Democracy needs straight answers to straight questions

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, March 21st, 2013 - 49 comments
Categories: accountability, clayton cosgrove, democracy under attack, Parliament, russel norman, Steven Joyce - Tags:

The current Speaker in the House, David Carter, is a disaster.  Yesterday was beyond a joke as he let the government get away with avoiding providing serious answers to important questions.  It began with a question that had been diverted from the PM to the Minister for State Owned Enterprises.  It was a question to John Key about criteria he had stated in the past.

1. DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition) to the Minister for State Owned Enterprises: Has the Government met the five criteria the Prime Minister laid out for proceeding with asset sales?

Hon TONY RYALL (Minister for State Owned Enterprises) : Yes. In particular, one criterion was that New Zealand investors would be at the front of the queue and that we would need to be confident of widespread and substantial New Zealand share ownership. At 10 o’clock this morning the number of New Zealanders who had pre-registered their interest in Mighty River Power went over 400,000.

David Shearer: When the Prime Minister said that the third criterion would be that companies would need to present good investment opportunities for investors, with which international investors had the Prime Minister had discussions that have yet to be made public?

Hon TONY RYALL: In respect of that answer, of course I am not able to tell them exactly to whom the Prime Minister has spoken, nor am I able to comment on the nature of the investment at this time.

David Shearer: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This just illustrates the inability of the Government to be able to answer a question from the Opposition.

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister addressed the question. He said he was unable to relate a conversation—[Interruption] Does the member have further supplementary questions?

Then, with question 2, Russel Norman and Clayton Cosgrove asked questions that were not answered by Steven Joyce.  Joyce used a lot of smoke screen words to divert from answering the question:

Hon Clayton Cosgrove: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect, that did not even get anywhere near the question. I simply asked whether, having guaranteed the big end of town through the covered bonds legislation, he would commit to implementing the proposal we have put forward. He talked about the Crown Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme and responded to an interjection, but he never answered or even addressed that question.

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister said he did not accept the proposition that was put by the member. If the member wishes to ask further supplementaries, he has the ability to do so.

Later during Question Time, when Mallard and Norman attempted to complain about the Speaker’s inconsistencies and not following precedents set by the previous Speaker, Lockwood Smith, they were told Clark just had a different style.

Dr Russel Norman: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I agree with you that it has become very noisy. I would argue the key problem is that the decision or the ruling of Speaker Smith that a straight question gets a straight answer is no longer being upheld under your new Speakership. That is creating disorder.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That is now questioning the competence and the bias of the Speaker. That is very serious. I am attempting to elicit sensible answers for members, but on many occasions members are wanting the answer designed to their satisfaction. That is not what question time is. The question must be addressed, but it will not necessarily mean that the question at all times will be answered to the satisfaction of the member asking the questions.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I want to agree with what Dr Norman said, but to make it clear that no one—and I do not think Dr Norman did—attributed bias to you. What he indicated what was that there is a different set of rulings, and they are quite different.

Mr SPEAKER: I accept there are certainly different styles. From the moment you have a different Speaker, you will have a different style.

It is parodied well by Imperator Fish

David Shearer: Thank you Mr Speaker, my question now to the Minister of State Owned Enterprises: Has the Government met the five criteria the Prime Minister laid out for proceeding with asset sales?

Tony Ryall: Blue cheese.

Shearer: Point of order, Mr Speaker. What kind of answer was that?

Mr Speaker: The minister answered the question. He may not have given the answer you wanted, but he nevertheless gave an answer. Do you have any supplementary questions?

Russel Norman has now published an open letter of complaint to the Rt Hon David Carter:

I strongly urge you to revert to the set of rules that Lockwood Smith had developed over the course of his Speakership. These rules can be summarised as “A straight question will get a straight answer”.

I agree.  However, what David Carter has exposed is the underlying approach that Lockwood Smith used much more subtly.  He sometimes allowed the PM and his ministers to avoid being fully accountable to the NZ public. Smith was more consistent, and maintained a more orderly House.  Most often he was fair to all sides. But there were limits to how well he served democracy.

 

49 comments on “Democracy needs straight answers to straight questions”

  1. toad 1

    How dare Russel Norman question the Speaker’s self-proclaimed bias.

    That is apparent for all to see.

    As is his incompetence.

    • DR 1.1

      If the speaker has proclaimed himself as biased, he should not only be questioned but reprimanded as well. The essence of democracy is to hear what everyone has to say and then form a conclusion from what everything has been said.

      Unless you don’t understand what democracy is all about, there’s no point for you to try to understand what’s written here.

    • big bruv 1.2

      Toad. I have gone back as far as I can yet for some reason I must have missed the posts where you ripped into Margaret Wilson for her bias. This is the same Margaret Wilson who is widely considered to be the worst speaker the house has seen since the days of Dr Wall.

      Why was it that you did not have this level of “concern” in Wilson’s days?

      Might it be that like all lefties you simply cannot deal with a level playing field?

      Never mind, you have at least another two terms to get used to speaker Carter.

  2. Andre 2

    One house and no accountability How did we get in this pickle?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      A parliament that can do pretty much what it likes and is unaccountable to the public as we have no say between elections. We need the power of recall.

      • AmaKiwi 2.1.1

        + 1

        Absolutely!

      • Ugly Truth 2.1.2

        To revoke their power an alternative must exist. To have authentic power an alternative system would have to be lawful, and presumably this system would also be democratic. Such a system could be implemented by re-establishing common law hundred, although it’s purpose is to keep the peace rather than to effect public policy.

    • Civil government was “deemed necessary”. The remedy is to abandon it and re-establish lawful government.

  3. framu 3

    this is the man who rang up talk back and rather unsuccessfully pretended to be a dole bludging maori.. so im not holding out much hope for his role as speaker to be any better.

    its high time the speaker was from the judiciary not a political party

  4. vto 4

    Forget it. Nobody believes any of the shit that comes out of this government anyway.

    A boycott of the entire Parliaentary question time and other questioning would be the effective approach.

  5. Matthew 5

    I would like to see an appropriately timed walkout by all opposition parties, just to press the point.

    • SpaceMonkey 5.1

      Would love to see that!!

    • xtasy 5.2

      It should have happened some time ago, they better talk to each other and do this soon!

      • North 5.2.1

        Yeah, rapid succession stoushes involving a senior Labour member (not Mallard), followed by a senior Greens member, followed by Winston.

        If the shock waves of the latter stoush weren’t enough to stop Mr-Tory-Farmer-Speaker-Carter treating members like his working dogs down on the farm, Hone would rise and deliver a plain language point-of-order perfected with pukana. Then everybody walks out leaving only:

        Dunnokeyo waving his little handies and giggling girlishly

        Blinglish hoarsely booming “Get on back ya bastards !”

        Bunter Brownlee’s corpulence in the throes of a shallow 6.5

        Botox Banks elevating with malodourous flatulence

        Imagine it. Such fun ! Second only to Canberra.

  6. grumpy 6

    Lockwood introduced a degree of responsibility to ministers to answwer questions that had almost been totally destroyed by Wilson, the most partisan Speaker for decades.

    Carter is no Smith but still better than Wilson

  7. mac1 7

    Mrs Mac1′s unsolicited comment when listening to Question Time yesterday, “Is that the Speaker? He sounds very biassed.”

    I’ve listened to the Speaker and thinking about his technique to allow a question to be asked three times if a opposition member complains about the Minister not answering the question, two points come up.

    Firstly, such a practice seems a waste of time if the same non-answer is supplied. It means that not so many parliamentary questions get asked, in the period allowed, yes? A tactic which would advantage the Government.

    Secondly, and more importantly, if the Speaker maintains that Ministers are ‘addressing the question’, as he states is his style of doing things, why then does he feel the need to have the question asked three times if that is all that he is going to require of Ministers, as opposed to the previous Speaker’s insistence upon answering the question.

    Interesting to hear just now (10 a.m.) a RNZ report upon opposition complaints. The only interviewee was Gerry Brownlee as Leader of the House giving a smooth version of QT as being more orderly now. I suspect that things will be much more disorderly as the opposition get more frustrated. The report from RNZ was unsatisfactory in its coverage of this issue with a one sided response.

    This comment was also posted earlier today at Red Alert.

    • xtasy 7.1

      Yes, and I have noticed, that under this government, Radio New Zealand has also become “more orderly” – i.e. is not raising sensitive issues much anymore!

    • ghostrider888 7.2

      yes mac1, this speaker appears to be some sort of parliamentary “village idiot.”

  8. infused 8

    I watched question time yesterday and there was a ton of shouting and what not. It’s a shitfest. Regardless of the speaker. He should be ejecting members.

    • freedom 8.1

      There should be a simple rule, if a member is speaking everyone else shuts their pie holes. Yes it might slow things down a bit but surely and very quickly less of the tragic stuff will end up in Hansard?
      Would that be such a bad thing?

      Seriously if a question is being asked or answered and you open your trap, outside of asking for a point of order, you are out for the day. The level of juvenile bs in our Parliament of late is embarrasing, unhelpful and completely disrespectful to our Democracy. A Democracy that was once about the people of New Zealand is now all about their owners. Do not forget we are discussing behaviour that is unacceptable in a Primary School let alone our House of Representatives.

  9. chris73 acualy is Dolan 9

    Now you have a small idea of what the right were complaining about Wilson and Hunt…except Carters still better then either

  10. Raymond a Francis 10

    As I said to my wife, if you think had a hard day at school today take a look at this

    Talk about pot calling the kettle black and being given an inch and taking a mile……pathetic

  11. Wayne 11

    The supplementary asked by Dr Norman actually was answered by Mr Ryall.

    You could not actually expect Mr Ryall to know who everyone the Prime Minister has met, and it could not have been forseen that this supplementary would have arisen by looking at the primary.

    That is how Ministers have to think about these things and prepare for question time. They look at the primary, and try to think of all the possible questions that might arise as supplementarys. It does not seem to me that Mr Ryall could have reasonably thought that such a supplementary would arise.

    Did Dr Norman know something that he thought would embarrass the Govt, in which case he should have been more direct in his supplementary.

    Direct or specific questions that are within the reasonable contemplation of the primary question should be able to be answered, but a “fishing” question is generally too wide ranging.

    So was this a “fishing” question, or does Dr Norman know more?

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      You could not actually expect Mr Ryall to know who everyone the Prime Minister has met, and it could not have been forseen that this supplementary would have arisen by looking at the primary.

      Perhaps that was why the question was addressed to the PM and not the Mr Ryall.

      • Wayne 11.1.1

        No, as I read it the question was to Tony Ryall, as Minister of State Owned Enterprises. Maybe Dr Norman should ask the PM the same question.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1

          It began with a question that had been diverted from the PM to the Minister for State Owned Enterprises. It was a question to John Key about criteria he had stated in the past.

          Perhaps you need to learn to read then.

          • Wayne 11.1.1.1.1

            Yes, I see that, but Russell Norman would have known by 11.00 am that the Minister of State Owned Enterprises was answering the question, mostly because the qusetion as asked was actually his portfolio responsibilty.

            To require a qestion like this to be answered by the PM it would have to have a quote from the PM in it, referring to something that only the PM could answer. But reference to 5 criteria for the SOE sales is something the Minister of SOE’s could answer, and indeed would be expected to know.

            If Dr Norman has something really interesting about the PM, he will frame the question so it is impossible to transfer it to another Minister. He has been in Parliament long enough to know how to do that.

            Transfer of questions is quite common. Opposition MP’s are suppossed to know the ways of drafting questions, so that it will not happen

            • Wayne 11.1.1.1.1.1

              I note that the primary was asked by David Shearer, and I have now seen the full transcript of the Question One.

              So does Dr Norman have anything specific?

  12. framu 12

    “Direct or specific questions that are within the reasonable contemplation of the primary question should be able to be answered”

    agree there – but i listened to some of the exchange on the raido during the drive home (motorway drive so i got to listen to all of it)

    there were pretty straight forward, direct questions being asked of ministers – and the speaker was letting them answer with some extremely indirect answers – some of which boiled down to “im not going to answer that!”

  13. bad12 13

    The politics of it all, what a shambles of a question time was Wednesdays little episode, by contrast today’s was one hell of a yawn,

    The Minister of Everything Steven Joyce got to revel in the title like a pig in muck as Slippery the Prime Minister, Bill from Dipton (Diptin what is what i want to know), and, Pinocchio, SOE Minister Tony Ryall were all conveniently absent from the House so Joyce got to flex His innate ability to waffle on endlessly saying nothing much at all,

    Back to yesterdays abysmal effort by the Speaker where at the point of Pinocchio/ Ryall saying that He was not privy to any advice Slippery the Prime Minister had received Pinocchio/Ryall was allowed to NOT answer the question and more importantly the Speaker happily let Slippery who was present in the House off of the hook of answering that particular question,

    The politics of it all???, there is ONE thing that National has that make that particular rabble and cohort of out-right fools electable and that is Brand Slippery,

    Watching Slippery closely has become a bit of a sporting occasion round here, and reading the body language and nuances of His speech can be very enlightening,

    At this point in the electoral cycle we have been quietly impressed with the demeanor of our Prime Minister which has gone from that of being almost lost in a form of gay abandon from the initial power rush of Prime Minister-ship to one of dark petulance as the faults of His Leadership become exposed and understood by more and more of the populace,

    In other words the gloss is starting to wear thin on the Slippery one and He, lacking a depth of intellectual rigor is finding that less of us are willing to let Slip His glib attempts at comically sweeping the worst aspects of His Government, becoming more apparent by the week, under the carpet of smile’n’wave or glib assertions of being relaxed about this or that,

    The politics of Wednesdays little charade of having Him pass questions to the likes of Pinocchio/Ryall and today’s ‘no show’ of the 2 Ministers plus Himself are the same,

    It is all designed to protect ‘Brand Slippery’ and His many faults from the scrutiny of the wider electorate, it doesn’t matter to National whether or not the likes of Pinocchio/Ryall becomes increasingly more disliked by the public and the same situation is Nationals strategy around Minister of Everything Steven Joyce,

    Come election time 2014 both Joyce and Pinocchio/Ryall will be shuffled off stage left for the duration and ‘Brand Slippery’ will be the face of the National Party seeking a third term, with bthat in mind National have to ensure that as little of the mud that is flung Slippery’s way in the ensuing 20 odd months sticks and thus National will use any means to ensure that ‘Brand Slippery’ remains untarnished hence the House Speakers abject allowance of the Prime Minister to effectively pass the buck of responsibility at yesterdays question time…

  14. AmaKiwi 14

    In every organization I have belonged to the moderator of the AGM is selected for their capacity to be fair and unbiased.

    How about a binding referendum to have candidates for speaker nominated by the Law Society and elected by the people?

    Yesterday’s freak show was not a condemnation of Carter. It was a condemnation of the system.

  15. xtasy 15

    I used to enjoy some Question Time sessions when Lockwood Smith was Speaker. He did not always get decisions right and in some cases also was soft on his Nat “mates”, but generally he was pretty good and tried to apply sensible rulings and orders.

    With Carter I experienced a sudden shift to disappointment and annoyance, as he is not delivering any good standards at all. The bias shown by him letting off ministers with statements like “the answer was replied to satisfactorily” is appalling. Some questions are not answered at all in substance, and it is also an insult to questioners, having to repeat questions twice or three times, to try and get an answer.

    No this man has turned NZ Parliament into an embarrassment for NZ democracy. It is becoming a “demockery” kind of House now, or a “National Parliament” instead of a “NZ Parliament”.

    So now I wonder about the worth of bothering to listen to or watch Question Time at times.

    Democracy, accountability, transparency and responsibility must be taken serious in government, and sadly the QT we now get is not delivering, sadly also not the Official Information Act and Privacy Act requests, that are answered in a contemptious manner more and more often by government agencies and ministries.

    NZ is really losing its way.

  16. Jane 16

    I regularly watch question time and there is plenty of blame to go around. Shortly after Carter became speaker the opposition were pushing him harder than they had been Lockwood, bouncing up with dodgy points of order and generally messing about (reminded me of my 3rd form class when our teacher changed half way through the year, pushing to see where the new boundaries were) and I heard Carter say ‘the Minister has addressed the question’ and thought right there’s a warning of things to come, if they continue on being stupid then where Lockwood would call on his eloquence and be helpful (often way more helpful than I’d like) Carter is not going to bother with it and will retreat to just moving on.

    The delusion is that question time is about asking questions and getting answers, it’s not, it’s about who can get tonight’s allocated 30 second politics sound bite on the news. In order to make the question sound bite able they wrap it in so much drivial that it’s easy to get out of answering it. In Normans case it’s always some shrill quip about destroying the world, Winston is generally incomprehensible but thundering, Shearer tries but stumbles on the lines. Mallard seems to have got lost in obsecure point of order land and seems to pop up just so he can get his name in the days hansard. It is possible to ask questions that either get an answer or show the Minister is dodging but they would be boring questions and wouldn’t play well on the news.

    • karol 16.1

      I regularly watch question time and there is plenty of blame to go around. Shortly after Carter became speaker the opposition were pushing him harder than they had been Lockwood, bouncing up with dodgy points of order and generally messing about.

      Give examples of these as compared with all/most that have been about questioning the inconsistent rulings contradicting previous standing orders, and shielding the PM and ministers from answering serious and important questions?

      The delusion is that question time is about asking questions and getting answers, it’s not, it’s about who can get tonight’s allocated 30 second politics sound bite on the news.

      I agree that Question Time has become too dominated by game playing (the media has some responsibility here), but the government avoiding being held accountable (under the protection of the current speaker) is contributing to this. Russel Norman is actually one of the MPs least into game playing, endeavours to follow the rule.

      In Normans case it’s always some shrill quip about destroying the world,

      Oh dear. Up to that point you had me.  I was thinking you were making a serious attempt at objective analysis.  Show me examples of Norman doing this?

  17. big bruv 17

    The hypocrisy of the left is breathtaking at times.

    Have all of you forgotten how Margaret Wilson gave Clark a free ride?, have you forgotten how she let ministers get away with not even addressing the question?

    I watch those fools Mallard and Norman stomp their feet in the house when they cannot get their way yet neither of these two losers said a word about Wilson while she running defense for the corrupt Clark Labour government.

    Yes Carter might not be as helpful to the left as Lockwood was, but he sure as hell is fairer than Wilson or that fat waste of space Hunt ever were.

    Suck it up lads, in six or so years you might get a chance to put Trev in the chair, in the mean time you can spend the next couple of terms pondering how bad Hunt and Wilson were.

    • karol 17.1

      Wilson was way better than David Carter as Speaker. I never watched parliament when Hunt was speaker. What evidence do you have of Wilson’s bias?

      I don’t think the answer for the left is to wait for a Labour Speaker (and I certainly wouldn’t want Mallard there).

      A far better solution is to have a neutral speaker – someone with a legal background and a sound understanding of politics.

  18. Chris 18

    Carter is a dick. Especially when he has let the nits off answering a question and then smirking. It is no wonder the nits can just answer anything they like ,usually ending with a long tirade against Labour of a hundred years ago,relevant to nothing and then sitting down with a “you can’t touch me” sneer at the Opposition. They know bleeding well that carter will support them on the basis of “I am satisfied that the question has BEEN ADDRESSED” What does that even mean. The Opposition should just abandon their question of the day and just point out that there is no point in asking anything of those giggling,dribbling excuses for a government and then walk out. This government has totally devalued the whole question/debate process and they should be ignored until they grow up.

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  • 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
    5 days 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
    5 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    5 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    5 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    5 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    5 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    5 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    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
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “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
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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