list: 449,922

    Trump victory margin in Arizona: 85,257
    Arizona Crosscheck purge list: 270,824

    Trump victory margin in North Carolina: 177,008
    North Carolina Crosscheck purge list: 589,393

    Palast has been investigating such caging lists since the 2000 elections, so it is hardly a surprise they were again a feature of this year’s election. There was an article in Rolling stone (link above) in August which the above piece assumes you have read. Also a film; The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, which I haven’t yet watched. But if 140 million votes end up being counted (134 at present, but not final yet), then 7 million is 5% of that.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      As for the best democracy that money can buy, Trump smashed through that by smashing through Clinton’s big budget campaign, big budget ad spend, big budget corporate media, and big budget donors, by going straight to the people.

      • Pasupial 5.1.1

        The Trump campaign wasn’t involved in designing Crosscheck – that is a longstanding Republican project. Though he certainly would have been aware of it:

        Kobach, who also advised Trump on building a wall on the southern border, devised a list of 7.2 million “potential” double voters—1.1 million of which were removed from the voter rolls by Tuesday. The list is loaded overwhelmingly with voters of color and the poor… Those accused of criminal double voting include, for example, Donald Alexander Webster Jr. of Ohio who is accused of voting a second time in Virginia as Donald EUGENE Webster SR.

        While there is a great deal of work to do, much documentation still to analyze, we’ll have to pry it from partisan voting chiefs who stamp the scrub lists, Crosscheck lists and ballot records, “confidential.”

        But, the evidence already in our hands makes me sadly confident in saying, Jim Crow, not the voters, elected Mr. Trump.

        Trump’s skill in milking billions of free coverage from the corporate media definitely helped him against Clinton’s bigger advertising budget (and earlier in the primaries too – JEB was all cashed up and it didn’t help him). But yes; the exploitation of social media (or “going straight to the people” if you will) was key to Trump’s success.

    • Andre 5.2

      Hurdles to voting is certainly a problem in some US states, not so much here. In any case, to me it’s a subset of “hurdles to representation”.

      To my mind, the lesson from the US debacle is to treasure the fact we’ve got MMP here in New Zealand, and to remember we need to constantly work to strengthen it so that the broadest range of voices reasonably possible gets heard in the corridors of power. Having a broader range of opinions with a good chance of making it into parliament can only help get more information into the public view.

      Which means pushing to reduce thresholds for getting list seats and reducing incentives to game the system by gifting overhang and coat-tail seats to cling-on parties.

      • Pasupial 5.2.1

        From what I recall of the last election, voter suppression was more a feature in the Māori seats. My main interest in the US election has been the techniques that have proven successful there will be imported here soon enough. Though you could argue that we’re ahead of them in electing a narcissistic bullshiting plutocrat as Premier.

        I wholeheartedly agree that we need; “to treasure the fact we’ve got MMP here in New Zealand, and to remember we need to constantly work to strengthen it so that the broadest range of voices reasonably possible gets heard”.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    1) Make clear legal distinctions between news and opinion/editorialising.
    2) Decommercialise TVNZ; reinvigorate RNZ.
    3) Reduce the MMP threshold to 2.5%.
    4) Four term limit for MPs: unless you are serving in Cabinet in your final term.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Four term limit for MPs: unless you are serving in Cabinet in your final term.

      Why should serving in cabinet make any difference?
      And what difference should it make?

      • Bob 6.1.1

        “Four term limit for MPs: unless you are serving in Cabinet in your final term.”
        “Why should serving in cabinet make any difference?”

        Think of someone in a situation like Iain Lees-Galloway, currently in his 3rd term and never held a cabinet post. If Labour forms a government after the next election and he is given a role in cabinet, he would have 3 years to try and implement 12 years worth of ideas. Allowing him to stay in that role for 2 terms sounds fair to me.

        • alwyn

          It will be very interesting for the Labour and Green parties after next year’s election won’t it?
          About half the Labour party’s members and a rather lesser percentage of the Green members will immediately have to quit after the results are declared and National remain in power.
          After all they won’t be in office, won’t be in cabinet and will have done 12 years in Parliament.
          For the ones like Lees-Galloway they will know that they are going to have to go at the end of the 2017-2020 term. There is very little point in giving them places on the front bench if they are going to have to give their valedictory speeches prior to the 2020 election.
          I am in favour of limiting time in Parliament but I think your proposal is a little bit crude.

          • Pasupial

            If we’re hypothesizing about the fate of MPs; what will happen when National is unable to cobble together a coalition because they’ve devoured the votes of their possible partners? NZF might hook up with them for one term, but that’ll end about as well as it did with Shipley.

  7. adam 7

    Sorry to throw a spanner in the works, but don’t you have what you just ask for Ad? By that I mean the large, and growing section of the population that do not vote.

    Also I hope in this century you are not calling for people who can’t speak, don’t get to participate!?!

    • Ad 7.1

      I hadn’t gone into the compulsory voting problem.

      It may be somewhat chilling for social democrats like myself, but there’s an awful lot less democratic accountability in New Zealand than there used to be. But I’m not sure we’re much worse off for that.

      The changes that Palmer made through the introduction of the RMA, of Tomorrow’s Schools, and of local government reform and amalgamation in 1989, and then District Health Boards later, were all highly democratising in a way New Zealand had never experienced before. But often they led to hollow and unfunded mandates, whose democratically elected members became merely blame-offload mechanisms for government Ministers to throw like red meat to the media. So no, democratisation is lot a solution in itself.

      I’m really thinking about supplements to democracy, rather than wholesale replacements.

      • adam 7.1.1

        Completely agree with you assessment “there’s an awful lot less democratic accountability in New Zealand than there used to be” Ad. And I agree we did move to more democracy with local government reform and health boards. And can’t help but agree It’s been a stick to beat local government up with as a result.

        We have to engage those who do not vote, and no not to get votes for the left, because frankly, that is a waste of time. But, as you point out get to the core of why people do not participate in a more fulsome manner. Here I think rather than compulsory voting, make those who actively put off voters, suffer the consequence of their actions in some fiscal way. Call it the whaleoil law.

        I’m for more bottom up democracy, starting in the workplace. That said, without what you point to, a desire to actually participate and feel included it’s not going to work. But then again, if people actually felt that what they did, and how they voted effected them and theirs in a positive way, I think it would be a self fulfilling loop.

        I’d also like to see us recall candidates. A good example of that would have been what led to the north by-election. I think the candidate should have not been allowed to resign, but face the community who elected him, and if they felt he had crossed a line – recalled him.

        People need to feel empowered to actually be part of somthing – systemic failure, or wreaking, helps no one.

        Good post Ad by the way.

  8. Bill 8

    Two words. The first word is “Copernican”. The second word is “Revolution”

    For those unfamiliar with what that refers to, astronomers had a model of the universe that wasn’t quite according with real world observations. They spent many years adding refinements hoping to make the model sync with real world observations. In essence, their model involved ‘spheres’. And their refinements required the adding of ‘spheres’ on and within other ‘spheres’. They created an unholy mess.

    To cut a long story short, Copernicus didn’t view the universe as being comprised of spheres. It was revolutionary.

    Today we have a view of democracy that is built around representation and top down decision making. It doesn’t work and will never work, no matter how many refinements are applied to it. The model, if it is to yield or produce democracy, is fundamentally incorrect.

    Democracy can’t flourish in an environment where some people represent the views of others. And it can’t flourish in an environment marked by the presence of authoritarianism (heirarchy). The absolute best that can be achieved under those conditions is a system, or a series of systems that are less undemocratic than some other configurations might be.

    Democracy is immediate, not remote. It can only exist and flourish where each person has the opportunity to have a meaningful say in those things that will affect them. That’s the simple basis or fundamental pre-condition for democracy. Any subsequent complexities that are democratic can only arise quite naturally out of actions cleaving to those simple initial conditions.

    For millennia we have felt the urge to impose order rather than letting it develop. And for our pains we have produced not much else beyond various levels of chaos and conflict.

    So (to take from the post title) do we want to refine non-democracy so that it’s less undemocratic, or do we want democracy?

    If we want the latter, then we have to abandon what we have. This post, like a million and one other schemes, seeks to add levels of complexity to already existing levels of complexity in the vain hope that someday or somehow we’ll arrive at some perfect democratic order. That approach is so contradictory and wrong headed as to be insane

    • Ad 8.1

      It depends how much you trust people to make good decisions.

      It also depends how much you view democracy as an end to itself, or a means to good decisions.

      There’s no need to have false binaries, just a series of constant improvements.

      We’re in a different kind of revolution now.

      • Bill 8.1.1

        Groups of people making decisions on matters that affect them will get things wrong. But they inhabit a flexible environment that they have control over and so they are able to correct stuff as they learn and build up, what I might term, ‘institutional knowledge’.

        That can’t be said for remote decision makers who inhabit a fairly rigid environment and have all manner and types of what should be extraneous considerations pressuring them and influencing them.

        Democracy isn’t an end – it’s a never ending, constantly evolving process or series of processes that people have meaningful levels of control over that delivers various democratic outcomes.

        We’re not in a different kind of revolution now, it’s the same. There is a world view that’s unfit for purpose, but that many are determined to cling to, that can’t ever be modified to deliver what’s desired.

        oops. Should add. If democracy is the desire, then ‘undemocracy’ gets rejected whenever it’s recognised. That’s not so much a binary as a necessity.

        • Ad

          The point about institutional knowledge is definitely a useful bulwark against to too much democratic change – but only if you have a substantial and reasonably independent public service and judiciary. Not sure that’s the case here in NZ. They really do inhabit a pretty rigid environment of constraints, for precisely that reason that they need to sustain that institutional knowledge beyond electoral terms.

          I don’t think I’m proposing democracy to ‘be the desire’; I’m seeking better informed decisions from voters, and a few supplements to achieve that.

        • KJT

          A case in point is California. They got to a stage where they voted for tax cuts, but an increase in services. When that was shown not to work in reality, another citizens initiative voted to reverse the tax cuts.
          When tax cuts, and reductions in services, austerity, was proven to be unworkable in the States governed by fiat, the Republican Governers simply doubled down.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      That comment of mine seems to have disappeared into the spam trap.

    • ropata 8.3

      +1 interesting analogy.
      the current model is flawed indeed but your solution to “abandon what we have” is no solution.

      as in software development i think the systemic failures we see (ECan, CERA, crap in the water, … ) are due to bugs in the system that require a (possibly major) refactoring exercise to resolve. but re-writing the *whole system* is a huge and unnecessary risk that is likely to fail.

      problems caused by people and culture and undemocratic behaviour can only be resolved by changing people! a grass roots revolution perhaps. that sort of thing (civic engagement in democratic processes) needs to be nurtured by an environment that values education (+ civics), equality of opportunity, and judicious legislation to incentivise voting…

      ultimately i think the solution to politics & culture is found in human hearts, i.e. the world needs more love and kindness. (religion has a role to play)

      • KJT 8.3.1

        Reminds me of the US approach to technology. Apply fix on the fix on the fix.
        The Japanese approach was to take the best and re engineer it from the beginning.
        We all buy Japanese designed cars these days. Even those made in the USA.

        • ropata

          The Japanese model of “Kaizen” is continuous improvement, not rebuilding from the ground up.
          (Kaizen was adopted from US military doctrine but ignored by complacent American companies…)

          • KJT

            The Japanese did re-engineer from the ground up. A very good example is the MX5. “The best British roadster ever built”.
            Kaizen is a management method advocated by a US management guru called Peter Deming. He was largely ignored in the USA, but his methods of self managing teams, continuous improvement and quality control by workers, were widely adopted in Japan.

    • KJT 8.4

      “Representative Democracy” is an oxymoron.
      This has become even more apparent with the the growth of an entitled “managerial class of politicians. Politicians of both left and right think they are in Parliament to manage, not represent!

  9. Peter 9

    I have always been interested in politics, I have worked in the maintenance dept of company’s that have employed as many 10,000 people down to just a few, so I get to speak with a lot of people and I can honestly say most people I have met don’t give a shit about politics. The only information they get is from the TV or less and less from the newspapers and the young don’t even bother watching the news. I have spoken to my own children and there friends and there TV’s are not even connected aerials so they don’t evan watch free to air TV at all. You cannot make people interested in something that does not interest them and most say there is no difference between them and there only in for themselves. Sorry to say I have no answer to that.

    • Ad 9.1

      This is definitely the site to be on if you want your fill of political discourse.

      It is something like Lacrosse; a very small minority sport with few players, but looks so odd that it has to be interesting.

  10. b waghorn 10

    Social media will change politics forever in 10 to 20 years , it’s only because most that are in today’s political world are fogies who haven’t fully grasped how to harness its power yet that it hasn’t already.
    Reaching the young has never been easier,

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    Documentary — A New Economy
    Screenings (There’s one in Wellington)

    • ropata 11.1

      Interesting but who knows if it’s realistic. When the oil runs out or Trump causes worldwide trade to collapse we might look something like Cuba, where everything was recycled or repurposed with the sort of ingenuity that used to be common in NZ

      • KJT 11.1.1

        One of the things that struck me about Cubans, was the general level of,happiness, despite a lack of Western goods and what we considered a low standard of living, in a country, we were told, was a repressive Dictatorship.
        Especially in contrast to Haiti and Jamaica.

  12. ropata 12

    Ad wrote:
    Most voters are ignorant or misinformed because the costs to them of acquiring political information greatly exceed the benefits.

    I agree that most people have an average or below average IQ, cannot parse the news critically, or cast an informed vote.

    Actually the statistics show that voting Left benefits most people, and voting Right is gonna cost the average voter in lost wages, higher GST, poorer services etc.

    Political ignorance is widespread because most people are incapable or disengaged or disaffected. Hence they are susceptible to dirty politics and mindless PR and soundbites on TV. The Right benefits from negative campaigning and voter suppression and gerrymanders and loads of funding from corporate interests and a dumbed down media.

    There are a lot of RWNJ rugged individualist types around who think inequality is OK and that they are better than everyone else hence no need to help the poor. Traditional Kiwi values like a fair go and decent wages are being trashed

    • Doogs 12.1

      +1000 ropata. Fabulous!

    • Ad 12.2

      I have not stated that most people – or voters – are dumb.
      Only that some supplements to their general level of knowledge about policy decisions would be useful.

      • ropata 12.2.1

        Yes, that’s one of the most important responsibilities of the MSM… informing the public. But this aim is seriously compromised by commercial and political pressure.

  13. The lost sheep 13

    Just a little factual perspective on the ongoing comments on this blog implying that electoral engagement is low in NZ.
    In fact over 75% of NZ voters are actively engaged and do consciously make the decision to vote.
    This places us well above the OECD average of 70%, and way above the 52% of the USA.

    It is true that for nearly 100 years prior to 1987 NZ voter turnout averaged approx 90%, but dis-engagement bottomed out at 77% in 2002, and there is no evidence of a continuing decline in voting turnout since then.
    Voting at the 2014 election was actually 3.7% up on 2011.

    1996 88.3
    1999 84.8
    1999 84.8
    2002 77.0
    2005 80.9
    2008 79.5
    2011 74.2
    2014 77.9

    • Pasupial 13.1

      The Elections Commission has the 2014 voting rate as 76.8%, but more importantly; you’ve got to combine that with the registration rate. That is currently about 90%, so either way the proportion of the eligible population who actually vote is under 70% (68.7% using the EC figures). Of course, you could argue that registering to vote is a de facto voter license exam (as you suggest below), but it does disadvantage the homeless even further.

      The age distribution of those voting is interesting. In those over 50 it is over 80%, in those under 30 it is 62%. Furthermore, the young are less likely to be enrolled, so we have; 41.5% of 18-24 yearolds voting, compared to; 85.7% of the 65-69 lustrum.

      • The lost sheep 13.1.1

        Fair enough Parsupial.

        But I don’t think that alters the validity of the points I made at all?
        A large majority of NZ’ers are engaged and voting, to a level that is very high by global standards.
        Participation has not shown a decline over the past 5 elections, and there was a 3.7% increase at the last election.
        The older people get the more likely they are to vote.
        That all speaks of a reasonably healthy level of Democratic engagement?

        • Pasupial

          I’m more of the opinion that older people are more likely to have developed the habit of voting. And the thing with the elderly is that they won’t be around for ever. If younger people fail to see the point of registering let alone voting, that does not seem to be healthy for democracy.

          From your figures, it would seem that participation is indeed in decline. Although there was a slight rebound in 2014, that was only just above the 2002 slump and not to even 2008 levels, let alone any previous year. That other countries are faring even worse is hardly cause for celebration.

          • The lost sheep

            If younger people fail to see the point of registering let alone voting, that does not seem to be healthy for democracy.

            If my memory of the ’60’s and 70’s remain sufficiently unclouded by all that strange stuff I ingested, the young are highly sensitive to social and political injustice, and far from complacent when it confronts them.

            Maybe the current youth voting rates are a sign of a generally healthy society? Youth are generally living pretty well and don’t actually feel much of a motivation to engage with a situation that is not actually confronting them?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              “‘…living pretty well…”

              The youth unemployment rate is over ten percent. That’s the average.

              I venture to suggest that you are projecting.

              • The lost sheep

                No projection OAB. Just facts.

                ‘Over 10%’ of Youth are unemployed, and over 85% of Youth are employed.
                Unemployment therefore does not prove that the majority of Youth are not ‘living well’, nor does it explain why 40% of Youth did not vote.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  If you’re looking for “proof” you’re in the wrong place. cf: Einstein, Box.

                  The two papers I cited earlier apply here, but they are peripheral to your question: why does electoral participation increase with age?

                  If you’re genuinely interested in answers they abound. Google is your friend. From my perspective the more people that vote the more robust society is. So any level of disengagement is toxic.

                  • The lost sheep

                    From my perspective the more people that vote the more robust society is.
                    Agreed. You’ll support my suggestions for improving the quality and quantity of participation below then?
                    Maybe you even have some positive practical suggestions of your own?

                    So any level of disengagement is toxic.
                    Not sure that ‘any level’ is ‘toxic’.
                    Many things only become ‘toxic’ at a certain threshold, and I suspect voter participation is one of them.

                    With voting, you must consider whether the failure to vote by people who are making a conscious decision not to participate is in itself harmful? They have a democratic choice to take that option, and they are exercising that right. Can that be harmful to democracy?

                    Even though I would make voting compulsory, I have no grounds for stating that in itself 100% of citizens voting would make any difference to the quality of Governments we elect?

                    Are you aware of any such evidence OAB?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes. Of course there is. The interesting question is the null hypothesis.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Yes. Of course there is.

                      Just a few links to get me on the right track then?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      How did you form “your” “opinion” unless you already did some reading?

                      If you are as ignorant as you claim, it will take far more than “a few links” to bring you up to speed, and even then they’ll probably just conform to my confirmation bias.

                      High school civics might be your best place to start, just watch out for that null hypothesis: it’s a doozy.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Let’s examine that null hypothesis too: “electoral participation has no effect on the quality of government”.

                      Can you think of any examples that undermine that statement?

                    • The lost sheep

                      O.K. So you can provide no links and are reverting to arguing from a null hypothesis fallacy.

                      “electoral participation has no effect on the quality of government”. Can you think of any examples that undermine that statement?

                      That wasn’t my statement.
                      I opined that voter participation may become toxic at a certain threshold, but that I have no grounds for stating that in itself 100% of citizens voting would make any difference to the quality of Governments we elect?

                      I’m guessing your ‘example’ might be the 52% turnout at the recent US election leading to the election of the idiot Trump? Anecdotally, I’m inclined to agree that result reflects a level of non-participation that is becoming toxic.
                      But is there any proof that greater or even 100% participation would have resulted in a different outcome? Or that a different outcome would in fact have been an ‘improvement’ in the quality of Govt? I’d like to see some facts rather than anecdote.

                      But, anecdotally again, with NZ’s level of participation, and 70% of voters already engaged and voting, on a statistical level I find it difficult to see how the missing 30% are even going to make any difference to the outcome, let alone increase the quality of the Govt. elected?
                      You would have to propose that the 30% would vote in pattern that was so strongly different to the 70% that it would skew the result one way or the other.
                      And then what proof is there that would result in an increase in the quality of Govt? Why should the 30% who are dis-engaged now be any better at identifying ‘quality’ than the 70% who are engaged?

                      Some curly questions there OAB?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Dear god you’re irritating. I can provide links for Africa, but where the hell do you start?

                      What’s the null hypothesis if not the one I suggested?

                      In terms of the facts you’re looking for, I guess I’d start by comparing the levels of electoral participation by country and measuring that against a raft of social outcomes – the health of the populations, employment levels, education, etc. etc.

                      Test the Schattschneider hypothesis, the constituency size effect, and so on with some other data.

                      And drop your obsession with proof: you can only do it in Maths, which bears little resemblance to reality, hence the earlier reference to Einstein & Box.

                      Why should the 30% who are dis-engaged now be any better at identifying ‘quality’ than the 70% who are engaged?

                      I think we’re all wrong, just in different ways; it’s the way those differences are expressed that makes democracy the least crap system.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Since when did a google search become ‘proof’?
                      Have you read all or any of those? Can you focus down to any particular sections or passages that are directly applicable to our discussion, or…..

                      drop your obsession with proof

                      Oh. I see. You have officially come out as Post Truth.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      Science – the sort you’re asking for “proof” from – deals in probabilities.

                      Gavin Schmidt (NASA) had this to say about it:

                      science isn’t either settled or not settled. This is a false and misleading dichotomy. Instead, we know things with varying degrees of confidence – for instance, conservation of energy is pretty well accepted, as is the theory of gravity (despite continuing interest in what happens at very small scales or very high energies) , while the exact nature of dark matter is still unclear. The forced binary distinction implicit in the phrase is designed to misleadingly relegate anything about which there is still uncertainty to the category of completely unknown. i.e. that since we don’t know everything, we know nothing.

                      Albert Einstein put it:

                      Insofern sich die Sätze der Mathematik auf die Wirklichkeit beziehen, sind sie nict sicher, und insofern sie sicher sind, beziehen sie sich nicht auf die Wirklichkeit.

                      This isn’t “post truth” – I’m pretty sure you know this.

                      I already pointed you at a couple of hypotheses, and civics 101. I am not your tutor; I am expressing my informed opinion.

                    • McFlock

                      I am not your tutor;

                      Sometimes I think that the only thing most tory commenters learn here are new words to misunderstand and then abuse in order to claim victim status.

                      They certainly pick up the lingo pretty quick (“post-truth”, “~shaming”, “dirty politics”), they always seem to use it in ways that are ever-so-slightly inconsistent with conventional language.

                      Whether it’s a genuine social disability, or a parsing fail of the turing test… who knows…

                    • The lost sheep

                      Sometimes I think that the OAB/McFlock persona really does believe that if it throws out sufficient random verbiage, otherwise intelligent readers really will not perceive it is merely a smokescreen to conceal the dual-persona’s flight from genuine engagement!

                      They were post-truth before their time. Doesn’t get more cutting edge than that eh!

                    • McFlock

                      you think anyone would waste sockpuppet accounts on you? Is it that unlikely that two people on an open forum might have independantly come to the conclusion that you’re a dickhead?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “Random verbiage”.

                      Very specific references to particular named hypotheses, in fact, plus a bunch of other material.

                      You obviously don’t – or are determined not to – understand the point about proof vs probability. You are obviously ignorant – or determined to twist the meaning – of “post truth” politics. Your lies will not obscure that.

                      Basically your position on everything is “I read in on a left-wing blog so it can’t be true”. And yes, I have come to the conclusion – again – independently of McFlock, that you are a dickhead. This conversation is over.

  14. Doogs 14

    An interesting thread

    Interesting? Why? Because it points up clearly and unequivocally that most people’s thinking is driven almost entirely at the emotional (feelings) level.

    Very little of what I read here in this post is anything but gut reaction and knee-jerk rubbish. Look, someone posts a series of ideas, and instead of it starting a reasoned and impassioned discussion of the article’s content, everyone starts scrapping and bickering with each other – much of it not even related to the article.

    Ad – your piece is either tongue-in-cheek or absolute shite. I suspect the former. Unfortunately, the proletariat interpret it as a chance to get the gloves on and hop into the ring. They stand in the wings waiting for OAB or PR or someone else to post a flame and there they are, hoses at the ready.

    Ad – on message – none of your suggestions have even a passing resemblance to a solution. Democracy is the question and the answer. There simply is no other real alternative. Your first 4 paragraphs are great. They identify the problem for which there is no easy answer. To refine democracy you need an educated and objectively thinking populace. Not easy to achieve, given the way our system works at the moment. Schools are currently working with a massive dichotomy. Teachers are asked to differentiate their programmes to accomodate the differing styles of learning and levels of cognitive ability in their students. Then what happens? The MOE requires a rigid standardisation of assessment to be applied to all.

    This is patently wrong, and has teachers tied up with resolving these issues under a mountain of paperwork. Instead, they should be asking students to develop independence of thought, research and analysis. They should be teaching them to search for nuggets of truth and inspiration among the miasma of rubbish emanating from the internet, TV and social media. They need to teach them to ask important questions of people and data they are presented with. There is not enough real critical analysis of information, because very few people can do that. Why? Because they have not been taught the art of metacognition – thinking about their thinking!

    Some posts and threads of comments I really enjoy. Others are populated by fuckwits, trolls and RWNJs. We can’t avoid them. FGS people, ignore them.

    • Ad 14.1

      Democracy is not the only solution to good policy decisions.
      Of course my two little ideas won’t work – they were designed simply to make people think – but it does point out how choices can be better evaluated.

  15. The lost sheep 15

    As for the meme that NZ voters are ignorant/dumb.
    The Human Development Index gives NZ a World ranking of 2 for Education, with a score of 0.91, where 1 is the highest possible theoretical score, indicating perfect education attainment.

    NZ voters are too dumb to make informed choices?
    You’d have to be stupid to say that.

    • Ad 15.1

      I have not stated that most people – or voters – are dumb.
      Only that some supplements to their general level of knowledge about policy decisions would be useful.

      • The lost sheep 15.1.1

        I didn’t single you out AD. Others yes. they know who they are!

        I’m an advocate of compulsory voting, and have often thought about the idea of linking that to a voter license?
        Something around the level of a Driver or Gun license, that ensures that at least voters understand the basic elements of the electoral system and the significance of their vote.
        Could that increase the percentage of citizens both voting, and using the vote responsibly and with adequate consideration?

        There are civil liberty issues in that suggestion of course, but personally I see the vote as a essential Social duty.
        We all have a responsibility to ensure we put in place leaders that reflect and implement our social will.
        Spending a relatively small amount of time ensuring we are personally equipped to make considered choices for the good of Society as a whole, and then actually doing so is a very small imposition on our personal freedom.

        • Pasupial

          An important feature of compulsory voting would have to be a; “no confidence” option, for those who just showed up to avoid a fine.

          I am troubled by your suggestion of a voting license however. That brings to mind the Jim Crow laws of segregationist era USA (now returning behind different masks). Also, would a past conviction bar you from voting for life in NZ as in some states? That seems a way to guarantee further Māori disenfranchisement given how disproportionately they are represented in the prisons.

          Personally, I favour extending the franchise to all citizens – even those under the age of eighteen, though there might be a need for proxies (&/or nonvoting representatives) there. Though I recognize that people do have valid concerns with the idea, and it’s not going to be happening anytime soon.

          One group I do have a problem with voting are dual citizens. I have family who vote in both Australia and NZ, which is legal; provided they come back to the country every couple of years. It does seem to make a mockery of the; one person, one vote concept, though.

          • halfcrown

            I agree with Sheep we should have compulsory voting, as the vote is a privilege apart from being a Social duty and should be taken very seriously, as it has been denied to so many over the years in other countries. However, I think it should be compulsory to register your vote than to actually vote for a particular party. This is why I feel Pasupial idea of a box that you can either tick abstain or no confidence is a good an idea.

          • The lost sheep

            Understand your concern re. the potential for a license or similar to be counter-productive and actively dis-enfranchise some groupings Parsupial.

            My thinking was that the basic requirement for any such mechanism would be, like a drivers license, it was set at a level that the vast majority of citizens were perfectly capable of achieving with a small amount of application.
            In the few cases where citizens had genuine reasons for not being able to achieve, then this would not remove their right to vote. And in fact, if people who were capable of it, but did not achieve, that would not deprive them of the right to vote either.

            So when I say ‘compulsory’ and ‘license’, I am really seeing those measures as more a way of giving the vote and electoral process more ‘gravitas’ and social importance, and hoping to increase the level and quality of participation by doing so.

            But why not do it while kids are still required to be in school? Say the last compulsory year, and yes, let them vote immediately after that?

  16. save nz 16

    I advocate we become the Consumerist State of NZ, led by our dear leader Key who can rule till his death when the Max Key dynasty takes over.

    Who needs voting, when we have perfection in NZ already.

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    As Brexit comes to a grisly conclusion (perhaps) people on all sides are saying intemperate and uwise things.  Some, like the Daly Mail, have been doing it for years.People as normally level headed as Jon Lansman are calling for automatic deselection of MPs who vote against a (likely) Labour three ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour MPs supporting Johnson’s turd-sandwich deal?
    I find this unbelievable:
    I've got one source saying more Labour MPs than expected are mulling whether to vote for the deal - including names who were not on the letter to Juncker and Tusk— Emilio Casalicchio (@e_casalicchio) 17 October 2019 I've compiled a list of possible reasons why Labour ...
    4 days ago
  • Why do we need control orders again?
    On Wednesday, the government was loudly telling us that it needed to legislate to allow it to impose "control orders" - effectively a parole regime, but imposed without charge, prosecution, conviction or real evidence - on suspected terrorists because they couldn't be prosecuted for their supposed crimes. Today, it turns ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Bullshitting the Minister
    On Monday, the Hit and Run inquiry heard from NZDF's former director of special operations, who claimed that the defence Minister knew everything about the Operation Burnham raid. Today, the inquiry heard from that (former) Minister - and it turns out that he didn't know nearly as much as NZDF ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Speaker: Extinction Rebellion is not a cult (but ecstasy for the people)
    Yoga gurus and cult leaders – I’ve seen a few. Two weeks ago, I unknowingly joined an alleged new-age cult at the Kāpiti coast, together with a giant kraken and some neatly dressed pensioners who would make any book club proud.They were among the two hundred people of all ages ...
    4 days ago
  • We need to bring the police under control
    The last decade has seen a trend of increasing weapons availability to police. Assault rifles. Tasers on every hip. Guns in cars. And following the march 15 massacre, pistols on every hip, all over the country. At the same time, its also seen an increase in the abuse of force: ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • If you can’t measure it, does it exist?
    In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been busy preparing for our summer paper on Science Communication. Looking for something amusing about ‘risk’ in science, I came across this neat cartoon about why so many people come knocking on my door (or phoning me, or emailing me) desperately wanting ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    5 days ago
  • Swinson’s swithering
    Jo Swinson is doing even worse at this Being Sensible lark that I'd thought.  I've just become aware of the following utterance
    .@KayBurley presses Lib Dem leader @joswinson on whether she would agree to a #Brexit deal 'no matter how bad a deal it is' as long as it had ...
    5 days ago
  • Women’s rights, trans ideology and Gramsci’s morbid symptoms
    by John Edmundson The International Socialist Organisation (ISO) have recently reposted a February article, by Romany Tasker-Poland, explaining ISO’s position in the “trans rights” debate.  It is available on their website and on their Facebook Page.  The article sets out to explain why “socialists support trans rights”.  It reads more ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • We need to take guns off police
    Today's IPCA report of police criminality: a police officer unalwfully tasered a fleeing suspect who posed no threat to anyone:The police watchdog has found an officer unlawfully tasered an Auckland man who broke his ankle jumping off a balcony to escape arrest. [...] To avoid arrest, the man jumped over ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Bringing kindness back”
    "Auckland City Mission: 10% of Kiwis experiencing food insecurity", RNZ, 16 October 2019:About half a million people are experiencing food insecurity, according to new research from the Auckland City Mission. Food insecurity, or food poverty, is defined as not having enough appropriate food. The City Mission said over the last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Press Release: “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance b...
    Media Statement for Immediate Release 16th October 2019 “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers Despite comments from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers—Herald Newspaper Tuesday Oct 15th–there is very little evidence ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    5 days ago
  • Ever-So-Slightly Bonkers: Simon Bridges Plays To His Base.
    Would You Buy A Used Propaganda Video From This Man? Bridges and the National Party’s strategists have discovered that the ideas and attitudes considered acceptable by today’s editors and journalists are no longer enforceable. The rise and rise of the Internet and the social media platforms it spawned means that ...
    5 days ago
  • Asking for food
    There is plenty of evidence of the way the business mentality has permeated every level of society since the recrudescence of market liberalism 35 years ago. You only need to think of how citizens in need of help from their government, their state, their country, are now routinely described as ...
    Opposable ThumbBy Unknown
    5 days ago
  • Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwi do and the places they call home
    John MacCormick Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big changes in the jobs they do and where they live and work. These changes include: a decline in manufacturing jobs an increase in jobs in ‘information-intensive’ industries (which are better paid ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Protecting Fresh Waterways in Aotearoa/NZ: The Strong Public Health Case
    Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    6 days ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    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 There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    6 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy
    1 week ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    1 week ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    1 week ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago

  • Corrections Amendment Bill passes third reading
    A Bill to improve prison security and ensure the fair, safe, and humane treatment of people in prison while upholding public safety has passed its third reading. Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the Corrections Amendment Bill makes a number of changes to ensure the Corrections Act 2004 is fit for ...
    5 hours ago
  • Ngāi Tahu CEO appointed to NZ-China Council
    Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, has selected Arihia Bennett MNZM, Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, as the Te Puni Kōkiri appointed representative on the New Zealand-China Council. The New Zealand-China Council (the Council) was established in 2012 as a New Zealand led and funded organisation ...
    8 hours ago
  • Southern Response claims move to EQC
    Responsibility for processing the small number of Southern Response claims still to be settled will be transferred to EQC by the end of the year. “As claim numbers reduce, it no longer makes sense for the Crown to have two organisations processing the remaining Canterbury claims,” Grant Robertson says. “Since ...
    11 hours ago
  • Bowel screening starts in Whanganui
    Health Minister David Clark is encouraging Whanganui residents to take up the opportunity for free bowel screening, which can detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat.   Over the next two years 12,000 Whanganui locals, aged 60 to 74 will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Screening ...
    13 hours ago
  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, heads to Oslo today to represent New Zealand at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which is being hosted by the Norwegian Government from the 23-24 October. “The Our Ocean Conference mobilises real action on issues like marine plastic pollution and the impacts of ...
    1 day ago
  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures Conference: Connection...
    Session 4: Pacific Connectivity – Youth, Media and New Opportunities   Kia ora tatou katoa and Warm Pacific greetings to one and all. Representatives of Tainui, the local people of the land, or manawhenua – the indigenous peoples of this area – have welcomed you this morning in accordance with ...
    4 days ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    4 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    4 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    4 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    4 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    5 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    5 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    5 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    5 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    5 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    5 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    5 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    6 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    6 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    6 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    6 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    6 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    6 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    7 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
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