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Inequality: Fallow vs Rashbrooke

Written By: - Date published: 7:44 am, July 20th, 2013 - 138 comments
Categories: class war, poverty - Tags: , ,

The latest Ministry of Social Development’s report is out: Household Incomes in New Zealand: trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2012.  Yesterday The Herald ran two pieces on the report with very different conclusions – Brian Fallow’s Rising inequality largely a myth and Max Rashbrooke’s Rich get richer. The poor? Have a guess.  So who’s right?

Let’s not beat around the bush – Max Rashbrooke is right. Fallow’s argument is weak for several reasons. First – right out of the gate he sets up a “straw man” to fail (Fallow):

The idea that New Zealand has become one of the most unequal societies in the developed world is just not supported by the data.

No it isn’t supported by the data (though we’re above the OECD median, which is bad enough). But not many people make this claim. The claim that is usually made, with perfect justification, is (Rashbrooke):

Income gaps in New Zealand increased extraordinarily quickly in the 1980s and 1990s, in what was the developed world’s fastest rise…

Spot the difference? We used to have a relatively equal society. We’ve had the developed world’s fastest increase in inequality, but we have a ways to go before we make it to the top of that particularly depressing league table. Fallow spends much of his article debunking his own straw man.

The second weakness in Fallow’s case is his short term view (Fallow):

A standard measure of income inequality is a thing called the Gini coefficient; the higher it is, the greater the inequality. Since the global financial crisis New Zealand’s has whipped around – it fell in the latest survey, reversing a jump in the one before – but the trend line through it is flat at a value of 33.

That “jump in the one before” was to the highest level ever. Here is coverage of the same MSD report from last year 2012:

NZ inequality at highest level

Household incomes dropped and inequality rose to its highest level ever in New Zealand last year, a Ministry of Social Development report shows. … It shows the gap between rich and poor widened substantially in 2011, putting inequality at its highest level ever.

So yes, the 2013 result is lower than 2012 – but we are talking fluctuations around a historic high. And the trend line is “flat” only in the very short term – here is what is has been up to over the last 3 decades (Rashbrooke):

Income gaps in New Zealand increased extraordinarily quickly in the 1980s and 1990s, in what was the developed world’s fastest rise; they then fell a little under Helen Clark, thanks mostly to Working for Families, but since the global financial crisis have been pretty flat.

Fallow makes a similar mistakes comparing high and low income (Fallow):

The average over the past four household economic surveys is that the top decile have received 8.5 times the income of the bottom one, after tax and transfers. That puts us in the middle of the OECD rankings, and lower than Australia and Canada (8.9 times), Britain (10 times) and the United States (16 times).

The definition of income here is household disposable (or after-tax) cash income from all sources. So it includes transfer payments like New Zealand superannuation, Working for Families tax credits and welfare benefits.

The tax and transfer system dramatically reduces income inequality among the working age population compared with market incomes alone, reducing the Gini score by 22 per cent. Again, this is similar to Australia (23 per cent) and not much worse than the OECD norm (25 per cent).

Once again looking at the measure over the short term, and once again stressing that we aren’t top of the OECD (when no one said that we were). Rashbrooke agrees on some factors, but takes a longer view (Rashbrooke):

The report shows that most low-income households have had small – a few hundred dollars a year – increases in their spending money (after taxes and housing costs are accounted for) since the GFC.

Against a backdrop of falling wages and high unemployment (especially in the 2011-12 period for these figures), these very small increases seem to be due to the Government’s tax cuts, and the welfare state insulating some households from the worst of the recession.

Income trends elsewhere are variable. Middle-income households are not much better off than they were a few years ago. People in the upper reaches, those just below the top 10th, have had a decent – $2000 or so – increase in their discretionary cash. They get most of their money from salaries, and those higher salaries have grown despite the tough times. But the top 10th have seen an 8 per cent dip in income, owing to lower returns on their investments, which make up more of their income.

…it’s also worth remembering that none of this changes the overall picture, which is that in the last 30 years, incomes for those at the top have doubled, while those at the bottom have stagnated. Someone in the lowest 10th of the country has, after housing costs, just $11,500 a year to spend. That figure (adjusted for inflation) in 1982? $11,000.

That’s why inequality is now such a live issue.

In short, Fallow’s headline claim that rising inequality is “largely a myth” is completely wrong. In his favour, however, his article actually goes in to some relevant factors in a lot more depth than Rashbrooke, even though it doesn’t exactly help his case (Fallow):

Wealth is distributed more unequally than income. Those in the top income decile receive about 25 per cent of gross income but those in the top wealth decile have 50 per cent of total wealth. …

A richer picture emerges when the report turns to housing costs (mortgage payments, rents and rates).

Housing costs amounting to more than 30 per cent of a household’s disposable income are counted as high and are often associated with financial stress for low to middle income households, the report says. In the 2012 survey just over one household in four had high housing costs. It has been there or thereabouts for the past five years, up from one in five in the early 1990s and one in 10 in the late 1980s.

Both authors are agreed that there is no clear trend in measures of child poverty over the last four years, but once again Rashbrooke puts it in context (Rashbrooke):

In all this, rising housing costs – which have outweighed many other gains – are crucial. They are partly responsible for the child poverty rate stagnating at around 270,000, one-quarter of all children, on the broadest measure (those living in families with less than 60 per cent of the average income, after housing costs). This rate had fallen sharply in the early 2000s, and is important because families under that line struggle to afford the necessities of life, according to both local focus groups and international evidence.

Summing up, Rashbrooke’s headline is by far the more accurate – the rich get richer (sorry David). Final word to economist Bernard Hickey:

NZ shares a big problem with the US and Europe. Our household sectors are still heavily indebted and incomes in the middle and lower income groups are barely above where they were five or six years ago.

Figures this week show NZ’s real per capita GDP is still 1.3 per cent below 2007′s. Most of the gains in any economic recovery have gone to the top few per cent of the population

138 comments on “Inequality: Fallow vs Rashbrooke”

  1. muzza 1

    BF got mauled in the comments section.

    I won’t waste energy with my thoughts on Brian, his articles speak for themselves!

    I wonder if he enjoys writing such dross, or if he actually believes it!

  2. tsmithfield 2

    Reducing inequality also reduces motivation. Which in turn is bad for society as a whole.

    For instance if beneficiaries and doctors received exactly the same income there would be lots of beneficiaries and hardly any doctors. This absolute equality would be worse for society as a whole.

    • The Chairman 2.1

      Balance is key.

      It’s not about ‘absolute’ income equality. It’s about reducing the gap (going forward) to a fiscally sustainable level.

      • tsmithfield 2.1.1

        As per the comment I made below. That would mean you want to reduce inequality, but not too much. I don’t think that would be a sustainable position for you.

        And even if what you say is correct, how do you know we are not at that point already, or perhaps gone past it, and are on the downward slide of the equation (as you see it)?

        • The Chairman

          Look at the nations best era of overall performance and analyze how we achieved it.

        • felix

          tsmithfield, what’s your ideal level of inequality and how do you propose we achieve it?

          • burt

            Is there such a thing as an ideal level ? Perhaps people who think they are god and its their duty to social engineer their perceived ideal are the real problem rather than the natural inequity that is life ?

            • felix

              Perhaps I should have emphasised the word your.

              tsmithfield has been asking a very similar question all morning so I though I’d ask it of him to show what a silly question it is.

              As expected, he didn’t answer…

              On social engineering, isn’t everydecision a govt makes social engineering?

              I think it’s fair to say you’d generally prefer govts to leave as many decisions as possible to private entities. In what way is that not shaping society?

            • framu

              your right burt! free marketeers are the problem!

            • KJT

              Gor Burt. You right wingers like being nasty about ideological social engineers.

              I thought they: Basher Bennett, Hekia Parata, Bill English, Don Brash, Rodney Hide, Roger Douglas etc; were on your side.

        • KJT

          Lots of Doctors in Cuba.

          Despite being paid about the same as the local mechanic.

          Rather good ones too, by all accounts.

    • framu 2.2

      “For instance if beneficiaries and doctors received exactly the same income”
      thats not just a straw man – its an entire straw village

      where is anyone arguing for this, can you find anyone saying it outside the confines of your imagination?

    • KJT 2.3

      That is a right wing fallacy.

      Right wingers work for the money!

      Which is why they have such difficulty understanding why most of us work for so little. Though they are happy to take advantage of it.

      Most of us, left wingers, work for the satisfaction of doing a good job and contributing to society.

      However, no one here is advocating absolute equality. None of us are saying that Doctors income should be dropped to that of someone who is much less qualified.
      Genuine equality does mean that those who put in extra effort, such as spending extra years of training on a low income, such as Doctors, get more when they are qualified.

      There is no justification, however, for a bean counter in a monopoly, getting 100 times more pay, than the skilled technicians, a much harder skill set to acquire than brown nosing to the top in a corporation, who work for the same company.

      Or someone who does no work at all, being allowed to keep all of the wealth their grandparents acquired.

      • QoT 2.3.1

        It’s akin to the conservatives who act like enforcing Judeo-Christian values on everyone is the only thing standing in the way of nationwide nightly bestiality orgies.

        The only logical conclusion is that those rightwingers are essentially lazy, bludging fucks. They know they would throw in the towel the instant our welfare system paid benefits you could properly live on, so they assume everyone else would as well.

        • Saarbo

          KJT and QoT

        • KJT

          I think that is pretty much correct. Their goal/dream is to have enough money so they no longer have to work.

          Hence their support for those who have attained that dream. They fondly imagine becoming one of them, living off the efforts of those “silly left wingers” who go to work regardless.

          Unfortunately for them, most of them do not have the intellectual capacity or work ethic to attain it.

          I suspect almost all the right wing apologists on here, and elsewhere, are sad, wannabees!

      • Mike S 2.3.2

        It’s a sad, sad place we’ve allowed to be created where a hedge fund manager who offers nothing productive to the real economy whatsoever and in fact damages the real economy of goods and services by taking money out of the real economy and keeping it in the false, financial economy. Who’s job contributes nothing at all to the community at large and is simply about speculation, makes millions of dollars a year, while a doctor or nurse who try to better peoples lives and help the sick and save lives get paid fuck all in comparison.

        Everything is backwards.

      • Murray Olsen 2.3.3

        I work for the money. I have to. I could probably get more money doing something slightly different, and I also like to help people with things that aren’t necessarily in my job description. I also enjoy most of my work, but I wouldn’t do it for free. I’d be broke pretty quickly.

    • muzza 2.4

      TS you’re talking nonsense – Why does America have widening inequality, and less doctors?


    • Mary 2.5

      “Reducing inequality also reduces motivation. Which in turn is bad for society as a whole.”

      So are you saying increasing inequality increases motivation? If not, how much inequality is good? How do we know we’ve reached that point? At the point just before the riots start? That would be the optimum of efficiency: peak motivation at minimal cost.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.6

      Reducing inequality also reduces motivation.

      No it doesn’t as most people aren’t motivated by money. IMO, it’s likely to increase motivation as the vast majority of people who are presently prevented from innovating get the chance to actually do so.

      In fact, what we’re most likely to see is better management as the fools that are in charge ATM, the ones motivated by money, are replaced by people who actually know what they’re doing.

    • Mike S 2.7

      Nobody;’s saying pay doctors the same as beneficiaries. It’s about being fair and sharing the wealth and profit generated by productivity gains with the workers who produce that wealth. if the top level incomes have doubled in the last 30 years then the lowest incomes should have doubled also yet they’ve remained the same. This means those at the top are keeping all the extra productivity gains for themselves instead of sharing it as they used to.

      Inequality is about so much more than just income. It’s also about equality of opportunity, social mobility, health, political power, etc, etc, etc. The fact is that those at the top are in the position of helping themselves or helping everyone including themselves. At the moment they are just helping themselves, which will eventually get to a stage where social cohesion starts to break down.

      Rising inequality is not just bad for those at the bottom, it has been widely demonstrated that it is bad for everyone.

      • Arfamo 2.7.1

        +1. Totally agree.

      • Blue Leopard 2.7.2

        Mike S

        The emphasis on individual gain that we have been ‘sold’ recently is derived from a theory that is turning out to be entirely incorrect i.e. everyone looking after their own interest leads to ‘the general interests’ of society being met without the need for intervention.

        The ‘invisible hand’ far from ‘magically’ helping the smooth functioning of our society, appears to be doing the fingers at us all.

  3. KJT 3

    This is the dysfunctional and expensive type of mess, unthinking criminals like Key, Basher Bennet, Sancti and Big Bruv want to inflict on us.

    “AMERICANS die younger and experience more injury and illness than people in other rich nations, despite spending almost twice as much per person on healthcare”.

    And the same callous disregard for the sick and disadvantaged as the equal mess in the UK.

    You can see why BB supports euthanasia. And it, his support, has nothing to do with allowing old people to die with dignity.

    Meanwhile Brian Fallow and other commentators totally ignore the fact New Zealand’s economy would be flat-lining without the Christchurch earthquake.

    National are better economic managers,. Tui moment!

    The right wings own favourite measure, GDP, growth, slows, every time the Government swings towards the type of Neo-liberal mean spirited and anti -social solutions National are now imposing.

    Of course, a few people, notably highly paid contractors, consultants, insurance companies and ex politicians, make big money out if the fuckup.

    $1200 to $16000 dollars for a contractor to find someone a job for a year. FFS.

  4. Wayne 4

    Radshbroke might be correct about the rate of change, but the situation in the 1970’s was not desirable. We were the most controlled ecomy of the western world, hence David Lange’s comment about running the economy like a Polish shipyard.

    The spread was too flat. And it meant people made poor choices.

    For instance it is not sensible to pay wharfies as much as doctors. The result was that a lot of very able people chose not to go to University. NZ’s productivity was very low, since effort and success was not rewarded (66% tax rates, all sorts of restrictive economic controls such as import licensing etc).

    The result was that NZ was in a slow decline, and the result was the emergency surgery of the 1980’s. I suspect many contributors here forget that we almost had to call in the IMF to bail us out. That was stopped by the fourth Labour Govt opening up the economy.

    Now, I agree there is a debate to had.

    Is there an optimum level of wealth and income spread?

    Are we reasonably close to it, being in the middle of the OECD?

    Are the Scandinavians about right? I note they have made electoral choices intended to widen the spread a bit, since many of them thought their societies were ossifying.

    • tsmithfield 4.1

      I don’t think it is a very good lefty argument to argue:

      “We want to reduce inequality, but not by too much”

      I think the right’s philosophy of “equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome” is the right approach. I would be very happy to see every NZer fulfil their full potential and succeed to their maximum in the career that satisfies them most. In that way, we would be reducing inequality and at the same time growing the overall pie. This leads to a healthy, prosperous society.

      The left’s philosophy of redistributing wealth will reduce motivation. This will mean any reduction in inequality will be at the cost of reducing the size of the overall pie, thus making society poorer as a whole.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.1.1

        Your “approach” is aspirational, or more accurately, vacuous; that’s why it fails: you propose that nothing can be done, or should be done, so long as you and the people you care about (people who think like you) are all right, Jack.

        Which is why the Right can’t tell the truth about its policies (cf: The Hollow Men): “fuck you” isn’t a vote winner.

        • tsmithfield

          So, do you want to remove inequality totally, or just reduce it, but by not too much?

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead

            Let’s take your conceited lip-service to “equality of opportunity” for example. Opportunity is massively affected by environment – the way household income affects your chances of a good education for instance.

            Income inequality degrades equality of opportunity, but don’t worry, I’m sure you can concoct some sophisticated self-serving drivel that will help you ignore the great big hole in your “thinking”.

          • RedLogix

            Reduce it. No-one is arguing for total equality. Nor is anyone arguing for absolute inequality … there must be a fairly broad ‘sweet spot’ somewhere in between.

            The debate revolves around where that ideal spot is, and the best way to achieve it. My take on the evidence is that over the last 30 years New Zealand has moved away from the optimum.

            Certainly on a global scale with some 50,000 odd uber-wealthy individuals controlling trillions of dollars of wealth and wielding immense corporate powers …. we are very far from any ideal.

      • felix 4.1.2

        “I don’t think it is a very good lefty argument “

        I don’t think Dr Wayne Mapp is a very good lefty.

        • lprent

          “I don’t think it is a very good lefty argument “

          I don’t think Dr Wayne Mapp is a very good lefty.

          Unless you are redbaiter of course. But I think that redbaiter considers that Genghis Khan was a lefty. Oh and that the only good lefty is a dead one.

          Of course it is hard to find anyone around the local blogosphere who doesn’t consider redbaiter really needs some kind of medication.

          • felix

            Redbaiter may well need another term at finishing school to work on his social graces, but are his ideas really that much more extreme than tsmithfield’s or many of the others?

            They’re all promoting a compassionless dog-eat-dog world in which power and control of resources are highly centralised.

            At least Redbaiter openly acknowledges it…

            • burt

              They’re all promoting a compassionless dog-eat-dog world in which power and control of resources are highly centralised.

              What, like state controlled monopolies run by CEO’s being paid hundreds of thousands a year with workers on minimum wage and prices inflated to deliver a dividend to the government to spend on pretty plastic cards and photoshopped billboards of dear leader.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Yes, that’s exactly what we’re proposing. I’m trying to get the numbers to push through the confiscation of everything you own, too.

                • Murray Olsen

                  Count me in, OAK. I’ll falsify the ballot paper and vote seventeen times, just to get my lefty hands on Burt’s frog pyjamas.

              • felix


                Find me a lefty who supports

                a) CEOs of state monopolies being paid hundreds of thousands a year, and

                b) workers being on minimum wage, and

                c) inflated power prices being used as an alternative to income tax

                … and I’ll join ACT.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.1.3

        Now let’s examine your “smaller pie” assertion.

        1. According to you, countries with higher equality should have lower per capita gdp, and then you woke up.
        2. You are happy to further impoverish people if that means the pie you own 90% of gets bigger (it doesn’t, which leads to the suspicion that you are either delusional or sadistic).
        3. Your attempt to mount a cogent defence of selfishness is a little bit shit.

      • The Chairman 4.1.4

        ‘Equality of opportunity’ sounds nice but overlooks individual circumstances of members of society.

        For instance, the sick can’t take full advantage.

        We are not all blessed with high IQ’s, therefore can’t all be expected to up-skill to a fiscally sustainable level, .regardless of the opportunities.

        Moreover, there are a number of low skilled jobs that require to be done, therefore no matter how many we up-skill there will be a number of employees working below a living wage.

      • framu 4.1.5

        well considering that to leverage opportunity requires access to resources, and we know that resources arent evenly distributed how do you propose we achieve this?

        outcome = opportunity + resources

      • framu 4.1.6

        “reducing the size of the overall pie”

        how? – if i have 100 things and i put them in boxes i still have 100 things

        you could argue (following your line of argument) that the pie wont grow as fast or it might stay the same – but get smaller?

        remember americas greatest rise in living standards, productivity and growth was post WW2 when they had a highly “socialist” govt policy setting that practiced quite a bit of redistribution and central management.

        yes the world is a different place now – but it proves your argument is nothing but snake oil

      • KJT 4.1.7

        Equality of opportunity would be nice.

        Of course that is the real value of private schools in New Zealand. It is not a better education. The same child would do just as well in a State school. It is getting plugged into the right old boy network.

        • Raymond a Francis

          So, Michael Cullen rose to the top (almost) of the left tree because he went to a private school.
          Don’t think so
          So, John Key……….but didn’t go to a private school
          So, Hellen Clark…………………….because she went to a private school

          It’s not working, got any real examples

          [Lprent: Epsom Girls Grammer is a private school? Are you trying to compete with Cameron Slater for making crap up for ideological reasons? Perhaps you should check your facts rather than acting like fool.

          Epsom Girls Grammar was and still is a state school which had a boarding facility from early on that was available to kids on a cost recovery basis from rural NZ and for kids with parents on overseas postings. Helen’s parents were farmers and she boarded at EGGS.

          Mount Albert Grammar, where I went to, and eventually Auckland Grammer also had boarding houses and similar cost recovery.

          I’d point out that my mother was a parents representative from Mt Albert on the Grammer schools board for a number of years. Perforce I got force feed some of the budgetary struggles related to maintaining the boarding.

          Perhaps you should look to your own ridiculous examples because they appear to based on foolish myth rather than any kind of accuracy. ]

          • KJT

            The social welfare, and equal education system, that allowed them to reach their positions is being dismantled as fast as National think they can, without losing the next election.

            As for real world examples. Look at the list of company directors in NZ whos who. Where they went to school.

          • Raymond a Francis

            Sorry Iprent you are correct of course Epsom Girls Grammar is not a private school and is a State boarding school where children whose parents can afford the fees can board that they can then plug into the “Old Boys/Girls network” is outside my experience

            I very much doubt it Miss Clark used that for her advancement

            Care to comment on the other examples or would you rather attack the man

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              Care to comment on why you think cherry-picked anecdotes (which you can’t even get right) are relevant to a general rule? I’m not expressing an opinion on whether KJT is correct, by the way.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Well, John Key certainly thinks that KJT is correct:

                It might be sick, but it also might be why Key’s children – Stephanie, 12, and Max, 10 – go to private schools. Mostly, he says, that decision was for educational reasons. Their schools have smaller classes and are better resourced than most state schools. But he acknowledges that the connections children make are also important.

                Unfortunately, The Listener have put that article behind the pay wall since.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  There’s an inherent problem with your source: he’s been caught lying too often 😉

      • tricledrown 4.1.8

        Tsm so your answer is to not allow more people to succeed in life but to follow the free market philosophy of having a continuous pool of unemployed break unions make education and health more expensive so the already well off are the only ones who are aloud to have wealth!
        Show me a country where that works you narrow minded jerk!

    • The Chairman 4.2

      Alternatively, perhaps the result of more equal pay was our high standard of living and low debt?.

      Perhaps the decline was due to the oil crisis and loss of trade with the UK?

      Moreover, perhaps the result of the 80’s reforms (albeit helping in some ways) accelerated the decline and is largely responsible for where we are today?

      Perhaps the equilibrium we seek can be found in the era when the nation earned more than it spent (current account)?

      • KJT 4.2.1

        We are still earning more than we spend in real tradeables. We always did.

        The deficit is because so much of our income goes offshore in finance rates, interest company profits, including those from privatised SOE’s and the rich spending/investing offshore.

        In other words, the total failure of the trickle down theory.

        • The Chairman


          But ponder this:

          Does a trade surplus really count when our tradeables are predominantly foreign owned and the fiscal benefit largely heads offshore, resulting in a current account deficit?

          And if such a large sum wasn’t heading offshore, could it be distributed locally in a more equal manner?

          We’ve all seen the headlines (bank profits) and we know where they go, but what does the bank cleaner earn?

          • Colonial Viper

            Same idea with (overseas owned) Telecom. They aren’t firing hundreds of workers because they are making a loss. They are doing it because their shareholders want a boost to their billion dollar profits.

            We are creating an economy where working people are not needed, and those who are still required get a smaller and smaller cut of national income.

          • KJT

            Banking going from 30% of GDP to 60% and rising. Considering banking is almost all overseas owned has a lot to do with it.

            Not to mention lower wages, in New Zealand, equals higher profits, taken offshore, to offshore corporates.

            • Colonial Viper

              Where are your 30% and 60% figures from? I know that banking activity is far too high, but that cannot be right.

              • KJT

                Depends on whether you measure it by contribution to GDP (About 18% in 2008, according to stats NZ, Dairy 7%) or the proportion of GDP they take! Average about 60% of every transaction is debt or finance charge related.

              • Mike S

                Yeah, I think the financial industry is around 7-10% of GDP now. (and rising rapidly)

    • KJT 4.3

      Doctors at the time were paid almost twice a s much as wharfies. At least in part because they were able to go to the Government through the national awards process and say that the wharfies had set a floor.

      Both GP’s and wharfies pay has dropped together.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.4

      The result was that a lot of very able people chose not to go to University.

      The correct incentives weren’t in place but money isn’t the correct incentive either. In fact, IME, I’d say that there was a massive disincentive because NZ had, and still has, a very bad attitude to well educated people. The problem was, and still is, social.

      The result was that NZ was in a slow decline,

      Get it right Wayne, it was the entire capitalist system worldwide that was in decline. The Keynesian bandage was starting to fail and capitalism’s tendency to collapse was taking over.

      I suspect many contributors here forget that we almost had to call in the IMF to bail us out.

      And yet all we really had to do was float the NZ$ and have the government print the money at )% interest. Hell, I even think dropping tariffs was a good idea. The real problem is that we kept thinking that we had to borrow foreign money to use our own resources which is complete bollocks.

      Is there an optimum level of wealth and income spread?

      My own feeling on the matter is that it should be around the average wage. Nobody should have an income above $100k and nobody should have an income below 2/3rds of the average wage. To help this we also need 100% employment which means bringing back the 40 hour week although I’d prefer a 32 hour week.

      I note they have made electoral choices intended to widen the spread a bit, since many of them thought their societies were ossifying.

      If they are it’s got nothing to do with inequality but the fact that the same people are at the top and only people like them can get there. It’s the major problem with hierarchical systems and capitalism is massively hierarchical.

    • Murray Olsen 4.5

      Lange’s Polish shipyard comment showed that he was at heart a lawyer. Douglas and Friedman were his clients and he was stating their case to the best of his (great) ability. It doesn’t mean he was right. The only thing that was stopped by the first ACT government was the development of our nation. What they began was the process of rot that we still see today. Their heads should be hanged in shame.

      • Colonial Viper 4.5.1

        With a double irony that he was verbally running down the Gdansk shipyard, home of the very effective labour Solidarity movement.

    • RDE 4.6

      “the 1970′s was not desirable”.
      In 1972 New Zealand had one of the highest living standards in the world. We also had a Current Account surplus – something we have not been able to achieve since then. That’s without mentioning the substantially better social cohesion and much lower welfare dependency. Doesn’t sound too undesirable to me.

  5. felix 5

    “Reducing inequality also reduces motivation.”

    Only in people who are motivated by wanting more than someone else has. Question: are the richest 10% motivated by inequality?

    “Which in turn is bad for society as a whole.”

    Only if you want a society based on everybody wanting more than everybody else. Doesn’t sound like much of a society at all, frankly.

    “For instance if beneficiaries and doctors received exactly the same income there would be lots of beneficiaries and hardly any doctors.”

    tsmithfield, right now we have lots of beneficiaries and hardly any doctors. So whatever we’ve been doing, by your own admission, is building a worse society.

    On that, I agree.

    • tsmithfield 5.1

      Sure, we haven’t got many doctors now, simply because of the length of training and the high level of intelligence required for the occupation. If beneficiaries and doctors earned the same income, there would be no motivation at all for ideal candidates to make the investment in terms of time and student loan etc to become doctors. So, there would be virtually no doctors.

      But I hold to my position. Inequality does increase motivation. The extreme cases that prove the point are societies where the poor are oppressed and downtrodden to the extent that they are motivated enough revolt and overthrow the tier of society that is oppressing them.

      Given the recent opinion polls, I don’t think NZ meets that criteria.

      The key to motivation that improves outcomes for people is to ensure there are realistic and available opportunities for people to improve their lot in life through education etc. Any such barriers need to be reduced as much as possible or, preferably, eliminated totally.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1.1

        Your “position” is that you are standing on quicksand.

        Compare the list of countries by gdp per capita, and the list of countries by GINI. There is no evidence that inequality increases productivity.

        You’re wrong. Get over it.

        • tsmithfield

          I expect those cases would actually be highly supportive of my position.

          My position is:

          1. That where people perceive themselves as disadvantaged compared to other members of society.

          2. And that there are realistic paths and opportunities that would enable them to reduce or eliminate that perception of disadvantage.

          3. That they will be motivated to take the opportunities available to reduce their perception of disadvantage.

          4. That societies where those conditions are present will be better as a whole than those where they are not.

          If you were to examine those societies you point to, and find that they have lower unemployment, higher average education levels etc, then I would argue this situation has occurred because the conditions I have just explained have existed historically in those societies.

          That being the case, the best way to get from A to B is equality in opportunities rather than outcomes.

          In societies such as India, those preconditions obviously are very lacking. There is a caste system, for example, that arbitrarily restricts opportunities. I would argue that these arbitrary barriers contribute greatly to poverty in their society.

          • felix

            Your position is nothing but a list of religious beliefs, without a shred of evidence to support them.

            You are asking us to ignore all the available data and instead rely on your hunch.

            What a fucking joke.

            • tsmithfield

              Actually, my argument fits very nicely with theories of motivation supported by a huge body of empirical research.

              The information relied on in terms of relative prosperitiy and equality of various nations isn’t a reliable basis for the argument that the left is making, and easily can be construed as supportive of my position.

              In case you have lived in a cave for most of your life, correlation isn’t the same as causation.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Having your one eye firmly fixed on “theories” (aka hunches) of motivation does nothing to acknowledge that “realistic paths and opportunities” are degraded by worsening inequality.

                I predicted you would ‘concoct some sophisticated self-serving drivel that will help you ignore the great big hole in your “thinking”’, and hey presto! You validated my prediction.

                We need better wingnuts.

                PS: you “expect”? Well I didn’t: I checked, and guess what: you have false expectations.

                • tsmithfield

                  “….does nothing to acknowledge that “realistic paths and opportunities” are degraded by worsening inequality.”

                  So, the answer is to ensure that realistic paths and opportunities exist, and can be easily accessed by all, including those at the bottom of the heap. Simply shifting resources across to those at the bottom of the heap doesn’t improve their situation in the long term.

                  As far as I see it, the left is more into giving people fish. The right is more into teaching people how to fish.

                  I know which one is the most effective solution long term.

                  • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                    That you can think of a solution that won’t work says what?

                    Oh, that’s right, it says you’re doing your best to undermine the discussion while bringing nothing of value. Which pretty much makes you a walking advert for post-natal abortion, but I suppose everyone has a place in life.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Judging by your comments I can see why you want to stay anonymous!!

                      So, are you saying that disbanding the caste system in India that artificially locks people out of opportunities would have no effect? You really are a knucklehead, aren’t you.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      You’re failing the logic test: is that feeble strawman the best you can do?

                      I think so.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    So, the answer is to ensure that realistic paths and opportunities exist, and can be easily accessed by all, including those at the bottom of the heap.

                    That’s what the left keep saying and the right keep doing the exact opposite.

                    The right is more into teaching people how to fish.

                    BS, this government has been removing access to education ever since it came in to power.

                    I know which one is the most effective solution long term.

                    Nope, you haven’t got a clue.

                  • felix

                    tsmithfield, you’re substituting theory for facts.

                    The facts say you’re wrong.

                    I’m really sorry about that mate but it’s just fucking reality. All the hackneyed fishing metaphors in the world won’t get around that.

                    ps your metaphor is way off anyway. A more accurate one:

                    The left is into making sure everyone has a fish, caught themselves if possible and provided regardless if not.

                    The right is into gaining monopoly rights to commercial fishing, paying people shitty wages to work in shitty conditions catching and processing the fish, and selling the produce back to the people for a profit.

                  • Mike S

                    You’re talking through a hole in your arse. The right, over the last 30 years, (and the left to a certain extent) is not about teaching people how to fish.The last thing they want is everyone being good fishermen. The right is about keeping all the extra fish for itself rather than sharing the fish with those who helped catch them.

                    • Arfamo

                      Seems to me the Right tells people they need to fish but requires them to pay ever increasing exorbitant prices for access to the fishery, and for the hooks, the lines, and the rods.

                  • Murray Olsen

                    Nah, the right is into catching and selling as many fish as they easily can, while stopping anyone else doing it, then poisoning the water.

              • tricledrown

                Tsm your argument is is supported by a popularity contested encyclopedia!
                Going back to the Ropa report in 1987 nothing has changed since the introduction of free market policies poverty has continually increased!
                The Glen report will find the same issues that having 250,000 children being brought up in poverty is a $6 billion Dollar a year drag on the economy!
                if we fix this problem our economy will flourish!
                Alcohols damage to our community$6 billio a year
                Gambling Damage to our community$ 6 billion a year
                Doing nothing Nactional Peter Dumdarse is costing our economy $18 billion a year!
                Doing Nothing is nationals policy !
                Tsm they leave it to ignorant suckholes like yourself to push your putrid propaganda

              • Draco T Bastard

                I’m a great supporter of Wikipedia but things like this do tend make me take the article with a grain of salt:

                This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
                This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2012)
                This article possibly contains original research. (August 2012)

              • tricledrown

                the stupid monetarist you haven’t read any stats on either countries who have a more equal distribution of wealth or on states within the US for example!
                If you look at the latest economic stats coming out of the US those with the least wealth distribution have the highest poverty most of those states are controlled by republican governors!
                With the same failed ideology as yourself!

      • KJT 5.1.2

        Funny that the right wing thinks managers of monopolies, where anything they will not make much difference, have to be motivated to do their jobs by million dollar salaries, while they think that everyone else will be motivated by cutting their pay as much as possible and making their working conditions third world.

      • KJT 5.1.3

        It sort of spoils your story TS that the countries in the OECD with the lowest inequality also have the highest social mobility, number of entrepreneurs and GDP increases.

        Since we allowed more of the National income to go to the already wealthy and the finance industry NZ has dropped many places in OECD rankings by almost all measures.
        Sweden, since they decided the answer to, so called, stagnation is to become, less equal. have also been dropping by measures including the favourite right wing one, GDP rise!

        In part at least because it is the middle classes who invest in new business.

        “Less than 1% of the wealth held by wealthy households in the USA is invested as so called “angel capital”. In reality the wealthy avoid risky start-ups, like the plague. They prefer privatizations of State utilities and financial products where there return is assured by tax payer funding. Those that are too big or too essential for the State to allow them to fail.”

      • KJT 5.1.4

        We haven’t got enough Doctors now! because our right wing nut jobs in charge do not value them enough to pay them.

        Preferring to pay administrators more than Doctors.

        Same reason why we are short in all the skilled occupations.

  6. Someone in the lowest 10th of the country has, after housing costs, just $11,500 a year to spend. That figure (adjusted for inflation) in 1982? $11,000.

    I recall pointing out in a recent comments thread that after-housing-costs income for people at the bottom is around the same in real terms as it was 30 years ago, and the consensus of the Standard’s readers was that only right-wing poverty-deniers would accept such a willful misinterpretation of the statistics. Funny how times change, isn’t it?

  7. Santi 7

    Inequality is a fact of life. It can not be abolished by decree or social engineering.
    Communism and socialism have proven to be outdated ideologies.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1

      Guillotines are a fact of life; they cannot be abolished by reading Atlas Shrugged again.

      Epidemiology, you partisan fool.

    • The Chairman 7.2

      It’s about reducing it – not abolishing it

      Keynesian capitalism produced our best economic performance and our most equal era.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1

        Until even that failed to work. Although, according to Keen, the way that Keynesianism was implemented was corrupted from Keynes’ idea so that it benefited the rich and not society as a whole.

        • KJT

          Keynesian policies are sort of working in the USA right now.

          I suspect though, they would have worked a lot better if the stimulus had been applied directly, as it was during the “New Deal” than through the banking system

    • KJT 7.3

      As we have said before. Socialism works fine. In New Zealand until the 70’s, in the USA when they had the new deal and 91% taxes on millionaires, in the UK in the 60’s, in much of Scandinavia now, Switzerland and North Dakota.

      Capitalism, however, has had to be bailed out by the socialists many times.

    • burt 7.4

      Santi is right. Social engineering the society according to the doctrine of our ideology is folly.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.4.1

        Gosh, did clever Santi set up a strawman and then knock it over? Clever clever Santi. One day you might be that clever, eh Burt.

      • tricledrown 7.4.2

        So Burt why aren’t you paying your free education costs back to the government as its obvious that you have learned nothing other than put forward failed policy!
        We used to be one of the most socially connected and happiest countries in the world now we are heading down to the bottom of the list!
        because selfishness and greed have taken over!

    • Santi 7.5

      Long live inequality, true motor of human progress.
      The Left must accept we’re not all born equal. Oh, oh.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.5.1

        That’s right, some were born with a silver spoon in their brain.

        The Left is way ahead of you, you poor sap.

      • tricledrown 7.5.2

        Civilization has come along way through cooperation and community spirit!
        Santi you and your ilk are driving us back to the jungle mentality of dog eat dog society!
        narcissism is your religion!

        • Santi

          Cooperation and community spirit, yes! But, no to forcing/imposing people to pay for the lazy and those without brains or aspirations.

          • Arfamo

            This whole left wing/socialist/communist vs right wing/neocon/neolib/capitalist labelling is bullshit. Who gives a damn. What’s needed is a fair society where everybody who can work and contribute is able to, and to receive a liveable wage for their labours, and those who can’t, through disability or illness or job loss are given a reasonable level of state assistance, so they are able to live a decent life.

            Nobody in their right mind objects to entrepreneurs and business developers who take the risks to establish their enterprises reaping greater rewards than those who are content to work a 40 hour week for a decent living, a home with a mortgage, the chance to have and bring up a couple of children, and a few of the ordinary comforts of modern life.

            If a democratically elected government is not delivering this scenario, it’s time to biff it out and get one that does.

            • Santi

              If a democratically elected government is not delivering this scenario, it’s time to biff it out and get one that does.

              What Lenin, Stalin or Mao used to say. The same communist rubbish!

              • Blue Leopard

                If a democratically elected government is not delivering this scenario, it’s time to biff it out and get one that does.

                What is Communist about this statement??

                Sounds straight up democratic to me

                ++1 Arfamo

                • Paul

                  Santi is only saying this bs to get you to bite.

                  • Blue Leopard

                    In earlier comments Santi is clearly trying to get people to bite, however this comment and the one above of Santi’s appears to be attempting to provide the type of false logic that gets people voting against their own interests, and for policies that create an unhealthy and dysfunctional society.

                    • Arfamo

                      Yeah well, he’s a dinosaur. Social democracies in which capitalism is regulated to prevent its excesses actually work. But they require the government to have the welfare of both business and society as equally important objectives.

                    • Blue Leopard

                      @ Arfamo

                      My prediction is that Santisaurus will be inferring you are a terrorist for writing such “heresies” ~regardless that your comment is proven historical fact.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Social democracies in which capitalism is regulated to prevent its excesses actually work.

                      Except within 30-40 years, the capitalist elite will be well on the way again to unpicking those regulations and institutions which keep things balanced, and finally infiltrating government so that there are no clear lines left between profit making corporations and the public sector.

                    • @ CV

                      I thought that had already occurred??

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yep. I was just making a point that “regulated capitalism” is inherently unstable and will always tend to slide the way the plutocrats want it.

                    • @ CV,

                      All systems have a tendency to erode in time, but I wouldn’t have thought that “regulated capitalism” was particularly “unstable’ in that regard?

                      I do consider the unregulated pure-market capitalism we have just now is unstable, in the sense of causing markets to have more booms and busts.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      “Booms and busts” = volatility, and volatility is actually extremely profitable for financial traders, even as it destroys governments and businesses in the real economy.

                      but I wouldn’t have thought that “regulated capitalism” was particularly “unstable’ in that regard?

                      Keen speaks of Minsky’s view of this. That an extended period of steady, predictable capitalism always raises expectations for increases in yield/profit, encouraging increased speculation and risk taking. Capitalists lobby for the removal of regulations and rules (“cutting red tape”) on the basis that they are not needed (essentially the success of legislation like Glass-Steagal is used as an argument that it is no longer needed).

                      And we end up back in a massive fraud based debt based depressionary mess (only bigger) just 80 years after the last one.

                    • @ CV

                      Interesting thanks; that sounds like a fair theory!

                    • Arfamo

                      Yep, CV, that is exactly what happens, and has happened. And the reason we can’t swing the pendulum back to a fairer society again is because there’s no party putting a clear stake in the ground and saying that’s our political philosophy and these are our policies. And not enough people are hurting yet.

                    • Arfamo

                      Yep, CV, that is exactly what happens, and has happened. And the reason we can’t swing the pendulum back to a fairer society again is because there’s no major party putting a clear stake in the ground and saying that’s our political philosophy and these are our policies. And not enough people are hurting yet.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      It’s time that left wingers understand that political parties today will provide us with very few answers.

                      Progressive change has always been driven by mass movements of people pressuring the politicians, not by the political parties or the politicians themselves. Abolitionists, suffragettes, the New Deal, ending the Vietnam War.

                      Politicians are not leaders, they are followers.

                      So where is the mass movement of people in this case? They don’t exist. And without that, the political parties – which originally were merely the political wing of those popular movements – will never act in a way consistent with left wing principles.

                    • Blue Leopard



                      I thoroughly agree with your comment and think your question re where is the mass movement is a pertinent one.

                      There are a few things going against mass movements formulating.

                      The first issue being how people speaking out are being labelled traitors and terrorists; demonstrations such as the mass wall street movement are being treated as illegal (i.e. ending up with arrests)

                      The second issue being how people who are having their rights and conditions most degenerated by the current state of affairs are either working long hours to make end meet and don’t have the time or energy to stand back and work out that it is due to a larger problem than that they just happen to have a poorly paid job. (or are on welfare see below)

                      If people in such a situation have worked out there is something wrong it is unlikely they have the time or energy to become active in the cause.

                      Those that do have the time to work these things out and to speak out will be on some form of welfare (part-time work or unemployed) are increasingly being framed as the lepers of society and thus have little ‘credibility’ with which to make a point.

                      There are also people who are wealthy and have worked out things are wrong, however one needs more than this handful of people to create a mass movement
                      That’s my thoughts on the gnarly question as to why more people aren’t speaking out…

              • Arfamo

                WTF is communist about what I said Santi? For Heaven’s sake. It’s a simple enough concept. Plenty of governments achieved it before the 80’s.

          • KJT

            Being a bit nasty about Brownlee, Bennett, Parata and Tolley etc, aren’t you?

            Should we leave them to starve?

          • tricledrown

            spurious examples grinch Pinochet Putin to you

      • muzza 7.5.3

        Santi, I’m curious, where did you form these views of yours, and how do you see them benefitting society?

        Human progress – erm, no, no its not, but its sold as that , so peons like yourself will have something to dribble over!

    • Phil 7.6

      Inequality is not a “fact of life” dumb one. There are no “facts of life apart from those we decide to accept as such.
      Inequality is however a pre requisite for crony capitalism and leads to daft statements from it’s loyal supporters.

  8. captain hook 8

    ‘they’ try and disguise inequality by hiding behind the per capita income red herring.
    What about some actual figures on income distribution then we can make our minds up for ourselves or are these just inconvenient facts.

  9. One Anonymous Knucklehead 9

    The Left needs to stop trying to win debates with people who are only interested in manufacturing doubt. Millsy’s approach to them makes much more sense.

  10. One Anonymous Knucklehead 10

    Right wing positions on inequality:

    “It’s a good thing”. (Tsmithfield at 5.1)

    “It’s minimal, and anyway we have just the right amount of it under National” (Wayne at 4.)

    “It’s natural.” (Santi at 7.)

    “The science isn’t settled.” (Gosman on various previous occasions.)

    We need better wingnuts, goddamnit!

  11. burt 11

    No it isn’t supported by the data (though we’re above the OECD median, which is bad enough). But not many people make this claim. The claim that is usually made, with perfect justification, is (Rashbrooke):

    Oh, remember back circa 2000 it was our objective to get into the top half of the OECD ladder… That was apparently a grand ambition of dear leader but now …. It’s bad enough to be in the top half … We should be top right….

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.1

      Oh, well played! I see what you did there! You are cleverer than Santi!

      Everyone give Burt a pat on the head.

  12. Macro 12

    “Fallow makes a similar mistakes….”

    No he doesn’t rOb – he’s well aware of the lies he is telling. He’s just spinning for all he’s worth. Because he knows in his heart of hearts what is the truth but chooses to “rationalise” an impossible position.
    If he were to concede, what is in fact reality for the majority of New Zealanders, he would have to admit that the economic system in which he firmly believes and places his trust, is in little more than a useless ideology of unsound practices.

    • Paul 12.1

      He’s invested too much in the lie to be able to anything other than spin for a living.
      He’d lose his job if he wrote otherwise.

  13. Macro 13

    “The idea that New Zealand has become one of the most unequal societies in the developed world is just not supported by the data.”

    Yes it IS supported by the data.

    It depends on how you measure inequality –

    If we were to rate countries by the gap in income between the richest 20% and the poorest 20%, perhaps the most understandable metric of inequality, then NZ scores very badly, with the richest earning on average 6.8 times that of the poorest (2003 – 2006 data) compared to Japan where the rich earn on average 3.4 times that of the poorest. As for ts’s argument that lack of money is a motivational factor – well that immediately flies out the window when presented with that fact.
    On this metric we are only ahead of Australia 7 times, UK, 7.2, Portugal 8.0 and the USA a whopping 8.5.
    (Data from UN “Human Development” Reports for the years 2003 – 2006)

    • Rosetinted 13.1

      Is it that our inequality is growing faster than any other developed country?
      Lack of money is indeed a motivational factor – for seeking solace in the bottle, the needle, nostrums from the chemist or on prescriptions, eating fattening comfort food (usually cheap) ie white bread and price reduced take-aways, etc.

  14. QoT 14

    I couldn’t stand Fallow’s article. It was basically, “I’ll take an extreme example of statements about inequality (i.e. that NZ is *the* most unequal society) and by showing that we’re not the worst in comparison to other countries which are also doing pretty shittily in terms of inequality, I’ll draw the conclusion that inequality isn’t a big deal.”

    And of course he and his editors don’t understand how the fucking internet works, so it’s not like he bothers to link to any supporting evidence for his statements, we’re just meant to sit back and go “Oh, mighty Brian Fallow, you are an Economics Editor for the NZ Herald and thus unquestionable!”

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      And of course he and his editors don’t understand how the fucking internet works, so it’s not like he bothers to link to any supporting evidence for his statements, we’re just meant to sit back and go “Oh, mighty Brian Fallow, you are an Economics Editor for the NZ Herald and thus unquestionable!”

      That’s how journalism has always been though. They’ve quoted a person here and there but they’ve never had to actually mention the research. This will, I hope, change as people get more information from the internet and research becomes more readily available to everyone. If it doesn’t then more and more people will become aware of the pure BS that we’re presently seeing from the journalists.

      Of course, the other option is that the government puts in regulation stating that such articles need to link to the research and statistics. That would, I think, end the BS.

      • QoT 14.1.1

        That’s how journalism has always been though.

        I know, but the problem is seriously exacerbated these days with comments – people in Fallow’s article were posting the link to Rashbrooke’s to refute him – and the fact that online stuff sometimes is the news – e.g. when John Armstrong had a fucking whinge about “evil bloggers criticising me” but failed to link to those bloggers (Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards, hardly the same thing as a QoT or Zetetic).

        It just shows up their born-to-rule-the-narrative attitudes even more strongly.

        (Personally I think regulations around linking to research would do wonders, especially in the area of science reporting.)

        • KJT

          Seems to me, when it was called reporting, there was an attempt to report the news accurately. Nowadays, “Journalism” consists of regurgitating press releases without any fact checking, or it is simply interviewing their typewriters.

          Often the opinion columns are the only ones worth reading, as they contain more factual information, or at least the bias is obvious, than “the news”.

          I agree that so called news reporters, unless it is obviously a personal opinion piece, should have to give references.

          If they are professionals, as they claim, we should expect the same standards as we expect from an undergraduate essay. No unsupported ideas, a list of references and fact checking.

          A large proportion of unpaid bloggers actually meet those standards. I don’t think it is too much to expect of “Journalists” who are paid to inform us/sell advertising space..

  15. aerobubble 15

    Auckland is situated on a volcanic field, on a isthmus, with large sprawling single height homes. Why hasn’t it grown properly, why is it there at all, what was the free market thinking!
    I mean you’d rather build on safer land, you’d rather build where you can add underground, and bypassed, etc. How did Auckland suffer a car lot on its best habour parade for decades???

    Simple, the same reason why our media is so distorted, so corrupted. We do not as a nation balance the wealthy, who need a counter balance to stop themselves from running off in greed ridden counter to their interests adventurism, with a BBC, Guardian newspaper…

    For me NZ is summed up presently, nolonger by a car lot where a Sydney Opera house building should be, but by the car cult of noisy engines. Cars made less efficient, that exude noise, vibration, that disturb sleep, that erode the roads with excessive vibration, that bring on early onset deafness in the kids of those car owners, all because they would have been putting their hard earned cash into buy a home, servicing a mortgage, but instead are either sitting pretty on several rentals or have given up any chance of home ownership due to temporary and insecure low paid work. That’s the ‘inequality’ engine driving into the heart of the nation. The greed of Auckland, its nature geography plus the tax regime, fuel housing price madness, reward land banking, hold a veto over development of higher density living.

    For me NZ isn’t about running a lean efficient economy, its all about those making money desperate to stop NZ from being run lean and efficiently for all, and are willing to push the risks and social malaise onto the majority. And they can do it because they are for the most part a small group of media, a herd of right wing talking heads. A stable of them, rewarded by the wealth to force more wealth into the hands of people like them.

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    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 days ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 days ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    3 days ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    3 days ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    3 days ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    3 days ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    4 days ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    4 days ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    5 days ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    5 days ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    6 days ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    6 days ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    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 climate.change@stuff.co.nz If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
    This is the third of the synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016). The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Unlike the humble cup of coffee and t-shirt that we looked at in ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • The freshwater mussel housing crisis: eviction by invasive weeds?
    Tom Moore Traditionally a food source and cutting tool, freshwater mussels/kākahi are now widely valued as water filters that help clean our waterbodies and maintain ecosystem health throughout Aotearoa. The improvement they provide in water quality can make it easier for other animals to live in streams and rivers, as ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Back it up Luxon: endorsing the destructive past is not actually the way forward
    And to think he gave all the potential goodwill away with that moronic, cult-like statement (repeated ad nauseam by many National hardliners) that Key is quite simply “the greatest PM we ever had”… Installation complete: this was nothing ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Good riddance
    National MP and former Conservation Minister Maggie Barry will not seek re-election next year. Good riddance. Because in case anyone has forgotten, barry is a bullying thug who terrorised both public servants and fellow MPs. She is one of the people who makes Parliament a toxic workplace, and our country ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: D-Day
    The Zero Carbon Bill is back in the House today for its second reading. While this isn't the final stage, its still effectively D-Day for the bill. Because today, at around 5pm, is when we're going to find out if it has a majority, whether National will support it or ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Winston is right
    Winston Peters is in court today, suing a bunch of former Minister and civil servants over their pre-election leak of his superannuation repayment. He's characterised the leak as malicious, and said that it is repugnant that his information was passed on to Ministers to use for political advantage. And he's ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Media impartiality
    Sky's economics editor, Ed Conway has posted a Twitter thread responding to a claim that - as far as I can see - Labour never made:
    Are NHS operation cancellations at an all-time high? That's the impression you might have been left with if you read this story from the ...
    1 week ago
  • Finish what’s on your plate
    Murray Cox Do I have to finish my favourite genome? That’s an often-asked question. Geneticists generally strive to produce high-quality genomes that sequence every last gene, making full use of the state-of-the-art technologies coming on stream. Sequencing DNA means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks – called ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Gainful Employment: A Cautionary Tale.
    Transformative Politics: The idea is to turn each recipient into an unwitting accomplice in their own transformation. From interested observer to hyped-up activist, sharing our messages promiscuously with ‘friends’. You’ll be part of an ever-expanding circulatory system, Jennifer, for the ideas that will win us the election.”JENNIFER SKITTERED her chair ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand should not fund bigotry
    Two years ago, the Cook Islands government announced that it was planning to join the civilised world and decriminalise consensual homosexual sex between men. Now, they've reversed their position, and decided to criminalise lesbians into the bargain:Two years ago, in a step welcomed by many people including the gay and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More tyranny in Australia
    The boycott is a fundamental tool of protest. By choosing who we buy from, we can send a message, and hopefully change corporate behaviour. Historically, boycotts have been effective, for example over apartheid in South Africa and Israel, in forcing divestment from Myanmar, and in ending bus segregation in the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Submission for rationality and science against the assaults of pre-modernism and post-modernism
    Jan Rivers spoke at the Abortion Legislation Select Committee in favour of the bill, but in opposition to calls from other submitters to exchange the word ‘woman’ for ‘person’ throughout the bill. Jan is a supporter of the feminist group Speak Up For Women and has recently written an excellent ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • My loyal readership of … Cam girls and Pornbots?
    I checked my traffic stats:I was intrigued by 'monica29' - who was this very dedicated individual?  I clicked on the link, to be greeted with ...Ho, hum.Spreadin' the word, spreadin' the word.  Doesn't matter who hears it, as long as it gets out there. ...
    1 week ago
  • Worth repeating forever
    There have been three polls since the election was announced, and I will shamelessly steal YouGov / UK Polling Report's Anthony Wells' summary of them:Survation – CON 34%, LAB 26%, LDEM 19%, BREX 12%, GRN 1% Ipsos MORI – CON 41%, LAB 24%, LDEM 20%, BREX 7%, GRN 3% YouGov ...
    1 week ago
  • Lutte Ouvriere on the explosion in Chile
    The following article is translated from Lutte Ouvrière, the weekly newspaper of the organisation usually known by the same name in France. When, for the second time this year, Chilean President Piñera announced an increase in the price of Metro tickets from 800 to 830 pesos, students in the high ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Wage theft – I’m fucking over it.
    Today, a worker contacted me asking if she could go to the police over her employer stealing thousands of dollars from her in unpaid wages. The employer also did not pay this worker’s taxes or student loan which amounts to tax fraud. As a workers rights activist, who founded the ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago
  • On The Rebound.
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered, They're Yours: Is there any person more vulnerable than a jilted lover on the rebound? Or, anything more certain than that the charmer, the predator, the glib spinner of lies and promises will seek such broken people out? Yes, of course, he will love every one of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rabbi urges congregation to vote against Corbyn
    Though Jonathan Romain is a fairly high profile Rabbi, writing in several papers and popping up on TV and the radio, this story doesn't seem to have made it to the Guardian yet, so I'll take the unusual step of linking the Stephen Pollard edited Jewish Chronicle:Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • My absurdly optimistic prediction
    There's an election afoot, and that is when noted opinion formers such as myself get to make wild fools of ourselves by pretending we have the faintest idea what will happen.So, here is my absurdly optimistic prediction:Labour - 285Conservative - 262SNP - 53Lib Dems - 20PC - 5Ireland - 18 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • October ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image Credit: Increase Social Media Traffic & Website Traffic I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A mountain of a challenge in banning glyphosate
    Belinda Cridge I was reading my son a story last night. A great tale of derring-do of five mountaineers scaling the Matterhorn for the first time. One in the party had tried six times previously and failed, this was the last attempt before winter closed another season. They tried a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • This government has a problem with secrecy
    As introduced, the Zero Carbon Bill included an expansive secrecy clause, which would have covered virtually all decisions by the Climate Change Commission over our most important policy area. The Ministry for the Environment admitted this was a mistake (or as they put it, an "oversight"), and the select committee ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A small New Zealand songbird that hides food for later use provides insights into cognitive evolutio...
    Rachael Shaw, Victoria University of Wellington When we think about animals storing food, the image that usually comes to mind is a squirrel busily hiding nuts for the winter. We don’t usually think of a small songbird taking down an enormous invertebrate, tearing it into pieces and hiding these titbits ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Referenda on Euthanasia – NZ First’s Victory – or a Major Miscalculation?
    . . NZ First’s success in putting the euthenasia bill to a public referenda may not be the victory they believe it to be. They may even have sounded the death-knell for a second Labour-NZ First-Green coalition. On 23 July this year, NZ First MP, Jenny Marcroft, submitted a Supplementary ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn the Mighty vs BoJo the Clown
    Interesting contrasting pictures in the Guardian:Corbyn gets the classic positive shot - low angle and a clear background, making him look authoritative (of course, being Corbyn, he doesn't do authoritative very well).Where as Johnson gets pictured with children at some sort of mad-hatters' tea party:Begging the question, who is the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Public health, externality, and vaccination
    Paternalism is contentious. Arguments for state action to protect us from ourselves are fraught. I come down pretty heavily on the anti-paternalism side of the argument, but I’ve heard respectable defences of paternalism. But policy around vaccination is hardly paternalistic. There’s a clear market failure that could be pointed to ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Happy Halloween
    Its Halloween, so its time for annual pumpkin trepanning and chocolate eating ritual. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Twenty thousand leagues under the sea
    I’ve been reading Jules Verne’s novel Twenty thousand leagues under the sea, considered as one of the very earliest science fiction stories. In brief, Monsieur Aronnax and a couple of sidekicks are taken prisoner by Captain Nemo and his mysterious crew and treated to an underwater voyage around the world ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Disclosing the risks
    The climate crisis is going to mean some pretty big changes in our country, both from its impacts and the policies required to address them. Most obviously, whole suburbs are going to be underwater by 2100, meaning people and businesses are going to have to relocate to higher ground. But ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    3 hours ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    5 days ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    5 days ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    6 days ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Closer cooperation with Korean horse racing industry
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters met with Korea Racing Authority Chairperson Nak Soon Kim in Seoul today to discuss closer cooperation between the New Zealand and Korean horse racing industries. As part of the visit to the Seoul Racecourse, Mr Peters witnessed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Otago to lead digital creativity
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10 million to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “The initiative will bring us closer to the vision of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF backing Dunedin’s waterfront ambitions
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support local plans to revitalise and stimulate economic development opportunities in Otago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The four Regional Economic Development Ministers have approved an in-principle investment of $19.9 million towards the region’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • M. Bovis eradication progress welcomed
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is pleased to have received the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) report on the Coalition Government’s Mycoplasma bovis eradication efforts, which shows significant progress in the fight against the disease. New Zealand First Spokesperson for Primary Industries, Mark Patterson, says the report’s findings ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF boosts Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sector
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development Hon David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing to support economic growth opportunities for Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sectors, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Trade and Export Minister David Parker announced today. Almost $20 million ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Peters discusses Pacific challenges and denuclearisation in Seoul
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Minister Winston Peters and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, discussed in Seoul today opportunities to work more closely in the Pacific and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Mr Peters and Minister Kang confirmed New Zealand and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF supports high speed broadband for marae at Parihaka Pa
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development  Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Māori Development The three marae in the historic Parihaka Pa complex in Taranaki have been upgraded to high speed broadband with the support of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Connecting the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 launched
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence Minister of Defence Ron Mark will today launch the Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 Defence Assessment  during a speech at Te Papa.  The Assessment outlines how Defence will partner with our Pacific Island neighbours and invest in Pacific regional security architecture. The Plan aligns with the Coalition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF funding could transform Gisborne company into “beacon of employment” in two years
    A new Provincial Growth Fund investment could create about 80 new jobs in Gisborne over the next two years, turning a local small business into a “beacon of employment” in the process. Regional Economic Development Parliamentary Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau said the PGF’s Te Ara Mahi funding stream would provide $1.6m ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Two years of progress
    This week, we’re taking action on climate change, expanding trades education – and celebrating two years of progress! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs to visit the Republic of Korea and Japan
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week. “The Republic of Korea and Japan are two of New Zealand’s closest partners in the region with whom we share common values and ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand to lead Bougainville Referendum Regional Police Support Mission
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters has announced today that New Zealand is leading a police support mission in Bougainville as the region prepares to vote in a non-binding referendum on its political future. “New Zealand has accepted an invitation ...
    3 weeks ago
  • We’re taking action on climate change
    “I refuse to accept the challenge of climate change is too hard to solve.” – Jacinda Ardern ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones annoyed at “elevated sense of entitlement from a lot of immigrant leaders”
    New Zealand First MP Shane Jones is defending Immigration New Zealand (INZ) after it instructed officials to stop granting visas as an exception to instructions. He has also lashed out at immigrant leaders upset with the tightening of the rules, saying they had an “elevated sense of entitlement”. Members of ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand public likely to vote on euthanasia bill thanks to NZ First
    A change to the End of Life Choice Bill was passed in Parliament, meaning if politicians decide to vote for the law it must be approved by the public first. A binding referendum was a condition insisted on by New Zealand First, and Jenny Marcroft’s supplementary order paper (SOP) successfully ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Tairāwhiti Workforce development projects get $1.6m PGF boost
    Fletcher Tabuteau, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), through its skills and employment programme, Te Ara Mahi, is investing a further $1.6m into Tairāwhiti’s workforce development, said Parliamentary Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. “This PGF funding follows on from significant PGF investment earlier this ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Terrorism and Trade on agenda as Foreign Minister visits the United States
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington DC today to attend a ministerial meeting focused on defeating ISIS, and to continue pursuing New Zealand’s trade opportunities. Mr Peters will participate in a meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers from key countries contributing to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 mins ago
  • Hoiho get extra support alongside 168 community conservation groups backing nature
    The recently crowned Bird of the Year, the hoiho/yellow eyed penguin, is getting a much needed helping hand alongside more than 168 other community conservation projects announced Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage today. 168 community conservation projects throughout New Zealand are benefiting from $8 million in government grants, including $500,000 ...
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    1 hour ago
  • New safety measures for modified pistols
    Controls on assault rifles and semi-automatic firearms are to be broadened to include some types of pistols, under changes to a bill currently making its way through Parliament. Police Minister Stuart Nash has tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to the Arms Legislation Bill, which is currently before a Select Committee ...
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    1 hour ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit Singapore and Thailand
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark will travel to Singapore today to conduct a counterpart visit and to co-chair the third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting with his counterpart, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen. “Singapore is one of our most important defence partners in the region, and our ...
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    2 hours ago
  • Resource management reform options released
    The panel undertaking a comprehensive review of the Resource Management Act has identified the main issues to be addressed and options for reform and is calling for feedback to inform its final report.  In July the Government announced the comprehensive review of the resource management system, including the RMA - ...
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    4 hours ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission established
    An important safety valve has been added to New Zealand’s criminal justice system with the third reading of the Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill today. The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) will investigate claimed miscarriages of justice. “We’ve seen how our justice system can very occasionally get things spectacularly wrong, ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Racing Industry destined to be on-track
    Racing Minister Winston Peters welcomes the tabling of the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) 2019 Annual Report in Parliament today. He says the 2019 Annual Report marks the point when New Zealand’s racing industry’s decline was arrested and a turnaround started. RITA’s 2019 Annual Report recorded an industry net profit ...
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    21 hours ago
  • New Zealand firefighter support to Queensland
    The New Zealand Government is today sending 21 firefighters to help fight the ongoing catastrophic Australian bushfires. “The fires in Australia are in some of the toughest, most challenging conditions ever,” says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.  “As of yesterday morning, there were 100 active bushfire-related incidents across Queensland and ...
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    23 hours ago
  • Supporting all schools to succeed
      More frontline support for schools through a new education agency, as part of a redesigned Ministry of Education More support for principals and school boards including through a new centre of leadership and local leadership advisor roles New independent disputes panels for parents and students Management of school property ...
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    1 day ago
  • Reform to support better outcomes for Māori learners and whānau
    The Government’s reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools system is a watershed moment in education and an opportunity to create meaningful change for ākonga Māori and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis said today. “Last year through Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, Māori teachers, parents, ākonga, whānau, hapū and iwi ...
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    1 day ago
  • Infrastructure pipeline growing
    Infrastructure Minister is welcoming the first of many updated project pipelines from the newly established New Zealand Infrastructure Commission today. The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga, has released an expanded pipeline of major capital projects – another crucial step towards delivering better infrastructure outcomes. “The first iteration of the ...
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    1 day ago
  • Tighter firearms law to further improve safety
    Tougher gun laws designed to improve public safety through firearms prohibition orders are proposed in a new document released for public input. Police Minister Stuart Nash says firearms prohibition orders (FPOs) would give new powers to Police to ensure high-risk individuals come nowhere near firearms. “We have already prohibited the ...
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    2 days ago
  • New TVNZ chair & directors confirmed
    Andy Coupe has been confirmed as TVNZ’s new Board Chair. “Mr Coupe has strong commercial and capital markets experience and TVNZ has benefited from his technical knowledge of business and finance, as well as his extensive governance experience,” the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Kris Faafoi said.  Andy ...
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    2 days ago
  • Hutt Road cycle path officially opened
    Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter today officially opened a separated pathway, following the completion of the Kaiwharawhara Stream bridge, which will improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians along Hutt Road.  The $6.8m Hutt Road project provides a separated path for cycling and pedestrians, the replacement of informal parking ...
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    2 days ago
  • Announcement of new Ambassador to Russia
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of career diplomat Si’alei van Toor as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Russia. “I’m pleased to appoint Ms van Toor to this position. She brings a wealth of experience to the role having previously served as Senior Trade Adviser to the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update
    The Treasury’s 2019 Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) will be released on Wednesday December 11, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Coalition Government will publish the 2020 Budget Policy Statement at the same time, outlining the priorities for Budget 2020. Further details on arrangements for the release will ...
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    5 days ago
  • Giving a Boost to Kiwi small businesses
    A new initiative to better support small businesses through hands-on mentoring and advice has been launched by the Minister for Small Business. The first event in the Kiwi Business Boost series of regional workshops and online tools has been launched in Wairoa by Stuart Nash. “The Business Boost initiative combines ...
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    5 days ago
  • Nearly three quarters of Rolleston connected to UFB
    The latest Quarterly Connectivity Report shows that more and more New Zealanders are moving to Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB), with Rolleston having the highest uptake at 74 per cent, as at the end of September. “This means that nearly three quarters of Rolleston’s households and businesses have moved to ultra-fast services. ...
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    5 days ago
  • Historic day for landmark climate change legislation in New Zealand
    The passing of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill will help ensure a safe planet for our kids and grandkids, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said today. The landmark legislation which provides a framework to support New Zealanders to prepare for, and adapt to, the effects ...
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    6 days ago
  • Release of Oranga Tamariki Practice Review
    The review of Oranga Tamariki practice around the planned uplift of a Hastings baby in May shows significant failings by the Ministry and that the planned and funded changes to shift from a child crisis service to a proper care and protection service need to be accelerated, Children’s Minister Tracey ...
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    6 days ago
  • Minister wishes students success in exams
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins has wished students the best of luck for this year’s NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams which start tomorrow. Around 140,000 students will have participated in 119 NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams by the end of the exam period on 3 December. “I want to ...
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    6 days ago
  • New High Commissioner to the United Kingdom announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of Bede Corry as New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. “The appointment of a senior diplomat to this important role underlines the significance New Zealand places on our relationship with the United Kingdom,” said Mr Peters. “The United ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Police recruits making Auckland safer
    An innovative approach to boosting the number of frontline Police has seen 20 new officers graduate from one of the uncommon training wings in Auckland. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of 20 constables today means that 1,765 new Police officers have been deployed since the coalition government took ...
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    6 days ago
  • Over 1.2 million hours of community work helps local communities
    Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the 1.2 million hours of community work completed by offenders in the last financial year has helped local communities right across the country. “Community work sentences are a great way for people to pay something positive back to society. There is a massive benefit to ...
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    6 days ago
  • Te Huringa o Te Tai – Police Crime Prevention Strategy
    "A pathway for Police in leadership with Iwi Māori, to achieve the aspirations of Māori whānau." Police launch of Te Huringa o Te Tai, Pipitea Marae,  Thorndon Quay, Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou. Hello everyone, warm greetings to you all. ...
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    7 days ago
  • Kiwis getting higher pay
    Working New Zealanders are getting more in their back pockets under the Coalition Government’s economic plan. Stats NZ data today shows average weekly ordinary time earnings are up by $83 since the Government took office. This shows that working New Zealanders are getting higher take-home pay, and that employers are ...
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    7 days ago
  • More support for schools to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact
    The Government is supporting schools to cut down their energy consumption and reduce environmental impacts, with a quarter of all schools having their lights replaced with LEDs, a sustainability contestable fund and a plan to improve the environmental sustainability of all schools in the future. Education Minister Chris Hipkins and ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s manaakitanga highlighted in China
    Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis heads to China on Friday to lead the New Zealand Government presence at the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism closing ceremony. The ceremony will take place at Canton Tower in Guangzhou on Sunday 10 November. “The Year of Tourism has been mutually beneficial for both New ...
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    1 week ago
  • Climate change research boost
    Should we plan for drought or deluge and how is CO2 released from the ocean’s floor? Several climate change projects were given a boost in the latest Marsden Fund investment of $83.6 million, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods said today. “Climate change is long-term challenge that requires out-of-the-box ...
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    1 week ago
  • Significant progress on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
    Leaders of 16 countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have announced the completion of negotiation on the text as well as agreement on virtually all market access issues between 15 countries. The leaders said they will work with India to resolve its outstanding concerns in a way that ...
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    1 week ago
  • Learn how to stay safe on World Tsunami Awareness Day
    Civil Defence Minister Hon Peeni Henare says World Tsunami Awareness Day today (5 November) is a chance for all New Zealanders to learn more about the tsunami risk in our regions and the right actions to take to stay safe. “All of New Zealand’s coastline is at risk of tsunami. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Formal recognition at last for paramedics’ frontline medical role
    New Zealand’s more than 1000 paramedics are to have their role as key frontline health professionals formally recognised and regulated in the same way as doctors and nurses, Health Minister David Clark says. The Government has agreed to regulate paramedics under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. “Paramedic leaders ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government improving protections for consumers and workers when businesses fail
    Changes to insolvency law announced by the Government today will include requirements to honour up to 50 per cent of the value of gift cards or vouchers held by consumers, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi says. “When a business is insolvent, these consumers are often left out of ...
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    1 week ago
  • Outstanding public service recognised
    Six New Zealanders tonight received medals for their meritorious work in the frontline public service. The Public Service Medal, established by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is awarded annually. “For the second year this Government has recognised public servants who have made a real difference to the lives of New ...
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    1 week ago
  • Global trade, business promotion focus of Shanghai meetings
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker heads to Shanghai today for the China International Import Expo and meetings focused on reforming the WTO. Over 90 New Zealand companies will be exhibiting at the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), which runs from 5-10 November. “China is one of New Zealand’s ...
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    1 week ago
  • Drivers to get more time to gain full licence
    Drivers holding a current five-year learner or restricted car or motorbike licence, expiring between 1 December 2019 and 1 December 2021, will receive an automatic two-year extension, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Over 144,000 drivers’ time-limited licences are due to expire in the next two years; 67,000 ...
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    1 week ago
  • NZ-China FTA upgrade negotiations conclude
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker have announced the conclusion of negotiations to upgrade New Zealand’s existing free trade agreement with China.   “This ensures our upgraded free trade agreement will remain the best that China has with any country,” Jacinda Ardern said.   She ...
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    1 week ago
  • Fletcher Tabuteau congratulates winners of regional economic development awards
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau congratulates the Ten Kiwi organisations who have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to the wellbeing and the prosperity of their communities. Economic Development New Zealand (EDNZ), announced the awards at its annual conference in Blenheim last weekend. “A special congratulations to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Minister welcomes record high building and construction apprenticeships
    Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa has welcomed the record high of 13,000 building and construction apprentices in active training with main provider the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO). “We are committed to reversing the long-term decline in trades training and it’s excellent to see more people ...
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    1 week ago
  • More progress on cancer medicines
    PHARMAC’s decision to fund a new leukaemia treatment means three new cancer medicines have now been funded so far this year, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December venetoclax (Venclexta) will be funded for people living with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.  Just last month funding was also confirmed for alectinib ...
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    1 week ago