Doofus of the week Anniversary Weekend edition – Damien Grant

Written By: - Date published: 10:14 am, January 29th, 2018 - 43 comments
Categories: capitalism, Economy, education, tertiary education - Tags: ,

Damien Grant is an unusual person.  He is on the far right of the political spectrum, the Principal of an Insolvency Firm, and someone who many years ago spent time in jail.  He is open about the experience and refreshingly has opposed knee jerk style three strikes and you are out type approaches, at least to members of the Insolvency Profession.  He is otherwise a far right libertarian.

He is also an occasional writer and the proponent of extreme views, also known as clickbait.  Over the past few months he has mansplained feminism to feminists, claimed that child poverty in New Zealand does not exist, and complained about Lorde’s name.  But his latest effort tops everything else he has written.

He poses the question “When did you last use anything you learned at university?” and then sets out to justify his view that Universities are a waste of time.

He says this:

University education is one of the great follies of modern life. Central government spends over $3 billion on the tertiary sector, which contributes surprisingly little to our economic well-being. Free education is, regardless, very popular, even if it is useless, and this government is committed to expanding the number of students enrolled.

Marvellous.

Academics and universities are assessed on the calibre of their research, not their teaching competence, and because they get paid regardless there is no incentive to be relevant. And they aren’t. When did you last use anything you learnt at varsity that you wouldn’t have picked up on the job or from Wikipedia?

Of course this is all errant libertarian nonsense.  In my particular line of work (law) I use my university training every day.  The four in house counsel employed by his firm presumably do the same.  And the medical treatment provided by our doctors and the bridges built by our engineers all rely on skills picked up in University and not off Wikipedia.  Who would want to drive on a bridge not designed by a university graduate or be operated on by someone without tertiary training?

So what does he rely on to justify his claim that university education is essentially worthless?  The claim there is little or no economic benefit for the country.  He says this:

In 2016 the government asked the Productivity Commission to have a look at [the tertiary] sector. It wrote:

“Despite the theoretical links, researchers have generally struggled to find strong empirical links between [tertiary] education and economic development. In New Zealand, comparatively high levels of tertiary attainment in the working-age population have not translated into high levels of productivity.”

It is of course faulty logic to equate a lack of correlation with causation.  Educational standards may be improving but if the system is not performing properly because of, for example neoliberalism, then it will not matter how well educated the population is.

And Grant’s mindset is clear.  Education is only a good thing if it makes us wealthier and better job fodder.  The intrinsic benefits that education provides seem to have passed Grant by.  And having repositories of learning and excellence is something that kick started and pushed on civilisation.  Giving people the opportunity to think and engage and research and learn and mature is something you cannot put a dollar value on.

Grant is right that the running up of student debt is a terrible thing.  The Country should be planning a system like we had in the 1980s when I was at University, where my tuition fees were paid for and I was paid a modest amount to get by on.

While we have a media system that incentivises clickbait I am afraid that this sort of column will continue.  But Damien is a worthy recipient of this latest award.

43 comments on “Doofus of the week Anniversary Weekend edition – Damien Grant ”

  1. Aaron 1

    I can only speak from personal experience and am not a supporter of Damien Grant but my 5 year degree in architecture was one of the most profound wastes of time I’ve ever come across. Despite having experience in other parts of the industry I was a financial burden on my employers for a long time before I started paying my way. And despite being more practical than a lot of my classmates I coildn’t do basic stuff like drawing up a simple house when I graduated.

    To be fair I think I was at a particualry bad school but I have told my chlidren not to rush off to university as I don’t believe a lot of degrees are worth the money and effort to get. Obviously there are some things you can’t do without certain degrees but mostly what we are purchasing with a degree is status.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      The same could be said about most professions. As a lawyer it took me years to get to grips with the job. But this was not because of a failure of University but everything to do with the complexity of the job and the need to have not only academic but practical training. I don’t think that the degree should be blamed. Any job will take decades to properly learn.

      And there are all the extra benefits from further education which are totally un job related which Grant misses completely.

  2. Anne 2

    Oh look… there he is at the top left. Well, it says it all really:

    http://www.waterstone.co.nz/our-people/

    I think there’s a bit of envy going on here because it looks like he never went to university. 😉

    • Carolyn_nth 2.1

      What makes you think Grant never went to uni? How could he be involved with litigation and insolvency without a tertiary education?

      • Anne 2.1.1

        I picked up on an advertising item about him and under the heading “Qualifications” all it gave was the high school he attended which was a Catholic school. Trouble is, I can no longer find it.

        You’re right. He must have had some form of tertiary education but it wasn’t listed.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1

          He talks about a degree in Veutoviper’s second link below.

          • Anne 2.1.1.1.1

            Thanks for that. Don’t always get around to reading links but that was interesting. He is deserving of credit for being fulsome about his time in prison. Most would gloss over it in the hope everyone had forgotten about it.

  3. Carolyn_Nth 3

    mostly what we are purchasing with a degree is status.

    Ah, but what happens to that status after tertiary education is made accessible to all the plebs?

    Not that I agree with those sentiments – though, I think for many people status is their motivation for learning.

    I agree with Micky, that ideals of education for participation in all areas of society: not just work, but participation in our democracy, and participation in society during non-paid work time, have been corrupted by neoliberalism/capitalism.

    Plus, I agree with:

    And Grant’s mindset is clear. Education is only a good thing if it makes us wealthier and better job fodder. The intrinsic benefits that education provides seem to have passed Grant by. And having repositories of learning and excellence is something that kick started and pushed on civilisation. Giving people the opportunity to think and engage and research and learn and mature is something you cannot put a dollar value on.

  4. indiana 4

    “and someone who many years ago spent time in jail”

    Are you concerned that during his jail time, he was not rehabilitated and to this very day can still be considered a dishonest person and as such his past should be highlighted. Bullying much?

  5. Incognito 5

    Damien Grant, as usual, takes a few facts – tertiary education and its role in society indeed needs to be debated and reviewed perpetually – and goes for a particular emotional (negative) response. By definition, this makes him a propagandist and his writings propaganda – click bait is way too mild a term for it.

    I’ve got a few theses for a debate with Mr Grant:

    1) Students would be less indebted if tertiary education were to be free.

    2) Students would feel less entitled if tertiary education were to be free.

    3) Students would be less ignorant if tertiary education were to be free.

    4) There would be strong empirical links between [tertiary] education and economic development in New Zealand if we were to diversify the economy from dairy export, tourism, Kauri swamp export, and FIRE.

  6. Reality 6

    I have delighted in seeing a young relative during her two years at university develop her thinking and analytical skills and broaden her horizons. Whatever the future brings these will be useful attributes to have. I wish I had had that opportunity.

  7. RedLogix 8

    Grant is right in a narrow literal sense; in retrospect most of the specific techniques I learnt at engineering school … beyond Stage 1 ….were of zero direct practical use in my career.

    Learning analytical and logical thinking, the discipline of independent study, and associating in those formative years with peers who shared the same aspirations, values and challenges, was in hindsight the real value of a degree course. I’d personally rate the social aspect as at least 50% of the enduring benefit I took away from those years.

    And after 40 years or so in the workplace, the difference between those who’ve been through a University course and those who haven’t is usually quite apparent. They both bring value to the job, and I’ve nothing but respect for the skilled tradies and operators I’ve encountered over the years … but at some point they often run into an intellectual ceiling their degreed counterparts don’t.

    But there are a significant group of exceptional individuals who are an exception to this rule; who didn’t go through University and who’ve suceeded remarkably despite (or indeed possibly because of) their lack of a paper qualification. In that context Grant does have a point, but in general I’d still argue Universities are a major net benefit to society.

    The real question is going to be how the tertiary system responds to the plethora of free, open, on-line courses of a very high quality, that are now available. While the knowledge content is admirable, I suspect the social context may be deficient.

  8. Wingnuts always think university education is about job training, which it isn’t. In your case, a law education, it happened to include some job training but for most of us there was a total of 0 job training involved.

    Nevertheless, his question “When did you last use anything you learned at university?” is easily answered. When did I last use the university-level critical thinking, reading comprehension and writing skills that I learned via an arts and humanities university education? Er, this morning – why do you ask? Just to be clear, I’ll also be using them this afternoon, again when I catch up on my work this evening, and also just about every time I point out the idiocies of wingnuts on blog comments threads. If he didn’t learn much at university, that isn’t everybody else’s fault.

    • mickysavage 9.1

      +1

    • Macro 9.2

      Ahh! you beat me to it.
      My thoughts on the matter as well!
      Actually at one point in my time on the Naval Staff I found my knowledge of matrices particularly useful for solving a particular problem with regards recruitment and training.
      We are almost at the stage where we could work towards the solution of a differential equation to more accurately predict future SLR. One thing we know now for sure is that it is no longer a linear function.
      Confusing education with training is a widespread error. Many people can complete any number of certificates and degrees and still fail to become educated. Education entails engagement of mind (and dare I say emotion). Training merely involves an ability to repeat a learned response.
      Libertarians hold such a limited view of humanity however that critical and analytical thinking is not a required trait.

      • halfcrown 9.2.1

        Macro @ 9.2 wrote

        “Confusing education with training is a widespread error. Many people can complete any number of certificates and degrees and still fail to become educated. Education entails engagement of mind (and dare I say emotion). Training merely involves an ability to repeat a learned response.”

        You can say that again,

      • Anne 9.2.2

        +100.

        The academic analytical skills I picked up in a former career have served me well in attaining other skills that bear no resemblance to the original career.

    • halfcrown 9.3

      +1

  9. McFlock 10

    Ignoring the fact that my current role is directly related to a couple of my university courses, even the papers I didn’t get employment in come in useful – I occasionally go “this problem has a similar vibe to xxxx” and use that perspective to work through an issue, be it professional or personal. Sometimes, it’s pols, sometimes economics, sometimes classics, or whatever.

    Like one of the random things that comes in useful is recalling a statisical summary on damage to bombers that someone (Wode?) did in WW2. They didn’t add armour around the damaged bits, they added armour around the bits that had statistically-fewer holes in them when the aircraft return, because the planes that were hit in those areas obviously didn’t come back. Nice little bit of logical analyses I like to recall – sometimes its the stuff that isn’t there that’s the really important bit.

    But besides some basic tools, it’s usually the overall vibe of the education that’s important – how all the individual bits come together to make a whole, and where even experts disagree.

    A while back the term “autodidact” was used hereabouts as a substitute for “I googled it or read a few wikipedia articles, or read a well-written book on the subject”. Self-claimed autodidacts tended to focus on the minutae while missing the main point… in the areas I have some knowledge in, anyway.

  10. SpaceMonkey 11

    I think one of the problems here is that Damien Grant uses “tertiary education” and “university” interchangeably. University education accounts for approx 50-60% of all tertiary education, and the less salubrious tertiary education is done in the PTE and ITO sectors – the latter being focussed on skill-based training for specific industries. But they’re still tertiary education and part of the overall tertiary education spend.

    University education is absolutely not a folly. There are some occupations which MUST have a degree-level qualification attached to them, e.g. Doctors, Engineers. But I do have some question-marks around the volume of courses which over the years have morphed into degree-level when they seemed to be fine at a diploma-level back in the day. But I accept that I am not privy to the thinking that redefined Nursing, for example, as a degree-level qualification.

    When I look back on the time I spent at university from all the subjects I could’ve studied but didn’t, and that I believe would have had the most value to me over my 25 year career, it was Philosophy. If I ever go back, that’s what I’ll be doing. To me the Humanities are the most underrated of disciplines today.

  11. mac1 12

    “When did you last use anything you learned at university?”

    Hmmm. When did I last do some analytical thinking? When did I last talk about and quote from Dylan Thomas, TS Eliot, Shakespeare, Gerald Manley Hopkins, WB Yeats? When did I last make a reasoned submission to a Mayor? When did I last analyse a Ralph Hotere print? When did I last proofread? When did I last take notes? When did I last indulge in banter and repartee? When did I last talk about Roman siege weapons such as onager, ballistae and and mull over photos of trebuchets, and discuss the siege ramp at Masada?

    All before lunch today. Mostly with an old University friend.

  12. Wei 14

    The universities are (or should be) the repositories and promoters of the cultural, artistic, and scientific knowledge and wisdom of humanity, that is the bedrock of modern civilization.

    All professions, trades, and jobs, reduce and distill this knowledge into readily and relatively easy operational rules and processes to follow. In itself, there is nothing wrong with this as it would not be commercially viable say, for an engineer to derive everything from the first principles of physics when designing say a bridge, or a doctor to consult the biochemical science of pharmaceuticals every time he or she writes a prescription for a patient.

    The problem arises when education over focuses on the needs of employers who will often simply prefer a student educated more in the operational knowledge of a discipline (as well as ‘soft’ business-centric skills), but with a corresponding de-emphasis on the fundamental principles that under-gird this same operational knowledge. The employer benefits (in the short term at least), but the student loses the opportunity for a solid, well rounded education that will serve him or her well in any field of endeavour, and not just the narrow discipline trained in.

    This is employer or business focused education, as opposed to student focused education. Unfortunately this type of thinking is informing a major trend that is currently underway in tertiary education, slipping in under the guise of ompelling terms such as ‘job ready’, ‘relevancy’, ’21st Century education’, ‘workplace relevant training’ etc.

    • mickysavage 14.1

      The universities are (or should be) the repositories and promoters of the cultural, artistic, and scientific knowledge and wisdom of humanity, that is the bedrock of modern civilization.

      Well said.

      As well as this:

      This is employer or business focused education, as opposed to student focused education. Unfortunately this type of thinking is informing a major trend that is currently underway in tertiary education, slipping in under the guise of ompelling terms such as ‘job ready’, ‘relevancy’, ’21st Century education’, ‘workplace relevant training’ etc.

  13. Tuppence Shrewsbury 15

    Grant says tertiary education is valueless and you quite rightly point out this a strange and illogical argument. But then you say education isn’t working because of neoliberalism, which has undoubtably benefited more from education system than any other ism, thereby being just as strange and illogical?

    • McFlock 15.1

      A benefits B
      B harms A.

      Seems to be a perfectly logical possibility to me.

      The host provides benefits to the parasite.
      the parasite harms the host.

      The human provides a stable environment and procreative advantage for the guinea worm.
      The guinea worm causes the human pain, wounds, and pathways for infection.

      yup. Logically sound.

      • Incognito 15.1.1

        The poor benefit the rich.

        The rich harm the poor.

        Axiomatic 😉

      • mickysavage 15.1.2

        Thanks McFlock. Could not have put it better or more succinctly …

        Evidence of a University education?

        • Incognito 15.1.2.1

          Nope, McFlock is half Vulcan, half Human 😉

        • McFlock 15.1.2.2

          Still paying it off – and philosophical logic wasn’t even part of my eventual majors or minors 🙂

          Although I do prefer ST:ToS over its successors…

  14. eco maori 16

    My view on education is it was free for all the babyboomers so why not the rest of the people.
    And here it is the 1% neoliberals don’t want commoners to get educated as it is harder to fool educated people also educated people will fight for there rights if one doesn’t know about the human rights act they don’t know the laws of the land is being broken. Most of Maori are common people this is another reason the neoliberals don’t want Maori educated as we will work out that the whole systems are geared to benefit the 1% we will work out that the 1% laugh at the common people for being honest that the 1% can do what ever they want when they know they can buy impunity. This is the reason the west conned privious government to take free education away from the common people. All of this information is out there you just have to look for it enough said.
    Ana to kai

  15. Venezia 17

    Doofus of the week is right. Damien Grant uses an argument I have heard often, usually by people without a University education. In my case, university education undertaken as a mature student changed my life. It broadened my out look on life, made me a better parent, gave me options I never previously had, instilled confidence that I could solve problems in the workplace as well as in life because of skills I learned, led to life long ongoing study & research, and has meant ongoing part time work & income well beyond retirement age.

  16. mpledger 18

    This quote:
    “In New Zealand, comparatively high levels of tertiary attainment in the working-age population have not translated into high levels of productivity.”

    That’s not surprsing – The baby boomers rule the roost and they have very low educational attainment because they could get jobs that led to advancement with School Cert (or less). The people with high rates of tertiary attainment in the working-age population are the young who find it hard to get a decent job which in turn makes their rise up the ranks relatively slow.

    We are well placed once the baby boomers move into retirement as long we get the young experience, especially varied experience, to go with their knowledge. (And as long as those boomer retire – pre-boomers seem to be working into their 70s.)

  17. Delia 19

    ^^^^ Baby boomers fault again eh? I am a registered nurse and studied and worked on the wards with precious little social life to get that qualification. I qualified aged 20. If you think nursing registrations were just handed out, have a crack yourself.

  18. Richard Christie 20

    Spare a thought for USA.

    The entire Republican caucus despise reality as it is informed by science and demean the concept of intellectual elitism (where elitism = excellence in field, – I applaud most elites although many left leaning people use it in a pejorative sense, imo wrongly, as more accurate terms exist for their targets i.e. wealthy/powerful etc ).

    The US disease is surely coming our way.

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    Having written, taught and worked for the US government on issues involving unconventional warfare and terrorism for 30-odd years, two things irritate me the most when the subject is discussed in public. The first is the Johnny-come-lately academics-turned-media commentators who … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    23 hours ago
  • Despair – construction consenting edition
    Eric Crampton writes – Kainga Ora is the government’s house building agency. It’s been building a lot of social housing. Kainga Ora has its own (but independent) consenting authority, Consentium. It’s a neat idea. Rather than have to deal with building consents across each different territorial authority, Kainga Ora ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    23 hours ago
  • Coalition promises – will the Govt keep the commitment to keep Kiwis equal before the law?
    Muriel Newman writes – The Coalition Government says it is moving with speed to deliver campaign promises and reverse the damage done by Labour. One of their key commitments is to “defend the principle that New Zealanders are equal before the law.” To achieve this, they have pledged they “will not advance ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    23 hours ago
  • An impermanent public service is a guarantee of very little else but failure
    Chris Trotter writes –  The absence of anything resembling a fightback from the public servants currently losing their jobs is interesting. State-sector workers’ collective fatalism in the face of Coalition cutbacks indicates a surprisingly broad acceptance of impermanence in the workplace. Fifty years ago, lay-offs in the thousands ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 day ago
  • What happens after the war – Mariupol
    Mariupol, on the Azov Sea coast, was one of the first cities to suffer almost complete destruction after the start of the Ukraine War started in late February 2022. We remember the scenes of absolute destruction of the houses and city structures. The deaths of innocent civilians – many of ...
    1 day ago
  • Babies and benefits – no good news
    Lindsay Mitchell writes – Ten years ago, I wrote the following in a Listener column: Every year around one in five new-born babies will be reliant on their caregivers benefit by Christmas. This pattern has persisted from at least 1993. For Maori the number jumps to over one in three.  ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 day ago
  • Should the RBNZ be looking through climate inflation?
    Climate change is expected to generate more and more extreme events, delivering a sort of structural shock to inflation that central banks will have to react to as if they were short-term cyclical issues. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāMy pick of the six newsey things to know from Aotearoa’s ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • Bernard's pick 'n' mix of the news links
    The top six news links I’ve seen elsewhere in the last 24 hours, as of 9:16 am on Thursday, April 18 are:Housing: Tauranga residents living in boats, vans RNZ Checkpoint Louise TernouthHousing: Waikato councillor says wastewater plant issues could hold up Sleepyhead building a massive company town Waikato Times Stephen ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the public sector carnage, and misogyny as terrorism
    It’s a simple deal. We pay taxes in order to finance the social services we want and need. The carnage now occurring across the public sector though, is breaking that contract. Over 3,000 jobs have been lost so far. Many are in crucial areas like Education where the impact of ...
    1 day ago
  • Meeting the Master Baiters
    Hi,A friend had their 40th over the weekend and decided to theme it after Curb Your Enthusiasm fashion icon Susie Greene. Captured in my tiny kitchen before I left the house, I ending up evoking a mix of old lesbian and Hillary Clinton — both unintentional.Me vs Hillary ClintonIf you’re ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 day ago
  • How extreme was the Earth's temperature in 2023
    This is a re-post from Andrew Dessler at the Climate Brink blog In 2023, the Earth reached temperature levels unprecedented in modern times. Given that, it’s reasonable to ask: What’s going on? There’s been lots of discussions by scientists about whether this is just the normal progression of global warming or if something ...
    1 day ago
  • Backbone, revisited
    The schools are on holiday and the sun is shining in the seaside village and all day long I have been seeing bunches of bikes; Mums, Dads, teens and toddlers chattering, laughing, happy, having a bloody great time together. Cheers, AT, for the bits of lane you’ve added lately around the ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 days ago
  • Ministers are not above the law
    Today in our National-led authoritarian nightmare: Shane Jones thinks Ministers should be above the law: New Zealand First MP Shane Jones is accusing the Waitangi Tribunal of over-stepping its mandate by subpoenaing a minister for its urgent hearing on the Oranga Tamariki claim. The tribunal is looking into the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • What’s the outfit you can hear going down the gurgler? Probably it’s David Parker’s Oceans Sec...
    Buzz from the Beehive Point  of Order first heard of the Oceans Secretariat in June 2021, when David Parker (remember him?) announced a multi-agency approach to protecting New Zealand’s marine ecosystems and fisheries. Parker (holding the Environment, and Oceans and Fisheries portfolios) broke the news at the annual Forest & ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    2 days ago
  • Will politicians let democracy die in the darkness?
    Bryce Edwards writes  – Politicians across the political spectrum are implicated in the New Zealand media’s failing health. Either through neglect or incompetent interventions, successive governments have failed to regulate, foster, and allow a healthy Fourth Estate that can adequately hold politicians and the powerful to account. ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    2 days ago
  • Matt Doocey doubles down on trans “healthcare”
    Citizen Science writes –  Last week saw two significant developments in the debate over the treatment of trans-identifying children and young people – the release in Britain of the final report of Dr Hilary Cass’s review into gender healthcare, and here in New Zealand, the news that the ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    2 days ago
  • A TikTok Prime Minister.
    One night while sleeping in my bed I had a beautiful dreamThat all the people of the world got together on the same wavelengthAnd began helping one anotherNow in this dream, universal love was the theme of the dayPeace and understanding and it happened this wayAfter such an eventful day ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • Texas Lessons
    This is a guest post by Oscar Simms who is a housing activist, volunteer for the Coalition for More Homes, and was the Labour Party candidate for Auckland Central at the last election. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    2 days ago
  • Bernard's pick 'n' mix of the news links at 6:06 am
    The top six news links I’ve seen elsewhere in the last 24 hours as of 6:06 am on Wednesday, April 17 are:Must read: Secrecy shrouds which projects might be fast-tracked RNZ Farah HancockScoop: Revealed: Luxon has seven staffers working on social media content - partly paid for by taxpayer Newshub ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Fighting poverty on the holiday highway
    Turning what Labour called the “holiday highway” into a four-lane expressway from Auckland to Whangarei could bring at least an economic benefit of nearly two billion a year for Northland each year. And it could help bring an end to poverty in one of New Zealand’s most deprived regions. The ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 days ago
  • Bernard's six-stack of substacks at 6:26 pm
    Tonight’s six-stack includes: launching his substack with a bunch of his previous documentaries, including this 1992 interview with Dame Whina Cooper. and here crew give climate activists plenty to do, including this call to submit against the Fast Track Approvals bill. writes brilliantly here on his substack ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • At a glance – Is the science settled?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    3 days ago
  • Apposite Quotations.
    How Long Is Long Enough? Gaza under Israeli bombardment, July 2014. This posting is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    3 days ago
  • What’s a life worth now?
    You're in the mall when you hear it: some kind of popping sound in the distance, kids with fireworks, maybe. But then a moment of eerie stillness is followed by more of the fireworks sound and there’s also screaming and shrieking and now here come people running for their lives.Does ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • Howling at the Moon
    Karl du Fresne writes –  There’s a crisis in the news media and the media are blaming it on everyone except themselves. Culpability is being deflected elsewhere – mainly to the hapless Minister of Communications, Melissa Lee, and the big social media platforms that are accused of hoovering ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Newshub is Dead.
    I don’t normally send out two newsletters in a day but I figured I’d say something about… the news. If two newsletters is a bit much then maybe just skip one, I don’t want to overload people. Alternatively if you’d be interested in sometimes receiving multiple, smaller updates from me, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Seymour is chuffed about cutting early-learning red tape – but we hear, too, that Jones has loose...
    Buzz from the Beehive David Seymour and Winston Peters today signalled that at least two ministers of the Crown might be in Wellington today. Seymour (as Associate Minister of Education) announced the removal of more red tape, this time to make it easier for new early learning services to be ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    3 days ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Will politicians let democracy die in the darkness?
    Politicians across the political spectrum are implicated in the New Zealand media’s failing health. Either through neglect or incompetent interventions, successive governments have failed to regulate, foster, and allow a healthy Fourth Estate that can adequately hold politicians and the powerful to account. Our political system is suffering from the ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    3 days ago
  • Was Hawkesby entirely wrong?
    David Farrar  writes –  The Broadcasting Standards Authority ruled: Comments by radio host Kate Hawkesby suggesting Māori and Pacific patients were being prioritised for surgery due to their ethnicity were misleading and discriminatory, the Broadcasting Standards Authority has found. It is a fact such patients are prioritised. ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • PRC shadow looms as the Solomons head for election
    PRC and its proxies in Solomons have been preparing for these elections for a long time. A lot of money, effort and intelligence have gone into ensuring an outcome that won’t compromise Beijing’s plans. Cleo Paskall writes – On April 17th the Solomon Islands, a country of ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Criminal ecocide
    We are in the middle of a climate crisis. Last year was (again) the hottest year on record. NOAA has just announced another global coral bleaching event. Floods are threatening UK food security. So naturally, Shane Jones wants to make it easier to mine coal: Resources Minister Shane Jones ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Is saving one minute of a politician's time worth nearly $1 billion?
    Is speeding up the trip to and from Wellington airport by 12 minutes worth spending up more than $10 billion? Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The six news items that stood out to me in the last day to 8:26 am today are:The Lead: Transport Minister Simeon Brown announced ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Long Tunnel or Long Con?
    Yesterday it was revealed that Transport Minister had asked Waka Kotahi to look at the options for a long tunnel through Wellington. State Highway 1 (SH1) through Wellington City is heavily congested at peak times and while planning continues on the duplicate Mt Victoria Tunnel and Basin Reserve project, the ...
    3 days ago
  • Smoke And Mirrors.
    You're a fraud, and you know itBut it's too good to throw it all awayAnyone would do the sameYou've got 'em goingAnd you're careful not to show itSometimes you even fool yourself a bitIt's like magicBut it's always been a smoke and mirrors gameAnyone would do the sameForty six billion ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • What is Mexico doing about climate change?
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections The June general election in Mexico could mark a turning point in ensuring that the country’s climate policies better reflect the desire of its citizens to address the climate crisis, with both leading presidential candidates expressing support for renewable energy. Mexico is the ...
    3 days ago
  • State of humanity, 2024
    2024, it feels, keeps presenting us with ever more challenges, ever more dismay.Do you give up yet? It seems to ask.No? How about this? Or this?How about this?When I say 2024 I really mean the state of humanity in 2024.Saturday night, we watched Civil War because that is one terrifying cliff we've ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Govt’s Wellington tunnel vision aims to ease the way to the airport (but zealous promoters of cycl...
    Buzz from the Beehive A pet project and governmental tunnel vision jump out from the latest batch of ministerial announcements. The government is keen to assure us of its concern for the wellbeing of our pets. It will be introducing pet bonds in a change to the Residential Tenancies Act ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • The case for cultural connectedness
    A recent report generated from a Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) survey of 1,224 rangatahi Māori aged 11-12 found: Cultural connectedness was associated with fewer depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms and better quality of life. That sounds cut and dry. But further into the report the following appears: Cultural connectedness is ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Useful context on public sector job cuts
    David Farrar writes –    The Herald reports: From the gory details of job-cuts news, you’d think the public service was being eviscerated.   While the media’s view of the cuts is incomplete, it’s also true that departments have been leaking the particulars faster than a Wellington ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell On When Racism Comes Disguised As Anti-racism
    Remember the good old days, back when New Zealand had a PM who could think and speak calmly and intelligently in whole sentences without blustering? Even while Iran’s drones and missiles were still being launched, Helen Clark was live on TVNZ expertly summing up the latest crisis in the Middle ...
    4 days ago
  • Govt ignored economic analysis of smokefree reversal
    Costello did not pass on analysis of the benefits of the smokefree reforms to Cabinet, emphasising instead the extra tax revenues of repealing them. Photo: Hagen Hopkins, Getty Images TL;DR: The six news items that stood out to me at 7:26 am today are:The Lead: Casey Costello never passed on ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • True Blue.
    True loveYou're the one I'm dreaming ofYour heart fits me like a gloveAnd I'm gonna be true blueBaby, I love youI’ve written about the job cuts in our news media last week. The impact on individuals, and the loss to Aotearoa of voices covering our news from different angles.That by ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Who is running New Zealand’s foreign policy?
    While commentators, including former Prime Minister Helen Clark, are noting a subtle shift in New Zealand’s foreign policy, which now places more emphasis on the United States, many have missed a key element of the shift. What National said before the election is not what the government is doing now. ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #15
    A listing of 31 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, April 7, 2024 thru Sat, April 13, 2024. Story of the week Our story of the week is about adults in the room setting terms and conditions of ...
    5 days ago
  • Feline Friends and Fragile Fauna The Complexities of Cats in New Zealand’s Conservation Efforts

    Cats, with their independent spirit and beguiling purrs, have captured the hearts of humans for millennia. In New Zealand, felines are no exception, boasting the highest national cat ownership rate globally [definition cat nz cat foundation]. An estimated 1.134 million pet cats grace Kiwi households, compared to 683,000 dogs ...

    5 days ago
  • Or is that just they want us to think?
    Nice guy, that Peter Williams. Amiable, a calm air of no-nonsense capability, a winning smile. Everything you look for in a TV presenter and newsreader.I used to see him sometimes when I went to TVNZ to be a talking head or a panellist and we would yarn. Nice guy, that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Did global warming stop in 1998?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from our Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Did global warming stop in ...
    6 days ago
  • Arguing over a moot point.
    I have been following recent debates in the corporate and social media about whether it is a good idea for NZ to join what is known as “AUKUS Pillar Two.” AUKUS is the Australian-UK-US nuclear submarine building agreement in which … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • No Longer Trusted: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    Turning Point: What has turned me away from the mainstream news media is the very strong message that its been sending out for the last few years.” “And what message might that be?” “That the people who own it, the people who run it, and the people who provide its content, really don’t ...
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage rates at 10% anyone?
    No – nothing about that in PM Luxon’s nine-point plan to improve the lives of New Zealanders. But beyond our shores Jamie Dimon, the long-serving head of global bank J.P. Morgan Chase, reckons that the chances of a goldilocks soft landing for the economy are “a lot lower” than the ...
    Point of OrderBy xtrdnry
    6 days ago
  • Sad tales from the left
    Michael Bassett writes –  Have you noticed the odd way in which the media are handling the government’s crackdown on surplus employees in the Public Service? Very few reporters mention the crazy way in which State Service numbers rocketed ahead by more than 16,000 during Labour’s six years, ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago

  • Minister to Europe for OECD meeting, Anzac Day
    Science, Innovation and Technology and Defence Minister Judith Collins will next week attend the OECD Science and Technology Ministerial conference in Paris and Anzac Day commemorations in Belgium. “Science, innovation and technology have a major role to play in rebuilding our economy and achieving better health, environmental and social outcomes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Comprehensive Partnership the goal for NZ and the Philippines
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  The Prime Minister was accompanied by MP Paulo Garcia, the first Filipino to be elected to a legislature outside the Philippines. During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon and President Marcos Jr discussed opportunities to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Government commits $20m to Westport flood protection
    The Government has announced that $20 million in funding will be made available to Westport to fund much needed flood protection around the town. This measure will significantly improve the resilience of the community, says Local Government Minister Simeon Brown. “The Westport community has already been allocated almost $3 million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Taupō takes pole position
    The Government is proud to support the first ever Repco Supercars Championship event in Taupō as up to 70,000 motorsport fans attend the Taupō International Motorsport Park this weekend, says Economic Development Minister Melissa Lee. “Anticipation for the ITM Taupō Super400 is huge, with tickets and accommodation selling out weeks ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Cost of living support for low-income homeowners
    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has announced an increase to the Rates Rebate Scheme, putting money back into the pockets of low-income homeowners.  “The coalition Government is committed to bringing down the cost of living for New Zealanders. That includes targeted support for those Kiwis who are doing things tough, such ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Government backing mussel spat project
    The Coalition Government is investing in a project to boost survival rates of New Zealand mussels and grow the industry, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones has announced. “This project seeks to increase the resilience of our mussels and significantly boost the sector’s productivity,” Mr Jones says. “The project - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Government focused on getting people into work
    Benefit figures released today underscore the importance of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Benefit numbers are still significantly higher than when National was last in government, when there was about 70,000 fewer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Clean energy key driver to reducing emissions
    The Government’s commitment to doubling New Zealand’s renewable energy capacity is backed by new data showing that clean energy has helped the country reach its lowest annual gross emissions since 1999, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. New Zealand’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory (1990-2022) published today, shows gross emissions fell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Earthquake-prone buildings review brought forward
    The Government is bringing the earthquake-prone building review forward, with work to start immediately, and extending the deadline for remediations by four years, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Our Government is focused on rebuilding the economy. A key part of our plan is to cut red tape that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Thailand and NZ to agree to Strategic Partnership
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and his Thai counterpart, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, have today agreed that New Zealand and the Kingdom of Thailand will upgrade the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership by 2026. “New Zealand and Thailand have a lot to offer each other. We have a strong mutual desire to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government consults on extending coastal permits for ports
    RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Transport Minister Simeon Brown have today announced the Coalition Government’s intention to extend port coastal permits for a further 20 years, providing port operators with certainty to continue their operations. “The introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991 required ports to obtain coastal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Inflation coming down, but more work to do
    Today’s announcement that inflation is down to 4 per cent is encouraging news for Kiwis, but there is more work to be done - underlining the importance of the Government’s plan to get the economy back on track, acting Finance Minister Chris Bishop says. “Inflation is now at 4 per ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • School attendance restored as a priority in health advice
    Refreshed health guidance released today will help parents and schools make informed decisions about whether their child needs to be in school, addressing one of the key issues affecting school attendance, says Associate Education Minister David Seymour. In recent years, consistently across all school terms, short-term illness or medical reasons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Unnecessary bureaucracy cut in oceans sector
    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is streamlining high-level oceans management while maintaining a focus on supporting the sector’s role in the export-led recovery of the economy. “I am working to realise the untapped potential of our fishing and aquaculture sector. To achieve that we need to be smarter with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Patterson promoting NZ’s wool sector at International Congress
    Associate Agriculture Minister Mark Patterson is speaking at the International Wool Textile Organisation Congress in Adelaide, promoting New Zealand wool, and outlining the coalition Government’s support for the revitalisation the sector.    "New Zealand’s wool exports reached $400 million in the year to 30 June 2023, and the coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Removing red tape to help early learners thrive
    The Government is making legislative changes to make it easier for new early learning services to be established, and for existing services to operate, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. The changes involve repealing the network approval provisions that apply when someone wants to establish a new early learning service, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • RMA changes to cut coal mining consent red tape
    Changes to the Resource Management Act will align consenting for coal mining to other forms of mining to reduce barriers that are holding back economic development, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “The inconsistent treatment of coal mining compared with other extractive activities is burdensome red tape that fails to acknowledge ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • McClay reaffirms strong NZ-China trade relationship
    Trade, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Todd McClay has concluded productive discussions with ministerial counterparts in Beijing today, in support of the New Zealand-China trade and economic relationship. “My meeting with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao reaffirmed the complementary nature of the bilateral trade relationship, with our Free Trade Agreement at its ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon acknowledges legacy of Singapore Prime Minister Lee
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today paid tribute to Singapore’s outgoing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.   Meeting in Singapore today immediately before Prime Minister Lee announced he was stepping down, Prime Minister Luxon warmly acknowledged his counterpart’s almost twenty years as leader, and the enduring legacy he has left for Singapore and South East ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • PMs Luxon and Lee deepen Singapore-NZ ties
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. While in Singapore as part of his visit to South East Asia this week, Prime Minister Luxon also met with Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and will meet with Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.  During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Antarctica New Zealand Board appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has made further appointments to the Board of Antarctica New Zealand as part of a continued effort to ensure the Scott Base Redevelopment project is delivered in a cost-effective and efficient manner.  The Minister has appointed Neville Harris as a new member of the Board. Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Finance Minister travels to Washington DC
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to the United States on Tuesday to attend a meeting of the Five Finance Ministers group, with counterparts from Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  “I am looking forward to meeting with our Five Finance partners on how we can work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pet bonds a win/win for renters and landlords
    The coalition Government has today announced purrfect and pawsitive changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to give tenants with pets greater choice when looking for a rental property, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “Pets are important members of many Kiwi families. It’s estimated that around 64 per cent of New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Long Tunnel for SH1 Wellington being considered
    State Highway 1 (SH1) through Wellington City is heavily congested at peak times and while planning continues on the duplicate Mt Victoria Tunnel and Basin Reserve project, the Government has also asked NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to consider and provide advice on a Long Tunnel option, Transport Minister Simeon Brown ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand condemns Iranian strikes
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have condemned Iran’s shocking and illegal strikes against Israel.    “These attacks are a major challenge to peace and stability in a region already under enormous pressure," Mr Luxon says.    "We are deeply concerned that miscalculation on any side could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Huge interest in Government’s infrastructure plans
    Hundreds of people in little over a week have turned out in Northland to hear Regional Development Minister Shane Jones speak about plans for boosting the regional economy through infrastructure. About 200 people from the infrastructure and associated sectors attended an event headlined by Mr Jones in Whangarei today. Last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Health Minister thanks outgoing Health New Zealand Chair
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti has today thanked outgoing Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora Chair Dame Karen Poutasi for her service on the Board.   “Dame Karen tendered her resignation as Chair and as a member of the Board today,” says Dr Reti.  “I have asked her to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Roads of National Significance planning underway
    The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has signalled their proposed delivery approach for the Government’s 15 Roads of National Significance (RoNS), with the release of the State Highway Investment Proposal (SHIP) today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Navigating an unstable global environment
    New Zealand is renewing its connections with a world facing urgent challenges by pursuing an active, energetic foreign policy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Our country faces the most unstable global environment in decades,” Mr Peters says at the conclusion of two weeks of engagements in Egypt, Europe and the United States.    “We cannot afford to sit back in splendid ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ welcomes Australian Governor-General
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Australian Governor-General, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley and his wife Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley, will make a State visit to New Zealand from Tuesday 16 April to Thursday 18 April. The visit reciprocates the State visit of former Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves for Winter
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour has announced that Medsafe has approved 11 cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine. Pharmaceutical suppliers have indicated they may be able to supply the first products in June. “This is much earlier than the original expectation of medicines being available by 2025. The Government recognised ...
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