Good Witches Hunting

Written By: - Date published: 1:16 pm, March 6th, 2018 - 114 comments
Categories: feminism, human rights, sexism - Tags: , , , , ,

With the emergence of the #metoonz movement the Press decided to run this cartoon from Al Nesbit,

Let’s unpack this. Witches were women in Europe in the 15th to 18th centuries who were persecuted by the church and state authorities because of perceptions of challenge to political and social power. That persecution included torture, sexual torture, and murder. It was overtly misogynistic and actively promoted women-hating, and coincided with the removal of the humans rights of women and legislation that rendered women second class citizens.

Estimation of numbers varies hugely from several hundred thousand to millions. Women were literally tortured and burned into political submission for being a challenge to the male hegemony of the time. It was a critical formative development in what European and eventually New Zealand culture would become.

In 2018 we have women standing up and challenging the male hegemony of our time. Women are saying that men no longer get to define the rules around access to women’s bodies. Lots of men support that, some men like Nesbit are struggling to catch up. Some men are going to actively resist.

There’s a bit of a whirlpool of chaos around this whole witch thing, and it’s not surprising when we consider how formative the witch burning times were and yet how little people know about them now (it’s not women who have been writing history for the last 500 years). But women are now reclaiming the word witch, and saying no, you cannot use it in such a perverse way, all things considered.

Some people are saying witches weren’t real and those people are thus ridiculing the men fearing witch hunts. But witches were the midwives, healers and herbalists, often the key point in communities for women’s power and knowledge i.e. the power we all know that women have that is different than institutional power.

They were the women resisting the patriarchy and who didn’t properly follow the ways of good Christian wives. They were women who liked sex or who were more likely to step out of the bounds of mainstream society. Sometimes they were simply women unlucky enough to have fucked off a man who had more power than her.

For those that think witches are caricatures of women who cast spells, but how ridiculous, magic isn’t real, consider that the pagan religions of Europe were suppressed in the same ways that Europe also went on to do to indigenous peoples they later were colonising. Women in those centuries were the key points that needed taking out, and the processes are remarkably similar to what happened in colonisation. By the time the Brits got to these islands and called them New Zealand, they were adept at how to target the religious and social structures that were central to Māori existence. If you think witches weren’t real, what do you think tohunga were?

Witches were real women, and a class of women that were intentionally targeted for political reasons. We need to bear that in mind.

New Zealand is full of women, bursting to the seams really, who would have been pointed at and called witch 500 years ago. We are the ones that would have been tortured and then murdered when we eventually confessed to being a witch. Me writing this post, the women quoted in these tweets. Jacinda Ardern pointing at Mark Richardson on national television, saying “and you…” and then telling him kindly but in no uncertain terms that he doesn’t get to control women by asking them about their baby plans. Metiria Turei standing up and saying poor people matter (yes, the irony is strong in that example). Whina Cooper, Marilyn Waring, Aunty Jackie, Alison Mau, all the unnamed women, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, that are doing the mahi every day of making things right in their communities despite the patriarchy and fuckwittery of still too many men.

Witches were the women who held certain kinds of power in society, and knew where and how to wield it. A different kind of power than the men of the Inquisition had, but we persisted and here we still are. Only now we have institutional power too. That somehow we are the ones who shouldn’t be trusted to be honest and have integrity is laughable but also deeply offensive.

Here’s what a #metoonz cartoon looks like from someone who understands what is going on,

There’s more that could be written about the connections between the Inquisition, colonisation, and where women are today in NZ. But for now, let’s just get clear on what witches are, and that they’re the ones now doing the hunting. I’m sure that scares some men (exhibit A: Al Nesbit), but I personally trust women to do the right things here. We have a vested interest in getting this right, and in doing right by the men in our lives. It won’t be perfect, but there is no good reason to assume that this is anything other than yet another round of redressing the vast power imbalances of our history. Men can help or hinder that, and that too will affect how this goes.

114 comments on “Good Witches Hunting”

  1. Carolyn_Nth 1

    Nice title.

    Never heard of the Malleus Maleficarum before – first published in Germany in the 15th century. Added to my reading list:

    Gender-specific theory developed in the Malleus Maleficarum laid the foundations for widespread consensus in early modern Germany on the evil nature of women as witches.[127] Later works on witchcraft have not agreed entirely with the Malleus but none of them challenged the view that women were more inclined to be witches than men.[128] It was perceived as intuitive and all-accepted so that very few authors saw the need to explain why women are witches. Those who did, attributed female witchery to the weakness of body and mind (the old medieval explanation) and a few to female sexuality.[

    • weka 1.1

      it’s incredibly pertinent to what Western civ became. The power struggle between the Church and the State, how that affected the development of science and especially medicine, are all impacting on us still.

      I’ve just remembered that Phillida Bunkle and Sandra Coney were accused of instigating a witch hunt with the Unfortunate Experiment in the 80s (and the Cartwright Inquiry). Same shit. Women trying to advance their wellbeing, the establishment with the support of too many men trying to prevent them.

      • jcuknz 1.1.1

        I wonder if it doesn’t stem from the early Christian suppression of the concept of a God-Mother in favour of God the Father ? Or perhaps that was the start of it all to “keep women in their place”.

        • weka

          I think you are on to it there. There’s a clear correlation between the shift to the patriarchal god and the suppression of women.

  2. Ross 2


    Men and children have historically been considered witches.

    I think that Nisbett’s point is that hysteria can be a dangerous thing and of course it was during the witch-hunting days of old. Witch-hunting was more an issue of class than of gender. Those accused were often peasants.

    • Carolyn_Nth 2.1

      Yes there are in fact male witches. But, the word is most commonly associated with women. Nisbett uses the common image of a witch as female.

      From etymology online – the history of the word “witch”

      Old English wicce “female magician, sorceress,” in later use especially “a woman supposed to have dealings with the devil or evil spirits and to be able by their cooperation to perform supernatural acts,” fem. of Old English wicca “sorcerer, wizard, man who practices witchcraft or magic,” from verb wiccian “to practice witchcraft” (compare Low German wikken, wicken “to use witchcraft,” wikker, wicker “soothsayer”).

      And you may not be aware of the history of the word “hysteria”:

      nervous disease, 1801, coined in medical Latin as an abstract noun from Greek hystera “womb,” from PIE *udtero-, variant of *udero- “abdomen, womb, stomach” (see uterus). Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. With abstract noun ending -ia. General sense of “unhealthy emotion or excitement” is by 1839.

      Basically something attributed more to women than men to be so emotionally out of control.

      Ross said: I think that Nisbett’s point is that hysteria can be a dangerous thing and of course it was during the witch-hunting days.

      But he’s saying this in relation to the #metoo campaign, in which women are standing up and saying no more of the behaviour that is humiliating and dis-empowering mainly women.

      And Nisbett has reversed the common notion of witch hunt – basically it is most usually used to describe witches being persecuted, not doing the persecution.

    • McFlock 2.2

      For “hysteria” (another unfortunate choice of words, there) to be portrayed, the witches need to be imaginary, not literally hunting people. That’s why the characters in The Crucible didn’t turn out to be actual witches.

      But then, Nisbett couldn’t even spell “hearsay”, so maybe his handle on allegory is equally inept.

      ps: Hmm. I pointed out someone’s spelling error, so Muphry will bite. Haven’t found it yet, though

    • weka 2.3

      “Men and children have historically been considered witches.”

      Yes, I know that. We don’t need to have a ‘what about the men?’ conversation 🙂

      I also understand Nisbet’s point, but that doesn’t lessen the misogyny in his framing. There are also gender politics in the word hysteria and how it gets used. It’s a minefield, and I think care is needed, particularly by men. Nisbet obviously doesn’t give a shit (that’s his MO with other cartoons) so I think it’s fair to interpret his cartoons as political action.

      btw, the witch hunts weren’t simply hysteria. While they employed paranoia and emotion, they were also culturally sanctioned, organised political actions against women by the most powerful people in society.

      “Witch-hunting was more an issue of class than of gender. Those accused were often peasants.”

      Witch hunting was also an issue of class. Please don’t posit gender and class as somehow in conflict as priorities, and please don’t minimise gender. Witch hunting was innately gendered as I talked about in the post. This doesn’t mean that men, children, working class people etc weren’t also getting treated very badly at that time. The patriarchy likes to spread its hate around, but it is also very good at targeting hierarchically.

    • joe90 2.4

      Men and children have historically been considered witches.

      Nah, when men wrote about witches they were pretty damned explicit, women are witches.

      Why Superstition is chiefly found in Women.


      Now the wickedness of women is spoken of in Ecclesiasticus xxv: There is no head above the head of a serpent: and there is no wrath above the wrath of a woman. I had rather dwell with a lion and a dragon than to keep house with a wicked woman. And among much which in that place precedes and follows about a wicked woman, he concludes: All wickedness is but little to the wickedness of a woman. Wherefore S. John Chrysostom says on the text, It is not good to marry (S. Matthew xix): What else is woman but a foe to friendship, an unescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature, painted with fair colours! Therefore if it be a sin to divorce her when she ought to be kept, it is indeed a necessary torture; for either we commit adultery by divorcing her, or we must endure daily strife. Cicero in his second book of The Rhetorics says: The many lusts of men lead them into one sin, but the lust of women leads them into all sins; for the root of all woman’s vices is avarice. And Seneca says in his Tragedies: A woman either loves or hates; there is no third grade. And the tears of woman are a deception, for they may spring from true grief, or they may be a snare. When a woman thinks alone, she thinks evil.

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.5

      You are technically correct but in a way that’s actually irrelevant to the point of the post, Ross.

  3. Ross 3

    Heres a list of the witches arrested regards the witch trials in Salem. Mostly women but quite a few men.

    Carolyn, I am not sure I understand your point about the common notion of witch-hunting. As I said it can be the result of hysteria. McCarthyism was generally considered to be a witch-hunt. Many men were the victims there too and the main accuser was a man. I am not sure the male versus women debate takes us far.

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    “magic is not real”

  5. Bill 5

    Witches were women in Europe in the 15th to 18th centuries who were persecuted by the church and state authorities because of perceptions of challenge to political and social power.

    The prosecution of men, women and children (but mostly women) for the “crime” of witchcraft is a bit more complex than suggested in the post, and seems to have had more to do with imagined challenges to power rather than actual ones.

    So for example, the witches of Berwick were those who confessed to having whipped up a storm in the North Sea intended to sink the ship of James the First and his Danish Queen.

    The Earl of Bothwell, who had previously been put on trial for treason was arrested a second time over the head of that and charged with attempting to take the Kings life through sorcery.

    Then there’s the Witchfinder General who seems to have bestowed the title on himself gouging the towns of South East England of their finances for the service of clearing said towns of witches – who might just happen to be those who dared speak out against his scam. His victims included priests (John Lowes).

    John Gaule (a vicar) was strenuous in his condemnation of Hopkins (the Witchfinder General), going so far as to suggest that the “methods” of investigation (finding marks of the Devil) meant that the finders themselves were witches. (How else would they recognise a mark of the Devil?)

    Anyway. I think it’s a tad romantic to suggest that women railing against the patriarchy or who possessed medical knowledge were the main targets of witch hunts. It was much more haphazard than that. And certainly in the case of the Witchfinder General, seems to have been driven by access to easy money. (Any victim would do – so the old, anyone a local population considered to be a pain in the arse – the cantankerous, the curmudgeons)

    Then there’s the effect of the Protestant Church possibly exaggerating numbers as part of its anti-Catholic bigotry, and that men may have been the principle victims in some areas like Iceland and North East Europe/Russia.

    • Carolyn_Nth 5.1

      The European and English history of the word “witch” does show it’s aligned more with women.

      It’s also aligned more with women in contemporary popular culture – and that shows in the stock images Nesbit uses in his cartoon.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        I agree it (the term and in terms of victims) aligns far more with women. And I also agree that Nesbit is offering up a deeply misogynistic cartoon.

        • tracey

          With the full endorsement of his editor

          • Bill

            I kinda want write this in very quiet and small letters, but if I have the correct link, the editor he would be answerable to is either Joanna Norris or Nicole Mathewson Kamala Hayman.

            • tracey


              There are women complicit in the silencing of women.

              • Bill

                I know that. And (it seems) women who are editors, willing to give the promotion of rank misogyny a free and easy platform.

    • weka 5.2

      “Anyway. I think it’s a tad romantic to suggest that women railing against the patriarchy or who possessed medical knowledge were the main targets of witch hunts. It was much more haphazard than that. And certainly in the case of the Witchfinder General, seems to have been driven by access to easy money. (Any victim would do – so the old, anyone a local population considered to be a pain in the arse – the cantankerous, the curmudgeons)”

      I suggest you stop reading what men in positions of power have written about that time, and stop viewing it through a modern, masculinist and I’m guessing agnostic lens, and instead go read the large body of work by feminists who address these very issues.

      Not that happy at being mansplained in this way tbh. You can certainly put up your own ideas about how you see it, but to say definitively that the post is wrongheaded and romantic (those silly women trope), and that witches weren’t real instead of asking or educating yourself is just the same old shit. I wrote the post because of Nesbit, but also because I could see this line was coming up. Saying that witches weren’t real erases a whole swathe of history and perpetuates the oppression. I pointed out in the post that most people don’t know much of this history and that’s because of gendered political reasons.

      I didn’t want to write a novella, so I basically dropped in the key points if anyone wanted to go look it up. The medical politics, the parallels with colonisation, the issue of religion and spirituality and how that played out politically. I’m also happy enough to explain more if people have some interest.

      Women were directly oppressed as healers and midwives. I didn’t make that shit up and it’s not romantic, it’s part of some of the grimmest stuff in European history, and it leads directly to the door of why modern medicine is misogynistic and has been largely controlled by men. Please don’t engage in arguments that erase those histories and realities further.

      “Then there’s the effect of the Protestant Church possibly exaggerating numbers as part of its anti-Catholic bigotry, and that men may have been the principle victims in some areas like Iceland and North East Europe/Russia.”

      Yep, and those would be interesting things to explore where they’re not presented as what about the menz, or in framing that tries to remove the gendered nature of the issue.

      • Bill 5.2.1

        What makes you assert I’m only reading what men in positions of power have written?

        Historians who have studied the record of what happened during the 15th to 18thC are women as well as men.

        And I made no comment as to the reality or otherwise of witches.

        Neither did I say that wid-wives and medical practitioners weren’t victims.

        • tracey

          Who have you read?

        • weka

          “What makes you assert I’m only reading what men in positions of power have written?”

          The nature of your argument.

          “Historians who have studied the record of what happened during the 15th to 18thC are women as well as men.”

          yes, and lots of women have been trained into the male systems of thought and discourse around history. This is why I suggested reading feminists, because they’ve been long challenging the historian hegemony. This is a well known dynamic of history. Victors get to write history, and the people who get to maintain the official versions have to work largely within that paradigm.

          “And I made no comment as to the reality or otherwise of witches.”

          Maybe you didn’t mean to, but is certainly how you came across.

          “Neither did I say that wid-wives and medical practitioners weren’t victims.”

          You’ve missed my points.

          • Bill

            The problem with that approach is that any argument not aligning with your preference merely becomes evidence of “trained into the male systems of thought and discourse around history.”

            There are feminist theories that align with what your post suggests. Barbara Ehrenreich for one, has written along the lines that witches were mid-wives and healers of the time deliberately targeted by authorities, and that they were mostly pagan – but in fact most victims were Christian and most victims were neither mid-wives nor healers.

            And there are court records and such like from the time that offer insight into what was going on and where people (prosecutors and victims) stood.

            There was a horrendous abuse of power. It was complex and messy and yes, women of the time bore the brunt of that abuse.

            • weka

              “The problem with that approach is that any argument not aligning with your preference merely becomes evidence of “trained into the male systems of thought and discourse around history.””

              Only if you think I’m exceptionally biased and/or an idiot.

              History is inherently written from a cultural, class and gendered frame. The only way around that is to have an analysis of what we are reading i.e. make the biases explicit.

              I’m aware of Ehrenreich and the problems with her earlier work. Not sure what your point is. Is it that you now have a single feminist author whose work you disagree with?

              To give you an idea of the problem I’m having with your argument, Christianity and paganism at that time weren’t two separate things. But because you’re putting up the argument that the witches weren’t these things, we have to have this to me rather stupid argument about validity.

              “And there are court records and such like from the time that offer insight into what was going on and where people (prosecutors and victims) stood.”

              Yes, and what gets written about those and how they get interpreted depends upon the world view of the person doing the reading and interpreting. See my point about history and acknowledged biases. The Romans wrote a heap of stuff down about their invasions of Britain. Do you think there is no bias in that? Did the court reporters have any pressures on them about what they wrote and how they wrote about it? Or what got left out?

              “There was a horrendous abuse of power. It was complex and messy and yes, women of the time bore the brunt of that abuse.

              yes, and my analysis includes one that says women were intentionally targeted because of what who they were and what they were doing and the need to control them. Your response to the post said that was a romantic notion, and that really what was going on was the inquisition dudes were superstitious/greedy and that it was a haphazard attack that I guess happened to women. Kind of like colonisation was really about expansion to get more resources and wasn’t about white supremacy and didn’t use intentionally targeted means to take out the people that stood in the way.

              • Bill

                My “point” with Ehrenreich is that her take appears to align to with the one you outlined in the post with regards the nature and position of those persecuted as witches. Nothing beyond that. Nothing even remotely suggesting that I disagree with feminist arguments – simply that her argument on this topic is wrong.

                And I still haven’t said a single thing about witches per se. So I simply don’t get this “witches weren’t these things” that you’re throwing at me.

                But if you want to put no store by the only written documentation of the time, and further, compare obviously “enhanced” retrospective accounts of historical events (Roman writers on Britain) to court documents, then…well, I’m not quite sure how it is we’re ever meant to get any idea of anything from the past.

                Elizabeth Clark who was the Witchfinders first “trophy” – apparently a poor one legged 80 year old widow who no-one really liked, was actually deliberately targeted by authorities because she represented a real and present threat to power. And we’re to think that, in spite of preserved records (including written eye witness accounts that built the case for her interrogation) that give no indication of that actually being the case.

                The witch hunts played out as an absolute abuse of power. But the evidence I’m aware of doesn’t point to it being targeted in the way you claim in the post, as against “[w]itches [who] were the women who held certain kinds of power in society, and knew where and how to wield it.”

  6. Cinny 6

    Brilliant post Weka, am well read on the subject 🙂

    The church especially was threatened with pagans knowledge of healing, so decided to wipe them out, can’t have any competition when giving over ones gold for healing prayers to line the pockets of priests. Conflicting business models to say the least. Those who practise the craft are natural healers and nurturers, they weren’t/aren’t interested in making money, unlike the greed of the church/the throne.

    Had an argument with your neighbour? Label them as a witch, problem solved etc etc.

    Disney has also been adding fuel to the fire for years.

    al nisberts cartoon reeks of a defensive old man

  7. tracey 7

    And so here we are, talking about what witchhunt means. Are only women witches. Mission accomplished for those who cannot stand to have the status quo which excuses so much bad behaviour challenged.

    Back in our homes “girls”, the men are deciding what we can challenges, how, when and how long.

    • Carolyn_Nth 7.1

      yep. Nesbit’s cartoon is clear – women who challenge the gender status quo hierarchy will be attacked with popular imagery denigrating powerful women.

      • tracey 7.1.1

        Same as #metoo. Many were fine with weinstien going down but surely 1 is enough… they sure are hankering for things to get ” back to normal”.

  8. Sabine 8

    a famous witch from my hometown, literally killed for being young and pretty and in a marriage to a noble boy that was not sanctioned by Daddy. – she died by drowning, which sadly meant she was not a witch.

    We still have the witches pyre in my hometown – a rock pole to which the poor beings were tied to before being burned. It is an odd space, between the two defensive walls of the town, devoid of sun and birds. Odd and cold.

    Now for the post, of course its a witchhunt :), it must be. After all if it were not, the ladies would already have shut up and gone back to their knitting. Alas, they are still talking about sexual harassment and sexual violence and so it must be a ‘Witch Hunt’.

    this might be of interest

    • tracey 8.1

      Great response Sabine.

      I always think they scene from Monty Pythons Holy Grail shows the stupidity of the religious views that gave us witchhunts.

      • In Vino 8.1.1

        Agree – I like that scene too, There is also the priest’s need for a scapegoat: Priests usually imposed their power with formal blessings on everything undertaken – eg – planting of crops. Then there is a flood or a drought, and the priest is left looking silly about his ineffective blessing. This made it very convenient to accuse a magical witch/warlock of foul sabotage and evil devilry. Even though some victims were male, I think it true that witches are generally thought of as female nowadays (the ones in the Wizard of Oz were!) and agree that there is an element of misogyny involved in a rather rabble-rousing cartoon like Nisbett’s.

    • BM 8.2

      Must say when it came to witch killing you Germans really shone with your typical German efficiency, that big stone crushing wheel really did the job.

      If I remember correctly something like 60,000 witches were “cleansed” during a fairly short period of time, rather put the Salem witch hunts in the shade.

      • Sabine 8.2.1

        “The German” is a creation not even 200 years old.

        i myself identify as ‘bavarian’.

        who were the witches? a list of people who died

        cleansed: cleanse
        past tense: cleansed; past participle: cleansed
        make (something, especially the skin) thoroughly clean.
        “this preparation will cleanse and tighten the skin”
        synonyms: clean, make clean, clean up, wash, bathe, rinse, disinfect, sanitize, decontaminate, purify; raredeterge
        “the wound was then cleansed and redressed aseptically”
        rid of something unpleasant or defiling.
        “the mission to cleanse America of subversives”
        synonyms: rid, clear, free, purify, purge, empty, strip, void, relieve
        “a plan to cleanse the environment of traces of lead”
        free (someone) from sin or guilt.
        “only God Himself can cleanse us”
        synonyms: purify, purge, absolve, free; More

        I think you might want to rethink this comment. Not because of me, I am whom i am, with my cultural baggage that i inherited in blood, and i am pretty good with that. Others however might think you are a bit of a dick.

        • BM

          My apologies, nothing personal intended.

          I always admired the efficient and mechanical prowess of the Germanic races though, would love to get over there one day and check out the place.

          • Tricledrown

            BM if you spent less time on your flame throwing BS and earned some more money you may even have the time to travel.
            Efficiency doesn’t mean happiness you will find the Southern Europeans ,Irish and Blackforest Germans know how to live.
            The Germans and English are selfish to know any Different.
            Logic will never supersede Love.

    • Incognito 8.3

      The etymology of “hexe” is very interesting; the Old English variant is “hægtesse” (witch, hag, Fury).

      This might interest you; it’s an old Anglo-Saxon charm that has been placed at the late tenth century.ð_færstice

      This particular section I found fascinating:ð_færstice#Parallels_and_analogues

  9. James Brown 9

    Any man who intentionally makes a woman feel uncomfortable / demeaned / threatened (and especially men who are fathers of daughters) is a disgrace.

    Like all people I am not perfect but we (men) need to keep in the forefront of our minds that our role should be to protect (and respect) women (and children), and what is happening with the Me Too movement should in fact be welcomed by men as an affirmation of this.

    • tracey 9.1

      James B

      This is why I do not get the silence and complicity of many good men to the behaviour of peers

    • Sabine 9.2

      No the role of men is not to ‘protect’ women – as that implies that violence against women is normal occurrence and we need men to protect us from other men to go about our business.

      Men simply need to learn that sexual harassment and violence is a daily occurrence in the life of many women and young girls, and also men and boys. More often then not the violence and harassment is meted out by men. Men need to learn how to see it, they need to learn how to stand up to it, and how to call out the offending peers and tell them to stop it.

      While ‘not all man’ is correct, us women, children and men who have been sexually assaulted and abused, who have been harassed out of jobs and careers could tell you that it ‘can be any man’, and thus until proven otherwise we will look upon ‘all man’ as a potential risk that we need to navigate and negate.

      • tracey 9.2.1

        Bravo and eloquently put

      • James Brown 9.2.2

        Sabine – I see what you mean and yes maybe protect wasn’t the the best word to use, maybe support and is a better fit?

        • weka

          Support is good (where it’s support women need).

        • James Brown

          On second thoughts I am going to persist with the word ‘protect’ (although support should also apply) . . I understand and empathise with your comments Sabine but as I feel there will always be men who will hurt women (just as there will always be evil in the world) there will also always be the need for ‘good men’ to protect women (should be need arise).

  10. Stuart Munro 10

    The use of the term patriarchy in a non-patriarchal society is a curious deliberate inaccuracy that doesn’t improve with scrutiny. It seems to resemble other nebulous conspiratorial forces like the international communist conspiracy or the elders of zion. I think it’s well-established that Nisbet is lacking in discernment and good taste but his patriarchal credentials are far from evident.

    • weka 10.1

      “The use of the term patriarchy in a non-patriarchal society is a curious deliberate inaccuracy that doesn’t improve with scrutiny”

      You’re going to have to explain that one. Do you mean the post using the term patriarchy when NZ isn’t patriarchal society?

      • Stuart Munro 10.1.1

        Let me turn that back on you a little if I may. Patriarchal societies a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. What do you mean by it, since you are referring to it?

        • weka

          That’s close enough. What did you mean in your first comment?

          • Stuart Munro

            Pretty much what I said.

            We’re not in a patriarchal society. Nisbet’s failure isn’t being patriarchal – a patriarch would address an issue he did not approve of in a very different fashion – the use of that authority, declarative statements, this sort of thing:

            “Since the beginning of time, woman has been the nest of all evil! The Tool of Chaos, party to conspiracy against the world and the human race! Woman is ruled solely by corporal lust! (The Witcher)

            What Nisbet seems to be is an apologist for sexual harassment – rather a different thing.

            • weka

              I didn’t say that Nesbit was being a patriarch. The patriarchy is still a big part of NZ society and this is easily understood within a feminist framework (which the post was clearly written in). Can’t be bothered explaining that, you can educate yourself if you need to to get up to speed.

              “What Nisbet seems to be is an apologist for sexual harassment – rather a different thing.”

              They’re part of the same thing (rape apology and the patriarchy).

            • red-blooded

              Stuart, Rob Muldoon used to argue in the 70’s that there was no racism in NZ. Presumably, he never felt labelled by race or as if his options were limited by his racial identity, so as far as he was concerned, there was no racism. Your comments about patriarchy come from a Muldoonist viewpoint. Put another way, how about listening to women when we say that NZ is still (unfortunately) a patriarchal society?

              • Delia

                He was quick to call feminist hairy legged lesbian witches as well and Al is living in a time warp. I have never heard a male referred to as a witch to demean, but at the age of six years old I heard a local woman referred to as a witch and would have heard women referred to as witches hundreds of times since than. Stuart open your eyes.

              • Stuart Munro

                One of the tropes we develop from a bit of study is suspicion of persons or groups that attempt to manipulate us through guilt, especially guilt for things we have not done. The classical example is probably ‘original sin’, which was exploited in some instances to oppress or control, especially but not exclusively to oppress or control women.

                The exercise of authoritarian control on the part of a male centric hierarchy can to some degree fall under a label of patriarchy. Conflating that with the culture of rape and sexual harassment – two distinct if tenuously related things creates an all-inclusive term to disparage men, including men who neither exhibit authoritarian vices or sexual ones.

                From this we get a subculture that not infrequently alienates men initially disposed to be sympathetic to feminist aims. I’m inclined to lay some blame on the post-Marxist lines of reasoning that have greatly reduced the quality of most of the humanities disciplines they have influenced.

                • red-blooded

                  Stuart, get over it. Nobody’s accusing you personally of actively oppressing women. Having said that, if you’re in a state of denial about the power of the patriarchy in NZ, then you’re very unlikely to challenge it or work with women to change it. If you’re feeling alienated, then try examining which of your attitudes is creating push-back from feminist women and men who recognise the necessity for and support the aims of feminism.

                  And rape and sexual harassment are not “tenuously related” to each other or to patriarchal culture – they’re embedded within it. And yes, I know that men can also be sexually assaulted and raped (usually by other men), but this is also at least in part a function of a culture that defines dominance and sexual aggression as natural to men and “masculine”. Challenging those assumptions and changing that culture is freeing for men as well as women.

                  If you’re feeling alienated by a discourse whose aims you claim to be sympathetic to because you don’t fully agree with the theoretical framework in which that discourse is taking place, then forget about the discourse – let others do the theorising – and focus on helping to realise the aims. Do practical things to make space for women in leadership and in public life, step up and share the load of unpaid work, make an effort to challenge sexist tropes and assumptions when you encounter them. How can any of these steps have negative impact?

                  And BTW, Marxism is by no means the only lens through which to examine power imbalances and oppression in human societies and it’s perfectly possible to be a Marxist feminist. Human thought didn’t stop with the Bible and it didn’t stop with Marx.

        • Lara

          “Patriarchal societies a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.”

          In NZ men do hold primary power.

          Men dominate politics. With only now three exceptions all our PMs have been men. The majority of MPs are and have been men.

          Men dominate religion and its leadership. If you want to use that as “moral authority”. They dominate our news. When an “expert” is interviewed it’s more often a man.

          Men dominate wealth and property in NZ.

          And you want to argue NZ is not a patriarchy? Look again at your definition.


  11. Siobhan 12

    The fact that they would publish any cartoon by Al Nesbit is the issue.

    • weka 12.1

      lol, that too.

      Maybe they’re feelings like they can’t be to progressive now that we have a centre left govt 😉

  12. Sparky 13

    Take a look at some of the misandry out there including the MSM and personally I do not think this is unfair comment.

    • weka 13.1

      The world is going to hell because of the same shit that was going on 500 years ago. We make changes on this ground, we’re more likely to make changes in other parts of the world.

  13. weka 14

    Bit of thread confusion there PR?

  14. weka 15

    Toby Morris has written an article on the demographic problem with NZ cartoonists.

  15. One Two 16

    Very good article, weka…

    When human beings have learnt to love and respect ‘all of us’, we will be on the way…

  16. AsleepWhileWalking 17

    Nesbit seems to be attempting to do his best to smother credibility of anyone who complains.

    Who is this guy and why is he so bitter?

  17. Lara 18

    IMO the #metoo movement is the most exciting thing to happen to women in a generation. Since NZ made it illegal to rape your wife (in the 1980’s).

    It’s long overdue. It’s oh so necessary. Because our justice system is fucked and does not offer justice to survivors of assault and abuse.

    And yet in discussions of this #metoo movement even here on TS where it should be better, either shit from men or silence. With the very few exceptions.

    So disappointing. But utterly unsurprising.

    This is not a discussion on philosophical differences. This is a serious discussion and opening up for the too many NZ women who have been harassed, abused and assaulted. And those men and children too.

  18. ropata 19

    Great post, in full support for my dear sisters, nieces, Mum, Aunties and lovely female friends.

    I just hope that efforts to dismantle the patriarchy don’t tear apart the left, and I don’t support the notion that the church is to blame for everything. The ancient pagans were not particularly enlightened either IMHO

    Just a nitpick. Peace.

  19. Pat 20

    79 comments on would suggest Al Nisbet is very good at his/her job …a very effective political cartoon and use of idiom

    • ropata 20.1

      You have a twisted notion of “good”

    • Ross 20.2

      Yes Pat, I agree. A good cartoonist should generate debate.

      The fact that some are horribly confused about witch-hunts adds to the debate.

      Here is another example: Peter Ellis. His case is often referred to as a witch hunt. But in his case there were 4 female colleagues who were charged with sexually abusing kids. The bottom line is anyone can be a witch and anyone can be a witch hunter.

      I wonder if Tom Scott did a cartoon about witch hunts whether there would be the same debate. Possibly not. If thats the case then this is more about playing the man than the ball.

      • Pat 20.2.1

        now that was a ‘witch hunt’…although I thought the charges against the women were dropped (as they should have been)?

        • Ross

          Yes the charges were dropped after much legal debate. But the judge responsible did so somewhat reluctantly.

          • Pat

            “The bottom line is anyone can be a witch and anyone can be a witch hunter.”

            youre right about that…its a mistake we keep making….something to be aware of.

            • Carolyn_Nth

              Yet the cartoonist used a negative stereotype of witches as a pack of women on broomsticks hunting men.

              It doesn’t matter that the reality is some men are witches.

              In language and common images and language, witches are most associated with “ugly” old women on broomsticks.

              The #metoo movement is about breaking a silence through which largely men humiliate, mostly women and children – people with less power – in order to maintain their masculine power.

              Nisbet’s carton was a vicious attack on that movement – using a very negative stereotypical image of assertive women – an image that has been in our culture as long as the sexual harassment and rape of women, children and some men.

              • Pat

                difficult to visually present a ‘witch hunt’ without a stereotypical witch however.

                An attack?…I dont view it that way, more a warning that whatever the rights or wrongs of the me too movement we need to be careful it does not become a witch hunt….after all we have plenty of precedent (irrespective of gender)

                • ropata

                  Did you even RTFA bro? “witch hunts” were conducted by frenzied mobs with pitchforks and the so called “witches” were the victims

                  Nisbet’s cartoon was so ignorant that he a) inverted history and b) portrayed the victims of violence and rape as crazed witches c) can’t spell ‘hearsay’

                  • greywarshark

                    Of course we pretend that we don’t get it – ‘heresay’ instead of hearsay. He’s playing on the ‘her’-say’ ‘here-say’ double effect from the mangled spelling.

              • Ross


                I am struggling to see your point. The metoo movement was borne out of various women making allegations about various men. It would’ve looked odd, in that context, for Nisbet to show men on broomsticks…but again I think he is drawing attention to the dangers of hysteria. Hysteria is gender neutral. I gave the example of McCarthyism…a male dominated witch hunt.

    • Carolyn_Nth 20.3

      That’s not a clever use of idiom. It’s a lazy re-use of a vicious old stereotype that has long been used against powerful women, to dis-empower them – in a culture where the balance of power is mostly with men.

      A couple of guys patting each other on the back, cheer-leading the re-use of such an abusive pernicious old negative stereotype does not make it clever.

      It just shows how much more work is needed to create a more equal society where women and others are kept dis-empowered through physical, emotional and psychological abuse.

      • Pat 20.3.1

        art is subjective

        • weka

          this isn’t art, it’s politics. Nisbet’s cartoons about poverty are likewise loaded with racist, classist and body shaming imagery. My take is that he isn’t doing satire, but that he actually sees the world in that way. Taking pot shots at vulnerable people is lazy and weak, but I’m guessing bigotry is more the problem here.

          • Pat

            political cartooning isnt art?….that may surprise a lot of artists.

            • weka

              Political cartooning may be art, but the issues here aren’t artistic ones, they’re political ones.

  20. Jay 21

    I saw those witches flying into the air; shouting “ME TOO”, and trailing words: “Your jokes are not funny”, “Your innuendoes are stale”, “I will not have sex with you on the board-room table”.
    From a dark, dark place, with words swirling around me: “Touch it!”, “You’ll like it!”, “This is our special secret”, “Don’t ever tell!”; my SIX year old self whispers “me too”.

  21. Doogs 22

    Witches, zombies, mummies, vampires, etc are, throughout history, the products of fertile imaginations driven by fear and loathing. Ignorance and misunderstanding also have a lot to answer for, and when combined with mob mentality whipped up all kinds of terrible retribution visited upon people who were different, unusual or slightly weird.

    The name witches, as we know, comes from the Old English ‘wicce’ which meant spiritualist, demon invoker or possessor of special powers (perhaps imagined).

    The male version is often recognised as warlock which probably came from the Old English ‘waerloge’ which in turn came out of the Old Norse ‘varo lokkur’.

    History lesson over, the fact that men were also persecuted as witches or warlocks is entirely irrelevant to this argument.

    The fact is that far and away the vast majority of these iconoclasts were women, and the persecutors were men by an an equally large majority. The current wave of men treating women so appallingly is just the modern day version of what went on in the 15th to 18 centuries. There is, among a large number of men today, a huge ignorance of femininity and what is the marvellous enigma that is women. They fail to understand the complexities of womanhood and, as in previous centuries, fear and loathing prevail and their consequent behaviour is damaging to half the population.

    Harvey W, Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, Rolf Harris, Russell Mcveigh, Otago Law School, the list goes on and something MUST be done about it.

    Any ideas?

    • Carolyn_Nth 22.1

      Yep. This misogynist culture has been around a long time. Such a re-enforcement of those values, in a major news media platform, does show how much more work needs to be done before this damaging power imbalance is changed.

  22. Matthew Whitehead 23

    Also worth noting: There were some “witches” who were basically persecuted BECAUSE people suspected they were finding indirect ways into institutional power. (usually through their husbands, ofc) Clearly these husbands couldn’t have supported women having power because they were poor innocent men, *eyeroll* so it must have been TEH MAGICS.

  23. Carolyn_Nth 24

    Oh, my. I have just been googling about witches and representation of women. It is interesting how the images of good vs bad witches have been perpetuated by Hollywood – good usually equals young, blond and beautiful. bad is usually represented as old, dark and ugly – a couple of sources pointed to the Wizard of Oz as being influential in this.

    There’s this vid that includes stuff about how representations of women as witches coincides with waves if feminism:

    This article in Teen Vogue on witches in pop culture set me off on another search.

    Mention of “Coven” reminded me that Helen Clark’s team in office were soemtimes referred to as a coven.

    A search showed KB commenters and Ian Wishart as particularly using this slur against Clark.

    Here David Slack mentions Wishart’s use of coven in relation to his biography of Clark:

    Top ten surprises in Wishart’s ‘explosive’ new Helen Clark biography:

    Coven meets on Sunday evenings behind Premier House, gets covered in possum fat, dances naked around patio heater.

    In 2010, No Minister used the word “coven” to describe people protesting against something Paul Henry said on TVNZ

    However, it is fascinating to see the lengths to which the Left will go, in their attempts to have him sacked. It seems they regard him as a cockroach to be squashed. A right winger nestling in their private little coven of leftist seat warmers at TVNZ. A veritable interloper.

    Here is a comment by David Garrett on KB in 2014 on Helen Clark and her UN job:

    Milky: Well do tell what made her an “excellent Prime Minister”…for me she was a ruthless social engineer with no discernible principles, and no personal loyalty to those around her…except to the members of the coven she headed..

    And, in my googling I cam across this about Jacinda Ardern during last year’s election – do you recall how some claimed Ardern “cursed” the All blacks?

    However, Michell Duff did an excellent OP taking thew piss out of the whole idea.

    So there we all were: Jacinda Ardern, Jenny Shipley, Helen Clark and me. We’d sent Annette King off for more eye of newt ages ago, but she was taking her sweet time.

    It was a dark and stormy night, somewhere. Oh right, Wellington. Yup, it was stormy.

    My left ear started to tingle, which usually happens when the All Blacks are about to kick off against the Wallabies. A vulture wheeled in the night sky.

    “Ca-caw! Ca-caw!” it crowed, portentously. Wait, how could I hear it through the thick glass of the Beehive’s top floor?

    “CA-CAW!” Lorde screeched again, at my right shoulder. “The coven will come to order.”

  24. greywarshark 25

    Al Nisbet does seem to have a nob at the end of his pen. Quite often.

  25. greywarshark 26

    While thinking about women and how we, they and the media present them, you would find this report of asurvey interesting – from Radionz. 9.24mins

    A study in Australia has found that while having a confident personality helps men rise in the workplace, there is no benefit for women showing assertiveness.

    Dr Leonora Risse, economic researcher at RMIT University in Melbourne, led the study which used government data alongside a psychological framework to assess the career prospects of men and women….

    “There are studies from America which show a man who shows confidence is viewed favourably – he’s decisive and firm and authoritative – whereas if a female shows these traits she’s perceived to be bossy, headstrong or too ambitious.”

    She believes Sandberg’s lean in concept is too narrow.
    “Because it is encouraging women to converge to one mould and suggesting that there’s only one way to be successful and that’s to be bold and assertive.

    “It’s overlooking a lot of the other important attributes, personality traits and talents that people can offer workplaces.”

    It seems that women need to be quietly confident and sturdily determined, with a bit of cunning planning to add. (If you want to view cunning planning and lateral thinking from a self-centred male viewpoint in a cartoon, and are in a city business, then I suggest each day look for the latest Alex cartoon from the Telegraph done by Peattie and Taylor.)

  26. Obtrectator 27

    I don’t see Nisbet’s work very regularly, but on this evidence he’s a superannuated hack who ought to acknowledge he’s totally out of step with the times and exit the profession as soon as possible.

    Followed by one or two others who’ve been coasting for the last two decades or more. (No names, but most people will doubtless have their little lists.)

  27. Delia 28

    Al loves all the attention these cartoons give him.

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    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    1 week ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    1 week ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Southern Response claims move to EQC
    Responsibility for processing the small number of Southern Response claims still to be settled will be transferred to EQC by the end of the year. “As claim numbers reduce, it no longer makes sense for the Crown to have two organisations processing the remaining Canterbury claims,” Grant Robertson says. “Since ...
    3 hours ago
  • Bowel screening starts in Whanganui
    Health Minister David Clark is encouraging Whanganui residents to take up the opportunity for free bowel screening, which can detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat.   Over the next two years 12,000 Whanganui locals, aged 60 to 74 will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Screening ...
    4 hours ago
  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, heads to Oslo today to represent New Zealand at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which is being hosted by the Norwegian Government from the 23-24 October. “The Our Ocean Conference mobilises real action on issues like marine plastic pollution and the impacts of ...
    1 day ago
  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    1 day ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    4 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    4 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    4 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    4 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    4 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    4 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    4 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    5 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    5 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    5 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    5 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    5 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    6 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    6 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    6 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    6 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    6 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    6 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    7 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    7 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    1 week ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    1 week ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    1 week ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    1 week ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    1 week ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    1 week ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    1 week ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    1 week ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    2 weeks ago