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Digested Read – Spirit Level 1: The Problem

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, September 17th, 2010 - 41 comments
Categories: equality - Tags:

Digested Read Digested – We’re succeeding materially, but failing socially.

We’ve never had it so good – the luxury and extravagance of our lives threatens the planet, we have so much… but somehow our lives seem to be a constant psychological battle against stress and emotional exhaustion.

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett are a pair of epidemiologists with over 50 years of research into the social determinants of health between them; trained in tracing the causes of disease in populations.  They started trying to work out why the life-expectancy of one suburb can be more than 10 years less than a neighbouring wealthier suburb, and have ended up with something that could be called ‘evidence-based politics’.

They make no claims to be left or right on the political spectrum, and got top politicians from all parties to sign up to their equality pledge before the recent UK general election – including the new Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.  Rather their philosophy is purely a scientific view of what works best for people – all people – in a community.

Research show that people feel that ‘materialism’ is coming between them and happiness.  People feel they are alone in wanting society to move away from greed and excess toward a way of life more centred on values, community and family – but in fact the vast majority feel the same way.  Mainstream politics doesn’t seem to tap into this feeling, and as such many have given up on society, and feel only able to better themselves as individuals – to society’s further ruin.

But what is the proof of the cause of the decline of community and the rise of the broken society?

This graph shows that above ~$US20,000 GDP/person, growth of wealth makes no difference to life expectancy.  But wealth within a society makes a great difference to life expectancy.  So additional wealth doesn’t gain a country more life for its citizens.  In fact we can generalise across a whole set of health and social indicators – additional wealth doesn’t seem to help with any of them:

But the rates of these various problems definitely varies between countries.  So what’s the difference between the US, UK & Portugal, coming out badly on so many indicators; and Japan & Sweden, which do so well?

Some countries have a far greater income inequality than others – the US, UK and Portugal are very unequal.  That’s us there, just above them after our great rise in Gini (link) in the late 80s and 90s.

So how does the graph look if we correlate with income inequality?

Suddenly the graph is linear.  There are various ways of measuring inequality (Gini, Robin Hood index, richest vs poorest 10 or 20%…) they all come out with a graph very similar to this.  The graph comparing US states inequality to social and health problems comes out similar as well.  So there is definitely a link between these problems and inequality.  I’ll go into more depth in each area in later blogs.

The Spirit Level authors believe income inequality is largely important as it is our current way of measuring hierarchy in society.  Other forms of inequality are probably important too, but income is where the data and evidence is, and it is the way society currently values people.  A certain level of wealth is required but in the wealthiest 50 nations virtually everyone has access to that.  So the problem is social distances and stratification – keeping up with the Joneses.

Second rate goods equals second rate people.  Status matters.  Having less than those next to us makes us anxious and stressed.  It affects our self-esteem.  We become self-promoting and insecure, as we are constantly in a race and scared of being found out as not as important (ie wealthy) as we make out to be.  We have less time to make and keep friends as we spend all our time trying to earn and spend our wealth to maintain our place.

In a more equal society the race isn’t so all-consuming, we have more friends, more trust, more community and more happiness.  But no less wealth.  He who has most toys doesn’t win, he just makes sure others lose out more.

For more detail: Read the book. Buy it and/or support the Trust.

Right-wing trolls: r0b had a recent post with links refuting the arguments you’re about to make…

41 comments on “Digested Read – Spirit Level 1: The Problem”

  1. SHG 1

    Why do people post 4-colour graphics as jpegs?

  2. tsmithfield 2

    There is plenty of criticism about various aspects of “the spirit level” that can be accessed online. Having thought about this for a few days now, there is one glaring aspect that I would like to point out. The study is mainly a correlation study. The well-worn phrase “correlation is not causation” applies here.

    For instance, In the last graph above, income inequality is shown as the IV and “health and social problems” as the DV. This implies that simply by sharing the wealth around more equally health and social problems will disappear. However, this makes no sense whatsoever.

    It would make a lot more sense to have “health and social problems” as the IV (the x axis) and income inequality as the DV (the y axis). This would imply that if we do something about the health and social issues then income inequality will reduce. For instance, if we improve parenting skills, take measures to improve educational outcomes etc, people are more likely to become well educated, get better jobs etc. If we do something about reducing smoking addiction, then people will be better off financially through not wasting money on smokes, and be healthier as well.

    • Puddleglum 2.1

      The well-worn phrase “correlation is not causation” applies here.

      Indeed. It could be a third factor that explains both … wonder what that might be? No, I don’t wonder: It’s the individualistic forms of life that underpin, and are reinforced by, capitalism. They produce both the inequality and the social and personal harms.

      That third factor even explains your ‘poor parenting skills’ factor.

      Well done TS – you led us to the cause.

    • Zorr 2.2

      I love this common misconception around the whole “correlation does not imply causation” issue. Correlation DOES imply causation – the issue ends up being that many people just assume that because it does that there is a relevant point to be made from just doing correlation studies and latching on to any results at all.

      Also, your labeling of the axes would be unscientific. You always have the fixed value as the x-axis and the variable as the y-axis. In this case the income inequality is a known fixed value and the y-axis is the value they are wanting to measure against it – in this case the social and health issues. Ultimately though, just another flash in the pan from you ts because that isn’t even an argument, just a diversion.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      Still trying to deny reality there I see TS

    • Ari 2.4

      Correlation suggests possible causation, and shifts the burden of proof- that is to say, we should be suspicious that inequality causes health and social problems from that alone. You’re right that it doesn’t by itself prove anything, but I’d be genuinely curious to see what you think is actually causing this correlation if it’s not simply a linear relationship.

    • Bunji 2.5

      Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there’.

      But the Spirit Level does look at a number of studies for various effects that look at correlation vs causation – does trust cause income difference or vice-versa. You can guess the conclusion given the book’s premise…

      The graphs have a particular format to make them easy to read. They all have the same simplified format, so you don’t need a science degree to understand it all. Having a science degree myself, I miss the detail; but prefer that it’s in a more widely understandable format.

      (SHG: which format would you prefer me to re-save them into? PNG? I exist to make y’all happy…)

      And TS – people who aren’t desperately trying to catch up on income tend to have more time to spend on their parenting skills, their children’s education etc. Equalising income a) won’t happen overnight and b) if it did it would still have a lag before some problems were solved/showed significant improvement.

      • SHG 2.5.1

        Just teasing mate, although you could have posted them as 4- or -8-color gifs and they would have looked better and been much smaller 🙂

        • Bunji 2.5.1.1

          Ah, but I have a philosophical objection to gif. Having programmed graphics applications in the past and then you have to *license* gif, I’m all about the png. That’s the best you’re getting.

          But then png is the best.

  3. roger nome 3

    You’re right – tsmith, i’ve heard that more unequal societies are targeted by extra-terrestrials for abductions as they offer more variety accross the human spectrum. The abductions harm poorer people more because they are better abducties (people won’t notice they’re gone as much). This is the crucial variable that the authors of the spirit level are missing – or is there a cover-up going on? (i.e. earth’s scientists being told to lie about global warming so the communist space lizards can centralise power and turn earth into a gulag planet).

    Can you email me? I would like to co-author a piece for investigate magazine with you about this pressing issue…

    • tsmithfield 3.1

      Zorr, as I understand it there are numerous variables from various studies that have been combined together to become one variable (index of health and social problems). The fact this has been described as an index means that it could validly be used as the x axis, so I am not sure your argument is sound.

      The problem with trying to address “health and social problems” by equalising income is that it does not change human habits that are causing the “health and social problems”. For example consider the examples often cited of people who have become instantly rich through a Lotto win or the like and then lose the money within a short time frame. Consider the likes of Mike Tyson who came into boxing with a lot of behavioural issues. Getting wealth did not change his behaviour.

      However, by looking at the picture the other way, and seeing “health and social problems” as the causal variable, then we can actually do something to address the problems that are stopping people from getting ahead. Simply throwing money at people simply won’t do this.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Nobody has said anything about throwing money at people. More that we should be looking at getting a more equal share going rather than giving it all to the worthless rich people.

      • Puddleglum 3.1.2

        Hi TS,

        Don’t you like my idea that there may be a third variable that causes both inequality and social and health problems? If not, why not?

      • bbfloyd 3.1.3

        ts.. you highlight a basic stumbling block to creating balanced societies.

        the philosophy that everything that ails us can be fixed with money. most people i know who are in the “deprived” sector of society don’t see having more money as any more than a basic necessity, required because their utilities and groceries etc, are purchased with money. given the choice, most would prefer to be self sufficient, and most have the skills and knowledge to do that.

        the fact that money is a necessary commodity for basic survival in todays society is seen as one of the largest sources of sress by these groups. unfortunately, we have government that, it seems is hellbent on ensuring that the aquisition of money is as fundamental to our continued participation in society as breeding.

        can’t help but wonder if commodity based economics wouldn’t lend itself to a more balanced approach to social outcomes

  4. roger nome 4

    ts – there are other simiar studies that have found the same thing.

    http://www.ccsd.ca/pubs/2002/olympic/indicators.htm

    The challange for the right is to replicate these studies, and see if the results come out different. But that won’t happen will it? Because “reality has a left wing bias…”

    • tsmithfield 4.1

      Roger, I am sure there are plenty of studies that are showing similar things. However, in each of the studies I would give the response I have given above.

      At least what I have proposed can be operationalised in specific changes that will improve people’s capability to get ahead. What I am suggesting will enable people to develop life-long habits that improve their life over the long-term.

      Simply equalising income does not achieve this. All it does is make people richer for a time. However, as it has been said before, if all the wealth in the world was distributed equally, it wouldn’t be long before most of it was back in the hands of those who had it in the first place.

      By actually giving people tools to improve their own situation they have the opportunity to generate sustainable wealth that will close the income gap in a more sustainable way. What objection do you have to this course of action?

      • mcflock 4.1.1

        By actually giving people tools to improve their own situation they have the opportunity to generate sustainable wealth that will close the income gap in a more sustainable way. I agree fully, TS.

        There are two ways for an individual to generate sustainable wealth: the work of their mind or the work of their body. I believe that everyone should be given these tools to generate their own wealth.

        To give them an effective mind, education up to and including tertiary level should be freely available.
        To give them effective bodies, we must give them healthcare, shelter, clothing and nutritious food.

        I am glad we are in agreement, and will look for you at the next socialist rally.

        • tsmithfield 4.1.1.1

          Actually, I think the tools are much more fundamental than that. For instance, I know someone who is a multi-millioinaire who has reached that position using tools that are available to nearly everyone.

  5. roger nome 5

    ts – i agree that the changes would take a decade or two have their full impact. I don’t see this as an argument to not impliment them however.

  6. roger nome 6

    ” Simply equalising income does not achieve this.”

    So we have a pronouncement from an anon blogger with no back up facts or argument, versus decades of meticulous research by experts… hmmm which side to pick…..

    • tsmithfield 6.1

      Since these sort of studies are invariably correlational it is quite open to see the research from the other direction. One way to determine which direction is most likely to be the correct view is to come up with some logical ways in which the effect might occur. I think its quite easy to see how improving educational outcomes etc will increase the likelihood of succeeding in life and thus earning more money.

      I don’t think it is at all easy to see how simply giving people more money will improve their outcomes. In fact, in many cases it might actually make things worse for people. For instance, what would be the likely effect of giving more money to a heroin addict?

      So roger, which part of my statement below do you disagree with and why?

      I said: “By actually giving people tools to improve their own situation they have the opportunity to generate sustainable wealth that will close the income gap in a more sustainable way.”

      • Puddleglum 6.1.1

        Sorry to pursue you, TS, (see comments above) but you seem to think that causality can only be from A to B or from B to A.

        What about a third variable? I’d really like to know what you think of that. (It might also help explain why, as you put it, if all the income were ‘equalised’ it would soon end up with an unequal distribution.)

        • Bunji 6.1.1.1

          I think ts is confusing income with wealth, and maintaining a system that pushes wealth to an elite.

        • tsmithfield 6.1.1.2

          You are quite right, Puddleglum. And this is one of the failings of the research in that it has lumped numerous variables, each with their own diverse 3rd variable relationships into one neat variable “index of health and social problems”.

          However, the approach I am suggesting would deal with third variable problems in the process of dealing with other issues. It is probably a lot harder than redistributing wealth, but in the long-term it is likely to be much more effective in achieving the same end.

  7. roger nome 7

    “I don’t think it is at all easy to see how simply giving people more money will improve their outcomes.”

    But we’re not not talking about “giving people more money”. We’re talking about changing the social contract so that the health and happiness of the people is improved. That you discount the evidence in favour of your bluster does not show you in a favourable light.

  8. KJT 8

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting that unskilled get paid the same as skilled workers for instance. The problem is the gross inequality of income where a manager gets 100’s of times more pay than his/her staff. Or the owners of capital are able to remove most of societies wealth as of right even if it means other people live in unnecessary poverty.

    As Warren Buffet said. “There is class warfare and it is my class, the rich class, that is winning”

  9. tsmithfield 9

    Roger nome: “But we’re not not talking about “giving people more money”. We’re talking about changing the social contract so that the health and happiness of the people is improved. That you discount the evidence in favour of your bluster does not show you in a favourable light.”

    I think in some ways we are talking about the same thing. I am all in favour of people improving their situation in life and improving their outcomes. However, this is probably where I would differ from the socialist perspective which is largely based around taking money from the wealthy and redistributing it. However, that doesn’t in itself achieve anything to improve the ability of people to move away from dependence on others, or to change dysfunctional behaviours.

    I think that improving the ability of people to build their own wealth, prosperity and well-being is a through helping them overcome dysfunctional behavioural patterns and increase their skills and abilities is a much better long-term solution. This concept doesn’t seem that radical to me.

    • felix 9.1

      Interesting that you consider the poor to be dependent on the rich.

      It seems to me to be quite the reverse – that the wealthiest people in society are the ones riding on the backs of the rest.

      • tsmithfield 9.1.1

        I guess you could have that perspective.

        However, I see the roots of poverty are in dysfunction rather than inequity.

        The way I see it is that socialists want to take people out of the gutter to achieve equity. I don’t think this approach actually achieves very much other than to shift existing wealth around.

        My approach is to take the gutter out of people. This is much harder, but is likely to result in the pool of wealth actually increasing rather than just being shifted around..

        • Puddleglum 9.1.1.1

          TS, I think you’re confused abut socialism.

          Socialism is not about redistribution; it’s about re-organising society in such a way that work, community processes and the general economy are based on and run by the people in those workplaces, communities and economies.

          Socialists qua socialists, are opposed to the notion of limited liability companies, private corporations, etc., and their ability to be treated as legal individuals, because they see them as vehicles deliberately constructed for the leveraging, appropriation and accumulation of wealth for an individual person (or persons as shareholders) out of the work of a collective of people who do not fully share in the benefits of that production.

          They suggest a range of cooperatively controlled and run ‘entities’ to produce goods and services and participatory collective processes for determining what gets produced, how much, when, etc.. In addition, they advocate alternative processes for rewarding individuals’ economic activity to that of the market price for particular forms of labour. The assumption is usually that some individuals will receive greater reward than others, but just not in the extreme way it can happen in a capitalist market economy with its contraptions such as companies, etc. that allow immense differentials in how individuals are ‘rewarded’ for their economic activity.

          What you describe as ‘socialism’ is actually some hybrid of modern social democratic and liberal approaches. With these, capitalism is accepted as the best way to organise and run most of the non-state economy but they apply some degree of constraint to, regulation and limitation of that activity.

          Social democrats/liberals are the ones who use redistribution primarily to compensate the losers in an economic system that they tend to think cannot be (or should not be) replaced, while realising that it produces harsh and unfair outcomes for many people.

          More on topic, the best way to “take the gutter out of people”, as you put it, is to re-organise the social system that creates gutters so that it no longer does so.

          My point in response to your suggestion is that ‘poor parenting skills’ and other forms of what Richard Prebble used to call “behavioural poverty” are actually generated by market capitalism, as a general tendency,

          That’s because the incentive and impulse towards so-called economic efficiency encounters all non-market processes of social cohesion, connection and self-maintenance and organisation (e.g., parenting) as obstacles to the process of capital growth and wealth accumulation. At best such a society ends up commodifying those social processes and selling them back to us.

          For example, we all need connections to others (family, friends, etc.). Capitalist evolution results, necessarily, in the dismantling of communities, families, friendships and other forms of social support and connection. After creating a world in which people routinely move about and migrate for jobs and other opportunities. and, as a consequence, repeatedly leave family and friends and break social connections to place, those connections then get sold back to us (in emaciated form) via mobile phones, social networking sites and so on.

          The same pressures and incentives that dismantle other social processes have exerted themselves on parenting. Parenting isn’t an instinct. It needs to be passed on by exposure (from childhood) to others raising children. It needs to happen in a family life-sphere that is essentially organised around raising children not around earning incomes in workplaces far-removed from the domestic world. It needs to happen in a broader society, economic system and culture that is, itself, organised around the process of reproducing, socialising and enculturating new human beings rather than one organised around reproducing wealth and capital. (In evolutionary theory, it’s all about achieving an integrated balance between material ‘survival’ – economic behaviour – and reproduction.)

          In the latter society, the best that can be done is to sell ‘parenting’ back to parents via daycare, parenting books, tapes, etc.. In New Zealand – because of social democratic/liberal initiatives – we also have the non-market ‘redistribution’ of parenting skills via Plunket, Ante Natal groups, state-funded fostering, CYFS and the like.

          You’re right, ‘getting the gutter out of [society]’ is much harder and will no doubt take much longer than getting particular individuals out of the gutter. But some of us are trying to do just that. And at least some of those trying to do that call themselves ‘socialists’. Want to join the effort?

          • mcflock 9.1.1.1.1

            It depends on whether you are using the strict political philosophy “socialism”, the popular interpretation of “socialism”, the obscure RWNJ “socialism”, or socialism as a continuum of beliefs from communism through democratic socialism to social democrats and, indeed, hybrid state/private enterprise mixes of any degree.

            I remember two good comrades having a drunken argument as to whether they were social democrats or democratic socialists. The only thing that was important was that they were to the left of Labour5.

            • Puddleglum 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Fair enough, mcflock. To be honest – and despite that comment – I’m not that fussed about definitional debates unless they make a point.

              The point I wanted to make to TS was simply that redistribution is the bare minimum response to the problems of inequality. Reorganising society goes more to the root of the problems – including the parenting issue he was concerned about. If socialism was just the advocacy of redistribution then just about every western government and party that has ever existed has been socialist – so that definition really doesn’t help discriminate anything, politically.

  10. RedLogix 10

    ts
    My approach is to take the gutter out of people. This is much harder,

    You’re right, it’s much harder because you’re locked into a perpetual egg chasing chicken loop there.

    There is of course a thread of truth in what you are saying; dysfunction creates chaos. That’s obvious, but the immediate question that follows is ‘what causes the dysfunction?’. If you are simply going to say that it’s because they are ill-bred, brown or simply bad people…. then you’ve really just parked yourself into the ‘blame the victim’ garage.

    Equally the left is probably guilty of ‘throwing money at problems’ and hoping they will go away to a greater or lesser degree. Up front and personal, dysfunctional adults, chaotic families and the damaged children they create are not easy problems to solve. Ask any social worker.

    Put like this it’s not hard to understand that inequality and dysfunction are mutually interdependent sides of the same coin. The decent individual does not thrive in an indecent society.

    When life is nothing but a series of dissapointments and failed plans, it’s far less likely someone will be keen to commit to long-term goals and delayed gratification. When the ladder’s is too steep, there are too many others ruthlessly crawling over you to get up it as well , or when you get to a certain rung those above start pulling it up behind them… there’s just too much risk you’ll never get to the pay-off.

  11. tsmithfield 11

    RedLogix: “You’re right, it’s much harder because you’re locked into a perpetual egg chasing chicken loop there.”

    Of course I realise this. However, resolving the “egg” inequity side of the equation by shifting resources from one pocket to another doesn’t actually do much to catch up to the “chicken” dysfunction side of the equation. In fact, as I pointed out above, there are situations where this approach can be counterproductive.

    However, resolving the “chicken” dysfunction side will actually result in the “egg” inequity being caught in a sustainable way.

    Those countries in “The Spirit Level” that are high in GDP and low in dysfunction might well generating high GDP because of low dysfunction rather than the opposite direction that “The Spirit Level” proposes. Do you agree?

    • tsmithfield 11.1

      BTW, Red, I’m not thinking in terms of blaming people for their circumstances. Rather in terms of recognising that their are problems that need to be addressed so people can advance and improve their circumstances.

    • RedLogix 11.2

      It’s late and I’ve a big day tommorrow. Below is a repost of something I put on an earlier thread:

      The argument here is not unlike the one around the Laffer curve.

      Absolute equality can only be achieved at the expense of extreme interventions, the costs of which greatly outweigh the marginal benefits involved in eliminating the last few marginal degrees of inequality.

      Absolute inequality, ie where one person owns everything and all the rest of us are his/her chattels is equally undesirable.

      Logically somewhere in the middle must lie an optimum. Exactly where is hard to determine, because although there is a wide spread of GINI coeficients across the nations, there are also a wide range of other uncontrolled variables and data uncertainties that make ‘eyeballing’ the data a completely useless tool. (The obvious parallel with the climate change debate is rather compelling.)

      The argument can only hinge on whether in general NZ is on the positive or negative slope portion of the curve. NZ is in fact one of the more unequal nations, and more importantly over the last 30-40 years our GINI has been increasing at a faster rate than any other OECD nation. During that same period many of our social indicators have detoriorated.

      The chances that we are on the positive portion of the curve (ie that increasing inequality would yield positive social outcomes) is slim to zero.

      .

      The Spirit Level arrives at the same conclusion, but with an observational methodology.

      I’m happy to accept that there is a mutual, self-reinforcing interdependence between the individual and the society they live in. Put simply, while each is responsible to make the best of the opportunities they find in life, equally we are our brother’s keeper. Personal and collective responsibility is not an either/or choice….

  12. roger nome 12

    Have you read kierkegaard RL?

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    Since invading in 2001, the US has consistently claimed that their war in Afghanistan has been going well, even when it continued year after year after year. Of course, they were lying, and thanks to the Washington Post and the US Freedom of Information Act, we get to see just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Artificial Intelligence and You
    How should we think about artificial intelligence and the implications that it has for our work and leisure? There are many articles on artificial intelligence and its potential impacts on jobs, and the ethics of applications. These are important topics, but I want to focus on some less discussed aspects, ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 days ago
  • Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
    I love data. It’s amazing the sort of “discoveries” I can make given a data set and computer statistical package. It’s just so easy to search for relationships and test their statistical significance. Maybe relationships which ...
    2 days ago
  • More lies on the Twitter (Dan Hodges edition)
    The other big story concerning Leeds Hospital is Boris Johnson's bizzare behaviour at Leeds Hospital, where he was confronted by a journalist and challenged about a four year old boy with suspected pneumonia who was left sleeping on the floor, rather than getting  abed like a sick kid would in ...
    2 days ago
  • LabourActivistPunchedMattHancock’sSPADGate
    So, for a brief period of history, it was alleged that a protester had punched Matt Hancock's SPAD (not a euphemism; special adviser) when Hancock visited Leeds Hospital.This was reported by the likes of Robert Peston and Laura Keunssberg, as well as the less credible Guido Fawkes.  It also quickly ...
    2 days ago
  • France’s anti-Zionism is anti-liberté
    by Daphna Whitmore Last week France passed a law that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. It is based on a definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Another bus lockout
    Over the past year we've seen major bus problems in Hamilton and Wellington, as drivers have sought better wages and an end to the bullshit of split shifts, which basicly see them "married to the job". And now its Auckland's turn. When NZBus's drivers planned low-level strike action of not ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Showing us how its done
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    5 days ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    5 days ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    6 days ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    6 days ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    7 days ago
  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    7 days ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    1 week ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    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 According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    1 week ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    30 mins ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
    Kia ora koutouE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā matā wakaTēnā koutou katoaHaere ngā, moe maiKoutou ma ngā Rangatira Ko Anaru ahauKo au te Minita mo ngā TureHe Honore tino nui kei roto I ahau No reira tena koutou katoa Today, we are releasing two reports that are the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • New direction for criminal justice reform
    The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime. Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund
    New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Señora Presidenta, Excellencies, Delegates. International action A common thread that runs through the Paris Agreement is the commitment we have made to each other to do what we can to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
    The Government is lifting capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years as it takes the next step to future-proof New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced $12 billion of new investment, with $8 billion for specific capital projects and $4 billion to be added to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Strong economy, careful spending gives $12bn of surpluses
    The Government is forecast to run $12 billion worth of surpluses across the four years to 2023/24 as the economy continues to grow. The surpluses will help fund day-to-day capital requirements each year. These include fixing leaky hospitals, building new classrooms to cover population growth and take pressure off class ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Priorities for 2020 Wellbeing Budget outlined
    Budget 2020 will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future-proof the economy. When the Government took office in 2017 it was left with crumbling infrastructure, severe underinvestment in public services, degraded rivers and lakes, a housing crisis and rising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Minister welcomes data-rich coastline mapping tool
    The Minister responsible for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (te Takutai Moana Act 2011), Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of an online geospatial tool that provides data-rich, dynamic coastline maps that will significantly boost research and evidence-gathering under the Act. Te Kete Kōrero a Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Chief Victims Advisor reappointed for a further two years
    The Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor, QSO, has been reappointed in her role for a further two years. Dr McGregor has held the role since it was established in November 2015. She provides independent advice to government on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand tsunami monitoring and detection system to be established
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have today announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. “New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. It is vital we have adequate warning systems in place,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • DART Buoys Announcement
    DART Buoys Announcement Aotea Wharf, 9.30am 11 December 2019   Acknowledgements Acknowledgements to Minister for Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare also here today. White Island It is with regret that this event shadows the tragic natural disaster two days ago. The volcanic eruptions on White Island have claimed 5 lives, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.  The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt releases funding to support South Canterbury
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