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Dirty Politics and the health advocates

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, December 6th, 2014 - 58 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, national - Tags: , ,

A recent Stuff article made me reflect on the treatment of scientists in New Zealand.  It is a measure of the strange state that our world is in that merchant bankers hold power and scientists, who must rank as the ultimate truth seekers, are undermined and attacked.

The story reported on an article published by Dr Boyd Swinburn.  As reported on Stuff:

Swinburn, a Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at the University of Auckland, is the most-recent expert to join criticism of what author Nicky Hager described in his Dirty Politics book as “an apparent systemic approach being used by the tobacco, alcohol and processed food industries in New Zealand to attack prominent public-health advocates”.

In the article, co-authored with Australian professor Michael Moore, Swinburn said: “A blanket of suppression is insidiously descending on the voices for public health.”

First, there were the interests of transnational corporations, and then there was the Government, which wanted to control public health information and messaging, Swinburn said.

While working in Australia’s Deakin University, Swinburn said he experienced efforts to have reports cancelled or watered down and funding pulled, and he said that had started happening in New Zealand.

“There needs to be voices that are based in science standing up to that and speaking on behalf of the public,” he said.

“There are plenty of voices on behalf of the commercial interest. But the number of voices on behalf of the public are getting fewer and weaker.”

As an example he mentioned Tony Ryall ignoring concerns raised by health groups about potential conflicts of interest when he appointed former National MP Katherine Rich to the Health Promotion Agency. Rich is the chief executive of the Food and Grocery Council whose roles include lobbying for the alcohol, tobacco and grocery-food industries.

I must admit having a soft spot for Rich.  She was National’s spokesperson on welfare at the time of Don Brash’s Orewa speech and refused to give full support to his tough of beneficiaries policies.  She was demoted for her efforts.  Such principled behaviour by a National Politician is a rare thing.

But her current role presents to my view a clear conflict of interest.  Her work for the FGC is to represent commercial interests involved in the sale of food and alcohol.  The function of the Health Promotion Agency is set out in its enabling legislation, and includes a requirement that it leads and supports activities that promote health and wellbeing and encouraging healthy lifestyles and prevents disease, illness, and injury.  It has a specific alcohol related function of giving advice and making recommendations to government, government agencies and others on the sale, supply, consumption, misuse, and harm of alcohol so far as those matters relate to the HPA’s general functions.

Maybe there is some clever legal opinion that says something different but I cannot see how Rich can represent corporate interests and our interests at the same time.  But section 62(2)(d) of the Crown Entities Act 2004 says that someone has a conflict in a matter if they may be directly or indirectly interested in the matter.  The FGC must be interested in the activities of the HPA.  The way I see it nothing could be clearer.

Anyone so interested must disclose it.  And they are not meant to vote or even take part in the discussion concerning any matter they have an interest in.

It appears from questions asked by Kevin Hague in Parliament this week that no disclosure by Rich has been made.

Jonathan Coleman, who must rank up with Chris Finlayson as one of the most obnoxious of tories was asked about these clear conflicts by the Green’s Kevin Hague in the house.

It appears that Coleman had asked the Ministry of Health to review the HPA’s minutes to see if Rich had declared a conflict.  Coleman was upset because Hague was asking so many questions about the subject.  I thought that this is precisely what an opposition Member of Parliament should be doing.

The exchange included the following:

Kevin Hague: Can he confirm that Katherine Rich, acting in her role on the board of the Health Promotion Agency, has never declared a conflict of interest with any specific agenda item, or withdrawn from discussion or participation on any agenda item?

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: This is going to get very tedious. We have covered this in the previous 59 questions, but the answer is still no.

Kevin Hague: What actions will he take, given that the Health Promotion Agency minutes and Katherine Rich’s own statements show that she has never recused herself from a meeting or a discussion of the Health Promotion Agency board, in which she has an interest, which she is obliged to do under section 66(a) of the Crown Entities Act 2004?

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: I will take exactly the same actions I have outlined in the previous 59 answers.

Kevin Hague: How does the Minister reconcile the answer he has just given the House, and his continued acceptance of Ms Rich taking part in Health Promotion Agency board discussions on board agenda items about tobacco and alcohol, with section 66(a) of the Crown Entities Act, which says: “A member who is interested in a matter relating to a statutory entity—(a) must not vote or take part in any discussion or decision of the board or … otherwise participate in any activity of the entity that relates to the matter;”?

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: Because under section 67(1) of the Crown Entities Act, it states: “The board must notify the responsible Minister of a failure to comply with section 63 or section 66, and of the acts affected, as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the failure.”, and I have had no such notification.

So if a board fails to do its job and notify a failure then all is ok?

Rich is mentioned in Dirty Politics.  One of the many allegations was that Tony Falkenstein, an anti obesity campaigner, was targeted by the Whaleoil blog was attacked at the request of Rich.

According to the Herald:

In Dirty Politics, Hager claimed Mr Falkenstein was written about after his name appeared on an advertisement seeking out people with Type 2 Diabetes. The advertisement, which sought people for a possible Australian class action against soft drink companies, was sent by Mrs Rich to Mr Graham, and then to Slater for his website, he claimed.

Mr Hager claimed emails showed website posts attacking Mr Falkenstein included the line “3 hits smashing him good and proper” with each described as a “KR hit”.

Mr Hager claimed another email had Mr Graham telling Slater: “Coke keeps sending stuff to KR expecting her to do something (where we come in). Hit pending.” Mr Hager claimed at least one post was also written on Fonterra’s behalf, again through the Food and Grocery Council. A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola said it would take “a bit of time” to respond to the allegations and offered no further comment. A Fonterra spokesman said “we have never, directly or indirectly, requested or paid for posts on the Whale Oil blog”.

The repercussions are important.  Corporate attacks on scientists can never be in the public interest.  You just have to think about climate change to provide an example.  The world should have as its first priority the finding of solutions to this most threatening of developments.  Yet commercial interests seem to be uppermost in what needs to be achieved, not what is in the best interests of the planet.

58 comments on “Dirty Politics and the health advocates”

  1. Ad 1

    The scale of the forces aligned against major food companies – including our own – has to be seen to be believed. New Zealand’s principle export, by volume and value, is fat. Dairy fat in all its forms. Followed by meat. One of our highest exports by value is alcoholic drinks. It takes quite some marketing to defend this against factual opposition.

    NZ universities here are exceeding strapped for cash and turn away big-dairy and big-alcohol research funding at their peril. Some such as Lincoln and Massey Palmerston North would struggle to exist without that funding.

    And who would argue against New Zealand’s Number One economic addiction enabler – Fonterra? It’s a smart marketer that have their product condoned for free delivery to children by the Education Department.

    • b waghorn 1.1

      So you are against milk in schools?

      • Paul 1.1.1

        Milk in schools is ok, but there is better food we could be providing.
        I’d prefer to see fresh fruit and vegetables provided.
        I just don’t think we should rely on corporate charity as it comes with a price.
        Better that the nutrition of our young citizens is provided by the state.

      • Ad 1.1.2

        No.
        You missed the point.
        Do the counterfactual;
        – which university in NZ has a similar scaled programme going into any school it wanted?
        – which food professor has a marketing department or corporate affairs unit to counterattack?
        – how many Government departments are focused on holding Big Ag to account, rather than focussing entirely on propping them up?

        Dairy doesn’t just control the economy. They command public policy, funding, ideas, diplomacy, politicians, whole regional economies, and are on their way to breaking our currency.

        Resisting Big Ag in this country is heroic and pretty close to futile.

      • phillip ure 1.1.3

        then there was that experiment @ auckland uni..some yrs back..

        ..where human subjects were given large amounts of dairy..in experiments funded by fonterra..

        ..them attempting to prove how healthy their product is..

        ..funny story..the medical-supervisors pulled the plug on the experiment..

        ..because the human subjects were just getting sicker and sicker..

        ..from the foul muck..

        http://whoar.co.nz/2012/free-school-milk-in-classrooms-ed-as-we-kill-our-kids-with-kindness-eh/

        • Psycho Milt 1.1.3.1

          I’d be interested to see any evidence that this disastrous and unethical experiment existed anywhere outside of your own head – got a link?

    • RedLogix 1.2

      New Zealand’s principle export, by volume and value, is fat.

      Which may be a positive. Saturated fats it turns out may not be quite the evil it has been portrayed as. The problem is not the fat itself, but other co-factors in our diet and lifestyles which cause our bodies to process saturated fats incorrectly.

      There is now a whole line of thinking which points to the industrial hydrogenated vegetable oil, poly unsaturated fats as a real problem.

      • Ad 1.2.1

        The likelihood of having that debate with Big Ags degree of academic, political, and marketing control is ZERO.

        • RedLogix 1.2.1.1

          Exactly. More or less the point I was trying to make below – that the ongoing debacle where corporate interests corrupted the climate change issue – are being repeated here as well.

          And that there are lessons to be learnt.

    • New Zealand’s principle export, by volume and value, is fat. Dairy fat in all its forms. Followed by meat. One of our highest exports by value is alcoholic drinks.

      The first two are excellent, healthy, high-quality foods, and the third mostly consists of tasty and refreshing drinks that include an enjoyable recreational drug. We should be proud to be exporting these things.

  2. RedLogix 2

    Interesting. It’s another quieter more insidious battle, with many similar features to the one being fought by the fossil carbon industries.

    People are quite rapidly waking up to the fact that most items in the middle rows of a supermarket, the stuff in tins, packets or bottles – are not real food. And this must terrify the big food companies whose profits derive from these shelves.

    And if we thought climate science was fraught, it turns out that determining optimum human nutrition – in purely scientific terms – is a big confusing challenge as well. There is a welter of apparently conflicting advice and ideas coming from the scientists, so much so that people really have no simple way to decide what it means.

    Waiting for the science (maybe several more decades) to iterate to a definite answer is not an option – people need to eat. In practise we are seeing a range of paths being followed, from the vegan non-meat options through to the paleo ideas. And while it’s easy to get distracted by the differences between these approaches, what they generally DO have in common is a rejection of processed foods and the standard FDA food pyramid.

    Human nutrition is a complex, and highly political topic. It has ramifications right through society crossing the paths of agronomics, economics, health and social justice. It is something we all have an opinion on. And yet the science of optimum diet is perhaps more or less where climate science was in about the early 90’s – a lot of theories, data and ideas, but many complex relationships remained to be understood.

    And yet this is one issue which does affect us all. It’s not like worrying how much sea-level will rise long after we are dead. We are going to see much more of this culture battle yet.

  3. NZJester 3

    So as long as they stack that board with people who are willing to look the other way while she ignores section 66(a) of the Crown Entities Act 2004 there is no problem with her obvious conflict of interest? #teamkey obviously has New Zealand well-being firmly in hand. (choking sound from their firm hands on our well-beings neck)

    • Tautoko Mangō Mata 3.1

      About two and a half years ago Isaac Davidson wrote this in the NZHerald:

      “Prime Minister John Key has already defended the appointment of Mrs Rich – who is chief of the Food and Grocery Council – when it was pointed out that she was head of an influential lobby group.

      The council has lobbied on behalf of the food and beverage industry against proposals to reduce salt and sugar in food, and against the mandatory inclusion of folic acid in bread.

      Mr Key said it was important that the board had a range of views.

      Alcohol watchdogs have previously criticised Mrs Rich’s placement on the agency’s establishment board, saying she was the most outspoken defender of the alcohol industry and its right to sell booze cheaply and at all hours.

      The agency, which would produce promotions on nutrition, injury and disease prevention, was chaired by Dr Lee Mathias, a former nurse and deputy chair of the Auckland District Health Board. Dr Mathias was also electoral chair for National MP Sam Lotu-Iiga.

      Another board member, insurance broker Jamie Simpson, was electoral chair for Cabinet Minister Gerry Brownlee.”
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10815974

      It appears to me to be a deliberate ploy by the National Party to stack these “advisory” boards with their own puppets. There appears to be little understanding of the concept of “conflict of interest”.

      • mickysavage 3.1.1

        Thanks TMM.

        I wondered about Simpson. I could not understand what benefit there would be in having an insurance broker on a board which is meant to promote healthy lifestyles.

      • Tracey 3.1.2

        How many on the board? How many were electoral chairs for any MPs on the left? Given the PM wants a wide range of views.

      • Hanswurst 3.1.3

        Mr Key said it was important that the board had a range of views.

        There we see Key mixing his categories woefully again, and being allowed to get away with it, despite not having remotely addressed the issue. “Views” are not even remotely the same thing as “interests”.

  4. vto 4

    The corporatisation of our world is the biggest threat to our lives. Corporates act, and gladly declare that they act, with one sole purpose in mind – to make profit.

    As such all other aspects of society are ignored – aspects such as health, environment, ethics, the list goes on … all these things are ignored. Profit is the sole motive.

    Rich, as the head of the FGC, has this profit motive as the sole driver, and as such she cannot possibly take on another role such as that outlined by you mr savage.

    Corporatisation of our society is at the root of most all current problems in the world I would suggest. It is growing too, like an ever-expanding bubble. Best example being the corporate world’s tireless effort to get us all into the TPPA. Even bester example is having a corporate Prime Minister like we do. These are indicators that this is peaking as a phenomenon.

    Corporates certainly have their place in the world but it is grossly over-placed at the moment. They are good for making plastic buckets and other sundry meaningless things… and that’s about it. Corporates must be kept out of all the important things in life.

    • Paul 4.1

      Her conflict of interest was highlighted by Nigel Latta

      http://tvnz.co.nz/nigel-latta/s1-ep6-video-6060553

    • RedLogix 4.2

      The corporatisation of our world is the biggest threat to our lives.

      I don’t think you can argue that corporates are an inherent, essential evil either. The problem to my mind is that once they reach a certain size and can operate on a global scale they start to find ways of escaping democratic accountability altogether.

      This is evident for instance in the challenges being faced by even very big nations like the USA and the EU block in finding ways to get big corporates to actually pay tax – because in the absence of a global scale authority that can impose uniform world-wide rules – the corporate can usually just find another tax zone somewhere that will offer them a better deal. A race to the tax bottom as it where.

      • b waghorn 4.2.1

        ‘Find another tax zone’ surely they are not sneaking the money out in suit cases so a government must be able to get an accurate idea of how much money a corperate is making and moving out of any given country.

        • RedLogix 4.2.1.1

          Try using google (ironically enough itself one of the worst offenders) on the topic. Lots of heavyweight articles. Try this one:

          The global headquarters of Endo International is so new that, apart from a few desktop computers, the most visible purchase to date is the Nespresso machine in the kitchen. Located in the basement of a Georgian house in central Dublin, the company, which makes branded and generic medicines, does not even have a brass plate on the door.
          “We are just getting started,” says Blaine Davis, senior vice-president for corporate affairs, who will run the office with a skeleton staff on behalf of a group with annual sales of $2.6bn.

          Endo’s arrival in Fitzwilliam Square is part of one of the biggest trends in global mergers and acquisitions – a practice known as inversion. By moving their headquarters to another country, US companies are able to slash their tax rate.

          http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d9b4fd34-ca3f-11e3-8a31-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3L3pe7x3a

        • Ad 4.2.1.2

          They have the entire central public service working for them already.
          And they are not particularly mobile because almost all their shareholders reside here.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.3

          they are not sneaking the money out in suit cases so a government must be able to get an accurate idea of how much money a corperate is making and moving out of any given country.

          Nope. The rules have been set up so that the government doesn’t know where any of a countries money is, who has it or how much tax they should be paying on it. That’s why whenever you see a government books that covers such things it’s only ever and estimate.

      • vto 4.2.2

        Yes, it is the corporates reach into other aspects of life that is the problem. They have become too large and too powerful. The profit motive has subsequently leached into other aspects of life, to our detriment. For example, river health dictated by corporate profit requirements

        The other problem of course is that stupid tories do not see this. They think the current situation is some kind of natural order – duh

      • vto 4.2.3

        RL a bit further: “I don’t think you can argue that corporates are an inherent, essential evil either. The problem to my mind is that once they reach a certain size and can operate on a global scale they start to find ways of escaping democratic accountability altogether.”

        Well essentially the main problem is their sole purpose – making a profit. It is way way too shallow and empty to enable such entities to take responsible positions in society, like they try to do.

        Their problem is their very nature.

        • RedLogix 4.2.3.1

          Brian Fallow in the Herald this morning points to some recent think pieces on this exact topic – the 40 year fetish of maximising ‘shareholder value’ to the detriment of all else.

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/personal-finance/news/article.cfm?c_id=12&objectid=11368254

          It is of course nothing that the left has not been saying all along – but now even big business is starting to wake up. Maybe.

        • greywarshark 4.2.3.2

          vto
          They are way to shallow and empty to take responsible positions in society.
          And the corporates have been aided by their boys and girls in politics introducing laws that allow them to be treated as equals with individuals, giving them the right to plead equally with a human. Which is an Alice approach. No way can their power and resources be the same as an ordinary individual.

    • Paul 4.3

      Dealing with the corporate takeover.

      Interview with Chris Hedges at The Earth at Risk 2014 Conference and the moral imperative of resistance through non-violent direct action and mass movements of sustained civil disobedience.

      Inspiring and depressing – if that’s possible.

    • greywarshark 4.4

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday
      There was an interesting interview by Kim Hill and Jane Gleeson-White? this morning on Radionz at 9.05am on corporates.

  5. coaster 5

    I dont beleive there is one diet that will be good for all, our bodies are all differsnt and have different needs at different stages in life.

    milk in schools is a great idea, in that it gives kids who dont get any or enough of this type of food. It is not in all schools, and its not compulsary for ghe students to have it.

    the big problem I see is tht it is cheaper to bye unhealthy processed food than it is ghe natural hezlthy option. Making unhealthy food more expensive is not the answer, as you take away the ability for many ro be able to afford to eat.
    growing your own is not a realistic answer inthis age where both parents work either, due to the time required to grow your own.

    there needs to be more emphasis put on lowering the price of unpacked foods.

    • batweka 5.1

      Lots to agree with there, except for the last bit. Food is expensive to grow, can’t really get around that. Better to run the economy so that people have enough income to afford good food.

  6. Atiawa 6

    I don’t get how tv one & three news allows the sponsor of a supposed news segment, namely the money/sharemarket report, to front that piece with their own people,and placing their own spin and interests at the forefront of the report.

    ” Lets go to ? ? from ASB securities to get todays business/sharemarket update ”

    Television one & three should be ” cutting to ” someone independent, rather than an employee of the bank.

    • tc 6.1

      Not gunna happen as both are owned by corporate interests, tv3 by oz equity funds and tv1 via our corpratocracy shonkey govt.

      Thats why lickspittles like rawdon, hosking, wood, garner, gower etc work there as they would have been booted out of an independant broadcaster as they are sockpuppets not journalists.

  7. …the treatment of scientists in New Zealand.

    It’s true that scientists are under increasing pressure from politicians and corporates, but please don’t mistake public health advocates for scientists. Even the ones based in universities are social scientists at best, and their assertions should be treated with scepticism.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    But her current role presents to my view a clear conflict of interest.

    Not only that but it also shows just how corrupt National are. There’s plenty of other people that National could have appointed to that role but they went with one of their mates instead.

    Maybe there is some clever legal opinion that says something different but I cannot see how Rich can represent corporate interests and our interests at the same time.

    She can’t but that’s not why she’s in both positions. She’s there to represent corporate interests and nothing else. It’s part of the ongoing shift to NZ becoming an oligarchy that the 4th Labour Government started in 1984.

    Coleman was upset because Hague was asking so many questions about the subject. I thought that this is precisely what an opposition Member of Parliament should be doing.

    It’s what every single member of parliament should be doing. The fact that half of them aren’t simply because they’re National shows that they’re not fit for the role of MP.

    Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: Because under section 67(1) of the Crown Entities Act, it states: “The board must notify the responsible Minister of a failure to comply with section 63 or section 66, and of the acts affected, as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the failure.”, and I have had no such notification.

    What’s the chances that he’s told them not to inform him?

  9. joe90 9

    Regulatory capture at its finest.

    Now, in a decision making process described as “shrouded in secrecy,” the CIHR is implementing changes that risk pitting one institute against the other as their budgets are cut in half.

    The other half of the money is being pooled into a common fund, and to access that money the institutes will have to compete with each other, and the scientists will have to knock on doors to find matching external funding.

    It’s a requirement that has raised particular concerns at the Institute for Aboriginal People’s Health, where researchers fear they have few options for finding those matching funds.

    “Unfortunately for aboriginal people, we don’t really have many organizations we can leverage with,” said Rod McCormick, who holds the B.C. Chair in Aboriginal Early Childhood Development at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. “I don’t think it’s a secret that the Harper government wants us to get our funding from resource industries. But many of these resource industries are the cause of many of our health problems so to get funding from them would be problematic.”

    Others have echoed that concern.

    “We also came to understand that our work would require substantial investment by industry partners that we simply couldn’t attract or that would not be acceptable to Aboriginal communities,” wrote Charlotte Loppie, professor at the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria. “We simply can’t justify why we must partner with the very industries that are harming them or their fellow nations.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/scientists-will-be-forced-to-knock-on-doors-under-health-research-grant-changes-1.2858862

  10. Macro 10

    Just to throw a spanner in the works…..

    “The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined, but a worldwide survey by Ipsos MORI in the report finds twice as many people think transport is the bigger contributor to global warming.”

    “Two recent peer-reviewed studies calculated that, without severe cuts in this trend, agricultural emissions will take up the entire world’s carbon budget by 2050, with livestock a major contributor. This would mean every other sector, including energy, industry and transport, would have to be zero carbon, which is described as “impossible”. The Chatham House report concludes: “Dietary change is essential if global warming is not to exceed 2C.” My bold.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/03/eating-less-meat-curb-climate-change
    We are going to have to eat less meat and produce less milk. And NZ is right in the firing line on this, at Lima, right now, as the rest of the world wakes up to the fact that NZ has done “f**k all” in reducing GHG and in fact we are 35% above where we said we would be.
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/nz-pushing-the-world-to-go-beyond-2-degrees/

    • Colonial Rawshark 10.1

      NZ is too small to make any difference, etc.

    • batweka 10.2

      “We are going to have to eat less meat and produce less milk”

      We need to separate out food from growing commodities for profit. Supporting farmers in how to make a living from growing food instead of commodities should be a high priority. So should shifting to regenerative agriculture (less cattle, raise them in perennial pasture that sequesters carbon and plant more trees) and relocalising food production.

      Yes, to reducing dairy and meat consumption, but what are we going to eat instead? Got an analysis of the emissions from agribusiness monocropping grains and legumes?

      • Actually due to the inefficiencies in feeding livestock, reducing their numbers would make more farming space available for feeding humans not less, so there’s currently no need for intensified crop farming. (Not that agribusiness won’t try)

        • batweka 10.2.1.1

          you’re still talking about growing commodoties though. Doesn’t matter if it’s cattle or corn, it’s all unsustainable and all creates AGW. Time to change.

          • Matthew Whitehead 10.2.1.1.1

            Now you’re claiming that the net change in emissions has no effect because you’re still emitting something.

            If we stop using land to farm livestock, we can EITHER use that land to sink carbon by growing more trees, OR we can use it to generate clean electricity, OR several other things. And by not artificially increasing populations of certain animals, we inherently reduce emissions all on its own.

            There is no way to argue that the combination of these two doesn’t help push the equation on AGW towards a more sustainable climate.

            • batweka 10.2.1.1.1.1

              Are we talking at cross purposes? I don’t know what your first sentence refers to but I’m pretty sure that it’s not something I am claiming.

              My original point was that stopping eating meat/dairy isn’t the easy solution that some claim. The analyses being used are all unsustainable farming models based on growing commodities for export. That’s extractive farming and it’s pissing in the wind to think it will make much difference to AGW and other urgent environmental issues because it’s based on a worldview that is inherently incompatible with living within our means.

              We need to shift to localised economies where farmers can grow food for people to eat rather than being forced to grow commodities for global markets that are doing weird shit with pricing and carbon counting and sfa about the approaching crisis (there’s a daft conversation happening today in OM about growing fake milk to replace dairy). Localised systems have mulitple benefits which are interrelated and this makes them far more resilient and sustainable.

    • … NZ is right in the firing line on this, at Lima…

      Actually, it’s not. Grass-fed livestock have little impact compared to other types. What NZ is facing isn’t the prospect of climate change regs forcing large-scale destruction of our agricultural sector, it’s the prospect of being one of few large-scale producers of a premium product.

      • Macro 10.3.1

        You obviously didn’t read the link to Lima. where NZ is under intense pressure to get real and do something about its climbing emissions. So sorry you frankly don’t know what your talking about.
        Yes ours is a highly inefficient method of producing the food requirements for the world, and we are – as usual – only serving the rich and not the poor with the produce we produce. Selfish and unconcerned is the NZ psyche it appears.

        • Psycho Milt 10.3.1.1

          The fact that National are pretending to be world leaders on climate change while making no commitments, implementing a fake ETS, and presiding over rapidly-increasing emissions while encouraging development of fossil-fuel industries, is irrelevant to the fact that the Guardian’s claims about agriculture don’t apply to NZ’s grass-fed livestock. The vegos’ utopia of humanity consuming highly-processed soy-based shit and calling it food isn’t going to happen, and NZ would be stupid to invest heavily in that pipe dream.

  11. The most obvious form of information control is the Govts. complete failure to address the obesity crisis, has forced them to now back academics who promote obesity as “normal” and condemn anyone with a more concerned opinion as “fat bashing”

    And they make sure these grant bludging sell outs get loads of media coverage.

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    There are perennial arguments about the circumstances of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, and in particular whether more than one shooter is required by the evidence (such as the Zapruder film). Those who know little about physics frequently claim that the sharp backwards motion of JFK’s head as ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 day ago
  • Is car washing so bad we need to ban it?
    Apparently, some people enjoy washing their cars. Each to his or her own, I suppose. I mean, some people like duck shooting, some people follow Coronation Street, and some people’s idea of a good day out is to sit on a grass bank at Seddon Park and watch cricket all ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 days ago
  • If Shane Jones isn’t corrupt, he is trying very hard to look it
    Last week we learned that New Zealand First had apparently tried to enrich itself from public office, with a dodgy forestry company linked to a number of NZ First figures sticking its hand out repeatedly for government money. Today in Question Time Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones had his ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: We need to end fossil fuels
    Finally, governments seem slowly to be beginning to act on climate change. But its not enough. While they're publicly signing up to targets, they're planning to destroy the world by continuing fossil fuel extraction:The world’s nations are on track to produce more than twice as much coal, oil and gas ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • As bad as we expected
    Stuff has begun interviewing NZ First's secret donors, and it turns out that its as bad as we expected. They start with racing industry figure Garry Chittick, who is predictably grumpy about NZ First's coalition choices. Meanwhile, I'm looking at the list of pork NZ First has effectively given its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • The Second (And Final?) Crucifixion Of Winston Peters.
    Stag At Bay: Twelve years ago, Winston Peters was still robust enough to come back from the political crucifixion which his political and media enemies had prepared for him. In his seventies now, the chances of a second resurrection are slim. We should, therefore, prepare for the last gasp of ...
    2 days ago
  • Earth’s artificial rings
    Satellites pass over NZ all the time (literally). Here I focus on the 187 Planet Labs ‘Dove’ Earth-imaging satellites, and I show that one can determine in advance where they will be, enabling scientists on the ground to correlate their environmental and other data collection with opportunities to get imaging ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 days ago
  • Softy Jejune Parson – the new Mother Superior of Wellington
      The Council of Disobedient Women has learned that the Prefect of Aro Valley has been promoted to a new role with the blessing of the Pope of Wellington. Softy Jejune Parson has been appointed Mother Superior of Woke Wellington for the work she has been doing calling out heretics, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Atlantic shakeup: US and UK leadership contenders ripping up the usual scripts?
    On both sides of the Atlantic, some purportedly “contentious” and “difficult to deal with” leadership contenders to lead the US and UK, as President and Prime Minister respectively, seem to have thrown a few spanners into the works of the normal messaging most are used to hearing constantly. Except they’re ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    3 days ago
  • Winston is the PM’s problem
    In Question Time today the Prime Minister was naturally facing questions about Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and his dubious party financing arrangements, which seem to violate electoral finance law. Her response was to pretend that it was nothing to do with her, and that she is not responsible for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Australia’s secret prisoner
    A prisoner stripped of their name, imprisoned for a secret crime after a secret trial, with all details legally suppressed for secret reasons. A story by Kafka or Dumas? China? No, its just the latest stage of Australian tyranny:An Australian citizen was prosecuted, convicted, and jailed in the ACT last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Bridges should put his money where his mouth is
    Stuff has more details on what New Zealand First's slush-fund has been funding, with much of the spending directly benefiting the party. Which makes it look a lot like hidden donations, rather than the completely-innocent-giant-pile-of-cash Winston is trying to portray it as. The Electoral Commission is now investigating, but Simon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • The APEC police state enabling bill
    I've joked before about how hosting international summits effectively turns part of your country into a police state for the duration. Well, New Zealand is hosting APEC in 2021, with events throughout the year in Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland. And the government has put up a bill to give itself ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Why coastal floods are becoming more frequent as seas rise
    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 I saw an article claiming that “king tides” will increase in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • The cost of a range clearance.
    It has been revealed that firing ranges used by the NZDF while deployed to the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan, contained unexploded ordnance that caused numerous deaths and injuries after the NZDF withdrew the PRT in April 2013. In 2014 seven children were killed when an unidentified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Still denying responsibility
    Stuff's story on NZDF's negligence around its Afghan firing ranges has produced a result, with a commitment from the Prime Minister for an urgent cleanup. But this doesn't mean NZDF is accepting responsibility for the deaths and injuries that have occured - they're still refusing compensation. Which given that the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A corrupt practice
    Last week RNZ broke the news on NZ First's mysterious "foundation" and its dodgy-looking loans. The arrangement seemed to be designed to evade the transparency requirements of the Electoral Act, by laundering donations. But now Stuff has acquired some of their financial records, and it gone from dodgy to outright ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Democracy “A Bit Bonkers” – Thoughts Inspired By Lizzie Marvelly’s Latest Co...
    Didn't See It Coming: NZ Herald columnist Lizzie Marvelly's latest column merits serious scrutiny because such a clear example of anti-democratic thinking is encountered only rarely on the pages of the daily press. Which is not to say that the elitism which lies at the heart of such social disparagement ...
    4 days ago
  • Colombia: historic memory, massacres and the military
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Initially it was reported that in an aerial bombardment that took place on August 30th seven children were massacred; the figure then went up to eight and then on November 11th Noticias Uno reported that, according to people from the community in close proximity to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • On the road to Net Zero, the next step is to update our UN pledge
    A lot has happened since the UN’s report on 1.5ºC was released in October 2018. New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Bill has passed, and enshrines the 1.5ºC goal in law. The UK and France have also legally strengthened their targets to Net Zero 2050. The School Strike For Climate and Extinction ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    4 days ago
  • Corruption as usual
    Next year is an election year, and Labour needs money to fund its campaign. So naturally, they're selling access:Labour is charging wealthy business figures $1500-a-head to lunch with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at its annual conference later this month. [...] On the weekend beginning November 29th, around 800 delegates will ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Fairer rentals
    Yesterday the government announced its changes to tenancy laws, including an end to no-cause evictions, limits on rent increases, and anonyminity for tenants who defend their rights against bad landlords (sadly necessary because landlords are scum who maintain blacklists of "uppity" tenants). They're all good moves, and have resulted in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Another NZDF coverup
    In 2003 New Zealand sent a Provincial Reconstruction Team to Afghanistan to support America's doomed war there. While there, they conducted regular weapons practice on local firing ranges, littering the landscape with unexploded ammunition. These ranges weren't secure - they're on land used by locals for animal herding - so ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A loss for the Greens
    Green MP Gareth Hughes has announced he will retire at the election. Its understandable - he's been there ten years, and wants to actually see his children grow up rather than miss it while drowning in the toxic parliamentary sewer. But his departure is also a huge loss for the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • New era for Ngāti Kuri and Auckland Museum
    Words and images by Jacqui Gibson Gone are Auckland Museum’s days of doing science using a museum-centric academic approach, after Māori land rights holders Ngāti Kuri gave the museum an ultimatum.
    Tom Trnski holding a fossilised whale tooth from the Far North.Aussie-born Head of Natural Sciences at Auckland Museum ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Circling vultures: Why MediaWorks TV is really in trouble
    MediaWorks announced in October 2019 that it intended to sell off its struggling television business and cancel or cut back on several popular local programmes, including New Zealand Today, Married at First Sight New Zealand and 7 Days. Its radio and outdoor advertising arms are currently performing well, but MediaWorks’ ...
    Briefing PapersBy Peter Thompson
    5 days ago
  • Scary Opinium Poll
    Westminster voting intention:CON: 44% (+3)LAB: 28% (-1)LDEM: 14% (-1)BREX: 6% (-)via @OpiniumResearch, surveyed this weekChgs. w/ 08 Nov— Britain Elects (@britainelects) 16 November 2019 This, of course, doesn't look good.  Labour have been chucking big, headline grabbing policies left, right and centre ... Well, maybe not right.  Left, left ...
    5 days ago
  • A coward’s ploy.
    Some readers may remember that I mentioned last year that I was applying for NZ citizenship. I filled out the paperwork and had my original citizenship interview in February. Everything went well until they discovered that, because I had spent five months in the US in 2017, I had not ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Left censorship and exclusion against gender-critical women: a Marxist critique
    by Deirdre O’Neill It is becoming quite acceptable for certain sections of the left to declare that people like me – women who are ‘gender critical’ – should not be allowed in leftist or anarchist spaces. Leaving aside the arrogance and implicit authoritarianism of this claim, its lack of critical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • “Uncertainty” can be better solved with a better grasp of life’s inherent complexities…
    There is an article in The Conversation, written by Jeremy P. Shapiro (Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University), about what he sees as the psychologically-based underpinnings of three main matters that seem to vex people all around the planet. The article is titled “The Thinking ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Citizens vs the Rogue Deep State
    . .   Blogger Martyn Bradbury has won his case against unreasonable search and surveillance against the NZ Police; and subsequent Police attempts to produce evidence in secrecy, in a closed Court. His case highlights a disturbing growing trend in Aotearoa New Zealand for State power to be used against ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Massey University’s free speech policy double-plus-good
    The Committee of Disobedient Women has intercepted an email from Dr Emma Eejut, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Massey University to the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Jan Thomas. Dear Jan, Thank you for your courageous move.  I think 10 pages of blether** should tie any of the students game enough to try holding ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Unacceptable
    That's the only response to the findings of the Ombudsman's investigation into LGOIMA practices at the Christchurch City Council:My investigation identified serious concerns about the Council’s leadership and culture, and its commitment to openness and transparency. In particular, Council staff raised concerns with me about various methods employed by some ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • There is what corruption looks like
    NZ First seems to be nakedly trying to enrich itself from public office:A powerful New Zealand First figure helped establish a forestry company that then pushed for money from two key funding streams controlled by a New Zealand First Minister. An RNZ investigation has found Brian Henry, lawyer for Winston ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Escape from Manus Island
    Behrouz Boochani is an award winning author and journalist. He is also a refugee, who for the past six years has been detained in Australia's offshore gulag on Manus Island, and in Papua New Guinea. But last night, with the cooperation of the WORD Christchurch festival and Amnesty International, he ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When World’s Collide.
    Different Strokes: If a multicultural immigration policy imposes no obligation on immigrant communities to acknowledge and ultimately embrace their host nation’s most cherished traditions and values, then how is that nation to prevent itself from being reduced to a collection of inward-looking and self-replicating ethnic and cultural enclaves?THE COALITION GOVERNMENT’S ...
    1 week ago
  • Could There Be Method In Massey University’s Madness?
    Protective Zone: Reading the rules and guidelines released by Massey University, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that its governing body considers the whole concept of free speech a disruptive threat to the orderly imparting of orthodox academic knowledge.IN TRUE ORWELLIAN fashion, Massey University has announced its commitment to ...
    1 week ago
  • How does poor air quality from bushfire smoke affect our health?
    Brian Oliver, University of Technology Sydney New South Wales and Queensland are in the grip of a devastating bushfire emergency, which has tragically resulted in the loss of homes and lives. But the smoke produced can affect many more people not immediately impacted by the fires – even people many ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: We need more trees, not less
    Farmers held a hate-march on Parliament today, complete with MAGA hats, gun-nut signs, and gendered insults. While supposedly about a grab-bag of issues - including, weirdly, mental health - it was clear that the protest was about one thing, and one thing only: climate change. And specifically, forestry "destroying" rural ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Holy bin chickens: ancient Egyptians tamed wild ibis for sacrifice
    Sally Wasef, Griffith University and David Lambert, Griffith University These days, not many Aussies consider the ibis a particularly admirable creature. But these birds, now colloquially referred to as “bin chickens” due to their notorious scavenging antics, have a grandiose and important place in history – ancient Egyptian history, to ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The IGIS annual report: Dead letters and secret law
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released their annual report today, and I've been busy reading through it. In amongst the usual review of what they've been doing all year, there's a few interesting bits. For example, a discussion on "agency retention and disposal of information", which points out that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A referendum on bigotry
    The End of Life Choice Bill passed its third reading last night, 69 - 51. Thanks to a compromise with NZ First - which looks to have been necessary on the final numbers - the commencement of the bill will be subject to a referendum. Given the ugliness of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why municipal waste-to-energy incineration is not the answer to NZ’s plastic waste crisis
    Trisia Farrelly, Massey University New Zealand is ranked the third-most-wasteful country in the OECD. New Zealanders produce five times the global daily average of waste per person – and they are getting more wasteful, producing 35% more than a decade ago. These statistics are likely to get worse following China’s ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Political parties and GMOs: we all need to move on
    Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Ideology
    by Deirdre O’Neill Under Thatcher and then Blair and continuing up until our contemporary moment, the working class has seen its culture slowly and progressively destroyed. The change from an industrial society to a service society produced a marked shift in focus from the working class as the backbone of ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Irony
    Since 2013, the Australian government has detained refugees without trial in Pacific gulags, where they are abused, tortured, and driven to suicide. The policy is not just an abuse of human rights and possible crime against humanity; it has also had a corrosive effect on the states Australia uses as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    2 weeks ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Week That Was: Tackling child poverty
    It's been a great week of progress: we've celebrated Children's Day, we've made communities safer with 1800 new police, and we've seen almost 90% of eligible schools take up Government funding to scrap school donations - taking pressure off the families of more than 416,000 students. ...
    16 hours ago
  • New measures for wood processing boost
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Forestry The Government will further strengthen New Zealand’s wood processing sector as part of our focus on ‘value over volume’ in our forestry industry, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones will today meet with forestry representatives in Northland to signal new measures to help the ...
    19 hours ago
  • New high tech traps will reduce the need for 1080 poison
    New Zealand First are celebrating the announcement of an investment of $3.5 million into five new trapping devices. These are a range of bait and trap devices, all designed to be left unattended for long periods of time. NZ First conservation spokesperson Jenny Marcroft says that this latest development will ...
    2 days ago
  • Cowboy clampers will be stymied
    Clayton Mitchell, Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs The ‘wheel clamping’ Bill that will cap clamper fees to $100 passed its third reading in Parliament today. New Zealand First welcomes The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill to combat predatory wheel clamping behaviour in what is currently a largely unregulated business. Cowboy clampers are: gouging ...
    3 days ago
  • Mental Health Commission back on track
    Jenny Marcroft, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its first reading in Parliament. “Today’s progress takes serious action on the mental health and addiction crisis the country is facing,” says New Zealand First Health Spokesperson Jenny Marcroft. “The re-establishment ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    4 days ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    4 days ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    4 days ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    5 days ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    5 days ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    1 week ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
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