Does anyone care about the gender wage gap?

Written By: - Date published: 3:22 pm, July 29th, 2008 - 38 comments
Categories: International, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

I recently caught a story on the radio about the gender wage gap of new graduates – and in the failed search to locate it came across some other related stories. As we head into an election campaign with political parties offering up their solutions for the future I had to ask myself – does anyone still care about the gender wage gap?

How it was
The Guardian writes that forty years ago, a group of women sewing machinists at the Ford Motor Company plant in Dagenham saw red. They discovered that men who were doing the same work as them – making the car seats for Cortinas and Zephyrs – were being paid 15 per cent more.

Where we’re at now
The latest Statistics NZ analysis of 2006 Census education and training data has confirmed the pay gap between men and women still exists, with the median personal income of men higher than that of women at all levels of education. The Herald reported:

Women in Technology founder Carol Lee Andersen told the Herald she heard of the pay differential often but believed it was getting better. A director of three human resources companies, she said men tended to be better than women at negotiating conditions.

“We are trying to educate people on being really clear about what they are asking for and, when they go to reviews, be prepared,” she said.

So because women aren’t as confident/prepared/stroppy they get a dent in their pay packet? I know there will be those who say it’s about individuals’ performance, that talking about gender inequality is past its use-by date. But this presentation [caution, linked PowerPoint] by EEO Commissioner Judy McGregor (May 2008) is a clear indication that there is an issue to address.

There are only three women in the top 50 police officers (by rank), 60 of the top 100 companies (NZSX) have no women on their boards, and there are only a few women partners in top law firms (now 16.8%).

Why would you care? Surely it’s just a matter of them doing the work, what it takes to get the job? Well I think it does matter. Not only do I want my daughters to be able to embrace opportunity and not have it predetermined by their gender, I want our world to benefit from including the experiences and perspectives of the female half of the population. Call me an idealist – but I want whichever parties make up the next government to care as well. So bring on the policy – and not just a one pager full of white space!

38 comments on “Does anyone care about the gender wage gap?”

  1. BeShakey 1

    Of course you do risk falling to the traditional right wing problem of measuring everything by economic/financial performance. Like it or not, women are the ones who have babies, which will take a big hit on their career prospects. The key things from my perspective is ensuring opportunties are avaialable, and taking a more well-rounded look at whether women are suceeding or not.

  2. Higherstandard 2

    At the risk of getting absolutely slated I think we have enough female centric assistance in the education system to the extent that young males have for sometime been dropping behind.

    Where and when there is an issue it should be addressed in those occupations, industries and professions where women are earning less than their male counterparts for the same work.

  3. Joker 3

    If you want to see a good (and truly hilarious) argument for why woman shouldn’t earn as much as men then you should have a look at this Woman know your limits

  4. Blar 4

    No

    Captcha: bring $5,926,543,825

    Hmm.

  5. Higherstandard 5

    sometime should be some time grrrrrr

    captcha Mayor pleases (himself ?)

  6. Joker 6

    That link didnt work so here is the long one

  7. It’s times like this it really does become clear the righties are a bunch of conservative, straight, pakeha males who are quite happy in their privilege, and damn anyone who complains about it.

  8. Joker 8

    “It’s times like this it really does become clear the righties are a bunch of conservative, straight, pakeha males who are quite happy in their privilege, and damn anyone who complains about it.”

    Has it taken you this long to work this out Steve?

    Though of course there are times when it becomes clear that lefties are a bunch of gays and lesbians happy suckling on the tit of the state, and damn anyone who complains about it.

    Generalisations rock..

  9. Ah yes Steve – and the funny thing is none of them can understand why they can’t get a girlfriend…

  10. BeShakey 10

    Steve – disagreeing with HS is one thing, but at least he made a substantive response. The current stereotype of the left is that they attack the person when they don’t have a response to the argument. It’d be nice to not play into that one too much.

  11. beShakey. Fair enough

  12. Higherstandard 12

    Sod

    The reason that most of them can’t get a girlfriend is that they’re married and the wife would not be likely to approve.

    SP

    If you take the position that righties and the “right’s” support only comes from “conservative, straight, pakeha males who are quite happy in their privilege”

    Guess this means that lefties and the “left’s” support only comes from “liberal, homosexual, non-pakeha women who are quite happy in their deprivation”

  13. HS – you old conservative you.

  14. Higherstandard 14

    Less of the old thank you .. where’s Billy have you locked him away somewhere ?

  15. Quoth the Raven 15

    I hope Joker realises that’s satire (with a tory you’ve got to wonder) like these: 1 2

  16. Ben R 16

    Interview with Susan Pinker about why on average women earn less:

    “Q: Why do women often end up in lower-paying careers than men, even if their intellectual potential is equivalent? You found that 1 in 3 women with MBAs, for example, choose not to work full-time. (This is compared with 1 in 20 men.) Why is this?

    A: There is more than one reason for this preference, including the fact that many studies show that the majority of women value flexibility, autonomy and a job with a social purpose above earning the highest salary or scoring the highest status position.

    Surveys indicate that women, and especially highly educated women, are more likely to be motivated by a job’s intrinsic purpose than by extrinsic rewards. This is one reason why most of the nonprofit and even the volunteer health work force is female (the figures are 75 percent and 90 percent, respectively). In addition, women often opt in and out of the work force, or work part-time when their children are young. Due to this scattershot, less single-minded approach, their overall earnings take a hit.

    Having different career goals, on average, is a negative if the only lens is the total amount of money earned at the end of the day. But when one looks at other factors, such as women’s physical and mental health and their social networks, all of which affect their longevity and happiness, according to the latest research, the picture is a lot rosier. The majority of women have multiple goals in life, and don’t just set out to snag the biggest monetary prize when they plan their careers…

    Other disadvantages for women in the workplace persist due to a reluctance to acknowledge that fundamental sex differences exist. For example, it’s well-known that women negotiate differently, and are likely to ask for less money than men do in salary discussions. By turning a blind eye to such sex differences and treating women as if they were men, unfair pay inequities persist….

    In addition, dedicated maternity leave is not often guaranteed in the American workplace. Where it is, women have just a few weeks off before they must return to work. Countries that don’t offer women time off to have babies, to nurse them and get to know them during that first vulnerable six to nine months after a baby is born, are likely to find a significant number of women quitting their jobs during the postpartum period.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23558979/

  17. Ben R 17

    Interview with Susan Pinker on why women, on average, earn less:

    “A: There is more than one reason for this preference, including the fact that many studies show that the majority of women value flexibility, autonomy and a job with a social purpose above earning the highest salary or scoring the highest status position.

    Surveys indicate that women, and especially highly educated women, are more likely to be motivated by a job’s intrinsic purpose than by extrinsic rewards. This is one reason why most of the nonprofit and even the volunteer health work force is female (the figures are 75 percent and 90 percent, respectively). In addition, women often opt in and out of the work force, or work part-time when their children are young. Due to this scattershot, less single-minded approach, their overall earnings take a hit….

    Having different career goals, on average, is a negative if the only lens is the total amount of money earned at the end of the day. But when one looks at other factors, such as women’s physical and mental health and their social networks, all of which affect their longevity and happiness, according to the latest research, the picture is a lot rosier. The majority of women have multiple goals in life, and don’t just set out to snag the biggest monetary prize when they plan their careers.

    Other disadvantages for women in the workplace persist due to a reluctance to acknowledge that fundamental sex differences exist. For example, it’s well-known that women negotiate differently, and are likely to ask for less money than men do in salary discussions. By turning a blind eye to such sex differences and treating women as if they were men, unfair pay inequities persist…

    Most women are not interested in working 12- to 14-hour days after their babies are born. Yet this is the model that is most highly rewarded in many workplaces, especially at the upper echelons. There is also the expectation that employees — male or female — will relocate at will or travel frequently, regardless of their responsibilities to their families, or their desire to spend time with them.”

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/23558979/

    [lprent: Cannot figure out why akismet (the spam trap) thinks you’re dangerous – it keeps popping you in with the gambling links. I’ll keep looking. ]

  18. RedLogix 18

    So if an employer faced with a choice between a man and a woman who could do a job equally well, but could employ the woman to do the job for 15% less; then why do any men have a job?

  19. Anita 19

    HS,

    At the risk of getting absolutely slated I think we have enough female centric assistance in the education system […]

    Where and when there is an issue it should be addressed in those occupations, industries and professions where women are earning less than their male counterparts for the same work.

    I think that, once upon a time, there was an optimistic view that if the gender disparities in educational participation and outcomes were resolved the pay gap would naturally follow.

    What we have found is that even tho women’s educational outcomes have improved somewhat it hasn’t flowed through to pay equity. So yes, we now have to deal with the issue directly with employers.

    Incidentally there are three sets of discriminatory practices in play, and we need to address all of them:

    1) Paying a woman less than a man for the same job.

    2) Paying female-dominated professions less than equivalent-skilled male-dominated professions.

    3) Valuing (and therefore paying for) the kinds of life skills women are more likely to have than those men are more likely to have.

    Any thoughts as to how we should be addressing these directly with industries, occupations and professions?

  20. RedLogix 20

    1) Paying a woman less than a man for the same job.

    Could be reconstructed as stating that women are more price competitive in the job marketplace. My question above still applies.

    2) Paying female-dominated professions less than equivalent-skilled male-dominated professions.

    Kind of begs the question of why we pay ANY equivalently skilled professions differently… regardless of gender.

    3) Valuing (and therefore paying for) the kinds of life skills women are more likely to have than those men are more likely to have.

    And if those life skills are so much more valuable, in terms of measurable productive outcomes, then surely they would attract greater pay.

    Don’t get me wrong here. I’ve never worked in a job, nor would I accept any position, where there were equivalently skilled and productive female employees alongside me being paid substantially less… but the way in which this issue being framed here raises some challenges in my mind.

  21. 1) Paying a woman less than a man for the same job.

    Isn’t that illegal now anyway?

    2) Paying female-dominated professions less than equivalent-skilled male-dominated professions.

    That one’s a dead duck, and good so. Consider: I’m a librarian. We’re about as skilled and well-educated as IT professionals, but get paid way less. And that’s exactly as it should be. If all my organisation’s librarians quit at once, it would be inconvenient – if all our IT professionals quit at once, the organisation would cease to function within hours. That shit is worth money. Equivalent-skilled doesn’t mean equivalent-value.

    3) Valuing (and therefore paying for) the kinds of life skills women are more likely to have than those men are more likely to have.

    Feel free to do that with your money. But is there some way in which it would be less discriminatory than the practices you take issue with?

  22. Julie 22

    I can’t help reading this post, and the comment thread, and reflecting on the work that collective bargaining (i.e. unionism) does to lower the wage gap between the genders. It ensures that there is no discrimination (and for all those of you who reckon there isn’t anymore, my observation is that in some places where individual’s pay rates are secret it does still exist) and when a new agreement is bargained there is often a focus from the union side on industry-wide standards around pay, eg the bargaining the SFWU has been doing in the cleaning sector in recent years.

    As for paying female-dominated professions at the same level as equivalent male-dominated professions, to me one of the best examples of this is within the education sector. This is likely to be a controversial point, but if an early childhood teacher has the same qualifications and experience as a university lecturer is it inconceivable that they might be paid similar amounts? (this is entirely a personal opinion, not reflective of the union I work for when I’m not on maternity leave).

    And RedLogix, your argument that employers would never hire men if they cost more to employ is clearly debunked by the very statistics this whole post is about. Quite apart from the fact that there are other reasons, beyond pay, that employers might discriminate against appointing women, in particular that they may be unwilling to take on women with children as they know they are more likely to take extra sick leave to care for them, or women who clearly haven’t finished having kids, because they are more likely to want to take maternity leave, how annoying.

    I tend to think (and this is not based on any research that I’m aware of) that women probably start out on similar pay rates to men, when they are first appointed, but they are less likely to get pay rises over time. Partly because they are less likely to ask for them.

    Which brings me back around to the benefits of collective bargaining – then you don’t have to ask for a pay rise on your own!

  23. Anita 23

    Julie,

    Does collective bargaining really prevent gender pay gaps?

    The pay gaps starts when the employees are first hired and continues with each performance based increase. In both cases the bracket is subject to collective bargaining (e.g. a call centre operator is paid $32,789 to $36,456, performance increases are $0-$1,500) but the placement in the bracket is individually negotiated.

    Some unions bargain for EEO practices to try to manage performance increases (e.g. observation or moderation processes and then analysis split by gender, ethnicity etc to look for bias), but they don’t directly address gender-based pay inequity.

    Similarly unions will bargain for analysis of overall pay distributions, but again it’s not direct.

    I don’t mean to say I don’t think unions are valuable (clearly I hink they are), but that gender pay equity is not easily addressed by collective bargaining.

  24. RedLogix 24

    And RedLogix, your argument that employers would never hire men if they cost more to employ is clearly debunked by the very statistics this whole post is about.

    At first glance yes, but the problem is that the statistics ‘gender wage equity issue’ is based on, are a result derived from the job market as a whole aggregated over a many different skills roles and markets… whereas my argument is much more focussed; it considers just one employer, one job and two equally qualified applicants.

    I fully and unreseverdly believe that if a man and a woman are equally able to do a job, and equally productive at it, then they should be equally paid. But if women were systematically accepting lower pay FOR THE SAME JOB AND ABILITY, then why would ANY employer hire men when they could get an equally productive women to do it for less?

    Yet the reality is that men are still routinely employed… so there is more going on here than meets the eye.

  25. vto 25

    Forgive my flippancy, but I see a day in the not too distant future where gender discrimination in the workplace is reversed. As it is (and has been increasing) in various other of society’s sectors. Example, education sector will follow through into workplace sector.

    It is the age of aquarius after all.

  26. fiona 26

    Julie, I suspect that mothers may be perceived as being more likely to take sick leave, but I don’t know if that is actually the case. Purely anecdotally, at my work place, it is the ’20 somethings’ who seem to take heaps of sick leave, not the parents.

    The time women take out of the work force caring for children must surely account for some of the difference in median wage between women and men.

    My personal experience is that the disadvantage I have suffered because I have taken time out of the workforce to care for my children, both financially and also in terms of employability, has been huge. Gender is surely not just a matter of what ‘sex’ you are. I have little in common with childless women, and probably have more in common with men who are fathers.

  27. Anita 27

    Let’s say I’m hiring staff for a helpdesk each person I decide to hire has to be placed within a $5k-wide initial band. To determine where to place them I use any particular skills they have, any relevant experience from other roles, their general level of experience. I don’t take gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity into account; I know none of those things actually make a difference to how well they’ll do their job.

    Some women get the top of the range, some the bottom; same with men.

    But if we aggregate the numbers up…
    on average women start on $2k less than men,
    on average PI start $2k lower than Pakeha,
    on average Maori start $1k lower than Pakeha.

    Why?

  28. RedLogix 28

    Anita,

    If for the purpose of the discussion accept your scenario, then I’m equally puzzled as to why our call center employer is wasting money paying for white males, when he could get equally productive PI women to do the job for less.

  29. Anita 29

    RL,

    Because I’m getting the best staff I can and I’m paying them what they are worth. All of them meet my criteria, it’s bloody hard to find and keep good helpdesk staff, the ones who are worth a couple of $k extra get paid it because they’re worth it and I don’t want to lose them.

    I don’t think PI women are worth less, or worse at the job. It just so happens that, on average, the ones who show up for interviews are a bit more junior than the average Pakeha man who shows up.

  30. fiona 30

    And if the PI woman is a bit more junior, it’s probably because it took her longer to get the job in the first place and she’s had time out caring for her children.

  31. Julie 31

    fiona, I agree about the perception that mothers take more sick leave, and agree that it may not reflect the reality. Hard to shift that perception though. I’m reminded of the bit in that book I Don’t Know How She Does It where the main character is constantly berated for “womanly” reasons for being late or taking leave (eg sick child) whereas when a father announces at a meeting that he has to leave early to attend a child’s sporting event everyone treats him like he’s the father of the year.

    In the office I work in I will be the only mother of a young child, when I return to work in a couple of months. The rest of the women either have no children or children who are high school age or older. However there are a number of fathers with young kids – and in each case I have seen them take sick leave to care for their children, BUT the mother is the first port of call, and in some cases she is currently at home or works part time due to childcare. For me the situation will be reversed – when I go back to work my son’s father is taking six months off to stay home. So I hope to not have to take any extra sick leave, fingers crossed!

    Of course just looking at the time off women take to care for children (and indeed other adults, eg aging parents, sick spouses) as a negative ignores the fact that there are skills acquired and used in doing that – it is not an activity with no value imho.

    Anita, in terms of the value of collective bargaining in preventing/diminishing pay gaps between genders, I think one of the key advantages is the transparency. I guess I’m thinking more of agreements where steps have one value, as the CEA I’m on does, rather than a range of values, and where your placement on the step is directly related to your role, your experience and your qualifications (actually that doesn’t play a role in my CEA, but it does in most of the CEAs I work with for members). These can’t be treated differently based on gender, and in some cases unions have been successful in bargaining specific provisions which seek to balance out the disadvantages women face. Eg in many of the teacher CEAs there is a provision for service credit for years away from work caring for a child under 5, in recognition of the skills gained through that activity, and as an incentive for teachers who take time off to raise children to come back to work.

    Interesting discussion, and I’m glad we are having it, despite some earlier silliness on this thread.

  32. Anita 32

    [I should say that I have managed Helpdesks, my gender and ethnicity stats never looked like that, but that was a common pattern]

    The question becomes why the hirer thinks that female candidates are, on average, more junior that Pakeha male candidates.

    The two factors I’m particularly fond of are:

    1) Assessment of experience is partly based on perceived confidence – a right answer and being sure it’s right. New Zealand women tend to use both sentence patterns and intonation patterns that can be interpreted as being less sure (e.g. going up at the end of the sentence). Women appeared less certain and therefore less experienced.

    2) When asked a “tell me about a time you solved a complex technical problem” question women will, more often than men, talk about a time when they were part of a group who solved a problem. Men are more likely to tell a story of solving a problem alone. A solved-it-alone story can sound more experienced – it sounds like you can stand on your own two feet. Women are demonstrating that they can be part of an effective team (a good thing); but in the part of the interview intended to show of individual capability it can sound like they’re junior and rely on colleagues.

    The problem is that both of those (very real – there are studies and everything 🙂 can lead to a good and well-meaning employer regularly judging women to be subtly less experienced that equivalent men. So they get paid subtly less.

  33. RedLogix 33

    So if we go with the simple explanation around childrearing, how could this be addressed?

    We can’t change the fact that it is women who have babies.

    We don’t want to change the fact that mothers are prime caregivers for young infants, and should continue to have the option to take maternity leave from their careers.

    We could even up the odds somewhat by requiring males to take equivalent paternity leave from their careers, thereby giving both males and females an equal handicap from the employers point of view. (Although of course this now tilts the odds in favour of older workers and and other groups perceived be less likely to have young children.)

    And how would we change the fact that on average women are more likely to turn down opportunities for promotion because they exercise their personal choice to put their families ahead of their career.

  34. RedLogix 34

    Anita,

    I cannot resist noting here, but when women are judging men as potential partners, among many other things they are always drawn to men who display confidence.

    As a matter of Darwinian survival most young men get quite good at faking it for short periods of time. (Long enough for a job interview.)

  35. fiona 35

    Anita, those perceptions don’t just lead to lower wages, they also contribute to higher unemployment rates for those groups. We may have low unemployment, but some groups of people (eg maori, PI, youth) still struggle to find a job (or earth mothers like me who took too long out of the work force !!!!).

  36. Anita 36

    RL,

    Yes, absolutely. There are heaps of circumstances in which we reward men for displaying confidence and the ability to go it alone. And plenty where we reward women for being a part of a group rather than standing out on her own.

    The problem is that we then financial reward displays of confidence in job interviews, promotions and pay reviews. So we have managed to construct a system where, by everyone doing what we’ve taught them to do, we’ll pay men more than women.

    It’s not an easy fix, eh 🙁

    PI people are in a similar bind; for many they have eye contact rules at home which are very disadvantaging when in the workplace, court, police station… .

  37. Anita 37

    The comments above about expectations that women will take more sick leave reminded me of some Iris Marion Young wrote in Unruly Categories

    Ought feminists to affirm gender blindness in the policies of employers, for example, in the allocation of health benefits, leave, promotion criteria, and working hours? Or should they demand that employers explicitly take into account the position of many women as primary caretakers of children or elderly relatives in deliberations about just allocations? Opting for the latter strategy risks solidifying a sexual division of labour that most feminists agree is unjust and ought to be eliminated. Opting for the former, however, allows employers to continue privileging men under the banner of equality.

  38. RedLogix 38

    So we have managed to construct a system where, by everyone doing what we’ve taught them to do, we’ll pay men more than women.

    Exactly. That’s nicely put.

    The way I see it males and females ON AVERAGE behave differently in their careers.

    1. Young men in particular are more competitive and less risk averse, being more likely to be attracted to say sales and marketing for instance, over HR and Accounts… roles that are fundamentally more highly paid regardless of gender.

    2. Men are more likely to accept dirty dangerous work. Not too many female sewerage plant workers out there, nor too many female powerline workers.

    3. Males are often better at the type of technical role that rewards obsessive focus, such as found in engineering and IT.

    4. Men will put career ahead of family because they often make the often valid calculation that their female partner values their financial contribution to the family above all else.

    I still absolutely insist on equal pay for the same job, but I suggest that the modern statistics showing a persistent gender wage gap, comes about largely because the genders behave in different ways and the value employers place on those behaviours… than on the particular set of genitals an employee has attached.

    And I don’t know if we could, or even should change that.

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  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    3 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    3 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    3 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    4 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    5 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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