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Key and Shirtcliffe conspire against MMP

Written By: - Date published: 1:57 pm, September 26th, 2010 - 60 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, MMP - Tags: , ,

The Sunday Star Times has documents showing John Key’s Chief of Staff and anti-MMP campaigner Peter Shirtcliffe discussing how best to remove proportional representation from Kiwi votors.

According to the documents the two decided that STV wouldn’t attract people away from MMP:

Shirtcliffe prepared notes of the meeting outlining areas of agreement on how the issue should be handled, noting chief of staff Wayne Eagleson and Shirtcliffe agreed Key supported the SM option. “The feeling seems to be STV [Single Transferable Vote] does not meet the public wish for simplicity. There is… some merit in offering a format which reduces the House to 100 seats.”

While there were “a few National caucus members who want the whole thing to go away”, the document said, “Wayne does not believe they are any impediment to progress”.

Key’s press sec, Kevin Taylor is trying to claim it’s “ridiculous” to think that the Nat’s and Shirtcliffe would collude to get rid of MMP. Which begs the question; has anyone from Key’s office discussed the caucus position on MMP with pro-MMP campaigners?

Thought not.

Of course the end of MMP would suit the Nat’s as they would be likely to be able to govern despite a minority vote and thus be able to push through the kind of policy their big business backers are desperate to see. That would be the same big business backers that helped fund the anti-democratic attack on MMP last time:

60 comments on “Key and Shirtcliffe conspire against MMP”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    The authoritarian right plotting to get rid of democracy – who’d ‘ve thunk it.

    • Bored 1.1

      If Shirtcliffe had no money and no position in the hierachy of right wing organisations I know for a fact I would not have heard of him or his dislike of representative democracy. He would be what he is today, a nobody BUT more importantly an unheard nobody.

  2. outofbed 2

    Good to see Diana there
    Expect to see the same sort of thing again
    It a shame that there won’t be a level playing field around the advertising for the referendum

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    I hope ACT and the MP are keen to support National in gutting MMP 🙄

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      The MP get all their seats from the electorates, so getting rid of MMP would be in their favour, presuming that the Maori Seats stayed (which is a separate issue).

      captcha: suppose

      • Ari 3.1.1

        Not really, as it would be harder for the Maori Party to implement its goals with the way most disproportionate systems advantage right-wing parties like National.

        Not to mention that their closest allies on continued Maori representation are in the Green Party, which would be at least halved under SM, if not worse.

        • Lanthanide 3.1.1.1

          Yes, of course if National got majorities each time, they wouldn’t need coalitions with other parties.

          But obviously even with FFP you sometimes need coalitions (see England, Australia, current Canadian parliament) and under the last results, Act and United Future would have single seats, NZF and Greens wouldn’t get in at all, leaving Maori Party as the only minority party with any significant share of seats with which National could form a coalition with. I would suggest that a MP/National coalition would be stronger in favour of the MP than the current National/MP/Act/UF grouping is.

          • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1.1.1

            Why would Epsom voters have voted for Rodney absent MMP bringing an extra 4 mps on his coattails. That was his whole election campaign ffs. Likewise United. Dunne’s main claim is to keep the others sensible. That becomes a lot less meaningful when the chances of the others needing to give a shit about your opinion is reduced.

            Have a look at how often parliaments are hung under fpp and you’ll see how often the mP would be relevant in that system. That’s assuming the mP would even survive in an fpp system. Would their voters make the same calculations that they do now about the benefits of independence? Who knows? Not me.

  4. the sprout 4

    no surprise there mate.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Grant Robertson has a post up about this over at Red Alert as well.

    This was of course a classic tactic to divert the debate away from the actual issue (the fact he is supporting Rodney Hide who covered up David Garrett’s actions) to try to make it about MMP.

    Spin and distraction – the only things we ever get from NACT.

  6. Tigger 6

    “Prime Minister’s Department spokesman Kevin Taylor said it was “ridiculous” to claim the memo showed the two men were working for SM.”

    Key likes SM? That’s the most interesting thing I’ve ever learned about him. Creepy, and understandable, but interesting.

  7. richard Bartlett 7

    Nicky Hagers “Hollow Men” demonstrated just how devious and hypocritical Key and Co really are.
    The media are playing their part lulling us into a totally false sense of security.
    The “No Brash…..no cash” gang prepared a bloodless coup for 2005, and were stopped only by the
    release of the emails and memos which revealed what their actual plans were. Don’t expect anything but lies from the “smiling assassin”. The advice from the spin doctors was don’t do anything to frighten the “punters in punterland” in the first term. That’s what they’re doing. They want FPP………..
    but then, so does Phil Goff.

    • IrishBill 7.1

      I would hope that Goff doesn’t support FPP. I know Grant Robertson is on record as an MMP supporter.

      • the sprout 7.1.1

        same. if he did that’d really burn some already rickety bridges

      • Anne 7.1.2

        @ richard Bartlett
        Phil Goff does not support FPP.

        I’m not sure who are the most dangerous: the RWNJs or those Lefties who have some sort of ‘hate’ fetish on Phil Goff. He may have fallen for the neo-liberals once (so did I – briefly) but that was nearly 25 years ago. For god’s sake give the man a break!

  8. outofbed 8

    Maybe the campaign for MMp should write to all the Mp’s to gauge their opinion and then publish the results That would be interesting
    I’d guess that white middle aged men would be the most anti MMP. Grant and Keith excepted

    • the sprout 8.1

      from what I’ve seen the highest positive correlates for being pro-FPP are age and being a National party voter

    • IrishBill 8.2

      Grant’s Middle aged? I’d always thought of him as young. Damn, I’m getting older every day.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      I’d guess that white middle aged men would be the most anti MMP.

      That’s too much of a generalisation. Most middle aged men would remember the fiasco that was 1981 and 1993 where National got in with significant minorities. Now, if you’d said rich, white, middle aged men then I’d probably agree with you as they’d have the propensity to vote National who long for the days of having a minority dictatorship.

      • KJT 8.3.1

        This white middle aged man prefers MMP over FPP. I do not have fond memories of the exercise of absolute power by either Labour or National.

        NACT are now re-eNACTing the borrow for election bribes policies of the Muldoon minority Government era.

        • Macro 8.3.1.1

          this white “decrepit ol’ man also totally supports MMP (with perhaps minor amendments to lower the “cut off” of 5% vote to a smaller say – 2.5% of party vote – ie 3 + MP representation),
          and for much the same reasons.

  9. outofbed 9

    Labour leader Phil Goff said in the 1990s he had preferred first past the post but the problem with that system was that it did not allow small parties fair representation in Parliament.

    ”My personal support would be for the system that is fairest, I think MMP is fairest, but it does have the problem that the tail wags the dog and we have seen that in recent days,” Mr Goff said

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/politics/3334329/MMP-referendum-question-released
    So yes Goff is on the fence, funny that

    • rosy 9.1

      One person’s tail wagging the dog is another person’s representative democracy.

      • locus 9.1.1

        The argument that “the tail wags the dog” when a small party is in coalition suggests a greater degree of influence than is really the case. The small party in the coalition “tugs the whiskers” rather than “wags the dog”.

        Ultimately the best thing about MMP is that people can vote for the party that represents their views best, in the knowledge that there’s a good chance their views will get an airing in parliament.

  10. locus 10

    I lived with FPP most of my life. Being ruled by a party that had gained around 30 percent of the vote totally sucked unless it was the party you voted for. Typically FPP led to wholesale policy and legislative change whenever the alternate ‘minority’ party gained power. The 30 percent of the electorate who never voted for the two larger minority parties were generally disenfranchised. Occasionally one of the small minority parties would start to poll well, but as it got closer to election time the pressure on people to switch their vote to one of the two larger parties was huge: better to have a party in power which you agree with 20% of the time than one you agree with 2% of the time. Neither of the two bigger parties had any real intention of changing the regime because they rather liked having 100% control when they were in power.

  11. Tanz 11

    List MPs are not voted in by the people and are often rejected, but get to stay, due to the silly list system. Key should be more open in his views, if he doesn’t like MMP, that is his right, his populist manner is just annoying. I would like to have a leader who has the courage of their convictions, rather than one who constantly tests the winds, and shifts their views accordingly.

    FPP is the better, more decisivie system, with all MPs elected by the people and answerable to the people (and not just their various party machinery).

    • millsy 11.1

      Are you an old white man who wants his privilige back?

      Please give me a detailed explanation why you want less gays, Maoris, women, etc in Parliament.

    • outofbed 11.2

      No FPP election are decided by a few marginal electorates it
      is a shocking system
      I want my vote to count thankyou very much
      in FPP I would be forced to vote Labour as my least worst option

    • Pascal's bookie 11.3

      List MPs are not voted in by the people and are often rejected, but get to stay, due to the silly list system.

      List mp’s are elected via the list vote, so even if an electorate rejects them then the people can put them in parliament by voting for the list they are on.

      You do know you two votes in MMP don’t ya tanz? And that they are different?

      You may not like Key, fair enough. But according to your preference for fpp that’s just tough shit. He’s an electorate mp so your opinion of him under fpp is worth precisely nothing unless you live in his electorate. Under mmp you get a list vote to help determine how much power Key gets, and that vote is separate and independent from your vote for the choice of your own electorate mp.

      Clearly one system is better than the other. Granted though, given you prefer decisiveness over representativeness or other factors then fpp is a marginally better choice. Better still of course for decisiveness would be a simple absolute monarchy.

      …with all MPs elected by the people and answerable to the people (and not just their various party machinery).

      As noted, all mps are elected by the people now, but if you think candidate selection for electorates isn’t just as partisan as list section, then you haven’t been watching fpp elections for the last few, I dunno, centuries.

    • Shazzadude 11.4

      And this is the flaw in your thinking. Electorate candidates are not rejected if they do not win their electorate, someone else just merely wins more votes, and that can often be based on the political climate in that electorate. Would Phil Goff win Clutha-Southland? No. Would John Key win Mangere? No.

  12. Tanz 12

    MMP has not delievered more MPs who represent minority groups, it just delivers more MPs who were not actually elected by voters. Don’t split hairs, Millsy, or do you like being represented by MPs who were not endorsed by the electorate? Is representation of minorities all that matters to you? That’s usually typical of the pro- MMP debate. MMP is not a democratic system, how can it be, it offers rejected MPs/Candidates an undeserved and unmandated lifeline. I am neither old, nor male. by the way.

    • Lanthanide 12.1

      “MMP has not delievered more MPs who represent minority groups”
      Yeah, because all those people who vote for a sustainable future, you know, the minority, aren’t represented by the Green Party in parliament under MMP. Oh wait, actually they are represented under MMP!

    • Pascal's bookie 12.2

      If you know of any mps who were not elected, you should inform the police.

    • the sprout 12.3

      MMP has not delievered more MPs who represent minority groups

      that is factually incorrect

    • Draco T Bastard 12.4

      I am neither old, nor male. by the way.

      Who cares, what you are is bloody stupid.

      http://publicaddress.net/6865

      Phillip Field – electorate MP, shown to be dishonourable stayed in parliament.
      Chris Carter – electorate MP, shown to be dishonourable stayed in parliament.
      Richard Worth – List MP, shown to be dishonourable got kicked out of parliament.
      Donna Huata – List MP, shown to be dishonourable got kicked out of parliament.
      David Garrett – List MP, shown to be dishonourable did the only thing he could and left because he had no mandate left.

      The more accountable MPs are the list MPs.

      BTW, when people vote for the party they are voting for the list that the party has put forward so those list MPs are voted for specifically, ergo, they are not rejected.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    I don’t really see why a fuss is being made about this.

    1. Key is entitled to have a view on the electoral system he prefers.
    2. It is open for anyone, pro or against MMP to lobby the government.
    3. There is going to be a referendum on the matter anyway. It is not like the government is going to impose a system on voters.

    Unless there is evidence of money being offered for a change in the electoral system, or some other form of corruption, then I don’t see where the problem is.

    • IrishBill 13.1

      So you’d expect the pro-mmp campaign to get an inside-running briefing from the PM’s chief of staff on the cabinet’s view of the electoral system?

      • tsmithfield 13.1.1

        I don’t see why that would be a problem.

        BTW, I assume you meant anti MMP.

        So long as the pro MMP people get the same treatment if they ask. Have they asked?

    • outofbed 13.2

      Er because big money is going to be used on an anti mmp ad campaign perhaps

      • tsmithfield 13.2.1

        Maybe. But that’s still a long way from corruption.

        I imagine they would be funding a big money campaign against MMP regardless of the views of the PM anyway. So I don’t see why it makes any difference at all.

        • Redlogix 13.2.1.1

          Corruption? Not in a strictly legalistic sense, but you only have to consider the almost total capture of the US Federal govt by corportate power to understand where that sort of thing leads you.

        • Draco T Bastard 13.2.1.2

          So I don’t see why it makes any difference at all.

          Considering the drive for profit of the MSM it means that the people who don’t have big money can’t get their message out. Ergo, we don’t have a level playing field for the campaigns.

        • Tanz 13.2.1.3

          It’s so typical of the Left to resort to name-calling tactics as soon as somone disagrees with their wonky views. So glad I sit on the right side of the fence, the more honest side. Grow up.

          • fraser 13.2.1.3.1

            “name-calling tactics”

            where? – all i see is a discussion where there are differing opinions.

            could you help us all out by identifying said name calling?

  14. Tanz 14

    MMP got voted in by a hair’s whisper, and I bet, it’ll get voted out again., but by a landslide. What a dog of a system it has been, with small parties having far too much say and sway, to say the very least. When a new system finally prevails, it can only be good for the country, and democracy in general. Bring it on, the champaigne is on ice.

    • the sprout 14.1

      I bet, it’ll get voted out again

      i’m keen to take you up on that bet Tanz

      • Tanz 14.1.1

        Okay, wanna bet five hundrend dollars? You’ll lose, though.

        • NickS 14.1.1.1

          $500? That’s a mite delusional in these economic times, but I guess you need more money for what ever hobbies you have. Or you could just be trying to be smart and make the other side drop teh ball by betting such a figure. Which given previous fun and games here, We’re somewhat sceptical that you’re good for it.

          Also, there’s more than enough people who remember the bullshit that went with FPP, and the subsequent lack of representation for anything outside the views of the two main parties. Which while we may have ended up with ACT and NZ first having a greater presence in Parliament, with all the subsequent fun and drama those two parties generate, the only reason they’re in there is because people voted for them for them in the first place. It isn’t perfect, some tweaking of thresholds might be an idea, but even then the over-representation of minority views does mean they can’t as easily be ignored by Parliament. Even if that means we get to see some horrible ideas come to the surface.

          Although in saying that, with some of the badly written legislation brought forward by ACT, the only reason it’s getting through is with help from National, despite rather large gapping goatse-like flaws in it. Or in the case of the student union bill, massive feedback from affect parties not in favour of it.

        • tea 14.1.1.2

          Dunno if you were watching. MMP was extremely popular. Then Shirtcliffe ran a Guantanamo paper bag MPs campaign and funnily enough introduced doubt.

          But hey so do the anti-climate change lobby.

  15. Tanz 15

    Plenty of mps were rejected and not elected, Pascal’s bookie. List MP’s may well be chosen by their party membership etc, but they were often not chosen by the wider electorate on election day. You would call white black, and black white, as the Left is known to do.

    • Redlogix 15.1

      Sorry Tanz but you’re living in total denial.

      Electoral MP’s are selected by the party…just the same as List MP’s. Under FPP you get less choice, because if you don’t like a candidate your only options are to vote for another candidate selected by another party…. or not vote at all.

      But you’re not fooling anyone here …democracy isn’t what you are interested in.

    • Pascal's bookie 15.2

      Real slow.

      If they are in parliament it is because they were elected. That is how people get into parliament. List mps are elected mps. Elected off the list. That’s what your list vote does.

      They were, in fact, precisely “chosen by the wider electorate”. They may not have won an electorate seat in a narrow geographic race, but they were elected by the broader electorate, the nation at large, via the list vote.

    • felix 15.3

      Fuck me sideways. What’s Brett Dale up to these days?

  16. AndrewK 16

    I would favour an MMP system with more electorates and more MPs and a lower threshold for allowing a party in without an electorate MP (at least .5% of the party vote would be ideal).

    So, say 200 MPs elected through the list and a further 200 MPs elected through an increase in electorate seats then cap all MP’s salaries at the national average wage, regardless of whether they sit in cabinet or not.

    With so many MPs it would be a lot more difficult for the domestic wealthy and foreign corporations to buy influence, representation would be more widely distributed. This is what a truly representative democratic system would look like.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      That’s actually been bugging me. Electorate seats have gone up but the list seats have gone down to keep the 120 cap. The number of list seats should equal the number of electorate seats to help maintain proportionality.

  17. Irascible 17

    Key has already signalled that he and his party favour FPP over MMP. His comments about the Hide-Garrett-ACT fiasco clearly indicate that Key would rather be quit of the thorn of ACT and sees FFP as being the mechanism to do so.
    Key’s natural inclination is towards authoritarianism over democratic process because that’s how you manage the sort of business he has been involved with and understands.
    The alliance between National and Shirtcliffe is simply the obvious manifestation of his attitude.

  18. Bruce 18

    I like MMP and support it…I voted for it in the 90s due to being frustrated with major parties dictating to the population and it felt like there were only two parties to vote for. I feel it could use some tweaking to ensure that minor parties must cross a certain line more through their own popularity with voters. ACT hypocrites are not very popular and shouldn’t be part of the current government as a result (the party threshhold could be set lower than it is, and perhaps stop them from getting in through local politicians winning electorates) – I lean to the left and I’m saying that this should apply to both left, right, and the middle.

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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    1 week ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    1 week ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How much does flying contribute to climate change?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much does our use of air travel contribute to the ...
    SciBlogsBy Shaun Hendy
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The task before us
    Two weeks ago, the Zero Carbon Act became law. Right this moment, the Climate Change Commisison will be working on its initial budgets for 2022-25 and 2026-2030, and the UN has just given them a very clear steer:Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock
    Minor planet/asteroid (2309) Mr. Spock is named not for the character in Star Trek, but for a cat that was itself imperturbable, logical, intelligent and had pointed ears In a preceding blog post I introduced one of my favourite asteroids, (2472) Bradman, and also mentioned (6581) Sobers amongst a few ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles deaths and antivax misinformation
    Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia: the state murder of Dilan Cruz
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh It is late here in Bogotá, almost 11.30pm on Monday the 25th of November as I write this. The day began full of hope with yet more massive marches throughout the country, a mix of the International Day of Non-Violence Against Women and the National Strike. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
    Anti-fluoride activists are rubbing their hands in glee over what they claim is “yet another study” showing fluoride harms the brains of children. But their promotion relies on IQ relationships which the paper’s authors acknowledge disappearing when outliers or other factors are considered. And they completely ignore other relationships ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The rise and collapse of classical political economy
    The feature below is the conclusion of A History of Economic Thought, whose author was a leading Marxist economist in Russia in the early 20th century, Isaac Ilyich Rubin.  The book arose from a course he ran at Moscow University following the Russian Revolution.  First published in Russian in 1929, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman
    There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great.  As a minor planet (synonym: asteroid) spotter, I have ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Some cheap soundbites i thought up while reading about the underwhelming Conservative manifesto
    Tory manifesto: big on austerity, low on promise, non-existent on delivery. The Tories: the party so big on ambition they couldn't be arsed writing a manifesto. MLK: "I have a dream!"BJ: "I'll just have a nap." Labour: Broadband!Tories: Narrow minds! Labour have hope, dreams and ambition. The Tories will save ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles vaccination required to travel to islands and Phillipines
    The Ministry of Health has announced that “people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji” are now on the list of national priorities for MMR vaccination. Given the outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji, the Ministry of Health is ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Giving the finger to Beijing
    Hong Kong has been protesting for six months for, demanding democracy, human rights, and an end to police violence. Today, they went to the polls in district council elections - a low-level of government with virtually no power, similar to community boards in New Zealand. But while the positions themselves ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia’s national strike
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On Friday 22nd of November a curfew came into effect and troops were deployed on the streets, here in Bogota. It was the first time since September 1977 that a curfew had been imposed on the city. The decision was a cynical pre-planned ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.  The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt releases funding to support South Canterbury
    A medium-scale adverse event has been declared for the South Canterbury district, which will see up to $50,000 in funding made available to support farming communities which have been significantly affected by recent heavy rain and flooding in the area, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two weeks of solid rain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech at launch of Rethinking Plastics Report
    Thank you Professor Juliet Gerrard and your team for the comprehensive and extremely helpful report and recommendations. Thank you too to all the stakeholders and interested parties who have contributed ideas and thinking to it. “Making best practice, standard practice” is a great framework for change and the action plan ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt pledges next steps on plastic waste
    The Government will phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year and the release today of a pivotal report for dealing with waste. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealandreport, released by her Chief Science Advisor ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
    International education continues to thrive as the Government focuses on quality over quantity, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. The tuition revenue from international education increased to $1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960. The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Government Economics Network 2019 Conference
    I want to talk about one of the most pressing issues in our national life: the housing crisis and the poor performance of our cities. The argument I want to make to you is that generations of urban land use policy have lacked a decent grounding in economics. The consequences ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • DHB leadership renewed and strengthened
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new appointments to DHBs represent a significant changing of the guard, with 13 new chairs including four Māori chairs. Today 76 appointments have been announced to complement elected board members, as well as eight elected members appointed as either chair or deputy chair.  Four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost for ethnic communities
    Ethnic communities will be able to plan and deliver more community initiatives thanks to an increase in Government funding, Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Jenny Salesa said today. “Ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place we can all be proud to call home has been a key priority of our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Tertiary Education Commission Board announced
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced the appointment of Māori education specialist Dr Wayne Ngata and Business NZ head Kirk Hope to the Board of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Dr Alastair MacCormick has been reappointed for another term. “Wayne Ngata, Kirk Hope and Alastair MacCormick bring a great deal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Next phase of Pike River recovery underway in time for Christmas
    The next phase of the Pike River Re-entry project is underway, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little says. “Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Insurance contracts to become easier to understand and fairer for consumers
    New Zealand consumers will have greater certainty about their insurance cover when they need to make claims as a result of proposed government changes. “Insurance is vitally important in supporting consumers and businesses to be financially resilient when unexpected events happen,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
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