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Expect the unexpected

Written By: - Date published: 2:36 pm, September 28th, 2008 - 44 comments
Categories: election 2008, helen clark, john key - Tags:

I’m probably going to be at odds with my fellow Standardistas in this but I support having debates featuring just Clark and Key. One of these two people will lead the country after the election and we deserve to see to them in a forum where they go head to head against each other, rather than only appearing in debates where they are just two of eight voices (that said, they should also appear in the broader leaders’ debates).

I think it’s interesting that Key is keen to have these three head-to-head debates. Wise old voices had been saying that Key would shy away from debates, particularly head-to-heads, because he wouldn’t be able to foot it with Clark. But that’s wrong. National is spending a huge amount on media training for Key. Even when caught by surprise, he is noticeably better than the blathering fool that was once ‘Key unspun’. He has become much better at delivering his pat answers in a convincing manner. He doesn’t look horribly out of his depth as he used to. Watch for Key to disappear for days at a time in the run up to the debates as the media training intensifies.

National’s calculation is that Key doesn’t have to best Clark; he just has to beat low expectations of his own performance. They will be putting a lot of stock in a positive outcome from the debates to give them momentum, which they are lacking at the moment and which the their tax package is unlikely to deliver (seeing as it will either be embarrassingly small or will come at the cost of higher debt or large spending cuts). In other words, expect Key to do much better in the debates than you would expect. National wouldn’t have agreed the head-to-head option if they didn’t expect him to do well. 

44 comments on “Expect the unexpected”

  1. Anita 1

    I’m pretty sure the original plan was to have both Clark/Key debates and eight-leader debates.

  2. oh. well, if that’s right then they i would say they shuld go on the 8 leader debates too.

  3. Rex Widerstrom 3

    I agree Anita / Steve. What’s wrong with both? It’s not like there’s not an almost endless range of crap that couldn’t be bumped to make way for two debates, surely?!

  4. randal 4

    like dude we might miss top gear or some fat sheila taking her clothes off or siamese twins doing it if there wuz poltics on tv. keep poltics out of teevee!

  5. Ianmac 5

    Yes. Lets have the “Truo Duo” as well as the “Super 8” forum. But for goodness sake drown that worm.

  6. Andy 6

    I am extremely dissapointed in their decision, incredibly arrogant.
    I agree with you ianmac the ‘worm’ is terrible and makes a mockery of New Zealand’s television debates.
    Just on another point, it is interesting that the debates in New Zealand have much less impact on voters than the post-debate recap by ‘political commentators’, there was some interesting research done on it at Otago University I think.

  7. randal 7

    I thort paul holmes bought the worm franchise from some crosbytexter outfit in ameroca for a cut rate deal!

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    I would support the 8 on 8 debate and the JK/HC debate. What I’ve been thoroughly disgusted by is that both JK and HC said that they would only do the head to head debates with each other.

  9. Byron 9

    The problem with having only Labour and National in a debate is that it reinforces the status quo- the idea that Labour and National are the “main” parties and the ones that matter the most. There are 20 parties contesting this election, but the media time will go mostly too two of them, a bit more to another 6, and 12 will be ignored almost completely.
    Will there ever be real change if the media perpetuates the idea that there won’t be?

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Byron, it’s not the MSM that are trying to perpetuate the idea that there are only two main parties but National and Labour.

  11. Byron – strange as it may seem, I’m 100% in agreement with Steve here. Either Clark or Key will be PM after the election. It’s important that there is a head-to-head debate without the kind of interruptions and distractions that six other leaders (and one in particular 😉 ) would inevitably produce.

  12. Monty 12

    I am keen to see a minor leders debate – Rodney vs the rest – especially Winston – the Labour poodle. Key of course must face down Clark. I suspect Clark will scream like a burnt witch – while Key will remain cool calm collected.

    The debate between Clark / Key will not change too many voters minds – 50% already have determined their support for Key – so desperate are so many people to be rid of the vile and self serving Clark. But some undecideds will swing with Clark or Key depending on the outcome of the debates. It will be interesting to see if Clark uses the same tactic as she did against Brash thre years ago? I suspect she will – but no matter what people are so over Clark and her manipulation of the country that on 8 November 2008 – she will be gone from our lives. – And good riddence as well.

  13. gobsmacked 13

    “Key will remain cool calm collected.”

    And then the alarm clock went off and poor Monty was jolted from his soothing sleep …

  14. randal 14

    I expect if the Prime Minister debates John Keys that his tongue wil begin to flicker like a frog and he will lose his cool. BEINng a poltician is not like being a big swinging dick in a wall street brokerage. You cant fire people for not performing or not meeting sales targets and sooner or later you must answer the phone. I suspect that john keys has become so used to ignoring reality of people he has ripped off by selling them dud bonds that nobody else wants that he thinks all of life is like that. Morover in the real world you cant gang up on people and trash them and bash them up psychologically just because they lost some change.He in for one rude awakening and If Helen is sufficiently briefed on his shortcomings she will mince him. And Good JOB.

  15. Byron 15

    Draco,
    Certainly true in this situation, however I think generally speaking the media still reports on politics as if this is an FPP election

  16. deemac 16

    I support Steve – only Clark or Key is going to be PM after the election so that’s the main event. And while politicos like us would no doubt watch a debate with all 8, the mass viewing audience for that is nil.

  17. Tim Ellis 17

    I agree with SP. Labour and National account for at least 80% of the vote. They don’t get 80% of the time during the leaders’ debates.

    I don’t want to watch eight leaders from eight parties I’m not voting for. The six minor parties see the leaders’ debates as an opportunity to grand-stand and gang up on a main party leader and carp at the majors. It’s just silly to say there isn’t a difference between Helen Clark and Jim Anderton. It’s all very well giving Rodney Hide the same amount of time to tell the public what he will do if he’s Prime Minister, but that scenario isn’t really realistic, is it?

    There are different motives for not including the minor party leaders. I suspect Helen Clark doesn’t want to be seen on the same stage as Winston. She wants to go head-to-head with Key. Key doesn’t want Anderton, Norman and Peters carping at him while he’s debating with Clark. And neither of them really want to see any of their vote bleed to minor parties, as has often happened in the last few weeks of the campaign.

    Most people don’t watch leaders’ debates to see Jim Anderton, Peter Dunne, Winston Peters, Peter Sharples or Russel Norman speak. They want to see the two potential PMs go head to head.

    Is that undemocratic? I don’t think so. Party leaders will do whatever is in their party’s best interests. Why should they be compelled to deliver extra air-time to parties that are just going to cut into their vote?

    SP I also agree that a lot of people will be surprised at how well Key performs in these debates. Helen Clark has made a virtue of her greater political experience. Many of Labour’s attacks have been about Key’s lack of experience. Labour has ironically lowered public expectations of Key. Clark is regarded as a fairly consummate political performer and a strong debater. Key has been ridiculed by Labour since he became Leader. I agree that the commentators and the public probably don’t expect Key to wipe the floor with Clark (and that’s unlikely to happen). All he has to do is perform credibly.

    I very much doubt he will be absent for extended periods of the campaign though. That sounds like wishful thinking to me.

  18. LGD 18

    We need both debates. Key/Clark as well as Minor parties + Lab/Nats.

    Anyway, my real reason for comment is this article.

  19. Felix 19

    Yep we need both. And more, much more.

    Considering the wall to wall guff on TV it’s a bit of a disgrace that we’re arguing about a couple of debates – there should be lots of debates on TV with all sorts of configurations of debaters.

    Interesting idea here from Seth Godin. (I would argue that half an hour isn’t long enough.)

    Tim:
    “I don’t want to watch eight leaders from eight parties I’m not voting for. ”

    Fair enough sweety but it’s not all about you. You already know you’re voting National so you don’t need to see any debates at all.

  20. Tim Ellis 20

    Felix said:

    Fair enough sweety but it’s not all about you. You already know you’re voting National so you don’t need to see any debates at all.

    I agree exactly that it isn’t all about me, Felix. Yet 80%+ of people are going to vote National or Labour. That says to me that Helen Clark should get 80% of the debating airtime between them.

  21. Craig Ranapia 21

    Nah, Steve. To quote Amy Pohler’s Hillary Clinton: Three and TVNZ should either grow a pair or borrow hers. I’m sorry to tell Key and Clark this, but while one of them will end up Prime Minister, they’re exceedingly unlikely to be there without the support of those tiresome minnows. Could voters should be able to decide the relevance – or otherwise – of their interactions with other party leaders?

    I suspect both want to avoid Pita Sharples or Russell Norman getting a clear shot to turn and ask them some seriously inconvenient questions on live television. Diddums, to coin a phrase. 🙂

    Now, let me say Key and Clark are under no compulsion to participate in any debates at all, just as they’re both frequently declined interview requests from all kinds of media outlets. But I’d have issued a press release saying that the two ‘major leader’ debates had been cancelled, and replaced with extended eight leader debates. If Labour and National’s leaders refused to participate, there would be two empty seats and a moderator explaining why they’re there at regular intervals.

    Their call, but I don’t think it’s a good move if politicians are seen to be dictating election coverage run by ostensibly politically independent media organisations.

  22. Felix 22

    Tim

    If National gets more votes than Labour at this election, should they get more airtime than Labour at the next one?

  23. Go The Right 23

    Great article in The Herald today on the opposistion to The Anti Smacking Bill.

    I personally believe that this will cost The Green and Labour hugely at the Polls.

    If Key has any sense he should say he is going to ammend and bring in Chester Borrows ammendments so we are in line with Australia will be a real vote winner.

  24. Anita 24

    Go The Right,

    Reference to the article?

    Why do you think it will cost the Greens? I would’ve thought that core Green voters were pretty happy with the repeal.

  25. Phil 25

    While I dont like the way they’ve gone about it – it’s an attitudinal thing – I think it makes good sense not to include Lab and Nat in the ‘other leaders’ debate.

    As I see it, there’s two kinds of undecided voters
    1) Those who are going to vote Labour or National
    2) Those who know they’re ‘left’ or ‘right’ and will either vote for the major party or one they would like to see in coalition.

    Each of the debates caters to those two groups in a way that the ‘full eight’ does not do as well.

  26. Draco T Bastard 26

    Tim Ellis

    Why should they be compelled to deliver extra air-time to parties that are just going to cut into their vote?

    Because that’s what a level playing field means. What you’re really saying is that the full competition for votes be biased in favor of the two main parties which is completely undemocratic.

  27. Phil 27

    By the way Steve, I can’t help but chuckle at the way you’ve carefully prepared the ground for a possible Key ‘victory’ (or at least draw) in the head-to-head debate; If he comes out looking OK, it must be because he’s had media training, and not because he’s actually getting better in front of the camera, of his own accord, through the practice of exposure.

    I put it to you that if he gets the job, he’ll be required to perform on an international stage. I expect any NZ PM to be capable of dealing with the media and putting forward our case on the international stage. If specific media training is required to do that successfully, then so be it.

  28. bill brown 28

    Anita, Rob’s talking about that part of the core Green vote that didn’t know that the Greens voted for the repeal of S59 until they read the National Herald article today.

    This may be an insignificant number of voters.

  29. Felix 29

    Phil,

    I think we deserve better representatives on the international stage than ones who need to be specially trained to look like they know what they’re doing.

    But yes, if we must have a monkey for PM we might as well train it. Sigh…

  30. Phil 30

    Felix,

    Being PM is something for which I consider there to be very few ‘necessary’ qualifications.

    If supplementary skill-sets, like media training, need to be honed with the assistance of professionals, then all well and good.

  31. Go The Right 31

    Anita

    Will cost them in terms of the Swinging voter I see now on the latest Tv3 poll they are right on 5% no more.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10534698

  32. rave 32

    I think Clark wants all the time she can get to shoot down Key. Key thinks he can just press the rabid response buttons about smacking, women, tax, Winston, Australia, families, blah blah and win the groundswell.

    Clark will ask him to explain what he was doing talking to Rail America on the NZ taxpayers tab. What he was doing talking to British Tory tax evader and strategist Aschroft. Why the people of Belize are rebelling against Ascrofts financial fraud. Why a whole bunch of female employees took Merrill Lynch to court and won on sexual harassment charges dating from the 90’s. Why making millions by selling down the Kiwi dollar is not destructive of family life. Why selling kiwibank, NZ rail, kiwisave, and contracting out core state services after a decent interval will not be ripping off taxpayers subsidies and bailouts.

    I think that Clark will need some time, especially as Key will give her several versions of the answers before he remembers which is the correct one, and will repeatedly reinsert the mantra, look I’m just … so that interjections by Rodney on ego, Sharples on a Maori chamber, Dunne on values, Fitzsimons on global warming, etc etc will be so much downtime from exposing Key.

  33. Bob 33

    I love your last sentence. I hope Helen is concerned. If she isn’t she ought to be.

  34. Jen Ferguson 34

    Don’t forget you can ask your own questions of our venerable leaders this election by submitting your video at http://www.youtube.co.nz/debate... 🙂

  35. Draco T Bastard 35

    Phil

    Being PM is something for which I consider there to be very few ‘necessary’ qualifications.

    IMO, that is patently false. It requires knowledge of all aspects of society. It is, quite simply, the most complex management position known as it is non-specialist. JK is a specialist financier and, in that position, is probably quite good but as PM he’s going to be far out of his depth as his knowledge of everything else won’t measure up.

  36. Felix 36

    Phil,

    That’s what I thought you meant, hence my monkey remark.

    Why set such a low bar? I want someone to represent us on the international stage who actually understands the issues they’re dealing with – not someone who’s been force-fed a few soundbites to regurgitate for the cameras.

  37. Phil 37

    Draco,

    …the most complex management position known as it is non-specialist. JK is a specialist financier and, in that position, is probably quite good but as PM he’s going to be far out of his depth as his knowledge of everything else won’t measure up.

    John was involved in currency valuation and strategy. In order to know roughly where a currency is going, you need to know about the underlying economy/country; how will the export/import sector react to external events? How does the government interact with the market? what’s happen now to consumers/taxpayers? where is the economy headed? where are the potential risks to this country?

    I don’t know about you, but I think a PM should have knowledge or experience in this kind of assessment…

    To put it another way, prior to becoming PM, and a stint as a cabinet minister in the late 80’s, what did Helen Clark do? She certainly had a thorough knowledge of political process, but what about economic management? what about understanding the needs of exporters? what about bargaining and strategic negotiation?

    All learned on the job.

    Felix,

    … not someone who’s been force-fed a few soundbites to regurgitate for the cameras

    Do you really think that media training is all about soundbites, and nothing else?! Or, do you just think that’s what it is when John Key gets that kind of training?

    Very few people are born with an inate talent to be comfortable in front of the camera – I ain’t one of em, for sure. However, I don’t believe that devalues their underlying ideals or policy.

  38. Draco T Bastard 38

    Phil:

    All learned on the job.

    So? She’s been in politics for ~30 years and started there with a degree in politics (which, AFAIK, requires at least some economics). JK’s been in politics for ~6 years and before that he was in a specialist financial position and has a degree in commerce.

    I said JK didn’t have wide enough experience/knowledge to be a PM. If he sticks with being a MP then, in 20 years, he will probably have enough experience/knowledge to be a decent PM. He’s just not going to get that by the election though.

  39. Felix 39

    Phil,

    Essentially we are hiring and firing employees when we go to the polling booth. Let’s say you’re the boss and you’re interviewing prospective employees.

    You ask about relevant experience and the prospective employee says “Well, I’ve graduated from a course in how to present well in a job interview”.

    I don’t consider that to be a relevant qualification.

  40. Phil 40

    Draco,

    How long was David Lange in Parliament before becoming PM? ~6 years.
    How long was Dubya in politics (Govenor of Texas, various other offices)? ~ Most of his life.

    Go back further and you get William Taft – widely regarded as the worst US president ever, despite spending a lifetime in Congress (or Senate? it’s one or the other…)

    I’m reminded of the line in “The King and I” which says something about ‘being old enough to know that age and wisdom do not necessarily go hand in hand’

    Felix,

    On a practical level, if they’re at the interview you’ve seen the CV beforehand. So, you already think the person has relevant skills, or they wouldn’t have got the interview in the first place!
    🙂

    Focussing on Key, you seem to be insinuating that he has no relevant skills to be PM… which kind of beg’s the question, what do you think is relevant?

  41. Draco T Bastard 41

    Phil:

    How long was David Lange in Parliament before becoming PM? ~6 years.

    Yeah, and look at how much of a balls up that was. Although, I would say that Lange, being a lawyer, had better experience for PM than key as a financier.

    I’m reminded of the line in “The King and I’ which says something about ‘being old enough to know that age and wisdom do not necessarily go hand in hand’

    I’d agree with that. Some people do have a better innate ability than others but I’ve seen nothing from JK to indicate that he has any more ability to be PM than a well trained dog.

  42. Felix 42

    I’m sure he has skills, he’s got a lot of experience in management and much of it is transferable.

    As Draco pointed out though he has little or no experience applying those skills in a governance context which is quite a unique environment in many ways.

    And just as a gut response from me, I don’t think he’s really committed to spending a couple of decades getting his teeth into this politics game. I just don’t think he’s that interested beyond scoring the top job for a bit.

    There’s a kind of corporate viewpoint which suggests that government is just like a business and PM is just a CEO position. Through such a frame it would appear that anyone with enough upper-management experience should be able to step into the PM’s job for a few years before moving on to the next placement, just like in the corporate world.

    I guess I just don’t buy into that definition of government.

  43. Matthew Pilott 43

    There’s a kind of corporate viewpoint which suggests that government is just like a business and PM is just a CEO position. Through such a frame it would appear that anyone with enough upper-management experience should be able to step into the PM’s job for a few years before moving on to the next placement, just like in the corporate world.

    Felix – running with that concept for a minute, what do CEOs get those huge bonuses for these days? Well it’s not for improving the long term prospects of a business, but delivering to the shareholders in the short term. Often by making massive service or spending cuts, firing workers and leaving a mess for the next lot.

    Hmm…

    A few parallels staring to coalesce?

  44. Felix 44

    MP, yep – I suspect to Key it would just be “business as usual” in that respect.

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    Back in December, when the government was introducing new secrecy legislation on an almost daily basis, I posted about the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Bill. The Bill establishes a new class of public entity, "special purpose vehicles", which collect and spend public money and enjoy statutory powers. Despite this, they ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Against a carbon bailout
    If we are to avoid making the planet uninhabitable, we need to cut carbon emisisons fast. Which basicly means putting the fossil fuel industry - coal, gas, and oil - out of business. But this means that the banks and other lenders who have bankrolled the industry's environmental destruction will ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Still a criminal industry
    More evidence that the fishing industry suffers from pervasive criminality, with Forest & Bird highlighting some odd numbers in the annual statistics:The Annual Review Report For Highly Migratory Species Fisheries 2018/19 (Pg 4, Table 4) showed only 4% of commercial long lining trips for tuna and swordfish reported non-fish bycatch ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Controversy? Or Manufactroversy?
    A few days ago, New Zealand’s Minister of Education announced the wider release of a resource on climate change, which was initially trialled at a Christchurch school during 2018. According to the Minister, children will learn about “the role science plays in understanding climate change, aids understanding of both the response ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • The emerging coronavirus outbreak in China
    By now you’ve probably heard of the new virus causing an outbreak of severe pneumonia in China. The question on most people’s minds is, how worried should we be, especially as hundreds of millions of people will soon be travelling across China and beyond to visit family for the Lunar ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • How did climate change get so controversial?
    An excerpt from the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, released Feb 25. Our human brain is poorly equipped to deal with a threat like climate change. Over millions of years, we’ve evolved to avoid life-threatening dangers like predators jumping out of bushes. We’ve survived by quickly detecting and avoiding immediate, short-term ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers are ruining Canterbury’s rivers
    Its summer, so people naturally want to go for a swim. But in South Canterbury, you can't, because the rivers are full of toxic goo:As of Monday, the Waihi River at Wilson Street footbridge, Geraldine, the Waihao River at Bradshaws Bridge, and three spots on the Opihi River - at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Sack Shane Jones
    Late last year, NZ First was caught trying to enrich itself from public office, with a dodgy forestry company linked to a number of NZ First figures sticking its hand out repeatedly for government money. Regional Economic Development Minister shane Jones' "explanations" were patently unconvincing, and his recusal from deciding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BIG idea physics
    This morning I’ve been having a quick look through some documentation from The Ministry of Education on proposed changes to NCEA Level 1 Science. For those not familiar with the NZ secondary education system, a typical student would complete NCEA level 1 at the end of year 11.  In this ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • Revolution in New Zealand? Not Even Close!
    No Fires Thanks, We're Kiwis: For the moment, in those close-to-home places where revolutions are born, there may be tetchiness and resentment, frustration and complaint, but nowhere is anybody uttering the cry that will bring a New Zealand revolution into being: “We have found the way to make tomorrow better ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #3
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... 'It's heart-wrenching': 80% of Blue Mountains and 50% of ...
    1 week ago
  • Britain exits the European Union and takes a sharp right turn
    by John Smith  Britain’s exit from the imperialist bloc known as the European Union (EU) is now irreversible. The crushing electoral defeat of the Labour Party has dismayed many workers and youth who had placed their hopes in Jeremy Corbyn, its left-wing leader. This article assesses these historic events, neither of which ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 12, 2020 through Sat, Jan 18, 2020 Editor's Pick The Past and the Future of the Earth’s Oldest Trees Bristlecone pines have survived various catastrophes over the millennia, and they ...
    1 week ago
  • How climate change influenced Australia’s unprecedented fires
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections, and has been adapted into a new myth rebuttal on climate-wildfire connections with the short URL sks.to/wildfires Australia’s frightening bushfires, which kicked off an early fire season in September 2019, have already had cataclysmic effects, and the continent is still just in the early ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Gender Identity Ideology – A Partial Bibliography of Online Coverage
    This great resource has been contributed to Redline by Janie Doebuck. Janie made some notes on the bibliography: 1) It is by no means exhaustive. There are tons more gender critical posts, essays, articles, podcasts, youtube videos, etc. online. 2) There are links in the bibliography that are behind paywalls. There ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • About those biased Oscar Nominations
    There’s been a lot written about the 2020 Oscar Nominations and their apparent lack of diversity. It’s true, there are in fact no women nominated for the Best Director and very few nominees of colour across the board. But is this a result of a biased process or a symptom ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How New Zealand media reports chronic pain
    Hemakumar Devan Around three million New Zealanders access news media (both paper and online) every week. Yes, you heard that right! So, the potential for news media to shape public health beliefs is common sense. As chronic pain affects one in five New Zealanders, we wanted to find out how ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Still Waiting For American Democracy.
    Unfinished Republic: Though the United States' crimes against democracy are legion, most Americans are blissfully unaware of them. The brutal realities of American life: the officially sanctioned violence; the refusal to hold racists accountable for their actions; the seemingly endless tragedy of African-American suffering; of which White America is the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • In Outrage Over Its Bunk Science, Goop Finds Fuel for Growth
    Michael Schulson For years, experts have said that Goop, the wellness and lifestyle brand founded by the actor and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow, markets pseudoscience and overblown cures. And for years, despite the criticism, Goop has just kept growing. Now the company, which was valued at $250 million in 2018, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Tobacco Excise Taxes and the Smokefree 2025 Goal: Some Ways Forward
    Janet Hoek, Richard Edwards, George Thomson, Andrew Waa, Nick Wilson Debate over tobacco tax increases has intensified as research indicates potentially conflicting policy directions. On the one hand, excise tax increases continue to stimulate quit attempts among smokers yet, on the other hand, they may lead to financial hardship for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #2, 2020
    Conflation and how to fix it VIa AMS,  Raul Lejano looks at what in a layperson's thinking would be called conflation— confusion and blending of entirely different topics— when people think about climate change. Ideology and the Narrative of Skepticism  (open access) starts with some arguably frightening false connections between the science and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Cranky Uncle’ smart phone game will show you how to disarm climate deniers
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bud Ward (Image: Courtesy of John Cook) When it comes to climate change, it seems every family has its own version of the proverbial Cranky Uncle. An uncle, cousin, grandparent, in-law, neighbor, whatever. Just think back to the recent holiday season’s large ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Science in the ’20s – part 1
      Outrageous, immoral or downright dangerous. That’s a description of the lifestyle of women “flappers” in the 1920s. Could it apply to science (and scientists) in the 2020s? Actually, you could look back at the past decade and see those, or similar terms, used about some science and scientists. Sometimes ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Postscript: Citizenship Granted.
    I am pleased to say that I have been granted NZ citizenship. I need to do the ceremony for things to be official, but the application was a success. I now join my son as a dual NZ-US citizen. To be fair, very little will change other than the fact ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Music: Morales is coming
    It will be no secret to longtime readers that I, Russell Brown, love the disco.   So I'm pretty excited by the fact that one of the greats of the game is returning this summer – and also pleased to say I have tickets to give away.Legendary mixer and DJ ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The WHO Vaccine Safety Summit – from someone who was actually there
    The conspiracy I saw a new conspiracy theory flying around the other day. According to the conspiracy (that seems to originate from Del Bigtree), the World Health Organization have been ‘caught on camera’ questioning the safety of vaccines. Gosh this sounds as though someone was a mole at a ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • The timely death of the British Labour Party
    Below is an article submitted to Redline by Alec Abbott  At its inception, the British Labour Party was a vehicle for the propagation of racist and imperialist views within the working-class. Such views are still widespread in the party, as they are in Europe’s Social-Democratic parties, though, in the case of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Mystery China pneumonia outbreak likely caused by new human coronavirus
    Connor Bamford, Queen’s University Belfast Since December 2019, there has been a cluster of 59 cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, eastern China. The pneumonia is associated with a previously unidentified coronavirus related to the deadly SARS virus. Seven of those cases are thought to be serious, and one person – ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, koalas are cute – but should we bring them to NZ? Errm, no
    It’s been hard to miss the extreme fires raging across Australia and the tragic plight of the animals – human and otherwise – affected by the fires’ insatiable spread. I know I’ve been captivated and concerned by the tales of how Australia’s famous wildlife has been coping. Koalas approaching cyclists ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s negative campaigning
    Anybody who looked into the Dirty Politics saga knows all too well that honesty is often in short supply within the National Party. You would think that after the exposure the John Key government received over their untruthful attack politics, the National Party would learn from its "mistakes" and leave ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending the government’s charade over water
    For the past decade, the government has been responding to the obvious Treaty issues raised by water allocation with the mantra that "no-one owns water". But last year, the Waitangi Tribunal ruled that actually, Māori owned it, and that those rights had never been extinguished. They recommended that iwi bring ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Northern Ireland joins the civilised world
    Same-sex marriage has finally become legal in Northern Ireland. But not through any decision of the Northern Irish Executive or Assembly, which has only just reformed after a three year walkout by the DUP; instead, Westminster made that decision for them. I've talked before about the constitutional impropriety of this, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • I had an intense conversation at work today.
    Claire Cohen-Norris volunteers with Citizens Climate Lobby as a chapter founder and leader in rural New York. Her climate advocacy sprung from her drive to provide a secure, joyful and fulfilling life for her two wonderful children. It has become a life’s mission, shared with her like-minded husband and partner. Claire ...
    2 weeks ago
  • French transport workers take on Macron over pension reform
    by John Edmundson Starting on December 5th, 2019 workers in the Parisian rail network commenced an open-ended strike in opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed changes to their pension scheme. Rail workers in the Metro Underground have, for decades, had retirement conditions that compensate them for the low wages, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • What a difference the decimal point makes
    I’m back at work following a nearly three-week break over Christmas. We were fortunate to be offered a house to stay in for a week over Christmas, which enabled us to have a holiday in Dunedin and see the extended family reasonably cheaply. But the house came with a catch:  ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Who’s Going To Stop Him?
    Blank And Pitiless: Having ordered the assassination of the Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani, President Donald Trump promised to reduce the cultural monuments of Iran’s 3,000 year-old civilisation to rubble if a revenge attack was mounted. A breach of international law? Certainly. A war crime? Indisputably. Who’s going to stop him? Nobody.WHAT ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A worker’s story
    This interview is from Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) and is the first of an ongoing series of interviews they plan to do with workers from various sectors who are having their well being and livelihoods damaged. They begin with an educator in Southland. Due to the attitude and actions ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 5, 2020 through Sat, Jan 11, 2020 Editor's Pick Debunked Australian Bushfire Conspiracy Theories Were Pushed by Alex Jones, Murdoch Media   As unusually intense and widespread bushfires have ...
    2 weeks ago
  • J.K. Rowling, the Seattle Library, and the Issue That Must Not Be Named
    This article was submitted to Redline by Seattle-based activist Lucinda Stoan J.K. Rowling recognizes repression when she sees it.  That’s why the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter books recently tweeted in defense of Maya Forstater. Forstater lost her job for stating that sex is real and immutable. A judge ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 weeks ago
  • Rules of Empire: Laws simply do not apply and “National Security” excuses all else.
    Empires rise and fall, and the American Empire is absolutely no different. But while an Empire, in order to further the footprint, it seems to pay to do one primary thing above all else: project that everything – everything – is “simply for the good of the world” at large, ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    3 weeks ago
  • Indian lessons for NZ workers – the January 8 general strike
                    by Phil Duncan On Wednesday (January 8) another massive general strike took place in India.  Some 250 million industrial workers, white-collar workers, agricultural labourers struck against the government’s economic policies and attacks on the Muslim population through new proposed citizenship rules. This ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The action that counts
    Over on Newsroom, Professor Jacqueline Beggs writes about the action she is taking on climate change. Its the usual list: reduce meat, don't fly, consume less. I'm doing some of this myself, and none of it hurts - but the way our economic system is constructed means the impact of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 weeks ago
  • Fossil fuel political giving outdistances renewables 13 to one
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk Corporations, special interest groups, and individuals inject billions of dollars into the American political system every year. Much of the financial support in politics is concealed from public view, as some rules – and loopholes – allow “dark money” and ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Animal response to a bushfire is astounding. These are the tricks they use to survive
    Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide? The answer is adaptation and old-fashioned ingenuity. Australia’s bushfire season is far from ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago

  • FAQ – Everything you need to know about the Big New Zealand Upgrade
    Today, our Government announced the biggest infrastructure investment in a generation. We’re investing $12 billion to upgrade and build rail, roads, schools and hospitals across the country – modernising our infrastructure, preparing for climate change and helping to future-proof our economy. Find out everything you need to know about the ...
    29 mins ago
  • Week That Was: 2020
    We are back for 2020! From changes to Family Funded Care, to a record high number of Kiwis in construction in the trades - we're already back making progress on those long-term challenges. Read all about it and more ...
    5 days ago
  • Winston Peters: “Ihumātao deal still a long way off”
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told Mike Hosking that a settlement deal regarding Ihumātao in Auckland is still a long way off. The Maori King's flag was lowered at the site near Auckland Airport yesterday, sparking suggestions an announcement of a deal could be made by Waitangi Day. Pania Newton, ...
    6 days ago
  • Winston Peters accuses Gerry Brownlee of ‘politicising’ Holocaust memorial
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is accusing Gerry Brownlee of "politicising" a Holocaust memorial event after the National MP questioned the lack of Kiwi representation there. The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem, Israel, is holding the World Holocaust Forum on January 23 to mark 75 years since ...
    6 days ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to help Waipukurau Pā sites attract thousands of tourists
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna - Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project is receiving $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. It is is expected to boost the town's employment and tourism, creating sixteen new jobs once completed and attract up to 15,000 visitors a year. Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development ...
    1 week ago
  • “Common sense will prevail, not extremism” Winston Peters backs Shane Jones’ pro-meat stance
    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing his MPs who have spoken out against a new climate change teaching resource that advises students to eat less meat to save the planet. The new teaching resource, announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Climate Change Minister James Shaw, tells students ...
    1 week ago
  • Violent assault on paramedic highlights need for law change
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Justice Today’s horrific violent assault of an on-duty female paramedic which rendered her unconscious is truly unsettling. “Our thoughts are with the paramedic, her loved ones and the St John’s team at Warkworth Station,” says New Zealand First Justice Spokesperson Darroch Ball. “Harsher penalties for perpetrators ...
    1 week ago
  • Acting PM Winston Peters confirms NZDF troops in Iraq not hit by Iranian attacks
    Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters called for calm and diplomacy following Iranian missile strikes on bases housing United States troops in Iraq, but confirmed New Zealand's base in the country was not hit. The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) was earlier today investigating claims New Zealand's base in Iraq had ...
    1 week ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Delivering a stable water supply to Wairarapa
    Hon. Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in Wairarapa The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $7.11 million to create a sustainable water supply for the Wairarapa. The PGF will provide a $7 million investment to Wairarapa Water Limited to progress the Wairarapa Water Storage Scheme towards procurement, consenting, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing consents hit highest level since 1974
    Housing consents have hit a 45-year high, as Statistics NZ data shows a total of 37,010 residential consents were issued in the year to November --- the first time they have breached the 37,000 mark since the mid-1970s. Statistics NZ said the trend had been rising since late 2011, when ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Darroch Ball MP: “Violence against first responders is a problem on the rise”
    New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball says that a paramedic being kicked unconscious last night in an attempted burglary in Warkworth, north of Auckland, is a symptom of a larger problem. "Incidents like this are becoming more and more frequent...and it’s getting worse," Mr Ball said. The MP is pushing for ...
    2 weeks ago

  • The New Zealand Upgrade Programme
    Rail, roads, schools and hospitals will be built and upgraded across the country under the new $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The programme: Includes investments in roads, rail, hospitals and schools to future-proof the economy Will give a $10 billion boost to New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • School infrastructure upgrades ramping up
    The New Zealand Upgrade Programme is already underway, with schools busy getting building work started over the Christmas break. The Coalition Government announced just before the end of last year $400 million in new funding for most state schools to invest locally in building companies and tradies to fix leaking ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Flicking the switch on a clean powered public service
    Our Government’s programme to upgrade infrastructure and modernise the economy will help more communities to be part of the solution to climate change through a clean-powered public service. Minister for Climate Change James Shaw today announced the first group of projects from the New Zealand Upgrade Programme’s clean powered public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Government of Infrastructure delivers for New Zealanders
    Infrastructure and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says today’s capital investment announcements show the Coalition Government is the Government of Infrastructure. $7 billion in projects have been announced today as part of the Government’s $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme, which will see capital spending at its highest rate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Boost for child, maternity and mental health
    $300 million dollar capital investment in health, divided among four focus areas: Child and maternal health - $83 million Mental health and addiction - $96 million Regional and rural service projects – $26 million Upgrading and fixing aging hospital facilities - $75 million Contingency of $20 million The New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Transport infrastructure upgrades to get NZ moving and prepared for the future
    $6.8 billion for transport infrastructure in out six main growth areas - Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Canterbury and Queenstown. $1.1 billion for rail. $2.2 billion for new roads in Auckland. The Government’s programme of new investments in roads and rail will help future proof the economy, get our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Growing and modernising the NZ economy
    A new programme to build and upgrade roads, rail, schools and hospitals will prepare the New Zealand economy for the future, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. “The $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme uses our capacity to boost growth by making targeted investments around the country, supporting businesses and local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Future proofing New Zealand’s rail
    Minister for State Owned Enterprises Winston Peters says the funding of four major rail projects under the New Zealand Upgrade Programme is yet another step in the right direction for New Zealand’s long-term rail infrastructure. “This Government has a bold vision for rail. We said we would address the appalling ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Delivering infrastructure for a modern NZ
    Roads, rail, schools and hospitals will be built and upgraded across the country under the $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme announced today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in New Zealand – modernising our infrastructure, preparing for climate change and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • $1.55m support for Hawke’s Bay three waters services review
    The Government is pleased to announce a $1.55 million funding contribution to assist Hawke’s Bay investigate voluntary changes to the region’s three waters service delivery arrangements. “Over the last 18 months, the five Hawke’s Bay councils have been collaborating to identify opportunities for greater coordination in three waters service delivery across ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Minister welcomes report of nation’s household plastic rubbish, recycling practices
    A new report on New Zealand’s plastic rubbish and recycling practices is being welcomed by the Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage.  “The report by WasteMINZ provides a valuable insight into what’s ending up in household rubbish and recycling bins around the country. It highlights the value of much ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Government considers retirement income policy review recommendations
    The Government is now considering the recommendations of the Retirement Commissioner’s review into New Zealand’s retirement income policies. “The review raises a number of important issues in relation to New Zealanders’ wellbeing and financial independence in retirement, particularly for vulnerable people,” the Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Kris Faafoi, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • PM announces election date as September 19
    The 2020 General Election will be held on Saturday 19 September, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “I will be asking New Zealanders to continue to support my leadership and the current direction of the Government, which is grounded in stability, a strong economy and progress on the long term ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund supports Waikato youth into constructionProvincial Growth Fund supports Waika...
    Two projects focussed on supporting Waikato youth into the construction industry have been given combined funding of just over $1 million from the Te Ara Mahi allocation of the Provincial Growth Fund, Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.  The two Te Ara Mahi PGF projects announced are: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund supports Waikato youth into construction
    Two projects focussed on supporting Waikato youth into the construction industry have been given combined funding of just over $1 million from the Te Ara Mahi allocation of the Provincial Growth Fund, Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.  The two Te Ara Mahi PGF projects announced are: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand to support Pacific Public Sector Hub
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced New Zealand’s support for a Pacific-led hub that will strengthen public services across the region. “Strengthening public services is a core focus of New Zealand’s Pacific Reset, as efforts to improve democratic governance in the Pacific contributes to a strong, stable and more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister pays tribute to journalist, author and broadcaster, Gordon McLauchlan
    The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, has paid tribute to well-known New Zealand author, journalist and broadcaster, Gordon McLauchlan, following Mr McLauchlan’s death today. “Gordon held a statesman-like place in New Zealand’s media, which was fittingly acknowledged in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, when he was ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister wishes best of luck to those heading back to school
    As Kiwi kids and teachers return to classrooms over the coming weeks, the families of around 428,000 students will feel a bit less of a financial pinch than in previous years, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The Government’s decision to increase funding for schools that don’t ask parents for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health staff to meet flights from China as precautionary measure
    Public health staff will begin meeting flights from China from tomorrow, to actively look for signs of the novel coronavirus and provide advice, information and reassurance to passengers. Health Minister Dr David Clark says the additional measures are being taken following the arrival of the disease in Australia, via flights ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • National Yearling Sales 2020
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government and construction industry to build big, lift productivity with Transformation Plan
    Delivering the workforce and productivity gains required to build the houses, schools, roads, rail and hospitals New Zealand needs will become easier with the Government-industry Construction Sector Transformation Plan launched today, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. “The action plan launched today delivers on the Government’s Construction Sector ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Log trains to begin on Wairoa-Napier line
    Log trains are about to start running between Wairoa and Napier following Provincial Growth Fund investment to reopen the rail line, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The Government invested $6.2 million to reopen the mothballed rail line which was closed after significant storm damage in 2012. “With PGF ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister of Defence concludes successful visit with his US counterpart
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark met with United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper today. “This was an excellent opportunity to meet with one of our closest security partners,” Ron Mark said. “The main focus of the meeting was to discuss challenges that New Zealand and the United States share ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand acknowledges ICJ decision on Myanmar
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today acknowledged the ruling of the International Court of Justice in relation to the Rohingya people in Myanmar. The ruling ordered the Government of Myanmar to take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of acts of genocide in relation to members of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ’s trade aims advanced at Davos meetings
    A proposal to cut “trade and production-distorting subsidies” in the agricultural sector by 2030 has set out important measures to ensure a fair agricultural trading system.  Speaking after attending meetings of trade ministers in Davos, Switzerland, Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker welcomed the joint proposal from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Great news for New Zealanders with cystic fibrosis
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says he is delighted that PHARMAC has struck a provisional deal to fund Kalydeco – a medicine which is set to improve the quality of life for about 30 New Zealand children and adults with cystic fibrosis. “While rare, cystic fibrosis is an awful inherited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • New Zealand least corrupt country in the world
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