Into the void: examining National’s ‘policies’

Written By: - Date published: 2:45 pm, June 5th, 2008 - 107 comments
Categories: national, slippery - Tags:

National’s so-called policies are laughable. National says it has released ’14 policies’ (14! wow! anyone would think they were planning to run a scout troop not a country) but six are just to adopt the existing policy. And the others, well –

* Setting national standards in reading, writing and numeracy – shown to have no positive effect on learning outcomes, an education policy that fails that test is not a policy. Uncosted.
* Police. Introduce Tasers, subject to positive evaluation of the trial – already Government policy Require DNA samples to be taken from all those arrested for offences punishable by imprisonment – human rights issues. uncosted. Give police ability to issue temporary, on the spot protection orders – under development already.
* $1.5 billion over six years to help fund an ultra-high speed fibre network – will restore Telecom’s monopoly position, no detail, just a pile of money, economic case unproven.
* Cap the number of core civil servants at 36,000, savings of up to $500 million over three years – resulting in under-staffed public service. New policies need new staff to implement them. Population growth requires a growing public service. Worth 50 cents a week in tax cuts.
* Extend Youth Court’s jurisdiction to deal with 12- and 13-year-olds accused of serious offences –  Opposed by youth workers and experts. uncosted. Boot camps- shown not to work. uncosted. Longer prison sentences for worst offenders – costly, does not decrease re-offending. uncosted.
* Victims levy. Anyone who breaks the law will have to pay $50 towards victims’ costs such as travel to court and counselling – will raise only $5 million a year. Will cost more than that to administer. No natural justice murderer gets same levy as someone filing a late tax return.
* Student loans. Adoption of Labour’s interest-free student loans policy. Give a 10 per cent bonus for voluntary lump-sum payments of $500 or more – bonus for the rich who can afford voluntary repayments. uncosted.
* Housing. State house dwellers can buy their homes. Maintain state housing numbers. Tax cuts, removal of red tape, changes to Resource Management Act to free up land and help affordability – uncosted cliches. We are still making up for National’s last sell-off of State houses.

A smattering of cliches that nibble at the edges of a few portfolios. They are unsophisticated and uncosted; most of them are little more than a plan to have a policy. Where’s National’s plan to boost wages? Where’s National’s solution to carbon emissions, emigration or waiting lists? Where’s the tories’ plan to bring down crime further or get more people into work?

Where are they? They don’t exist.

107 comments on “Into the void: examining National’s ‘policies’ ”

  1. How about repeal the Electoral Finance Act. Atleast we have a better idea of what National plans to do here than we knew about Labour planned to do prior to 2005.

    It’s also interesting how you criticise broadband as restoring Telecoms monopoly position, when you also say no details have been given.

    Anyway, more policies will be released before the election.

    Anyone (for comparison) have a list of Labour policies as June 1 1999?

  2. When Labour were in opposition, they put out alternative budgets, that’s a serious piece of policy right there.

    The list above is the one National gave the Herald.

  3. mike 3

    “Anyone (for comparison) have a list of Labour policies as June 1 1999”
    This is a valid point and was also raised in the Herald this morning.
    Labour had released less policy at the same stage.

    This is Labours latest attack line since smearing Key personally has failed so spectacularly. It smacks of desperation and of course National will release more detail but when think is the right time not Labour.

  4. Ben R 4

    “Longer prison sentences for worst offenders – costly, does not decrease re-offending. uncosted.”

    Steven Levitt (‘Freakanomics’) has written several papers on how increased prison sentences decrease crime rates. Admittedly that is different to reducing ‘re-offending’, but nonetheless crime rates tend to go down.

    “Crunching the numbers, he found that, on average, having one more criminal behind bars resulted in 15 fewer serious crimes a year. Based on those results, Levitt argued, the huge increase in the American prison population in the 1990s was responsible for a 12-percent reduction in violent crime and an eight-percent drop in property crime—about one third of the total decline….

    Why? it turns out the main reason prison works is also the most simple: It’s not reform, it’s not deterrence. Prison brings down crime because it takes criminals out of commission for the duration of their sentence. Referred to by criminologists as “incapacitation,’ prison works by giving criminals a time out.”

  5. Ben R. There are obviously people who are so dangerous they will always reoffend, and people can be sentenced to open-ended terms of detention under current law – complusive child molsters for example. But for the most part prison is jsut a breeding ground for crime. Lock up a young person and you usually get a worse criminal out the other end, lock them up longer, make them worse. You could lock them up forever but what a terrible solution, throw away a life and spend huge amounts keeping them locked up.

  6. Felix 6

    This morning on bfm Mr Key made this very revealing statement:

    In Obama’s case he’s been running on a bit more anti-trade rhetoric – now he’s also been in some pretty trade-affected states of the U.S.A. where he’s been saying that, so maybe, when or, you know, if or when he becomes president, you know, he’ll have a slightly different view there, I’m not sure.

    If you strip away the mumbling you’re left with a startlingly frank admission of his attitude to telling the truth about your agenda.

  7. Lew 7

    Ben R: At what cost?

    To crudely determine the value of this sort of incapacitation, divide the annual cost (including amortised capital, court costs, administration, etc.) of housing a prisoner by 15. That’s the nominal value of each crime prevented.

    I haven’t done those numbers, but I’d be prepared to bet it’s not generally a good tradeoff.


  8. mike. Labour released alternative budgets. You knew that labour would raise the minimum wage, restore ACC, get rid of the ECA and replace it with the ERA, get rid of the strike wing, end interest on student loans while studying, the list goes on.

    Numerically, these policies might not be heaps more than National has but they dealt with the big business of what a Government actually does. national’s policies just nibble at the edges and refuse to comment on the big things.

    What’s National’s minimum wage policy?
    What is it’s position on annual leave?
    How does it plan to raise wages?
    What changes will it make to the employment relations framework?

    – Four huge policy issues from workers’ rights alone that will directly affect the lvies of every New Zealander, and National doesn’t even touch on them, doesn’t want to go near them.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    OK, let’s compare with 1999.

    The opposition in 1999 was Labour-Alliance. It was made very clear, and exemplified by Clark’s famous appearance with Anderton at the Alliance conference, that the alternative government was a left-leaning Labour-Alliance coalition. Contrast that with National today, who talk of “change” which could go in any direction you choose to name, depending on the parties they have to deal with (what do ACT, Winston and the Maori Party agree on? Anything?).

    This focus on policy items, as if they were on a shopping list, actually misses the real point, an even bigger one. Where does policy come from? Opinion polls?

    In 1999 the voters knew what Helen Clark and Michael Cullen (and ANderton) stood for, and the direction they wanted to take the country in. They had well-known views, a clear political compass, whether you agreed with it or not. And they had a partner to the left that was going to be there with them in government. They did not – and could not – pretend to be all things to all people. They were prepared to do things that could be unpopular e.g. scrapping the air force strike wing, raising the top rate of tax. They wanted to move New Zealand to the left. Just as Don Brash wanted to move NZ to the right. And in each case, the voters knew it.

    Policy is just the end of the process. The starting point is: what you believe in.

    What does John Key believe in? Cheese? If you know, please tell us. Because he won’t.

  10. roger nome 10

    “Levitt argued, the huge increase in the American prison population in the 1990s was responsible for a 12-percent reduction in violent crime and an eight-percent drop in property crime”

    There was also a great surge in employment levels during the 1990s due to favorable economic circumstances. That will tend to have an affect on crime levels also. Levit’s arguments are laughable.

  11. Ben R 11

    “There was also a great surge in employment levels during the 1990s due to favorable economic circumstances.”

    Levitt does say that employment reduces property crime, but does not appear to reduce violent crime (from p9 of the link above):

    “Empirical estimates of the impact of macroeconomic variables on crime have been generally consistent across studies: Freeman (1995) surveys earlier research,and more recent studies include Machin and Meghir (2000), Gould, Weinberg and Mustard (1997), Donohue and Levitt (2001) and Raphael and Winter-Ebmer (2001). Controlling for other factors, almost all of these studies report a statistically signicant but substantively small relationship between unemployment rates and property crime.

    A typical estimate would be that a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate is associated with a one percent increase in property crime.

    Violent crime, however, does not vary systematically with the unemployment rate. Studies that have used other measures of macroeconomic performance like wages of low-income workers come to similar conclusions (Machin and Meghir, 2000;Gould, Weinberg and Mustard, 1997).4

    Based on these estimates, the observed 2 percentage point decline in the U.S unemployment rate between 1991 and 2001 can explain an estimated 2 percent decline in property crime (out of an observed drop of almost 30 percent), but no change in violent crime or homicide.

    The sharp increases in crime in the 1960s—a decade of strong economic growth—further corroborate the weak link between macroeconomics and crime.”

  12. Quoth the Raven 12

    Levitt – America has a much higher incarceration rate than us and much higher crime rates. It is not as simple as more people in prison equals less crime.

  13. mike 13

    “What does John Key believe in? Cheese?”

    As you have obviously not listened to any speeches from Key he believes in the following:

    More personal responsibility
    Keeping more of the money you earn
    more emphasis on victims of crime
    less Home-D
    Keeping more skilled workers in NZ

    There lots more but this will give you an idea

    [what does more personal responsibility mean in practice and what policies does national have to further that? What policy do they have to keep more skilled workers in NZ? What spending will they cut to let the rich pay less tax? The $50 levy is that it for putting more emphasis on victims (which is something that everyone talks about doing)? Less Home-D, whoope, lock ‘m up, eh? And where will the money come from? SP]

  14. andy 14

    Did Labour have a pledge card in 99?

    [yes and one in 2002 and they were legal. It was the AG’s interpretation of a law change from 2004 that landed Labour in trouble for it’s 2005 pledge card. SP]

  15. Ari 15

    Firstly, I’d like to quickly point out that National is in a very different position to previous Labour oppositions. (or even, in fact, previous National oppositions) The party’s rebranding has been so dramatic that if it really is running the way their leader says it is running, it is practically a new party. Under those sorts of circumstances, definitive statements about what you stand for, ignoring other parties, are practically considered a must. John Key’s National has only released minimal policies that relate only to its differences from Labour. He hasn’t justified his new positions, his own party appears to have significant opposition to them, and his deputy leader is barking at his heels.

    Demanding transperency in that sort of situation is very different to hounding a healthy, stable party with known principles and stable leadership for their policies before they’re ready.

  16. SP:”will restore Telecom’s monopoly position”

    “In late March Google CEO Eric Schmidt told the Australian Financial Review that there needed to be more undersea cables laid between Australia and New Zealand to guarantee there was enough cable capacity for the internet boom.

    “Much like Australia, New Zealand suffers from a severe lack of competition when it comes to international bandwidth and the price of bandwidth reflects that,” he said.

    “During the planning stage of our Sydney to Guam cable (PPC-1), PIPE International had always intended to assist in the development of PPC-2 a new competitive submarine cable connecting New Zealand to Australia and beyond,” Mr Slattery said.

    Kordia CEO Geoff Hunt said that he was very pleased to be working on an initiative that could be critical to New Zealand’s economic transformation.”

    Steve: why do you assume that any of the money that National intend to invest in broadband would go into Telecom ?

  17. Lampie 17

    I’m interested in the details. Any dickhead can say “tax cuts” “reduce crime” blah blah.

    So, put up or shut up!

  18. mike 18

    Steve, who knows how much money will be left in the kitty for JK’s plans.
    The retreating Dr Cullen is setting fire to the oil fields at present so your guess is as good as mine.

  19. gobsmacked 19


    1)More personal responsibility … Platitude.

    2) Keeping more of the money you earn … so that’s lower income tax, I think we’ve covered that, ad nauseam.

    3) More emphasis on victims of crime … platitude, uttered by every politician since Adam.

    4) Less Home-D .. Woo hoo! A policy! But not actually a principle, is it? Why does he believe it? Does he have views on reform and rehabilitation? Of course not – he just has opinion polls.

    5) Keeping more skilled workers in NZ … Platitude. Who doesn’t want this?

    Got any more?

    Who does he respect, for example? Thatcher? Ayn Rand? Lincoln? Jason Gunn? Ever heard him say a SINGLE WORD about political inspiration, about his journey, about vision, about anything meaningful at all? I haven’t, but maybe you have? Please share.

  20. Steve:”Cap the number of core civil servants at 36,000, savings of up to $500 million over three years – resulting in under-staffed public service. New policies need new staff to implement them. Population growth requires a growing public service. Worth 50 cents a week in tax cuts.”

    Steve it’s not just about reducing the cost to the taxpayer through reducing the size of government, it’s about changing the free spending attitude of the public sector.

  21. Ben R 21

    “Levitt – America has a much higher incarceration rate than us and much higher crime rates. It is not as simple as more people in prison equals less crime.”

    Yes, but the question is what would their crime rates be if they had reduced prison sentences? From Levitt’s paper it seems their crime rates would be even higher if sentences were lowered.

  22. Ari 22

    Maw: The burden of showing a policy is a good one rests on the people who announce it. National have not announced how they will spend that money on broadband, thus speculation and cynicism is reasonable until they do, especially given that National has made the same criticism of Labour’s broadband plans, which have been released with far more detail.

    Ben R: That depends how you define “lowering sentences”. If you redirect money from incarcerating minor criminals into placing them into community service, for instance, that might result both in lower spending and in a higher decrease in crime rates than incarceration of said minor criminals. I’d seriously suggest reading some of the literature about the prison-industrial complex if you want to get a rounder view on this. 🙂

  23. Lampie 23

    “Who does he respect, for example? Thatcher? Ayn Rand? Lincoln? Jason Gunn”

    Ches and Dale.

  24. andy 24


    Ok so Labour had a pledge card in 99, sounds like a lot of policy right there!

  25. Tim 25

    “Require DNA samples to be taken from all those arrested for offences punishable by imprisonment” – that is Orwellian and disgusting. So you get arrested, you’re not even guilty of anything, yet you’re going to be required to give a DNA sample. That is open to gross abuse. Who cares if it’s uncosted, it’s just plain wrong.

  26. Ari 26

    Tim- And that is National’s general principles on crime summed up quite nicely, I think. They don’t care who they tread over in locking up the nasty villian and appearing tough to the voters. 🙁

    The hard part of dealing with the justice system is not punishing the guilty. The hard part is punishing the guilty without also punishing the innocent.

  27. T-rex 27

    From the levitt paper

    Based on these estimates, the observed
    2 percentage point decline in the U.S unemployment rate between 1991 and 2001
    can explain an estimated 2 percent decline in property crime (out of an observed
    drop of almost 30 percent)

    Levitt’s logic is demonstrably flawed – he is a moron.

    He is arguing that a 2% drop in the unemployment rate should result in a 2% drop in violent crime. This is a shining example of total mathematical ineptitude.

    Lets say, for arguments sake, that all property crime is perpetrated by unemployed people. Therefore a drop in the number of unemployed should result in a proportional decrease in property crime. This is where Levitts stupidity becomes apparent. He is claiming that unemployment has dropped by 2%, therefore the crime comitted by unemployed people should drop by 2%.

    SOMEHOW… fncked if I know how exactly, he manages to completely miss the fact that a drop in the unemployment rate from 6% to 4% is actually a 33% drop in the number of unemployed, and therefore could reasonably explain a 33% drop in property crime if the two are linked. 33% drop in crime, not 2% as Levitt states

    What level of decrease in property crime was actually observed? Oh look, 30%.

    For Levitt, who is obviously slow, 33% ~ 30%.



  28. Lew 28

    mawgxxxxiv: Re broadband, a mostly unregulated access model, and I can’t see a National government regulating access, would deliver massive incumbent advantage to Telecom (and in certain areas to TelstraClear) simply because they’ve got the resources, infrastructure and customer-base to hit the ground running. Perhaps even more significantly, the government isn’t going to do the necessary work in-house – it’s going to contract it out to existing carriers. I’d be shocked if Telecom wasn’t ultimately responsible for the bulk of this implementation. The problem isn’t so much with this last one as the synergy it represents when combined with the first. In fact, since in his speech Key talks about the need to avoid duplicating effort, this plan will probably run parallel to Telecom’s already-planned broadband network. This is a triple whammy.

    All the good work which is currently being done to stimulate competition in NZ’s abysmal internet communications sector is to do with breaking Telecom’s monopoly (operational separation, unbundling the local loop, etc). The advantages described above could be the death-knell to the many minor providers who’re currently just finding their feet, since they’ll be swiftly crowded out by a bigger, richer, preferred player.


  29. T-rex 29

    Please release my last from the moderation prison – I was heavy on the caps and bold face for a good reason.

    [lprent: done]

  30. Joker 30

    A few skeletons in the closet eh Tim?

    As usual all we hear is endless bleating about the rights of the criminal.

    This kind of policy is great maybe it might help the cops catch the little scrot who nicked my golf clubs.

  31. Ben R 31

    “If you redirect money from incarcerating minor criminals into placing them into community service, for instance, that might result both in lower spending and in a higher decrease in crime rates than incarceration of said minor criminals.”

    That’s what I thought was one of the interesting points in that Readers Digest article above. For ‘low risk’ offenders prison isn’t necessary & can make them worse.

    Then you have repeat offenders, which Plecas refers to. Who are continually before the courts for relatively low level crime. I’m not sure what the appropriate punishment is for them.

  32. T-rex 32

    Joker – Being arrested does not make you a criminal, that is reserved for those who are convicted.

    Good job on the critical analysis though.

  33. T-rex 33


    Back to Levitt – the thing that he got completely wrong is one of the things he said his confidence in was ‘High’. He’s even less sure about the accuracy of his other predictions. Ohhhh, what a low day this is…

  34. Joker 34

    Sorry T-rex. After reading the postings here I came to the conclusion that critical analysis wasn’t the mode du jour.

  35. Tim 35

    Joker, what so now you’re guilty until proven innocent?

    Maybe if we brought back confession under torture we could find the guy who nicked your golf clubs.

    Go ahead if you want to trade your civil liberties for some sporting equipment.

  36. T-rex 36

    It comes and goes I think.

    Sorry. I was still in attack mode after reading that Levitt article.

    Sorry to hear about your gold clubs – I know how you feel. Well. I know how I feel anyway. Usually I feel like just going and napalming gang HQ’s until karmic balance is restored. I haven’t done it yet.

  37. T-rex 37

    Ben – did you read my comment on Levitts article above? It got stuck on moderation for a bit (cheers lprent). Calls his credibility into some doubt…

  38. polaris 38

    It’s good the election is being fought on National’s ground. First they didn’t have policy. Now they do but the attack has shifted to how you don’t like it. Demonstrated through a series of outrageous assertions and lies about how they don’t work, etc.


  39. Phil 39

    Ummm Rex…?

    You screwed up, you screwed up big time, in fact.

    Levitt is actually saying that, of the 30% decline in property crime, 1/15th of it (that is; 2% out of 30%) can be explained by lower unemployment.

    I will conceed that the wording is not as ‘plain english’ as it could be, but no excuse for you to nut off like you did

  40. Lew 40

    polaris: I agree that the campaign is being fought on National’s terms, but mostly not for the reason you cite (though the `small target’ strategy is certainly a part of it). National have set the agenda mostly as follows (in no particular order and off the top of my head): tax cuts, less waste, and a change for the future. These symbolic things are the buzz which Labour is fighting against.

    As far as your assertion that they now have policy- well, no, they don’t really have any more than they did before, it’s just all in one place together now. These policies (or policy ideas, as most of them aren’t anything approaching actual policy yet) were all rolled out previously.


  41. pinetree 41

    On the policy front – how much, across how many areas of government and to what level of detail is a reasonable expectation of policy release/detail ?

    It’s an opposition afterall, unless I’m missing a trick it’s “policy” never stands a chance to be as well formed as the encumbents….

    ….so, how much is enough, and what does it need to look like ?

    And I’m not sure I’d accept “anything” as an answer….given current polling, that just makes thing look even worse for Labour, as effectively it’s turning into a case of “we’d take anything as long as it’s not you guys, no questions asked”….

  42. IrishBill 42

    Policy I’d like to know about:

    Will they introduce a 90 day employment probation period (or will it be the 180 days business lobby groups are pushing for)?

    Will they “break the union monopoly on collective bargaining”

    Will they allow the fourth weeks holiday to be tradeable for cash?

    If they repeal the EFA what will they put in place?

    Do they intend to bulk fund teaching salaries?

    Where do they intend to cut spending in the public service or, if they can’t make that decision without an inquiry, what will their parameters for defining “waste” be?

    Non of the above policies would require a great deal of resource to construct or a lot of time and this is a party that has had nine years to come up with a credible alternative. Where is it?

  43. Ben R 43

    He uses that 1% figure in his 1996 paper on prison overcrowding also(p339 below). I think the Swedish study he cites shows a greater impact on property crime from unemployment, but also from falling wage levels. Which would make sense. I would be interested to see if a similar study had been done in NZ.

  44. IrishBill: Repealing the EFA is a major requirement for the referendum on MMP. They want to be able to do what they did last time and have a handful of people sending millions. They didn’t win that referendum because they had to make up over 30 points in a matter of weeks. As it was, they came within 4 points of doing it.

    “Freedom of speech” is really all about letting a few right-wing millionaires propagandise you on whatever topic they like.

    It is meaningless to the 99.9% of the rest of us. We already have all the “free speech” we can afford.

    Then there is the issue of those secret trusts National funnels a huge proportion of its money through….and where that money comes from, is anyone’s guess.

    The EFA as implemented clearly needs some fine tuning. But no way should the whole thing be thrown out.

  45. Janet 45

    Setting national standards in education – ie testing kids – is dangerous because it tells many young and impressionable children that they are academic failures and not wanted by their schools. A major effect will be more work for the youth court as the numbers of disaffected 12 and 13 year olds rise.

  46. T-Rex 46

    Phil – I think you’re right that I screwed up, but not where you’re pointing, my error was that I misinterpreted the results of the previous studies he was basing them on.

    Either way, yeah, shouldn’t have nutted off like that either way on the result of my 5 minute investigation. Anonymity of internet combined with general long day ill-temperedness = lazy fact checking.

    I still think his methodology is bad though. He’s linearising something that will change dramatically depending on the point at which it’s applied.

    Hmm, anyway, I’ll read the rest of the paper with a more tolerant perspective! Happier now, for a moment I lost a lot of faith in “studies have shown…”

  47. mike 47

    “Setting national standards in education – ie testing kids – is dangerous because it tells many young and impressionable children that they are academic failures and not wanted by their schools”

    Janet: So is the alternative of dumbing down our kids to the lowest denominator better for all involved?.

    I guess you are also in favor of not keeping score in sports games so everybody wins and nobody gets hurt feelings?

    This lefty strive for mediocrity will be one thing I will not miss under a National Govt.

  48. vto 48

    Policy is not the main reason the populace has made up its mind on Clark et al.

    I think most people are happy to run with only slight variations on most ‘day to day’ running of the country type stuff. Where this govt has blown it is in exactly the spot where their most vehement opposition and criticism has always pointed – an inherent nature that is intrusive, bossy, arrogant, and imposing of their own way. Sure they were voted in, but they have just pushed things too much.

    The anti-smacking law was the tipping point. However it gets painted up this tarred Clark. The EFA solidified it for others. Now she is firmly in the target.

    People have too much other stuff to worry about right now (roof over their heads and food in their bellys) to consider the detailed difference between labour and national. It is, or rather has become due to those current pressures, a conceptual or philosophical decision that was confirmed for them late last year.

    Game over. But A for effort. And C for result, just.

  49. pinetree 49

    IrishBill – yep, all very valid questions…

    …what questions of policy should we be keen on discovering from the current Labour Government ?

    Or is the defualt position here that we know all we need to know about what they would/wouldn’t do ?

  50. * Setting national standards in reading, writing and numeracy – shown to have no positive effect on learning outcomes, an education policy that fails that test is not a policy.

    I’d not say it was quite so straight forward. The issue with literacy/numeracy is that it’s not a fixed goal, it’s very much a raising bar. NZ kids do comparatively well by most international measures and NZ school teachers, management, curriculum is first class – we could do better of course – but National’s policy is just too simplistic to be meaningful. How will they achieve improved performance is the issue; bulk-funding?

  51. Labour has shown its cards, people know what they will get from Labour. People may not be impressed with Labour, but once they see what national has on offer, theres a good chance that things will swing back the other way. Labour are at a strategic disadvantage, but just you wait till National announces there policy, then we will see fair comparison in the polls.

  52. IrishBill 52

    Pinetree, what would you like to know?

  53. Daveski 53

    Here’s an idea … cos National’s obviously got no policies, why doesn’t Labour call a snap election?

    I’d love to hear your views 🙂

  54. Pascal's bookie 54

    mardypants How will they achieve improved performance is the issue; bulk-funding?

    Something like, kids have to be achieving certain standards to progress through the grades, if a school dose not get a certain percentage of kids passing, they lose funding to motivate them.

    Just speculating, but it’s irresponsible not to. =)

  55. pinetree 55


    Probably a couple for starters, (re)nationalisation of former SOEs, foreign investment around “strategic” infrastructure, public-private funding initiatives in utilities sector, support/growth of export sector…

    ….all which can, have, and I’m sure will continue to be asked of Nats…but I’m equally unsure of the Government’s position on them…?

  56. T-Rex 56

    Ben/Phil – Read that article fully, agree with both his analysis and conclusions (but still not the methodology of percentage unemployment:percentage property crime).

    Not sure what lessons there are for NZ to learn from it… I suppose the contribution of drugs to high crime. Which is no surprise, but hard to fix.

    Despite the percentage improvement, isn’t the US still quite bad in terms of crime per capita? Or is that incredibly localised?

  57. Cagey 57

    Pascal’s bookie

    “Kids have to be achieving certain standards to progress through the grades…”

    Doesn’t work. Read Prof Hattie’s work. He shows that keeping kids back a year is the least effective method of raising achievement.

    “if a school dose not get a certain percentage of kids passing, they lose funding to motivate them.”

    Doesn’t work. This happens in the USA, and only serves to remove resource from schools that need them most. With less resource they are less able to deliver the curriculum, and a downward spiral of under achievement results.

  58. T-Rex 58

    Pascal was kidding.

  59. alex 59

    Looks like Labour may have breached the EFA… again. Sigh, I thought Labour would have learnt by now.

    IrishBill says: people who repeat talking points from Cameron Slater because they are too dim to take part in serious debate are boring.

    [lprent: Damnit Irish, I haven’t had a troll to torment/educate about the virtues of intelligent comment in weeks. How about leaving me some?]

  60. outofbed 60

    jeez, nick smiths caravan is in breach but i just informed them (the nelson nats ) not the police cos that would be petty, wouldn’t it

  61. Janet 61

    Both Labour and National have policies of keeping young people in education or training until they are 18. Yet the problems of kids getting disengaged from education starts in primary school so by early secondary they are already truanting or not interested in formal education. The way to change this is to make school more inclusive for all kids and their learning styles and work on their strengths. For many kids these strengths are unlikely to be measured by written academic tests which is what national standards in education means in other countries. So kids get turned off school and education in general and you have all the social and economic problems down the track.
    Making school relevant and exciting for every child is the problem – but testing for national standards is not the answer. What is National actually intending to do about keeping all kids actively engaged in learning from pre-school onwards? And how will they improve recruitment and retention of a skilled teaching workforce at the same time? Where are the well thought out policies?

  62. Razorlight 62


    I enjoy your passion and absolute determination. But really, after six months of beating this drum National continues to ride high and Labours message is falling upon deaf ears.

    In 1999 we used the same scare tactics. The sky would fall if Labour won etc etc. Although I have been opposed to many of the decisions made in the past 8 years the sky is still hanging up there.

    What I think you fail to recognise is, it is not National that needs to change its message, it is Labour. People are scared of where they are taking us. Their generous spending and now generous tax cuts are seen as major contibutors to our comparitivley high interest rates. Middle New Zealand is being strangled and Labour are more or less saying more of the same please.

    You have told us many times you have never voted Labour. Why not put them under the same scrutiny you dish out to Key and National.

  63. You are just not getting any traction with this “no Policy” line of attack. The Roy Morgan poll is out and labour have slipped further including collapse of support in Auckland.

  64. Interesting eh Bill – Labour down to 27% support in Auckland. It’s the third rogue poll in a month!

  65. They are all rogue IV2. Into the void is a fitting title in light of Roy Morgans tale of the tape this evening.

  66. lprent 66

    bb: It isn’t a ‘line of attack’ – I can’t remember ever seeing a political party so bereft of ideas. More importantly, where they do have ideas, they’re minor and they don’t appear to have costed them or worked on any level of detail.

    I’m sure that if National was organization putting up a business proposition, you’d be laughing them out of the door by now. They’re trying to act more like a charismatic marketer or preacher peddling faith than a political party (or a Nigerian scam). Personally I find I tend to hold on to my wallet around people like that.

    Don’t you think that is worth a political blog drawing attention to – or is that ‘off-message’ to national/act supporters?

    In the end there is only one poll that counts.

    [lprent: Hey I’m getting bored – you’re all being too ‘good’. So I’ll join in a bit more]

  67. They released policy in 2005, then got gazumped by a crowd who proved to be a little more venal, desperate and unconcerned about cost than they were. I am sure that policy will be released when it is appropriate.
    The fact is that other than labour and a few blogs screeching about policy the general public do not seem to be very bothered.
    Either that or they have adopted an anybody but labour mindset.
    Which do you think it is?

  68. r0b 68

    They released policy in 2005, then got gazumped by a crowd who proved to be a little more venal, desperate and unconcerned about cost than they were

    That’s an amusing interpretation of events!

    You are just not getting any traction with this “no Policy’ line of attack.

    Ya think? I think “we” are actually:
    And that’s just a random sample. I think “we” are getting pretty good traction, and “you” would really really rather that “we” stopped.

    Sorry, not going to happen. The people of NZ deserve to know who and what they are voting for.

  69. r0b 69

    Hey I’m getting bored – you’re all being too ‘good’

    Heh lprent – be careful what you wish for!

  70. lprent 70

    Ok just upgraded the plugin for the Ajax comments. Needless to say it buggered up the right column again, so I’ll have to look for a better moire permanent fix this time.

    bb: With the exception of the 10k odd people who are interested in politics, virtually no-one is actively interested in politics at this stage. However they keep an eye on the stories in the msm, and those journo’s are affected by the gossip from the active in blogs like this.

    At this stage in the cycle you just keep commenting and posting to make sure that the msm are well informed. Otherwise they operate like fashion victims and travel like sheep in a dumb mob.

    In the end it is only the final poll that counts.

    r0b: 🙂 Thats ok I have stockpiled a couple of interesting plug-ins that I either wrote or tested on Monday. I wouldn’t mind having something to beta-test them on.

  71. r0b 71

    Ok just upgraded the plugin for the Ajax comments. Needless to say it buggered up the right column again

    The new version is very pretty. What happened to that nice comment editor / authoring tool that appeared here briefly one night?

    Thats ok I have stockpiled a couple of interesting plug-ins that I either wrote or tested on Monday. I wouldn’t mind having something to test them on.

    I shall await with interest! The current management of spammers and trolls has certainly been successful at raising the tone of debate and discussion here.

  72. lprent 72

    TinyMCE – I had problems because it interfered with the editor used by the posters which is also TinyMCE. The latter has a reasonably constrained format.

    So I have to build a pre-compressed version of the TinyMCE code for the comments side that is completely separate to the posters side. TinyMCE is also a bit of overkill for what we want in comments, so I’ll hunt down another one that a javascript guru pointed me at and try that.

    I’m reasonably happy with the level of debate we get here now. It may be acrimonious on occassions, but it is usually reasonably considered. The level of schoolyard taunting and canned comments was starting to drive me nuts

  73. lprent 73

    I think I’ve said this before. But I think that this site has more detailed policy than the national party has released to date.

    I also know my costs of those policies – which is a significant improvement. I know that our policies work, because we’ve tried them.

    You’d think that a major political party could at least get up to the standard of the volunteers on this site. Makes the tories look like amateurs or people holding a balloon of hot air.

    Fixed the ‘Latest Comments’ layout

  74. r0b 74

    The level of schoolyard taunting and canned comments was starting to drive me nuts

    Indeed. Well, if it ever does get too quiet for you here, you could always offer to go and clean out the aegean stables over at Kiwiblog!


  75. How about cleaning your own corrupt stables out first r0b?
    You play dirty and smell rather rotten.

  76. Doug 76

    The general public like National Pollices just refer the latest Roy Morgan Poll.
    It is the labour policy the public cannot stand.

  77. Julie 77

    One of the things that disturbs me about National’s lack of policy is that it is actually creating a lot of uncertainty. For example, I was talking to someone yesterday who is considering setting up an early childhood centre, and it occured to me that she probably shouldn’t waste any money on the concept until National have determined whether they will keep the 20 Hours Free or not. Without it many ECE centres who have set up may see a considerable drop in enrollments and therefore struggle to get by.

    In a way I feel like the Mood for Change thing is quite naive. People seem to be saying “I’m sick of Labour” but not understanding necessarily that a change of Govt means a change of policy direction. And that currently we don’t really know what the new direction will be. National’s hardly going to do everything the same as Labour has done. But in the absence of policy from them some people seem to be assuming that.

  78. mike 78

    “whether they will keep the 20 Hours Free or not.”

    Tell your friend not to worry as the 20 hrs free does not actually exist. There is a supplement the Govt pays pre-schools that usually covers around half of the cost of the childcare.

  79. andy 79

    You are just not getting any traction with this “no Policy’ line of attack.

    maybe not so, there was a spa pool add on MoreFM Auckland this morning, taking the mickey out of JK and his lack of policy, it ended with the quip “john just likes the bubbles” LOL…

    the meme is starting to seep into the mainstream, zeitgeist changes happen quickly and with out warning, the Nats have chosen this as a strategy.

  80. r0b 80

    Tell your friend not to worry as the 20 hrs free does not actually exist.

    That will come as a surprise to the people receiving it. Actual data on uptake of free 20 hours is here:

    It is true that different providers have implemented the scheme in different ways, if you don’t like yours why not follow Key’s advice and “go down the road” to another provider? (Or do you have problems with that philosophy?).

  81. mike 81

    There are no – I repeat no centres in our greater area offering free childcare.
    It is a misleading policy and should be renamed “20 hrs subsidised”

  82. r0b 82

    Mike – seriously and sympathetically, it sounds like your providers are not implementing the scheme as intended (see the link in my previous post). You should challenge them on this. If they won’t budge, get your friendly local MP involved.

    Mike – political debate mode, seems like there are some problems with market forces models. Do you think the government should regulate and enforce more strictly?

  83. mike 83

    I would prefer the Govt stay out of my life more.
    If they choose to spend my money on subsidising childcare thats fine but call the policy what it is – a subsidy.
    You cannot and should not force private centres to reduce their services in order to offer a “free” service

  84. Lew 84

    mike: Are ECE providers forced to join the 20h free scheme?

    (I know the answer to this – it appears you do not).


  85. andy 85

    You cannot and should not force private centres to reduce their services in order to offer a “free’ service

    um they don’t, see your comment below.

    Tell your friend not to worry as the 20 hrs free does not actually exist.

    so if it does not exist, why are you so exercised by it?

    There are no – I repeat no centres in our greater area offering free childcare.

    Move or see comment at top! Why don’t you just try a bit harder, get a better job or move to a better area. Or don’t worry because it does not exist (see your comment above).

  86. andy 86


    Sir Roger Douglas, resurrected as the Act Party’s star attraction, will announce on Sunday which seat he has decided to contest in the election.


  87. higherstandard 87

    Will be interesting to see where he stands there are certain electorates in Auckland which might vote him in as the electorate MP in order to get a couple of MPs from ACT into the house.

    My impression is that Auckland is veering drastically towards the right and I wouldn’t put it past having some strategic voting in one of the very blue electorates.

  88. andy 88


    Have been mulling this over, it won’t be Manurewa!

    It will have to be a strategic decision with the Nats, it would have to be a true blue seat too. North Shore or south eastern suburbs?

    My impression is that Auckland is veering drastically towards the right and I wouldn’t put it past having some strategic voting in one of the very blue electorates.

    Epsom, is a deal sewen up years ago. I think in the gentrifying suburbs of auckland are going to the right and my pick, central auckland will go to the Nats this time. There are also vast swathes of red here.

    Suppose we will know in November 🙂

  89. Lew 89

    HS: I think you’re dead right. After all, an electorate politician should be someone you expect can go into bat for your electorate, more importantly than party loyalty. This was the point hammered home to us in POLS110 up at Vic when Richard Prebble was the member for Wellington Central – even though his party stood against the specific interests of the public servants and university students who make up the bulk of that electorate, but they recognised his worth as a politician and political advocate for their electorate.

    Douglas averred that, since he had lived most of his life in South Auckland, he’d be standing in a South Auckland seat. However, I expect his definition of `South Auckland’ is a bit different from the one most people have from the news, etc. I’d pick Pakuranga or Tamaki. Allan Peachey (Tamaki) is a weaker candidate then Maurice Williamson (Pakuranga) and further down the list, but both are still safe list candidates, so Tamaki is the better bet in my view.

    If he’s really got a pair he’ll stand in Mt Albert or Mt Roskill.


  90. mike 90

    “mike: Are ECE providers forced to join the 20h free scheme? ”
    Lew – No, my reponse was to Robs suggestion of enforcement.

    I have 3 kids at preschool. I’m personally not that worried at paying a premium for good care but take acception to the way this policy was advertised in such a misleading way.

    [you take ‘exception’. SP][

  91. Lew 91

    mike: I see.


  92. andy 92

    HS, Lew

    Hunua or Papakura are quite a good fit for Douglas. Semi rural, lots of lifestylers.

    I think peachy is set for Tamaki! No point in sacrificing an encumbent MP and splitting a safe seat.

    Interesting. IMO there is a coalition ‘agreement between ACT and National” contrary to Keys statements, we will know for sure on sunday. They have to have been in talks, even the nudge, nudge, wink, wink type of fire side chats.

  93. If he’s really got a pair he’ll stand in Mt Albert or Mt Roskill.

    As I understand it Lew, he doesn’t have a pair as ownership of a pair is considered to come at an opportunity cost that is ultimately bad for investment. Having said this it is possible he sold his pair to an overseas investor and then leased it back in such a way that all involved could avoid the legitimised government thievery that is “pair tax” and so he could also keep the utility of a pair while maintaining short term liquidity and thus be free to take advantage of significant short term gains in markets including (but not limited to) the pair exchange.

    Or they could have just dried up through years of fiscal abuse as the rest of the man has.

  94. Rob, that was very funny.

    captcha.. future treasury

  95. Lew 95

    Oh, one thing we’re all forgetting – Maungakiekie. Gosche is retiring so it’s ripe for the plucking, and Goldsmith is basically an ACT man in National drag.

    Robinsod: So I guess you’re saying he’ll take out a short-term lease on someone else’s really big pair and stand in Mangere, then?


  96. andy 96

    Lew Maungakiekie has a large amount of immigrants, might not be blue enough?

    Robinsod, LMAO

  97. Phil 97

    I’d really like to say something along the lines of…

    “After your dickless wimpering about why you wouldn’t go to Drinking Lib, it’s ironic that you would be the first to suggest Douglas is pairless”

    … but that would be beneath me.

  98. Lew 98

    andy: Goldsmith got 10,000 in 2005. I haven’t actually spent any time there since the early 90s, but in those days it seemed pretty leafy to me, but hell, what do I know?


  99. Lew 99

    Phil: maybe `Sod could take out a short-term lease on someone’s moderately-sized pair and come to the next one!


  100. Robinsod 100

    Robinsod: So I guess you’re saying he’ll take out a short-term lease on someone else’s really big pair and stand in Mangere, then?

    There are supply-side issues.

    Phil – what are you talking about man? Nothing’s beneath you.

  101. andy 101


    good point.

    I don’t think Douglas wants a fight, he wants a to tub thump. So will look for an ‘easy’ seat. Can’t quite figure out why he would get into a stoush at local level when he particularly likes being on the national stage.

    Same type of set up as Epsom for Douglas IMO.

  102. lprent 102

    It looks to me like the peerless revue has had the comedy extracted already. It could get in a nutcrusher if it goes on too much longer.

  103. Julie 103

    Mike, with all due respect it doesn’t sound to me like you know much about the 20 Hours Free scheme. Also, are you not familiar with kindergartens? Or perhaps Playcentre? Both of those tend to operate on a donation basis and even when fees are charged there is usually an understanding that the fees are voluntary. I’m not sure where you live, but certainly in urban areas there are generally kindergartens that are affiliated to the nationwide kindergarten associations and all of those are in the 20 Hours Free scheme.

  104. Anthony 104

    When it comes down to it for me, under a Labour government, people are penalised for succeeding via high tax. I.e. the majority of the tax in the country is sourced from a minority subset of the population.

    On the other hand, people are rewarded with benefits (such as WFF) and a tax scheme that is a disincentive to work harder – if they work harder and try to better themselves they will be faced with less net income once their benefits are removed.

    This is not a sustainable way of running a country. The success of any organisation no matter how big (including a country) or small cannot be built on the principle of punishing success and rewarding those who don’t seek to improve themselves.

    In the short term this may be attractive because it appears to give a majority of people a better life, but in the long term the successful people will dwindle with pretty disastrous repercussions.

  105. meconism 105

    Surely the National Party’s policy would be found in the remits from the Regional and National Party conferences.

    Although my bet is that they will roll out the ONLY policy they have ever had.

    We are born to rule and we will lie like a rug to get control of the treasury benches.

  106. Lew 106

    andy: Good call, he’s standing in Hunua. Old news now, I suppose.


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    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    6 days ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    7 days ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    7 days ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    1 week ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • In Defence of Kāinga Ora
    Given the headlines around the recent findings of the ‘independent’ review of Kāinga Ora by Bill English, you might assume this post will be about social housing, Kāinga Ora’s most prominent role. While that is indeed something that requires defending, I want to talk about the other core purpose of ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Baby You're A Rich Man
    “How does it feel to beOne of the beautiful peopleNow that you know who you areWhat do you want to beAnd have you traveled very far?Far as the eye can see”Yesterday the ACT party faithful were regaled with craven boasts, sneers, and demands for even more at their annual rally.That ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Stopping a future Labour government from shutting down gas exploration
    A defiant Resources Minister Shane Jones has responded to Saturday’s environmental protests by ending Labour’s offshore oil exploration ban and calling for long-term contracts with any successful explorers. The purpose would be to prevent a future Labour Government from reversing any licence the explorers might hold. Jones sees a precedent ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23
    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 2, 2024 thru Sat, June 8, 2024. Story of the week Our Story of the Week is Yale Climate Connection's Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths, by ...
    1 week ago
  • Fission by the river
    This is where we ate our lunch last Wednesday. Never mind your châteaux and castles and whatnot, we like to enjoy a baguette in the shadow of a nuclear power plant; a station that puts out more than twice as much as Manapouri using nothing more than tiny atoms to bring ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is the ocean acidifying?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is the ocean acidifying? Acidification of oceans ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000+ on Queen St.
    The largest protest I ever went on was in the mid 90s. There were 10,000 people there that day, and I’ve never forgotten it. An enormous mass of people, chanting together. Stretching block after block, bringing traffic to a halt.But I can’t say that’s the biggest protest I’ve ever been ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Josh Drummond's Columns
    Hi there,I wanted to put all of Josh Drummond’s Webworm pieces all in one place. I love that he writes for Webworm — and all of these are a good read!David.Why Are So Many “Christians” Hellbent on Being Horrible?Why do so many objectively hideous people declare themselves “Christian”?Meeting the Master ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday soliloquy and weekend Pick ‘n’ Mix for June 8/9
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: On reflection, the six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty this week were:The Government-driven freeze in building new classrooms, local roads and water networks in order to save cash for tax cuts is frustrating communities facing massive population ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The no-vision thing
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • When Journalists are Disingenuous
    Hi,One of the things I like the most about Webworm is to be able to break down the media and journalism a little, and go behind the scenes.This is one of those times.Yesterday an email arrived in my inbox from journalist Jonathan Milne, who is managing editor at Newsroom.I don’t ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Me, elsewhere: Just say you’ll do the thing
    Wrote something over at 1/200 on a familiar theme of mine: The way we frame the economy as a separate, sacred force which must be sacrificed to, the way we talk about criminals as invaders who must be repelled, the constant othering of people on the benefit, people not in ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 week ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted
    A nice bit of news today: my 4600-word historical fantasy-horror piece, A Voyage Among the Vandals, has been accepted by Phobica Books ( for their upcoming Pirate Horror anthology, Shivering Timbers. This one is set in the Mediterranean, during the mid-fifth century AD. Notable for having one of history’s designated ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministerial conflicts of interest
    Since the National government came to power, it has been surrounded by allegations of conflicts of interest. Firstly, there's the fast-track law, which concentrates power in the hands of three Ministers, some of whom have received donations from companies whose projects they will be deciding on. Secondly, there's the close ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The 2024 Budget Forecasts Are Gloomy Prognosis About The Next Three Years.
    There was no less razzamatazz about the 2024 Budget than about earlier ones. Once again the underlying economic analysis got lost. It deserves more attention.Just to remind you, the Budget Economic and Fiscal Update (BEFU), is the Treasury’s independent assessment and so can be analysed by other competent economists (although ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • A government that can't see twenty feet ahead
    There are two failings that consistently characterise a National government. One is a lack of imagination, the other is their willingness to look after their mates, no matter what harm it might do to everyone else.This is how we come to have thousands of enormous trucks carving up our roads. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • A post I hope is incorrect
    In May, we learned that National MP David MacLeod had "forgotten" to declare $178,000 in electoral donations. Filing a donation return which is false in any material particular is a crime, and the Electoral Commission has now referred MacLeod to police, since they're the only people who are allowed to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Cannot Re-Write New Zealand’s Constitution By Stealth.
    The Kotahitanga Parliament 1897: A Māori Parliament – at least in the guise of a large and representative body dedicated to describing the shape of New Zealand’s future from a Māori perspective – would be a very good idea.THE DEMAND for a “Māori Parliament” needs to be carefully unpicked. Some Pakeha, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cowpats and Colonials.
    Dumbtown, is how my friend Gerard refers to people like ZB listeners - he’s not wrong.Normally on a Friday I start by looking at Mike Hosking’s moronic reckons of the week which he vomits down the throats of his audience like helpless baby birds in a nest, grateful for the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago

  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    14 hours ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    4 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    4 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    4 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    4 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    4 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    4 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    4 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    4 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    5 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    5 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    5 days ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    5 days ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    5 days ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    5 days ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    5 days ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    5 days ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    5 days ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    5 days ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    6 days ago
  • Paid Parental Leave increase to help families
    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Brooke van Velden says paid parental leave increase from 1 July will put more money in the pockets of Kiwi parents and give them extra support as they take precious time off to bond with their newborns. The increase takes effect from 1 July 2024 ...
    7 days ago
  • Defence increases UN Command commitment
    The number of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to the Republic of Korea is increasing, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.  NZDF will deploy up to 41 additional personnel to the Republic of Korea, increasing the size of its contribution to the United ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand to attend 'Summit on Peace in Ukraine' in Switzerland
    New Zealand will be represented at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine by Minister Mark Mitchell in Switzerland later this week.    “New Zealand strongly supports Ukraine’s efforts to build a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Minister Mitchell is a senior Cabinet Minister and ...
    7 days ago
  • Big step forward for M.bovis programme
    Farmers’ hard work is paying off in the fight against Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) with the move to a national pest management plan marking strong progress in the eradication effort, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The plan, approved by the Coalition Government, was proposed by the programme partners DairyNZ, Beef ...
    7 days ago
  • Build To Rent opening welcomed by Housing Minister
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Housing Minister Chris Bishop formally opened a new Build to Rent development in Mt Wellington this morning. “The Prime Minister and I were honoured to cut the ribbon of Resido, New Zealand’s largest Build to Rent development to date.  “Build to Rent housing, like the ...
    7 days ago
  • Agriculture to come out of the ETS
    The Government will deliver on its election commitment to take agriculture out of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) and will establish a new Pastoral Sector Group to constructively tackle biogenic methane, Coalition Government Agriculture and Climate Change Ministers say. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand farmers ...
    7 days ago
  • Luxon Tokyo-bound for political and business visit
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Japan from 16-20 June, his first visit as Prime Minister.   “Japan is incredibly important to New Zealand's prosperity. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and our fourth largest export destination.  “As you know, growing the economy is my number one priority. A strong economy means ...
    1 week ago
  • Bayly travels to Singapore for scam prevention meetings
    Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Andrew Bayly, travels to Singapore today to attend scam and fraud prevention meetings. “Scams are a growing international problem, and we are not immune in New Zealand. Organised criminal networks operate across borders, and we need to work with our Asia-Pacific partners to tackle ...
    1 week ago
  • More help for homeowners impacted by severe weather
    People who were displaced by severe weather events in 2022 and 2023 will be supported by the extension of Temporary Accommodation Assistance through to 30 June 2025. Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says the coalition Government is continuing to help to those who were forced out of their ...
    1 week ago
  • Government to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    Removing the ban on petroleum exploration beyond onshore Taranaki is part of a suite of proposed amendments to the Crown Minerals Act to deal with the energy security challenges posed by rapidly declining natural gas reserves, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “Natural gas is critical to keeping our lights on ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Malaysia to intensify connections
    New Zealand and Malaysia intend to intensify their long-standing, deep connections, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “Malaysia is one of New Zealand’s oldest friends in South-East Asia – and both countries intend to get more out of the relationship," Mr Peters says.   "Our connections already run deep and ...
    1 week ago
  • Ending contracted emergency housing motels in Rotorua
    The end of Contracted Emergency Housing (CEH) motels in Rotorua is nearing another milestone as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announces it will not renew consents for six of the original 13 motels, Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka says. The government is committed to stop using CEH ...
    1 week ago
  • First Home Grant closure exemptions
    The Government is providing a narrow exemption from the discontinuation of the First Home Grant for first home buyers who may face unfair situations as a result, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “The First Home Grant scheme was closed with immediate effect on 22 May 2024, with savings being reprioritised ...
    1 week ago
  • Faster consenting for flood protection projects in Hawke's Bay
    Work to increase flood resilience in Hawke’s Bay can start sooner, thanks to a new fast consenting process, Minister for Emergency Management and Recovery Mark Mitchell and Environment Minister Penny Simmonds say.  “Faster consenting means work to build stop banks, spillways and other infrastructure can get underway sooner, increasing flood ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Judge Craig Coxhead and Nathan Milner newest Māori Land Court appointments
    Tangata tū tangata ora, tangata noho tangata mate. Minister for Māori Development Tama Potaka today announced acting Deputy Chief Judge Craig Coxhead as the new Deputy Chief Judge, and Nathan Milner as Judge of the Māori Land Court. "I want to congratulate Judge Coxhead and Mr Milner on their appointments ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government signs Indo-Pacific Economic agreements to boost trade
    Trade Minister Todd McClay and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts, today signed three Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) agreements that will boost investment, grow New Zealand’s digital and green economies and increase trade between New Zealand and the 14 IPEF partners. IPEF’s partners represent 40 per cent of global GDP ...
    2 weeks ago

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