Farrar: Ironically being political and shallow

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, September 4th, 2011 - 66 comments
Categories: assets, business, dpf, privatisation, spin - Tags:

Been reading David Farrar’s column in the Herald yesterday “Asset sales – what’s the political cost?“. I’d say that his opinion is exactly what I’d expect from someone who spends their time at the political trough theorizing about business rather than doing it. Rather than look at the potential costs to the businesses and therefore downstream for the country he prefers just to look at politics.

Sadly this focus on the politics is kind of excusable in his case – he doesn’t know any better. As far as I can see, Davids experience has never been to operate a business operating fully in the private sector. He has been a staffer around parliament followed by running a polling company (whose major business appears to be the private polling for the National party) and political blogger and now seems to be morphing into the voice of National in the media.

Outside of the political blogging my working life provides quite a different viewpoint. I have been worked in private industry in NZ throughout my working life. Over the last few decades this has been for tech companies exporting offshore. I’ve helped form and grow several companies. I even went back to university to pick up a MBA to give myself better tools for the task of being better at business.

But the difference between David’s theoretical approach and mine can best be summed up in his spin..

With $220 billion of existing assets, the proposed sales by National represent around 2% of the Government’s total assets. It’s hardly a closing down sale.

Indeed. However that completely misses the point about why the government built and holds those types of assets.

The government origionally built these strategic assets because private industry wouldn’t put in the required capital and they were natural monopolies providing services to other companies and individuals. As a country we had to have them to grow. With its ability to raise capital cheaply and a set of objectives that operate over a longer term than profits during the next managerial tenure, the government was in a position to build strategic services.

Why were they strategic? Lets emphasize that again. Other businesses required the services provided to be able to build their businesses. Without the underpinning of reliable services businesses would spend much of their time in crisis mode dealing with outages in services rather than focusing on their own operations, markets and customers.

Take an example of the electricity supply for Auckland businesses. In 1998, I was in the Auckland CBD when we had 5 weeks of rolling power blackouts.

Queen Street was almost deserted for the first few days, as few businesses could operate. Some brought goods out onto the street to sell, but heavy rain in the first week made that impractical. Generators were brought in from around the country to power essential services and some businesses. These made Queen Street a very noisy place and thus deterred customers. Some businesses estimated that the outage cost them at least NZ$60,000 per week.

Now this type of outage isn’t an uncommon in some countries that I have visited. The cause was an organisation that had simply let their  maintenance and capacity growth slip. This is the common theme through the power outages in Auckland in 1998, 2006, and 2009 from one part of the electrical supply system of another.

In each of these, I have been one of the dozens of people standing around drawing wages and costing the company I was working for. I often have been the person worrying about being unable to do business, finding out how robust our organisations infrastructure is and keeping an eye on the deadlines. Needless to say, those business affected are unable to recover their losses directly from the power company. And those costs are enormous across the areas affected.

Sure it is nice for a business if it can get its basic services provided at a lower cost – not that has been a notable feature of privatization. But the costs in not having reliable services are almost invariably far higher than the potential savings. It simply doesn’t matter to me in a business if I have dozens of possible providers of retail services saving a few dollars a week when a single failure in their suppliers can waste all of the other costs for a day or weeks. This is the case if I am powering the company, sending/receiving offshore data over our limited cable infrastructure, getting critical parts or sending product/people through Auckland’s sole international airport, or looking at the air-freight capacity.

People in other markets will be interested in different services, but when thinking strategically will be more concerned with reliability of the services that they depend on than David’s interest in political costs.

David (and for that matter Bill English) do not seem to get this. They concentrate on irrelevant spin that carefully misses all of the crucial factors that businesses worry about. For instance David says…

It is literally impossible for a foreign company to take control. In fact it will be impossible for a foreign company to have a share-holding in excess of 10 per cent.

Perhaps David should look at where the effective control lies in most listed companies. It is frequently exerted by minority shareholders because many investors are as passive as Bill English seems to think that the government should be. Generally companies and investors in other companies form formal or informal working alliances with others to achieve their common objectives. Quite simply this is a rather pathetic meaningless political figleaf.

David’s ‘economic’ factors are kind of hilarious in their narrow political and non-strategic focus.

Not every private company is better performing than every public company. But overall, the evidence is that private ownership does lead to better performing companies. This is of course a key difference in ideology between the left and the right.

Of course the question that David very carefully leaves out is for whom to those private companies perform better for? Their shareholders or for the country as a whole?

We’re now decades into the political privatization of strategic assets. But what is clear is that shifting the number of retailers in the electricity sector doesn’t provide the security of supply that other businesses want in this country. We are running so close to the boundaries of the supply vs demand that an earthquake in the wrong place could give us the power shortages that currently afflict Japan. The history of privatizing telecommunications is replete with examples of price gouging by natural monopolies with minimal and slow upgrades in capacities. We have the example of NZ Rail where private owners stripped profit by allowing the strategic infrastructure required by many businesses to deteriorate.

This is why kiwis and especially kiwi businesses are skeptical about privatization of utilities. It seems to largely benefit the shareholders more than the country. Perhaps if we put a considerable duty and cost on the shareholders for not providing reliable services? But that really seems to defeat the rationale for privatizing in the first place if you have to regulate them so tightly. Not to mention it will probably be about as effectively enforceable as National’s figleaf ownership caps (which probably violate a number of our free trade obligations).

A strong secondary reason is the desire to give New Zealanders some more reliable investment options than finance companies.

Which really begs the question about why NZ companies do not list on the NZ stock exchange? And why many investors including myself avoid it. Despite the amounts of money invested around NZ, only a minuscule fraction is available from the stock exchange.

The investment climate in NZ is completely biased towards investing directly into property privately where there is no tax on capital gains. Much of the investment money in the stock market prior to the crash went into finance companies was because they were about the only stocks with more attractive rates of return than speculating on house prices. To achieve those returns they were clearly running their businesses with unacceptable and concealed risk levels.

How is having a few low return utility companies bulking out the stock exchange going to magically change that? The structural problem at the heart of investment in NZ needs to be addressed and this type of pallidness is simply political fluff that governments do when they don’t wish to face the hard and important issues.

A tertiary factor or reason is lowering the amount the Government will need to borrow. The total amount reduced is not huge, but it does send a signal to rating agencies that the Government is serious about keeping gross debt from exceeding a certain level.

He is right about how little it will raise. He is wrong about how rating agencies will read it. Rating agencies look at the longer term rather than the short term. They can read a balance sheet. The reason why these assets are highly salable is because they are profitable. The government currently demands a very high dividend from many of the organizations and the loss of part of that dividend will affect their ongoing fiscal position far more badly than keeping them. Not to mention that it isn’t that likely that the other shareholders will be as interested as the government is in high dividend payments. The loss of revenue to the crown is what the rating agencies are more likely will look at, because over time it increases the risk of lending to the government.

In short, the current round of privatization proposals by National and their mouthpiece has been notable for not making a case for doing it on any basis that would quell the alarm that many businesses will feel. Rather they appear to be more interested in laying political spin with their reasons concealing a bad case of ideological stupidity

66 comments on “Farrar: Ironically being political and shallow”

  1. crashcart 1

    I read his Party Political Ad in the Herald yesterday and wondered why it didn’t have a authorised by statement at the end. It was so one sided and politically biased the stupid reference to his National links didn’t caver it in my opinion.

    What was good to see was how few people in the comments section bought his spin. They really tore in to him.

  2. Rijab 2

    How can our mainstream media let such poorly constructed & blatant propaganda be given such a platform?

    David may be an intelligent and able commentator at times, but he is being downright disingenuous with this asset sales vomit. Well done LPrent for a sound retort. If David reads this he’ll be doing so with a red face, as I’m sure he already has from reading the comments on his nzherald article.

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    You left out the bit where his weekly columns are probably ghost written by Bill English or his tax payer funded staff.

  4. fabregas4 4

    It was great to see how many readers saw this tripe for what it is. Assets sales are the game changer come November.

  5. logie97 5

    Did you have to include his photo with this article. Ahhhhhhhhhhh …….?

    • lprent 5.1

      Well in my posts I try to leave at least one good feature of whomever I am roasting at the time*. That was his. 😈

      * you ever notice how I have to be annoyed at someone before I write a post?

    • HC 5.2

      logie97 – This photo of David does not get out of my mind now. Since you mentioned this, I have seen some old documentaries, reports and photos of some of the leaders, key persons and supporters of that party that ruled Germany and later Austria and large parts of Europe between 1933 and 1945.

      The face on the photo above strongly resembles the face and features of a person belonging to that party. All that is missing is a military hat, a uniform and certain emblems symbolising the membership to that party.

      It may sound offensive, but this is real. I am reminded of such a personality, who strongly resembles the person in the photo above. Is this a co-incidence, or can conclusions be drawn from features being very similar- also meaning that mentality, conviction and psyche must be very similar?

      Just a thought in passing.

  6. RedLogix 6

    I’ve long argued that the crucial test of privatisation can be determined from this simple question, “What would happen if it failed?”.

    Now that failure can be technical or commercial, it doesn’t really matter which… but if the answer is that the government would be politically compelled for whatever reason to bail the entity out… then it should never have been privatised in the first place.

  7. Good comment lprent.
     
    The debate about privatisation drives me to distraction.  It is only going to be partial and the Government will retain a majority stake the right continusly chant.
     
    Associated with this is the “protection” that a single foreign entity will own no more than 10% of the chare holding.
     
    This all ignores the basic problem that when you corportise and list a crown entity you change it irrevocably.
     
    For instance once you hand governance over to a board of directors they are obliged to have the dollar signs in the middle of their sights when they make decisions.  If burning coal is better than developing geothermal then so be it.
     
    A classic example of the problem occurred with Air New Zealand a few years ago when the announced the shut down of the Christchurch Maintenance base.  The EPMU lobbied Cullen as owner of 83% of the shares to reverse the decision.  His response was that he could not interfere because of the minority shareholding.
     
    The tories know this but continue with the spin or lies (however you are feeling) that fundamental change will not occur.  It is guaranteed to occur.  NZ don’t go there …

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      The minority shareholding will allow a full takeover.
      Thats the real idea behind privatising by stealth.
      After the election we will hear that ‘there are too many power companies’ .
      Then Contact will push to takeover one of the newly listed companies with a starting point of 10%, they will line up say 2 others who magically have 10% each- this gives 30% as the prelude for a full takeover.
      English and Key will say their hands are tied because of the benefit for the 49% private owners- voila the lot is gone before you can say – I told you so

  8. ropata 8

    Farrar is astute to focus only on public perceptions and his party’s image.
    John KY is the pied piper leading voters to fairyland on trail of pixie dust.

    How boring of Labour to talk about reality and the social & fiscal impact of destroying our asset base!

    “Asset Sales: What’s the political cost?”
    DPF never asks what is the long term cost to NZ businesses, government revenues, or private citizens

  9. randal 9

    National is supposed to be the party of business but Farrar and the party have never created one business since the election. All they have done is leeched off the real producers and hidden their depredations behind a wall of poisonous vacuous nonsense.
    And the fact is that they couldn’t run a business if they tried.

    • Bob Stanforth 9.1

      Why would a political party create a business? Why would we want them to?

      And just as there are successful business people in National, there are in the other parties as well.

      Or was your comment just a meaningless spiteful rant?

      • joe90 9.1.1

        Why would a political party create a business?

        Why bother even creating businesses when you can steal them off the taxpayers who created them.

        * In December 1986, all of the top 10 companies originated in the private sector and had a total sharemarket value of $20,712 million.

        * Thirteen years later seven of the 10 companies started in the private sector and had a market value of $13,044 million.

        * Today, only four of the top 10 have a private sector background and their sharemarket capitalisation is just $10,866 million.

        Where have New Zealand’s private sector entrepreneurs disappeared to?

        • pollywog 9.1.1.1

          Where have New Zealand’s private sector entrepreneurs disappeared to?

          …they all became slumlords and live overseas for 9 months of the year.

          • Bob Stanforth 9.1.1.1.1

            Actually, I think you’d be surprised that that isnt the truth. I sold my IT consulting business a while back. Ive since started two more companies, both profitable, one web based, the other niche consulting, the latter that Im about to sell.

            The web based one I will sell probably within 10 years. Most of the people I work with and for are self employed, building businesses here in NZ. One of my friends just sold his to an American company for a significant sum of money.

            The vast majority of employed NZ’ers work for small companies, privately held organisations, some like mine. And thats part of the reason why sharemarket valuations to me are meaningless – the role of large organisations is changing, which is seeing the rise of small fast moving niche players.

            I will be 50 in a few years, and will work part time on and in my businesses for a few years yet. Its fun, and I love the people I employ and work with. And everywhere I look I see more of that happening. The rise of NZ’s small company continues.

      • ropata 9.1.2

        I seem to recall a recent post on this site where the author looked at the backgound of the MPs, and Labour clearly had the majority of self-employed or small business owners. NACToids are pinstriped corporate ladder climbers not business creators.

        • Bored 9.1.2.1

          Very prescient comment, the bit which really fekks me off about corporate business types is that they would not know business if they tripped over it: most are private sector beaurocrats pretending to be “capitalists”. The vast majority are merely wage slaves, going by the Marxist definition of relationship to production they are not even petit bourgeois…mere non owning functionaries..(lick spittle running dog roaders to use Maoist Chinese lingo).

          Labour needs to reconnect to the working man, a huge proportion of whom are self employed working for rates that the corporates will pressure mercilessly as the focus goes onto costs.

        • mik e 9.1.2.2

          More theocrates reformed school teachers failed farmers leaders nut jobs that kill the jobs

      • Ianupnorth 9.1.3

        Bob, I commend you for being the only right sided person to actually comment; whenever there is a post that is critical, truthful and presents an accurate reality, those on the right are nowhere to be seen – you mate, broke this tradition, so kudos where it is due.
         
        It still remains that it is stupid to sell off profitable companies, thus removing the profits from treasury.

        • Bob Stanforth 9.1.3.1

          Thanks Ian – I dont believe in mindless support of anything, even my kids 🙂

          Im not sold on the asset programme, but Im holding judgement until I see what rules will be in place around ownership and transferability of that. It makes sense to me to sell a minority stakeholding off to NZ investors, especially KS investors, as our market is tiny. But lets keep as much of it here in our hands as possible. And lets have a reasoned and reasonable debate about it, not descend immediately in to name calling because someone doesnt toe the company line. None of this directed at you BTW.

          But again, thanks, and likewise 🙂

          • mik e 9.1.3.1.1

            Bob Stanforth would you sell your best performing assets or shares . You wouldn’t unless you were bankrupt. This govt isn’t quite bankrupt yet but if we selling of our cash generating assets like the power companies we will be bankrupt and we will have to sell the rest of if we have another crisis it will happen. The returns from these high performing assets will help pay down this debt in eight years . These mates of yours in the National party won’t be around in{8years] parliament to take the blame for such a stupid mistake tell them that.The 4 pwer companies +solid energy have had increases in profit up to 50% this year its dumb dumb and dumber to sell these assets .if you say you are good at business you would see plain sense and stand for whats right.And not bob duck and weave like yopu political masters.

      • lprent 9.1.4

        Umm I retract part of this. I see Bob’s response was to randal and not me… The joys of replying whilst moderating is you don’t see context.

        Umm Bob, did you read the post? What I said was that the government created these companies originally for a specific reason. They were needed to support other businesses and no-one was willing front up with the capital to put them into place.

        But you do appear to be profoundly ignorant about the business history of this country. Perhaps you should look at the origins of the largest companies actually listed on our exchange. You will find that most of them started as government created organisations (telecom and all the power companies for instance) or were set up after a government prototype/study (NZ Steel comes to mind) or developed their size with the tacit semi-monopolistic support of the government (Fletchers comes to mind).

        What does get set up by private enterprise in NZ are the smaller companies like the ones I work in. Starved of investment capital we usually wind up selling equity off directly to overseas buyers because the local exchange cannot fund anything apart from a asset strip on a privatized government property. Now does that sound like a dynamic free market to you?

        There are a number of business people in National. However apart from farmers there are very few people in National who have ever even worked in a export based industry. It has always been notable to me that most of the business experience in National have been suppliers to the local retail markets or parasitic asset strippers. Exporters live in the free market competing worldwide. We know exactly what free markets look like because we deal with them all of the time. The businesses that National seems to want to support are not what what I’d call particularly free market.

        • Bob Stanforth 9.1.4.1

          Sometimes, just sometimes its not about you Lyn. Keep your insults to yourself you arse – I wasnt commenting about your post, it was a very good and reasoned post, BTW. I was commenting about the mindless spit laden rant. Even a newbie web twat could see that.

          Feel free to throw observations into your comments, but dont expect me to agree with them – they arent factual, just as mine arent. But dont bother with the insults just because I dont start with a slavish approval of your post. Try debate, not insult, and you will get reasoned and considered debate back.

          • ropata 9.1.4.1.1

            I agree that your comments aren’t factual Bob, if anything you’re the one losing the plot and throwing insults about. Is it your business model to build up a small company then flog it to a foreign corporation?

            One of my old mates from engineering school has a small company making a certain device and has had $$$ multi million buyout offers from Aussie but he prefers to keep the jobs and skills local.

            My father spent 40 years building up his smallish company in south Auckland employing 30-40 guys then when he retired the other directors sold out to a big firm who ended up shutting the place down.

            This story has been repeated large and small across NZ for decades, no wonder we are in the crapper

            • Bob Stanforth 9.1.4.1.1.1

              Actually, you couldn’t be further from the truth, yet again showing that when you make an assumption, you stick your head up your arse. 🙂

              My IT consulting firm was sold to the people I employed, and I still own a 30% share in their success. The company grew from 10 to now 25.

              The insult was directed at Lyn, who had decided to take an ill-conceived thrust at me, and ended up making himself look like an idiot. You started the queue by the looks of it.

              So, try this, will use simple words. Hows about debate instead of assumption driven stupidity? Go on, try it. 🙂

              • ropata

                I was debating, you had earlier claimed that “the rise of NZ’s small company continues”, which I think is true only for a minority, but in other significant sectors of the economy the decline is dramatic.

                Decline and fall of Kiwi private enterprise

                • Bob Stanforth

                  And nothing you stated or quoted applies to small companies, even slightly.

                  • ropata

                    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/business/5161079

                    Receiverships this year are more than 200% up on five years ago, and the total number of business failures have yet to taper off …

                    NZ Shareholders Association chairman Bruce Sheppard : “it’s pretty bloody ugly out there” …

                    Business NZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly : “A lot of the companies that were marginal after the financial crisis have gone and we’re now talking about the survivors. But we’ve still got a weak internal economy, so we are seeing even some of the strongest cashflow businesses struggling.”

                  • ropata

                    Sometimes it’s hard to get the facts from underneath all the good-news government spin, there’s usually a couple of upbeat pro-National articles per day in the business pages, but remember who owns our major news outlets

  10. alex 10

    Stunning post, articulate, detailed, clear and accurate. Exactly what the National Party’s asset sales spin isn’t.

  11. prism 11

    @ropata – I think you might have a valuable familiar image with the idea that Jokey Hen is a pied piper leading the innocent to oblivion. Without saying so there is the recall that he was a ratcatcher who stole the citizens’ taonga from them. That piedpiper term could be used as a constant up to November and be effective. Who needs Crosby-Textor when there are you and me!

    • ropata 11.1

      Thanks, the Pied Piper story seems apt, especially the part where the future of a community is taken away.
      Marketing isn’t a strong point of mine, I can’t stomach the illusory world of crosby textor marketing shite.

      (I’m an IT analyst in my day job and have to deal with marketing types on occasion, they are all about glamour and image and positive thinking, whereas I am pretty much the opposite, I have to measure *actual* outcomes and be a bit paranoid)

  12. prism 12

    @lprent – Very well stated blog. No doubt about it having one’s own money and efforts put at risk in a business or personal project definitely gets the antenna twisting and sharpens the coping techniques.

  13. Dude’s pissing in the wind. Ain’t NO WAY middle to lower NZ is gonna go for asset sales.

    On a side note, it’s not racist, but what do you call it when you have a dislike of short, pudgy, right wing bald guys with glasses ?

    I bet Farrar wears ill fitting suits, doesn’t tie his laces and has small hands as well…ewwwwww 🙂

    • felix 13.1

      “On a side note, it’s not racist, but what do you call it when you have a dislike of short, pudgy, right wing bald guys with glasses ?”

      I believe the term you’re looking for is “sentient”.

    • vto 13.3

      Simple mr polly. It is called racism by another name.

      And it is just as bad. Shame.

      • prism 13.3.1

        @vto You’re so pure and good.

      • felix 13.3.2

        Short, pudgy, right wing bald guys with glasses are a “race” now v?

        Jeez.

        • Deadly_NZ 13.3.2.1

          In his case I’d call him the Poison Dwarf…

        • vto 13.3.2.2

          messers felix and prism, on further deliberation and consideration you’re right. Let’s get ’em!

          Stupid useless fuckers that they are. Bloody no good, always getting thrown in jail and arrested. I blame it on the red-headed colonists, they just let people get away with everything … and they bloody steal everything. Just see what lprent says in this very post. He’s onto it. bloody looters the lot of ’em. Yeah, I’m voting Winston.

          • prism 13.3.2.2.1

            @vto – Vote for Winston seems a good idea for you. He gets all heated about matters too but delivers his lines with less swear words and he has so much aplomb and generally adds some style to the rest of the scrum in parliament. I hope he gets enough votes to put in an appearance.

          • marty mars 13.3.2.2.2

            I don’t agree with your incitement to get “short, pudgy, right wing bald guys with glasses” – to get everyone all worked up may cause riots and frankly, they are not ‘bloody no good’ or ‘always getting thrown in jail and arrested’ – I would imagine they are underrepresented in those institutions. Please give even further deliberation and consideration vto. 🙂

          • ropata 13.3.2.2.3

            Incidentally the middle aged whilte male in a position of trust seems to be the leading demographic for white collar crime, so vto’s sarcastic comments about looting and getting away had an accidental element of truth.

      • ropata 13.3.3

        Are Munchkins a separate race now? 🙂

  14. HC 14

    Indeed I have started to enjoy David Fartars weekly Herald pieces, because they are often so easy to dissect and expose. Also looking at the response views they are mostly very negative about him and his views. He hardly ever delivers reliable facts, distracts from the truth and tries to be an expert at misinforming people to achieve re-enforcing negative bias towards the left and more centrist positions others hold.

    And you are right. A person like him does not display much real life business or other expertise.

    A wannabe Spinmeister who tries to make this his career.

    • tc 14.1

      In a real unbiased paper, there would be a matching article by someone from the other side of the political spectrum for readers to compare whereas our only daily national paper continues to provide a NACT soapbox….comments are one thing but full and fair debate….not in granny herald.

      The absence of the usual sideshow John fan club members on this post comes as no surprise…nailed lprent, also the cost to the eventual users with generators adding profit to satisfy greedy minority shareholders cascading through the grid operator, then the lines businesses and finally the retailers, each having a higher input cost plus their margin to shareholders.

      Probably making a buck at the generator end become 2-3 bucks when the consumer eventually cops the ticket clipping at each layer.

      • Anne 14.1.1

        In a real unbiased paper, there would be a matching article by someone from the other side of the political spectrum for readers to compare

        Yes, and the obvious choice would be Gordon Campbell from Scoop. The trouble is, Campbell’s intelligent, rational and well informed commentary would show up Farrar for the half-baked Nat Party hack that he is.

    • Deadly_NZ 14.2

      I prefer to read the comments he always seems to get slammed in them.

  15. Tangled up in blue 15

    Farrar is a good example of why people should support policy on a case by case issue rather than being partisan. He’s invested so much of his life into bagging Labour, that even when it’s clearly evident that Labour’s policy around asset sales is more beneficial for New Zealanders; he is forced to suppress the miniscule amount of political impartiality he had and advocate a position he knows very well will only benefit private shareholders.

    Shame on his dishonesty.

  16. randal 16

    why should a government create ‘new business’?
    well bob stanforth that was nationals political plank, their manifesto if you will.
    and their stuffed little popinjay hootin said they would create 170,000 jobs.
    so if they are not there mto create new business what are they there for?
    or is that mean and spiteful in your book.
    is asking for the truth too hard for you?

  17. randal 17

    oh and if they are not there to create new business then why are they selling old businesses that belong to the people and not to them?
    or does that truth hurt too?

  18. logie97 18

    The NACT meme has always been that government should not be in business – that private runs things better than government. So what is the advantage of selling only 49 pcnt into private hands? Is it just for a guaranteed income for investors with no risk, and a chance to recoup losses for those who have got burnt by so many failed private sector run industries/institutions.

  19. MikeG 19

    Farrar has also avoided any mention of the revenue that the assets generate – my guess (and I’m too lazy to do the research) is that the assets they are selling provide a reasonable percentage of the non-tax revenue that the Government gets.

    The Govt may only be selling selling 2% of the total assets, but what % is that of the revenue generating assets, i.e. excluding schools, hospitals, roads… ?

  20. jingyang 20

    Lprent, You may a very good case using many rational, strategic, business and financial arguments against Farrar’s political arguments, however, since it is clear that the Nats’ reasons for selling are entirely political (ie; to please their backers) then you are really pissing up against a wall in terms of changing the government’s mind.
    Where this post IS effective is that it helps to make the debate political as readers start looking closely at what the Nats are really up to. Hopefully by November the political cost of the privisation policy will to be too much for the Nats to bear.

  21. Tangled up in blue 21

    Dude’s pissing in the wind. Ain’t NO WAY middle to lower NZ is gonna go for asset sales.

    It’s seems that a lot of this ‘middle to lower ‘group against asset sales still intend to vote for National.

    But what exactly are they gaining at the expense of asset sales?

    • Anne 21.1

      They think they’re going to continue to ‘feel good’ no matter what happens coz John Key says they will, and if they don’t John Key says it’s all Labour’s fault and they believe him.

    • pollywog 21.2

      It’s seems that a lot of this ‘middle to lower ‘group against asset sales still intend to vote for National.

      i think your lot are in for a short sharp shock if they make asset sales the cornerstone of their campaign strategy…

      …just like the backdown on mining conservation land in the face of massive protest and demonstrations, there is no way Key will get a green light from the average kiwi battler to sell off our state silverware

      once it’s exposed that that’s pretty much all the Nat’s have as their plan for economic salvation they’ll be gone come November.

      it’s gonna be hella fun watching Key get pwned in the leaders debates. That pained spoilt brat look he pulls when he’s flustered is priceless…

    • mik e 21.3

      More debt longer to pay it off cult worshipers don’t need reasons they just follow their leaders no matter how painful the journey, thats why all these finance companies were able to take so much money of so many people, just smile nicely and he’s such a nice man I gave him all my retirement funds.

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

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