Ear treatment cuts another attack on the poor

Written By: - Date published: 3:58 pm, January 15th, 2013 - 27 comments
Categories: child welfare, class war, health, national - Tags: , , ,

This is a topic that came up over the break that I noted to write about when I got back to posting. The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets, a technique for treating persistent ear infection (especially in children). The rationale is summarised in this Herald piece:

Govt eyes cuts to elective surgery

The National Health Committee has to find savings of $30 million this financial year from elective procedures deemed to be of little benefit. The money would be used for smarter investment in other parts of the health system.

The only specific elective procedure the committee has so far named for “disinvestment” is the insertion of grommets. Grommets are tiny ventilation tubes placed in an incision in the eardrum to treat persistent, painful infections called glue ear.

[The committee] … draws on a Welsh health system report that evaluated 550 elective procedures deemed to be of “relatively low priority”. … The Welsh report’s specific procedures are listed under 17 surgical and dental headings, including tonsillectomy, grommets, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, dilatation and curettage, hysterectomy, gallbladder removal, caesarean section, lower-back procedures, circumcision, eye-lid surgery, nose surgery and surgery to correct protruding ears.

OK, so, there are 17 “headings” to explore, including purely cosmetic options like the correction of protruding ears, and so far the only one specifically mentioned and targeted is grommets. That’s a procedure which in many cases helps restore the sense of hearing, and is used mainly by (you guessed it) children in poor families. Brilliant.

The committee said it had completed a technological note on the use of ventilation tube grommets for treating middle-ear infections (otitis media). “The evidence indicates that the use of ventilation tubes is of limited value in treating otitis media with effusion, although it does not suggest that it should be stopped completely.”

New Zealand’s rate of grommets use is about 75 per cent greater per capita than Britain’s. “The difference represents a cost to New Zealand of approximately $4.4 million per annum,” the committee says.

Save $4.4 Million a year by bringing ourselves in to line with Britain. Did anyone on “The Committee” stop to ask if it was Britain or NZ that had it right? Of course not. But Kiwi doctors have let us know what they think:

Doubt over savings from restricting ear treatment

A leading surgeon doubts the Government will be able to save money by cutting down on treating children’s ears with grommets.

Scott Stevenson, an ear, nose and throat surgeon, was commenting on a government group’s suggestion New Zealand could save $4.4 million a year if its rate of grommet insertion was lowered to Britain’s level.

“The savings probably aren’t there,” said Mr Stevenson, the chairman of the New Zealand board of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. … Mr Stevenson said the college had concerns about the ideas the National Health Committee expressed on grommets in a discussion document and he had responded “fairly vigorously”.

The ideal intervention rate for grommets was unknown. “No one has looked at that and said are we over-treating or is the UK under-treating.

“Maori and Pacific people have a high incidence of middle-ear disease. I would hate to see anything done that impacts on our ability to look after some of our most economically deprived and underprivileged kids.” [my bold]

Auckland ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr Colin Brown said, “The UK is not a good reference point in terms of whether we do more or less. In my opinion children are substantially under-treated in the UK.”

I’m with Kerre Woodham on this one – I have personally known too many kids who have been helped by grommets. I would hate to see any cuts to what is often a vital procedure – especially when we could be starting with protruding ears instead. Last word (from the same piece as the above quote) to Labour’s Maryan Street:

Labour’s health spokeswoman, Maryan Street, said reducing the number of grommet operations for children – without a direct investment in measures to reduce the need for the treatment – would be a false economy that led to “more kids sitting in class unable to listen and learn”.

Exactly.

27 comments on “Ear treatment cuts another attack on the poor”

  1. Blue 1

    Right-wing government at their most disgusting. They don’t care if children from low-income families go deaf or suffer permanent hearing loss.

    When those children struggle at school and show up in crime, unemployment and health system statistics later in life, the right-wing will do their usual song and dance about how they’re just lazy and stupid and need a good kick up the arse.

    I think National have bought themselves a fight on par with class sizes over this one, however. Many parents in NZ have experience with their children getting ear infections and needing grommets. They also object to kids being permanently disabled because of government policy.

    Tony Ryall’s oversight of the Health portfolio just fell off a cliff.

  2. higherstandard 2

    Hi R0b

    Can you please link to the bit where “The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets”

    I’m pretty sure this is just a discussion document put forward by the NHC for comment from the respective colleges, I’d be very, very surprised if there was any cuts too this particular procedure as like immunisation it’s a very effective and cost effective intervention.

    Assuming this information was released by the government, if I was you I’d look at what is not being said, if it’s just a media initiated story I suspect it was a slow news day.

    • McFlock 2.1

      So the directive to save $30 mil is self-imposed?

    • Bill 2.2

      Acknowledge your point that it’s not accurate to state that “The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets”… seeing as how it’s a committee in it’s preliminary stages of investigation.

      But to be looking for savings of $30 million in the Health Service for the sake of ‘smarter investment’ in the Health Service is very bloody questionable on the grounds that it is (likely/possibly – choose your own qualifier) being driven by ideology rather than concern for ‘coal face’ services delivered by the Health Service.

      edit. Having just seen r0bs comment below, I retract my acknowledgement of inaccuracy 🙂

    • r0b 2.3

      It’s there in the first piece linked to, but here’s a short sharp summary:

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/125166/grommets-targeted-as-govt-razor-gang-eyes-health

      The Nats have specified a saving of $30 million a year – the first recommendation of the committee they set up to do it is that $4.4 million can be saved from cutting grommets. Health Minister Ryall (apparently when asked about this) has been supportive of the committee, hence I think it’s fair to say that “The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets”.

  3. One Tāne Huna 3

    Controversy over this operation re-surfaces every few years, especially when the NHS needs to save money. The most recent example was a Personal View column in the British Medical Journal (Friday, November 19) by a general practitioner from Glasgow, Des Spence, who made a rather emotive attack on ENT surgeons who look after children. This has provoked many ENT surgeons to respond to the BMJ, suggesting that Dr Spence has misrepresented and ignored evidence, including the fact that many fewer operations are actually done today compared to when the procedure was first evaluated in the 1980s. Many ENT surgeons have said that they do operate selectively and when appropriate, as recommended by NICE.

    “Some of these arguments surrounding grommets are historical rather than factual,” said Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK. “Otitis Media is not a trivial condition and in serious cases, grommets are essential. Unnecessary procedures were undoubtedly performed in the past when the condition was not well understood. But this should not be used as a justification for cutting funding for an often valuable procedure. With pressures on funding, we are concerned there may be delays in treatment for those children in whom the condition does not resolve itself. In the long-term, this won’t save money and, for the children seriously affected, there could be significant impact on their development which grommets could have easily alleviated.”

    Deafness Research UK

    Other sources refer to “an epidemic of surgery” for glue ear (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 1995;49:234-237), but speaking of epidemics, The Lancet tells us that since Rogernomics and Ruthenasia, New Zealand has experienced a massive increase in infectious disease admissions, of which glue ear is but one. It is also “the main cause of hearing loss in New Zealand” (Word DOC).

    I doubt the comparison with the UK is valid. Shonkey is as Shonkey does.

  4. Financially literate 4

    For those interested in the report itself the link and excerpt is below. Link to the latest Cochrane review also provided.

    http://nhc.health.govt.nz/committee-publications/priorities-activities-and-next-steps-national-health-committee-report

    50. As an example, the NHC has completed a TechNote on the use of ventilation tubes for the treatment of otitis media. The evidence indicates that the use of ventilation tubes is of limited value in treating otitis media with effusion, although it does not suggest that it should be stopped completely.
    51. The following diagram shows that insertion rates in New Zealand (represented by the green line) are, on average, considerably above the average UK intervention rate (the red line). The difference represents a cost to New Zealand of approximately $4.4 million per annum.
    52. The NHC is suggesting that by focusing on the pathway of care for children, both in primary care and in secondary settings, and through increasing integration between settings, there is potential to both provide children with more appropriate and more effective care, while simultaneously reducing wasted expenditure for the DHBs.

    http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001801/grommets-ventilation-tubes-for-hearing-loss-associated-with-otitis-media-with-effusion-in-children

    Evidence suggests that grommets only offer a short-term hearing improvement in children with simple glue ear (otitis media with effusion or OME) who have no other serious medical problems or disabilities. No effect on speech and language development has been shown.

    Glue ear is the build up of thick fluid behind the ear drum. It is a common childhood disorder, affecting one or both ears, and is the major cause of transient hearing problems in children. The insertion of grommets (ventilation or tympanostomy tubes) into the ear drum is a surgical treatment option commonly used to improve hearing in children with bilateral glue ear as unilateral glue ear results in minimal, if any, hearing disability. This review found that in children with bilateral glue ear that had not resolved after a period of 12 weeks and was associated with a documented hearing loss, the beneficial effect of grommets on hearing was present at six months but diminished thereafter. Most grommets come out over this time and by then the condition will have resolved in most children. The review did not find any evidence that grommets help speech and language development but no study has been performed in children with established speech, language, learning or developmental problems. Active observation would appear to be an appropriate management strategy for the majority of children with bilateral glue ear as middle ear fluid will resolve spontaneously in most children.

    • George D 4.1

      Thanks. I was going to post a link to the Cochrane review – for those unfamiliar, they’re a review of all available evidence on a particular topic in medicine, and are considered a ‘gold standard’ of evidence review.

      I’m strongly in favour of evidence-based medicine, with priority funding going to procedures that demonstrate clear benefit at a reasonable cost, and less priority going to those that offer little benefit, or cost a very large amount for the benefit they offer. It’s what we do with ACC, and it works very well there.

      The challenge with health is to keep the budgets in line with costs, and you can do that by cutting costs, or by cutting budgets. The very real risk under any National Government is that you end up doing both.

      • McFlock 4.1.1

        yep. I like EBM too, although the pain issue should also be in mind (not just hearing/speech).

        It seems to me that they’ve gone “save $30mil” and we just hope that all the surgeries not funded are not essential.

    • higherstandard 4.2

      Thanks for that.

  5. bad12 5

    The cuts to budget Health are becoming apparent around the edges, it was highlighted in another recent post where someone in short stay accommodation for a head injury,(presumably the private provider was being funded via vote Health), had ended up in the night shelter once ‘the short stay’ nature of provision had run its course,

    Lower back procedures, according to my Doctor, will not be undertaken until there is a life threatening situation,

    Rape Crisis and Woman’s refuges are being starved of funds either by Health or the Ministry of Social Development…

    • mike e vipe e 5.1

      More work for failed Charter schools and prisons brilliant idea from the Nasty NATS

  6. Dan1 6

    A very sad call. Our oldest lad had glue ear, earache and was generally miserable for two of his first four years. The cycles of illness would come around every three months. His speech was definitely below par. He was on a continual round of antibiotics.

    The grommets changed everything, and with speech therapy, he came up to par. It was the high frequency sounds that he had missed out on.

    I cannot believe this decision. You might save $4.5m on the operation, but lose much more with medicines and remedial education and the loss of considerable potential amongst our young people. Without funding for this operation, many more kids will lose hearing.

  7. millsy 7

    Ryall has learnt from the mistakes made by Upton, Birch, and of course, English. Rather than a hard out smashing down of the gates, and bingeing out on hospital closures, Ryall plans to gut our hospital system more subtly. The rise in prescription charges and the proposed ‘disinvestment’ in glue ear operations (gotta love the jargon), probably to pay for pensioner hip operations, and cancer treatments for desperate housewives are but two of these measures.

    By the way, here is the list of hospital closures I promised you all. brought to you by one of Muldoon’s positive legacies — the Official Information Act.

    • McFlock 7.1

      Interesting list.

      How much did they charge you for the request? One thing to check it against might be hospital openings and ward bed capacity (can’t remember the exact term) in each hospital, for followup requests.

      • millsy 7.1.1

        No charge at all. Response was reasonably quick too. Format is pretty dodgy though. I might look at seeing if I can dump it into a spreadsheet later on.

    • tc 7.2

      ‘ bringing ourselves in to line with Britain’ is more neo liberal claptrap, the UK is not who we should be emulating.

      Millsy’s onto it, waikato hospital is overflowing as the other regional hospitals have had so many cuts they can’t deliver those frontline services they bang on about keeping so waikato gets them.

      Ryall’s also quietly culling in the back office and creating a mess as it’s needed to supports frontline services. Health runs at 10% CPI so no $$$ increase is effectively a 10% cut across the board, Ryall’s a dirty word to healthcare workers and less than honest in the house with his more doctors and nurses statements.

      • LynWiper 7.2.1

        I for one am very happy to see Ryall’s pigeons coming home to roost. I don’t know how he has managed to stay under the radar for so long.

        • tc 7.2.1.1

          Health in NZ is pretty much 100% gov’t funded so where do you go if you call him out as the NACT are a vindictive lot who’ve already removed a few troublesome sorts to set the tone.

          If only we had a media, that loralei mason on TVNZ is as much a health reporter as I’m an astronaut.

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.2

          I for one am very happy to see Ryall’s pigeons coming home to roost. I don’t know how he has managed to stay under the radar for so long.

          He’s one of the most capable members of the Key Cabinet. Health, like Education, is usually a kiss of death for anyone who is not truly Ministerial material and Ryall has got through with barely a squeek so far.

  8. Dan1 8

    Thanks Millsy. A fascinating list. The smaller towns have missed out. Psychiatric services over the last 12 years have been a clear focus. Helicopters and intensive care have their place in an emergency but the friction of distance for families is costly in time and $$$ for any ongoing treatment.

    • McFlock 8.1

      One of the things that’s become evident to me over the last few years is that we are still really good at saving kids’ lives.

      Sadly, we’re shit at stopping them needing emergency treatment in the first place.

    • millsy 8.2

      Got the Mason Report and the Gibbs Report (the one that inspired the 1991-96 health reforms) as well. Im trying to get a lot of these reports and documents via OIA request and post them online in one place so they can be accessed by those interested. With the advent of the internet there is no reason why historial government reports cannot be placed online for all to see.

  9. Murray Olsen 9

    I predict they’ll appear to back down and agree to fund grommets, but cut funding for virtually everything else on the list. That seems to be Key’s modus operandi – choose a particularly sensitive and emotive area to float an idea, never intending to push it through, and then making cuts elsewhere. Then they’ll probably stop funding grommets next year and say that they are regretfully forced to do it by a plague of locusts in Upper Egypt or something. At least half the population will probably swallow their bullshit.
    Shearer will say that anyone whose kids need grommets will be assessed by social workers to see if any welfare money they receive is being spent in a responsible manner. It’s only fair, after all.

  10. This is something I looked at, and compared it to National’s health “reforms” in the mid/late 1990s. Unsurprisingly, the similarities are there in plain sight.

    The health cuts and grommet-issue here; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/childrens-health-not-a-high-priority-for-health-minister-tony-ryall/ – which interestingly leads on to similar cuts that the current National-led government is carrying out. Full report here; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/its-fundamentally-a-fairness-issue-peter-dunne/

    Interesting when one connects the dots…

    The cuts to state social services is, again, unsurprising and is a re-hash of the ’90s. What has changed is that the cuts are more subtle this time – and the MSM are nowhere as vigilant in reporting government policies and their flow-on effects.

    It also doesn’t help that current affairs and investigative reporting these days is minimal, and replaced mostly by crime “news”, reality TV, American sitcoms, and in case the 6PM News didn’t deliver up enough crime – TV offers endless crime “dramas”.

    Newspapers have been gutted of their best talent, with Simon Collins at the Herald perhaps the last remaining top journo. The rest now work for politicians and the corporate sector as PR spin-doctors.

    The greatest difference though, is that NZ First is not politically part of the picture. Their coalition deal with the Nats in ’96 made the Bolger/Shipley-led regime probably the most unpopular in living memory. So the media was only to happy to focus on social issues, to feed/reflect public feelings.

    Compare it with the Herald report, on 8 January,

    The National Health Committee has to find savings of $30 million this financial year from elective procedures deemed to be of little benefit.

    The money would be used for smarter investment in other parts of the health system

    See: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10857848

    Notice that there are no quotation marks anywhere through the above two paragraphs – especially the last statement. The statements are presented uncritically as reportage – not as government media statement reflecting National Party policy.

    In fact the whole “money saved will be reinvested elsewhere” theme re-occurs throughout media reporting – though no one in the MSM seems tro have picked up on it.

    None of the “savings” (ie, cuts) will be reinvested of course. That’s BS.

    The Nats are desperate to show a budget surplus by 2014/15, and if kids have to go through their childhood with hearing loss; failed schooling; and an adult life at the bottom of the socio-economic heap – well, at least Bill English will be able to report, at election time, that National made a $66 million surplus. And John Key will do a little happy gangnam-style dance again…

  11. So National’s plan is bring NZ into line, makes sense when you put it with their other achievements like high unemployment, slow growth, trade deficits and general chaos. So when can we see UK style riots in Auckland, John Key better watch out that the would be rioters don’t target his fancy house.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Climate Change: Vote for the climate
    Local body voting papers went in the post on Friday, and should be arriving over the course of this week (mine arrived today). And if you care about climate change, I urge you to vote. While local government seems irrelevant and out of touch (like a whine of old white ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    17 hours ago
  • Climate Change: We must do more
    Like many people, my submission on the Zero Carbon Bill urged more ambitious targets. And if the select committee was in any doubt, they're needed:An assessment backed by the world’s major climate science bodies has found commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions must be at least tripled and increased by ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    19 hours ago
  • Cracking down on mining
    NZ Energy and Environment Business Week reports (in Scoop) that the government is finally moving on reforming the Crown Minerals Act, including banning mining on conservation land and repealing the hated Anadarko Amendment:The Government is planning to change the Crown Minerals Act’s purpose from “promoting” mining in light of changing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    20 hours ago
  • Fluoridation – A new fight against scientific misinformation
    Anti-fluoride campaigners think a new Canadian fluoride IQ study is the best thing since sliced bread but the scientific critiques warn they are wrong. Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty The new Canadian ...
    20 hours ago
  • GM Strikers Are Waging a Battle on Two Fronts
    Reprinted from Jacobinmag by Jane Slaughter and Chris Brooks Almost 50,000 UAW workers are on strike against GM and a two-tier labor system that undermines worker solidarity. But members may need to wage a battle on two fronts — against the company, but also against their own union leadership. Forty-nine ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 day ago
  • Who Will Be Fed Next To The Hungry Gods Of Politics?
    Before Jacingrant There Was Gracinda: Grant Robertson and his 2014 running mate, Jacinda Ardern. She stood at his side: loyal and obliging, as she had ever been. The media dubbed this duo “Gracinda” – a sort of political “Brangelina”. The other young people who worked alongside Robertson were also ambitious ...
    2 days ago
  • Simon Bridges: the 15 March Christchurch massacre and winning at any cost
    . . Just when you thought Simon Bridges couldn’t sink any lower – he has. After the March 15th  Christchurch terror attack, the (current) Leader of the National Party issued strong committments to support urgently needed gun law reform; “We will be ready and prepared to be constructive and to ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Only the least intelligent students, with bad parents, will attend the nonsense climate strike
    We all know that bad parents simply don’t care about their children’s education. Most truants have loser parents, and grow up to be involved with crime, or in low paid employment usually like their parents. The nonsense so-called “climate strike” coming up will be attended mostly by the least intelligent ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    3 days ago
  • Professional Internet Trolls being used to push manmade climate change lies
    Is the terrorist Organisation Greenpeace and the loony Green parties around the World hiring professional internet trolls? I have noticed a trend lately where if you post research, news articles or even comments that show the manmade climate change scam to be just that, you are immediately attacked, often within ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Strike!
    Today is the first day of the global climate strike. Led by schoolkids, people all around the world are going to protest to demand action on climate change. New Zealand isn't doing it till next Friday (join us!), but if you want to get active early, there's plenty to do ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Squandering our opportunity?
    The Herald has a story today about the 400 MW of wind power currently under construction. Good news, right? Except that none of it is being driven by policy (instead, its about replacing Contact Energy's Taranaki Combined Cycle gas-fired power plant, due to shut down in 2022), and most of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Protect The King!
    To Protect and Serve: When the Prime Minister finds herself enmeshed in the coils of a full-blown political scandal, her colleagues and party comrades have only one priority: to release her as swiftly – and with as little lasting injury – as possible. Is this what Jacinda Ardern’s colleagues and ...
    4 days ago
  • The rot at the top.
    When military leaders cover up and lie to elected civilian authorities, the foundation of democratic civil-military relations is undermined because it is those authorities who are entrusted to hold the military accountable to the public that they mutually serve. But this is only true if civilian political authorities take their ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Challenging the voting age in court
    The Make It 16 campaign to lower the voting age is launching this afternoon, and they have already announced plans to challenge the law in court:The campaign, named "Make it 16" will launch at Parliament on Friday, with plans to take their case to the High Court, testing the rights ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Israel’s elections herald a long siesta
    by Daphna Whitmore The long years of Netanyahu’s reign are drawing to an end. For years he has epitomized reactionary zionism as he oversaw hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers seize land in the West Bank. There are now 700,000 settlers, putting an end to the myth that Israel was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Petrol companies promise prices will come back down once peace is restored to the Middle East
    BP, Z and Mobil all insist that petrol price hikes are temporary, “in a very literal sense.” The nation’s major petrol providers are trying to allay customer fears over prices, promising that they’ll move to lower them again “immediately” when the Middle East is returned to its formerly peaceful state. ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • All Blacks unveil boat for Rugby World Cup 2019
    South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat. In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign. In a press conference that went ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • An increasingly shoddy coverup
    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    5 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago

No feed items found.