It’s alright when he does it

Written By: - Date published: 2:12 pm, May 7th, 2008 - 64 comments
Categories: assets, john key, Media - Tags: ,

A reader sent us this letter to the Herald’s editor, which the Herald has refused to print.

When the government moved to block the sale of Auckland Airport to the Canadian Pension Fund, the Herald’s editorial proclaimed that anyone who didn’t want foreign ownership of our strategic assets was xenophobic.

Yesterday, John Key played the xenophobic line in opposing the buyback of Toll when he said ‘Labour has been prepared to deliver the Australian shareholders of Toll a quarter of a billion dollar windfall at the expense of struggling New Zealand taxpayers’.

Will we now see an editorial condemning Key for appealing to xenophobia?

I thought not.

Guess we can’t expect better from the Herald’s editorial line. Which is a shame, because they have some really good reporters.

Key went out of his way to inject the xenophobic angle in other media too. On TV3, he said ‘…they’ve given this windfall to the shareholders.., Australian shareholders, of Toll…’. He’d obviously been told by his media advisors to put that angle in his lines and when he forgot it he backtracked.

[PS. Confusion reigns in National. In the press release quoted above John Key is called ‘Party Deputy Leader’]

[Update: The Nats have obviously taken note and have corrected the press release to “Party Leader” (shouldn’t that be ‘co-leader’?). Happy to help out fellas and if you’re ever looking for some policy advice, you know where to come.]

64 comments on “It’s alright when he does it”

  1. Billy 1

    Criticising giving taxpayers’ money away to foreigners is hardly xenophobic.

  2. mike 2

    So the Herald refuse to print one of the thousands of letters they recieve because they are biased? Now you are shooting the messenger for what they are not printing. Hilarious

  3. higherstandard 3

    Nothing xenophobic Steve, assuming the majority of Tolls shareholders are Australian Key’s comments were a statement of fact.

    If I was the Herald I wouldn’t post it just to embarass whoever wrote it.

    Strange post indeed.

  4. higherstandard 4

    Feck I meant I wouldn’t print it as it would just embarass the writer

  5. Dim (was dime) 5

    this blog is quite funny… usually i hang at kiwiblog.. the mood is a bit different there.. although i guess with so many labour screw ups, his job is easier.

    anyway, the govt overpays by 230mil… and the response is “the herald didnt print this letter?” hahaha

  6. I think it’s that Key makes a point of highlighting that the owners of Toll are foreign – in fact he goes out of his way to repeatedly mention it. That’s the play on xenophobia.

    when the government doesn’t want a strategic asset to fall under foregin control that’s xenophobia, when Key goes out of his way to highlight that the owners of a company are foreign, that’s not.

  7. higherstandard 7

    Steve if you want something outrageous to how about the children being taught out of a container in the Sth Island

    A very long link

    Now this is a disgrace !

    [lprent: fixed up your link – you missed the h in http]

  8. Billy 8

    Dime, I encourage you to stay. I find the dialogue here a lot more constructive that at Kiwiblog, and guys like r0b and Matthew Pilott are always willing to engage in well reasoned, robust but not abusive debate. They are always wrong, of course…

  9. Sam Dixon 9

    test2

  10. Sam Dixon 10

    Billy – beleive the bullshit if you want but the price apid was in a fair range. Toll had put hundreds of millions into the comapny since it bought it and its making a profit. A company is worth more than the book value of its assets. Key and Prebble know that but they lie about it anyway becuae they’re hoping people like you are too ill-informed and will believe whatever they say.

  11. Helen Clark is the best Prime Minister Australia has ever had. Not content with driving tens of thousands of our best and brightest to Aus tralia, she is now presiding over a government that has exported hundreds of millions of OUR dolllars over there as well. To add insult to injury the Toll team were allowed to retain the only profitable part of the business and receive RENT FREE access to facilities for 6 years.
    This is quite simply the inept business decision Cullen has ever forced upon us. Never take a knife to a gunfight…. Or as we shall all now say, Never take an art history teacher and amateur economist to a business meeting.
    But lets look on the bright side, we can now pour hundreds of millions of dollars into a business that most of the country has no access too.

  12. Billy 12

    Sam, if they overpaid why is it xenophobic to point this out?

  13. Dim (was dime) 13

    billy.. think ill stay around for a couple of days.. will educate some lefties 🙂

  14. vto 14

    The AIA ‘strategic asset’ issue was just a big load of political-decision-making bullshit that did a lot of harm and no good (except, Clark and Cullen are hoping, to labours voter base).

    It was the type of decision that makes me angry i.e. made purely on the basis of what is good for votes instead of what is good for NZ.

  15. vto 15

    Ha ha Mr Dime, that’s what I’m trying to do… he he

  16. Tane 16

    It’s quite simple. Key is running lines aimed at arousing xenophobic sentiment. His responses will have been carefully chosen for him by his advisors, and they will be telling him to point out that it’s “Australian owners” who have been paid out every time he criticises the purchase. The hope is that Kiwis are so incensed about taxpayers paying money to Australians that they’ll oppose bringing rail back into public hands.

    This is blindingly obvious to anyone who knows how these things work. Steve’s point is fair – if the Herald is going to call the Govt “xenophobic” when it opposes in principle the idea of foreign companies owning our strategic assets, then they should do the same when John Key deliberately exploits xenophobia to oppose buying back core infrastructure.

  17. higherstandard 17

    Thanks LP – apologies for my technical ineptitude I’ll get the kids to show me how to shorten links in future.

    [lprent: just write them like this

    <a href=’http://mylink.htm’>Text I want to display</a>

    The ‘a’ tag is the anchor point and it is closed by the ‘/a’ tag. The href contains the link, and the stuff between the start a and /a tags is what you want people to see.

    Note to myself – write a page on html for comments]

  18. HS. just read that article. So there’s a school that is insisting on enrolling children from outside its zone when it doesn’t have the rooms to teach them all, and the Ministry is saying ‘we can’t fund you to build rooms for kids from outside zone otherwise we may as well not have a zoning system’.

    We do have a zoning system, the school is choosing to disregard it, and they’re ending up putting kids in the shipping container to get taught. It is a disgrace, the Board of Trustees should resign and the school should only enrol from in-zone.

    However, we, as a rule, don’t usually cover local political issues like rogue boards of trustees. we’re about national and international politics.

  19. higherstandard 19

    Sam D

    “Toll had put hundreds of millions into the company since it bought it and its making a profit.”

    Not according to the authors here – Toll are evil and ran down the railways appallingly.

  20. insider 20

    Hang on, one of CUllen’s key excuses for this was the continuing paying of subsidies to Australian shareholders and he thought it better they should be paid to NZers…

    If involves a massive shift of wealth from taxpayers and taking on of risk, I think it is reasonable to note the flows are between countries.

  21. higherstandard 21

    Tane

    How is it xenophobic of Key to have preferred having Rail under foreign ownership ??

  22. Steve: I read the press release on the National Party website and indeed it does look like an appeal to xenophobia.

  23. Tane 23

    How is it xenophobic of Key to have preferred having Rail under foreign ownership ??

    HS, the xenophobia is being used to convince the public that Cullen didn’t just pay too much for the railways, he paid it to Australians. Look at that release and see how many times he mentions Australia, and how he tries to contrast Australian shareholders with Kiwi taxpayers.

    It’s clumsy, I know, but when even the Dom Post is backing the rail buyback I don’t imagine there’s much to work with. John Key can’t exactly come out and admit he’s opposed in principle to public ownership of assets now can he?

  24. Phil 24

    Normally I don’t laugh out loud at the stuff you guys post, and I try to keep to a minimum of leet-speak, but…

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!1111one

    Seeing you try to pin xenophobia on to that statment is a delight to watch

  25. vto 25

    Tane, you are no doubt right. What I see though is National playing the same cards as the other parties – Cullen appealed appallingly to xenophobia with AIA, Winston Bjeikle-Peterson does it all the time.

    I have wondered for a while why the Nats don’t accuse Labour of the same things – helps nullify any accusation. Examples – flip-flop, xenophobia, public-private partnerships, etc. I suspect you may find that flip-flop has lost any link to the Nats because it gets used against labour too. And rightly so.

    Re the Herald’s apparent lack of ‘equality’, diddums.

  26. Tane 26

    vto, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with all this, whether or not we call it xenophobia. Well, I mean in principle I do, but I don’t think it’s a hanging offense.

    I just think it’s a double standard for the Herald to call one party on it and not another.

  27. Billy 27

    Tane, pointing out that the government is using New Zealanders’ money to overpay Australians for an asset is not xenophobia. It’s pointing out stupidity.

    Being nice to foreigners does not require us to give money away to them, surely.

  28. Tane 28

    Of course it can be rationalised away, that’s the great thing about dogwhistling. But there’s a reason Key’s advisors will have expressly told him to mention Australian shareholders at every turn, and it’s to play on xenophobia.

    Again, I don’t think it’s a big issue. But let’s not kid ourselves about what’s happening here.

  29. Dave 29

    Letters to the editor are an avenue of providing opinions, not telling a newspaper concerned what to do or where to write about certain issues. That’s probably why it was ditched. Why dont you ask the letter writer to resubmit it as an opinion, not as a suggested direction.

  30. BeShakey 30

    My take on this isn’t so much that Key is xenophobic (I might like him, but I don’t believe every nasty thing said about him), but that he can’t get his story straight – in one case not letting NZ money flow out of the country is xenophobic, in another letting NZ money flow out of the country is xenophobic.

    The actual value of the company is an interesting question (although its a differet one to what most people are going on about which is whether it should have been bought). As already noted the book value of the company isn’t necessarily the value it should be bought for. Toll sank a lot of money into turning the company into one that could turn a profit. The government may also take into account a range of factors, some of which are only relevant for them, for instance climate change, and the effect on safety and maintainence of moving freight from road to rail.

    (Long post I know), but lastly – it surely isn’t a conspiracy for the Herald not to publish a letter that is sent to it. The quality of the paper would probably improve if they took that approach much more often than they do.

  31. Billy 31

    It wasn’t published because it makes a stupid point. It is just not xenophobic to criticise a government decision to give money away to foreigners.

  32. I’m not saying they have to print everything that’s sent to them. I just gave a platform to someone they had denied because I thought the point about xenophobia only applying to opposing the flow of NZ money to foreigners when the Government does it, not when National does it, was interesting

    On the value of Toll – obviously the Govt gets a whole lot of extra value out of owning the whole rail system than Toll had in just owning part of it. This will allow the government to upgrade the whole transport system; not just run a rail company.

  33. Tane 33

    It is just not xenophobic to criticise a government decision to give money away to foreigners.

    His advisors seemed to think it’d strike that note.

  34. slightlyrighty 34

    So Key highlights the ineptitude of the Government, illustrating it with the fact that toll shares rose a total of 235 million, while the NZ taxpayer stumps up 665 million.

    Now Key is not against foriegners doing well, but the cost paid by we, the taxpayer, is too high. To accuse him of xenophobia as a result of these statements is drawing a ridiculously long bow. Given Key’s past dealings in business, particularly with multinational companies, makes this a patently ridiculous assertion.

  35. r0b 35

    Dime, I encourage you to stay.

    Me too.

    I find the dialogue here a lot more constructive that at Kiwiblog,

    Me too.

    and guys like r0b and Matthew Pilott are always willing to engage in well reasoned, robust but not abusive debate.

    Why Billy, I never knew you cared! (Aren’t you already spoken for?)

    They are always wrong, of course

    And black is always white, and water is always dry, it’s a funny old world.

    Anyway, Xenophobia. With the blessings of The Herald I personally got accused of being a racist for opposing the Auckland Airport sale. But according to our resident righties John Key should be immune to even being challenged on his own use of the “damn foreigners” card? Oh please. Genuine issue, great post, Herald as usual.

  36. Billy 36

    r0b, you’re wrong.

  37. Tane 37

    Given Key’s past dealings in business, particularly with multinational companies, makes this a patently ridiculous assertion.

    Again, you make the mistake of thinking Key’s public statements come from what Key thinks. They don’t. He’s given lines by his advisors, who write them into his press releases and tell him what to say in interviews.

    I don’t understand how people can find this so hard to comprehend.

  38. billy.. think ill stay around for a couple of days.. will educate some lefties

    Dime – It’s spelled “I’ll” (note the capitalisation of “i” and the contractive apostrophe). Also ellipses have three periods in them not two. But y’know bro, stick around to educate us some more and you might learn to punctuate…

  39. slightlyrighty 39

    So let me get this straight. Key raises issues because the Government bought back the railways FROM foreigners, and he is somehow against foreigners?

    Or would it be more truthful to point out that John Key has a good understanding of the value of foreign capital to the NZ economy and that John Key would have preferred the status quo, with a lesser level of government investment?

    Isn’t that what the press release is saying when it states

    “Labour could have achieved its goals on rail by negotiating a proper subsidy with Toll.

    “Instead, Labour is wasting up to a billion dollars so Helen Clark and Michael Cullen can have a train set.

    John Key would have aimed for a win-win situation. What he is saying is that the NZ taxpayer, whose interests the government should be representing, is a loser in this transaction.

    [let’s get this straight, he’s not against foreigners, he’s playing to xenophobia as a political tactic on the advice of his media people. SP]

  40. Billy 40

    ‘sod, it’s “bro'”.

  41. Billy – I’ve told you before the abbreviation has evolved into a word in it’s own right and therefore no longer needs the apostrophe…

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bro

  42. I meant “its” – I blame you for that Billy.

  43. Matthew Pilott 43

    John Key would have aimed for a win-win situation. What he is saying is that the NZ taxpayer, whose interests the government should be representing, is a loser in this transaction.

    Of course the reason that trains aren’t efficient in new Zealand is due to a couple of decades of neglect (although it appears Toll were better than their predecessors), once the proper money is spent teh system will be worth having. While roads have been improved and truck technology has increased vastly, we have what must be a 1950’s system.

    So I can see why people are sceptical, but it doesn’t take too much imagination to see why a single powerful and efficient unit pulling goods over the most shallow gradients possible, in the straightest line that could be engineered, would be more efficient that thousands of motors labouring up hills and around corners.

    Key would just prefer to highlight that we had to buy the system of AUSTRALIANS. (yes slighyltrighty, just because he’s highlighting that the money is going to foreigners, and not the goods, doesn’t exempt the statement from being xenophobic – nor should it)

    Onya JK. So much for ‘Ambition’! The only loser is National, with their inherent distrust of the organisation they seek to control!

  44. Matthew Pilott 44

    They are always wrong, of course

    Billy, you’re right, as am I. Just don’t forget that some are more right than others…

  45. gobsmacked 45

    Got to share this gem with you folks:

    Sunday Star-Times, March 23:

    “Next up is the rail system, which Cullen is negotiating to buy back into government ownership. When asked by the Sunday Star-Times where National stands on the issue, Key repeatedly said he didn’t believe the sale would go through. But he says if it does happen, his finance spokesman Bill English has made it clear National would sell off rail again.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4449266a6160.html

    So, wrong, and wrong. Ouch.

  46. Well spotted gobsmacked. A typically astute move by Cullen. I know, we will pay so much for this worn out dinosaur of a business that when they sell it for what it is worth we will be able to give them a really big serve for selling it for less than we paid for it.
    In the meantime, Cullen has ensured that Kiwi transport operators are at a disadvantage due to the 6 years free rent given to our mates from the unbelievably lucky country.

  47. Bill – you’re an idiot.

  48. higherstandard 48

    Sod you’re an ass

  49. Matthew Pilott 49

    HS, you’re some form of mosaic.

    How pretty.

  50. Billy 50

    ‘sod, you have already conceded that “bro'” needs an apopstrophe:

    Pretend polling

    Surely you are notflip flopping.

  51. I must’ve been drunk.

  52. lprent 52

    Looks like there is a use I hadn’t expected from the identicon’s.

    ‘sod I never realised what looked like violet question marks and circles before. But personally it looks more like brain tissue after attack from prions to me.

  53. Ari 53

    The taxpayer is the loser, for sure, but only because the rail system was sold in the first place instead of simply having its management structure changed.

    Steve is right to point out that Key is doing some nationalistic dogwhistling, (I don’t think being a little nationalistic is necessarily wrong, but I do think that if it’s a principled position he should simply be able to come out and say directly he has a problem with buyouts from foreign owners.) and doing so far more xenophobically than the blocking of Auckland Airport. Note that Labour did not mention the owners of the airport at all and just focused on the policy issue of independent transport infrastructure- wheras Key deliberately emphasises the nationality of the recipients of the buyout. If he really cared about keeping this cash in the New Zealand economy, he’d have given some good alternatives for it. But he doesn’t seem to have much to offer apart from tax cuts anyway, so…

    The fact is that key transport infrastructure doesn’t always work in private hands, because there are conflicts of interests when companies perform diversification in the same industry, (like Toll did by having both rail and truck shipping businesses) and because the infrastructure exists to be a public service- not necessarily making a profit itself, but making it easier for other individuals and businesses to do so, and recouping the losses to pay for the service from taxes. As long as there is independent and accountable management, I don’t see any other reason to worry about nationalisation of transport infrastructure.

    Hopefully public ownership will speed up electrification of urban rail networks, lead to proper carriage/engine upgrades and replacements, and give bus networks some viable competition in order to improve the state of public transport in the country. That would be a win for everyone- decreasing the need to maintain expensive cars, freeing up the time during the commute to work allowing people to read on the train/bus, and making our Kyoto commitments easier to meet.

    Key is in the difficult position of having publicly commited to building kiwi infrastructure… and then having the government do a better job than him at it, and making sacrifices to do so that he wouldn’t consider. When he actually starts showing that sort of commitment to make hard decisions with a sense of responsibility, I’ll start taking him seriously as a Party leader.

  54. Dean 54

    “let’s get this straight, he’s not against foreigners, he’s playing to xenophobia as a political tactic on the advice of his media people. SP”

    Steve, is refusing to sell shares in an airport versus selling controlling interest in a Wellington power company xenophobic?

    I’d just like some clarification.

  55. redbus 55

    We’ve got pictures now.

  56. Occasional Observer 56

    Steve Pierson: Shark-Jumper Par Excellence.

  57. Dim (was dime) 57

    robinsod – HAHAHAHAHA

    dude, we are posting comments on a freakin blog.

    but i should have epected a comment like yours, afterall, we are on a labour site and most of you are teachers..

  58. lprent 58

    Dime: I can see that you haven’t picked your name correctly. It should be DIM. In fact if you don’t fix up your level of comment, I’ll change all of your comment’s psuedonym to DIM. That should demonstrate I’m a programmer, not a teacher.

  59. Dim (was dime) 59

    hahaha love the left, always resorting to name calling. its just too easy 🙂

    good to se you following the government example though!!!

    your end goal is to change dimes behaviour, so instead of offering a carrot,,,, you offer a stick! priceless!

    change whatever ya like… computer teacher 🙂

  60. Matthew Pilott 60

    Dime, sysop is the stick – I think the Labour site and ‘teachers’ (which btw is a pretty odd thing to say)comments might have been noticed.

    P.S what carrot? Would it work if he said “I shall say nice things about you if you do X”?

  61. r0b 61

    hahaha love the left, always resorting to name calling. its just too easy

    That’s right Dime, and the Right never call names (like say Klark, KKKullen, Liarbore, Labiaour, feminazi, socialist lickspittle), hu huh, never happens.

    your end goal is to change dimes behaviour, so instead of offering a carrot,,,, you offer a stick! priceless!

    Excellent point Dime. Kinda like National’s promise to stick young offenders with Bootcamp. What sort of carrot do you think National should be offering to troubled youth instead Dime?

  62. Daveo 62

    Maurice Williamson today:

    “On the one hand, Labour gifts an Australian corporate a quarter of a billion dollar profit but in the same breath, refuses to re-build the 80-year-old Kopu Bridge immediately.

  63. Dean 63

    Rob:

    “That’s right Dime, and the Right never call names (like say Klark, KKKullen, Liarbore, Labiaour, feminazi, socialist lickspittle), hu huh, never happens.”

    Yeah, it’s all pretty stupid.

    At least you’re not denying that the left do the same though.

  64. r0b 64

    No, there is fault on both sides. But in all seriousness, the Righties are the worst offenders:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4402999a13135.html

    you get the feeling that if the blogosphere was an ecosystem, the far-Right bloggers would be bottom feeders.

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    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    5 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    5 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    5 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    7 days ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 days ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three 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. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago

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