Key’s Australian excuse

Written By: - Date published: 3:27 pm, March 8th, 2008 - 44 comments
Categories: john key, Media, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

On the 20th of December, John Key was reported in the Bay Report as saying “we would love to see wages drop” while talking to a Kerikeri businesswoman. The story broke nationally three weeks ago and Key offered several, conflicting explanations – he was joking, he was misquoted, he was talking about Australia.

The Bay Report stood by the quote in an article in its next issue and in a statement it issued, as did the Northern Advocate.

Last week, John Key smeared the journalist and said he had spoken to APN, the parent company that owns both the Bay Report and the Northern Advocate, about getting a ‘correction’. Rumours emerged that National had attempted to have the journalist fired and that the APN management was trying to kill the story. The Herald, APN’s flagship, refused to give the story any serious coverage.

Then, on Wednesday, Bill English announced the Bay Report was ‘retracting’ the quote it had previously stood by. How English knew this would happen is still unknown. In fact, there was no retraction, only a ‘clarification’ that Key had been talking about Australia. This clarification was ordered by APN management and forced upon the staff. Story over as far as APN and National are concerned (apparently, a wannabe PM saying our closest cousins should have lower wages is not a story itself). APN gagged it’s staff from further discussing the issue on record.

But does this late, artificial, explanation even hold water?

final– Key does not mention Australia in his response.

– The quote came in response to a question that refers the trans-Tasman wage gap, and lowering Australian wages would indeed decrease that gap but the question actually is about wage pressure here in New Zealand (high Australian wages being part of that pressure).

– There is no way a New Zealand leader could lower Australian wages so why would he suggest that as the answer? Furthermore, why would his policy to make New Zealanders better off actually involve impoverishing another nation? On top of that, New Zealand wages are low relative to a number of wealthy countries. So, lowering Australian wages would have at best a marginal effect on emigration to Australia (which isn’t even that high) and international wage pressure.

– In the second part of the quote Key says “The way we want to see wages rise is because productivity is greater … not just inflationary reasons”. Many commentators have taken this as directly conflicting with the ‘wage drop’ quote and accepted, therefore, the ‘wage drop’ quote must be regarding Australia. In fact, the two parts are consistent: Key is saying ‘we would love to see wages drop and not rise to match inflation’. Also, it doesn’t show on the transcript but there is an important pause: Key says wage should drop, he pauses, then explains that they shouldn’t rise because with inflation, only from increased productivity.

So, was Key talking about Australia when he said ‘we would love to see wages drop?’. Pull the other one, cobber. This ‘clarification’ is a blatant case of political interference by National and APN in media freedom.

44 comments on “Key’s Australian excuse”

  1. Camryn 1

    Seems like there have been more posts on this topic than there are readers of this blog.

  2. infused 2

    Jesus christ…

  3. r0b 3

    Well Camryn, despite a methodology that seems to miss lots of hits, the usually cited ranking system had The Standard as 7th most active blog in NZ for January.

    http://nzblogosphere.blogspot.com/

    Not bad for a blog that’s been around for – what – 6 months?

    But on the topic of the thread Camryn, what do you think of Key’s “clarification”? What do you make of the fact that APN management will not allow the reporter in question to speak for himself on this issue? Is gagging a journalist OK with you?

  4. higherstandard 4

    Ye Gods

    I’ve been out all day with the kids and thought I’d log in to see if the standard was covering anything interesting. But no the same old tired story.

    any fair reading of the “Point of clarification” would see that the paper is not disowning the reporter’s transcript. It is is saying that if what Key had said left the impression he wanted to lower wages, that would be incorrect.

    “From an examination of the interview, and the context of the comments made by Mr Key in relations to the loss of skilled workers from New Zealand to Australia, the Bay Report now accepts that was not intended and that impression would be incorrect.”

    A tongue tied gaffe by Key yes – National wanting wages to drop no.

    If you wish to rale against something worthwhile I would suggest you cover what looks like an absolute outrage at the Hawkes Bay District Healthboard or perhaps the Blue Chip fiasco.

  5. deemac 5

    this topic has attracted posts because it’s so baffling – why would a politician say someting so bizarre? what did he mean? has he got a clue? And as usual, it’s the cover-up (or damage limitation exercise) that’s actually more harmful in the long run

  6. George 6

    But the reality is that National DOES want wages to drop. It wants wage increases in line with productivity Key tells us. Wages above productivity rates are inflationary. If wages at present are above productivity rates then of course Key DOES want wages to drop. Through the 1990s the Nats used a level of unemployment to keep inflation low. The Nats leader, Don Brash, did so when he was reserve bank governor. No one should be surprised that Key is saying he wants to use the likes of wage increases/decreases & higher unemployment to control inflation. That I think is the reality of his comment. Not that ‘he was talking about Aussie wages’, nor that ‘he was joking’, nor even that he is a ‘prick who wants to screw people’. The reality is that National view the labour market as a mechanism to screw down inflation. The resultant damage done to working people is the result of a ‘natural’ free market lever. National however see that as part of the gamne.

  7. Scribe 7

    Wow, what a surprise!! A post on this topic. I didn’t realise you guys were following this story. What a joke.

    the usually cited ranking system had The Standard as 7th most active blog in NZ for January.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t that at about the same time The Standard was in the news for being hosted by Labour? Coincidence? I think not. When it comes to counting hits, there truly is no such thing as bad publicity.

  8. r0b 8

    But no the same old tired story.

    Sorry that you find freedom of speech to be a boring topic HS. I seem to recall a bunch of people getting quite excited about it, for months (and months (and months)) last year.

    So tell me, just hypothetically, if it happened to be true that Key had but pressure on the APN owners and the APN owners silenced one of their own journalists – would that bother you at all? Just, you know – hypothetically.

  9. andy 9

    Seems to be important enough to be covered on mediawatch (National Radio)this morning. Is this issue getting some legs? I think APN will try anything to make this go away..

  10. Billy 10

    Does the anti-smakcing legislation apply to dead horses and the flogging thereof?

  11. AncientGeek 11

    This issue seems to be getting more strange by the day. Not so much the original statement (I’ve aware that Key isn’t the brightest politician for some time), but more on the reaction to it.

    As the O’Kane blog says, Key said both that he’d like to have wages drop and rise. In the latter case by productivity increases. Now I’d question that because I’ve generally observed that managers tend to organize productivity increases when wages rise rather than the reverse. It has been interesting that Key and the Nats appear to have no policy about how to improve productivity – it costs quite a lot.

    But as The Standard, Nevermind, kiwiblogblog, and others are pointing out, the reaction by the Nats and APN is wierd. For instance this dompost article to me raises more than it answers. A clarification? more like a descent into more murkiness.

    It really makes me start to worry about the APN’s hold on NZ media

  12. Billy 12

    Good point, Andy. Did you hear Mediawwatch saying Key obviously didn’t mean he wanted NZ wages to drop? Please, don’t let that stop you banging on boringly.

  13. I absolutely agree Billy – the anti-child abuse legislation has been well flogged by the right. It’s time for them to move on.

    As I understand it this clarification and the pressure behind it are causing some serious internal tension at APN. But because nobody involved is going to talk I’d say it will stop being news. I doubt journos will forget it though…

  14. AncientGeek 14

    Billy:

    Perhaps Key could clarify exactly how he plans on raising productivity rates? I can remember that being a key part of the national platform in the 90’s. Their policy to do it by having increasing unemployment levels didn’t work. They managed to increase the wage gap between NZ and aussie, while maintaining an artificial recession in NZ.

    captcha: pill political

  15. andy 15

    AncientGreek,

    It is getting stanger by the day, and I think some media have finally cottoned on. I am sure Fairfax would love to spill APN blood. The only problem with ‘he said, she said’ issues like this is that they are too comlicated for punchy headlines.

    IMO This is the risky time for Nat stratagey, summer is fading and like the glow of new love, so is the media love affair with JK!

    He will have to give the press gallery red meat soon because the constant attacks on Labour (admittidley own goals alot of them) are not getting cut through.

  16. andy 16

    Billy

    “Please, don’t let that stop you banging on boringly.”

    touche.

  17. higherstandard 17

    Rob

    “So tell me, just hypothetically, if it happened to be true that Key had but pressure on the APN owners and the APN owners silenced one of their own journalists – would that bother you at all? Just, you know – hypothetically.”

    Yes Rob I am against anything that restricts the freedom of the press as I am against the EFA for the same reason.

  18. Good point, Andy. Did you hear Mediawwatch saying Key obviously didn’t mean he wanted NZ wages to drop?

    Quite probably. By if it is indeed so obvious, why should APN management force its journalists to say so?

  19. infused 19

    “I absolutely agree Billy – the anti-child abuse legislation has been well flogged by the right. It’s time for them to move on.”

    Atleast the anti-smacking issue is moving, this is dead in its tracks.

  20. r0b 20

    HS: Yes Rob I am against anything that restricts the freedom of the press

    Splendid. In that case you should be taking a very keen interest in these allegations regarding Key pressuring APN management into muzzling their own reporter. Let’s get to the bottom of these allegations eh HS? Get the truth out there. Let’s ask the reporter himself. Oh – wait…

    infused: Atleast the anti-smacking issue is moving, this is dead in its tracks.

    So those on the Right would have us believe. It was “dead” in Part 1 when it was just a story about National dropping wages. That story grew. It is supposed to be “dead” in Part 2 when the story became Key’s use of political pressure to muzzle a journalist. But that story seems to be growing still:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4428659a6160.html

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/blogs/politics/2008/03/06/why-is-bay-report-apologising-to-john-key/

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/mwatch/mediawatch_for_9_march

    No doubt it will still be “dead” (like the Coldplay story) if we get to Part 3, if some brave whistle-blower comes forward with the whole story.

    Because if it’s true that Key used his political clout to silence a journalist, then he’s not fit to be in our parliament.

  21. Nah, this story’s a damn good one, really. It’s clarified a few issues for me, anyway. I’ve been arguing about it over at No Minister, that argument coming down to the fact that National spent the 90s trying to push working-class wages down, through breaking union power and maintaining a good pool of unemployed (you guys will be familiar with it, you blogged it here). Why would they do that? Well, it’s in their constituency’s interest – their constituency consisting of employers, shareholders, farmers etc. The same guys who did that stand to be back at the Cabinet table this year, if enough suckers vote for them. They have the same constituency and pretty much the same policies, so of course they’re going to try and make workers’ wages drop.

    Key was just failing to keep his mind on the job and providing us with an unusual moment of honesty when he let it slip, that’s all. Inside, we all know this is true, even the right-wingers – otherwise, as Russell Brown points out above, if it was so obviously not what he meant, why would he have to explain himself? For example, if he’d come out and said “We’d like to see taxes raised,” and afterwards said he’d been misquoted, who would doubt him for a moment?

    I feel a lot better about Labour after this episode. for the last couple of decades I’ve taken the approach of “a plague on both your houses,” because Labour brings to power such an annoying crowd of schoolmarms and nannies with an utter lack of respect for individual liberty. But this is a handy reminder that both main parties represent social classes, and if one of those classes is going to get shafted, I’d rather it wasn’t the workers.

  22. higherstandard 22

    Yes rOB

    You’ve cracked it.

    It’s also true that John Key will become the leader of the Labour party at any moment – he said it so it must be what he meant. Where is Helen by the way ?

    As an aside it was amusing to read Dover’s comments in the papers today, he was being most open and truthful I’m sure and it’s interesting that he feels comfortable saying these things now he’s leaving parliament. However what saddens me is that if Helen Clark or John Key had said the same thing they would have been pilloried.

  23. r0b 23

    It’s also true that John Key will become the leader of the Labour party at any moment – he said it so it must be what he meant.

    You’re avoiding the issue HS. It’s grown bigger than the original quote. If the allegations are true, and Key pressured the APN management into silencing a reporter (and tried to get the reporter sacked), do you think he is fit to be in parliament?

  24. higherstandard 24

    If that’s the case get the reporter to come forward

  25. higherstandard 25

    And while you’re at it why not look into the HBDHD scandal

  26. IrishBill 26

    I really don’t want to dispel your touching belief in the power of the standard, HS, but somehow I doubt we can get Robertson to make a public statement when the major media outlets have failed. It may have escaped your attention but we are just a blog after all.

    I’ve been looking into doing a post on the HBDHB issue for a while but can’t get enough reliable information to do so. Once a copy of the report is released I’ll blog it.

    In the meantime if anyone does have a copy of the report I would be very interested in seeing it. Please email: thestandardnz (at) gmail (dot) com

  27. Scribe 27

    Robinsod,

    The anti-child abuse legislation has been well flogged by the right. It’s time for them to move on

    There is going to be a citizen-initiated referendum on child discipline, so it’s certainly not time to move on. It’s time to ask — once the signatories have been verified — when that referendum will take place. And if not in conjunction with the general election, why not?

    rOb,

    If the allegations are true, and Key pressured the APN management into silencing a reporter (and tried to get the reporter sacked), do you think he is fit to be in parliament?

    That’s a HUGE if, and yes, it would raise some questions. But one might argue that someone who signed a painting he/she didn’t paint might not to be fit to be in parliament.

  28. Pascal's bookie 28

    HS, I’m sad to see the crap you’re writing after your various cries for people to debate the issues in a reasoned manner.

    My take on Keys comments are that he is quite happy to see real wages fall, all other things being equal. I’ve yet to see him deny this and the clarification is utter crap. The clarification says that there was a mistaken impression created, without telling us what the correct impression should be and without withdrawing any part of Key’s comments.

    He made the comments very clearly. His point was that wage and salary earners should not get pay increases to account for inflation.

    He also said wage increases should only be given for productivity gains. This means that if productivity increases by x per cent, and inflation is ‘x plus y’ percent, wage earners should take a cut in their real pay. It means that if inflation is x percent, wage earners should get a real pay cut of x. He was quite clear about that.

    Given that anyone not living under a rock knows that we are heading into an inflationary environment worldwide, (one that is being driven and compounded by both the malpractice of Key’s old banking mates, and the responses to that from the fed), Key is saying that the people that should pay the price are the working classses.

    If he wants to declare class warfare he should man up. If not he should explain that of course he doesn’t want to see real wages drop and that unions are perfectly entitled to bargain for inflation adjustments unless productivity drops, and that as PM he would support that.

    Your weird demands that the Standard change the subject makes me believe that you understand all this, agree with Key, and know how unpopular his policy would be.

    Scribe:
    Glad you agree this developing story is potentially huge, as(I assume) a supporter of the National party perhaps you could send a few emails asking the Nat’s if they could do whatever they can to allow the reporter and others to say what they know. Ta.

  29. Scribe 29

    rOb,

    I can’t say such moves would make him unfit for Parliament. After all, it’s not a crime and some people in Parliament at the moment have actually committed crimes. And that’s not to say people don’t deserve a second — or third or fourth — chance.

    And I could list other things the PM has done in the past eight years that some might say make her unfit for Parliament. The point I was making is that the threshold of “unfit for Parliament” is a high one — and people disagree on how high it is.

    captcha: The greens — don’t get me started on those people 😉

  30. higherstandard 30

    bookie

    Yes any policy that would encourage wages to drop would be assinine

    Key has already clarified his position as below.

    “It’s not a change of position, it’s not a flip-flop, I’ve never in my life advocated for wages to fall.” (this is either his true position or as you believe he is lying)

    Which is why to my mind it is a dead issue, your talk of class warfare is bizzarre and I agree there is a financial meltdown coming on the back of the sub prime shambles in the USA. That said I find it staggering that the current government is thinking of embarking into the very same market on the back of their housing policies.

  31. Scribe 31

    rOb,

    If you find it OK for politicians to (hypothetically) try to bury an inconvenient story by muzzling a reporter and trying to get them sacked, I’m not quite sure what kind of “democracy’ it is that you believe in.

    Thanks for completely misrepresenting my position. I didn’t say it was OK; just like it’s not “OK” to punch a man in the lobby of Parliament and it’s not “OK” to drive drunk and it’s not “OK” to urinate in a hotel hallway and it’s not “OK” to sign a painting you didn’t paint.

    As a working journalist, let me tell you it’s not easy to muzzle one. And it’s even harder when that alleged attempted muzzling is coming from someone who doesn’t sign your pay cheque.

  32. Pascal's bookie 32

    But HS, saying that nominal wages should not rise to keep up with inflation is saying that real wages should fall. Agree?

  33. r0b 33

    HS: If that’s the case get the reporter to come forward

    You’re still avoiding the question HS. Hypothetically, if the allegations were true, would Key be fit to be in parliament?

    scribe: That’s a HUGE if, and yes, it would raise some questions.

    I agree that it’s a huge if. We’re playing a hypothetical game here. Surely if it was true, then it does a little more than raise questions? Surely it means Key would be unfit for parliament? Do you agree scribe?

    (Btw – the attempted analogy to the painting thing is weak at best, if anything it goes to show how little real dirt there is on Clark after 8 plus years in the top job. Extraordinary!).

  34. Scribe 34

    rOb,

    Not offended, just saying there’s a big difference between saying someone is unfit for Parliament and condoning someone’s actions.

    The clear implication in this case is that the pressures is indeed coming from those who sign the pay check. Top level management in APN, the parent company for the reporter’s local newspaper.

    I’m aware of that. But the clear implication from the people who run this blog is that John Key and the Nats have APN in their pocket. That’s quite an accusation.

    And especially in light of how the Herald, by its editorial decisions in September 2005, may have had as much influence on Labour’s re-election as the pledge card.

    Remember the Brethren on the front page and Taito on page 5 or so? Which or who of those two is currently facing charges?

    The Herald could have played the coverage the other way, and I’m not saying which was the bigger story, but if APN/The Herald is a National-loving outfit, wouldn’t they have made different choices then?

  35. r0b 35

    I can’t say such moves would make him unfit for Parliament.

    Well props for at least answering the question. Must say I find the answer a bit disappointing though. If you find it OK for politicians to (hypothetically) try to bury an inconvenient story by muzzling a reporter and trying to get them sacked, I’m not quite sure what kind of “democracy” it is that you believe in.

    To my mind it’s pretty simple. If the allegations are true, Key crossed the line. He should go.

  36. Scribe 36

    rOb,

    I’ll say this: If the APN people have rolled over on this to the extent being alleged, and I seriously doubt that’s true, then the journalists should consider their future with that company.

  37. r0b 37

    HS – you’re still not answering the question! What’s the matter – can’t you bring yourself to give the same answer scribe gave? Scribe’s OK with pretty much anything goes. But is your conscience giving you trouble with that HS?

    That said I find it staggering that the current government is thinking of embarking into the very same market on the back of their housing policies.

    That’s a pretty poor grasp of the issues HS. The American markets got themselves deregulated and went wacko with insanely leveraged financial “innovations” all balanced on a foundation of loans to people what couldn’t afford them. This doesn’t suddenly mean that it makes no economic sense for anyone in the world to build houses.

    Labour’s new policies for affordable housing are desperately needed in NZ, where sharply rising prices are driving more and more young people out of the market. Indeed, I think the policies announced so far don’t go nearly far enough.

  38. r0b 38

    Thanks for completely misrepresenting my position. I didn’t say it was OK;

    You said that it was OK for such a person to be in parliament, which was the kind of “OK” I was asking about in my question. I’m sure you don’t think it’s OK at all levels, and sorry if you took anything I said in that way, didn’t mean to offend.

    As a working journalist, let me tell you it’s not easy to muzzle one.

    I’m sure it isn’t, which is what makes this situation all the more extraordinary.

    And it’s even harder when that alleged attempted muzzling is coming from someone who doesn’t sign your pay cheque.

    The clear implication in this case is that the pressures is indeed coming from those who sign the pay check. Top level management in APN, the parent company for the reporter’s local newspaper.

    I would have though Scribe that you would have a professional interest in getting to the bottom of all this?

  39. r0b 39

    But the clear implication from the people who run this blog is that John Key and the Nats have APN in their pocket. That’s quite an accusation.

    Perhaps not “in their pocket” in general (and we could argue endlessly about bias in past Herald reporting), but that’s certainly the gist of it with respect to this particular situation.

    And you’re right, it’s quite an accusation. Because if true, I think a lot of people would hold Key unfit for parliament. Surely it is exactly the fact that it is an extraordinary accusation, with extraordinarily important implications, that means that it should be explored and openly reported with the greatest of urgency!

    Step away from the specifics and ask youself what in general should the media do with an extraordinary accusation for which there is prima facie evidence:
    (1) ignore it, or
    (2) explore it?

  40. r0b 40

    I’ll say this: If the APN people have rolled over on this to the extent being alleged, and I seriously doubt that’s true, then the journalists should consider their future with that company.

    I agree with you about the journos, if they can, they should move on. Might be difficult if they are tied to a little local community though. But I do hope they can one day let us know what really went on.

    But if it’s true it doesn’t get fixed by the people involved finding another job. It gets fixed by the truth being told to all. I don’t see how any journalist could hide from that conclusion.

    For myself, I really don’t see any other way of interpreting the prima facie evidence Scribe. The story was published. It was challenged. The editor and reporter stood by the story. Key spoke to APN chief executive Martin Simons about the story. The Herald then publishes a “correction”, and states that the Editor and journalist agree to it. Those who try to contact these people directly find that they won’t talk about it. Those connected via union links say that Key tried to have the journalist sacked, and that APN management have now instructed them not to talk about it. I dunno Scribe – I find this pretty convincing evidence that there has been a totally unacceptable abuse of power here. I really don’t see any other way to read it.

    At least one of your colleagues agrees:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/blogs/politics/2008/03/06/why-is-bay-report-apologising-to-john-key/

  41. r0b 41

    “At least one of your colleagues agrees:” – beg pardon I should say – At least one of your colleagues agrees that there are serious questions here.

  42. lprent 42

    Not on topic, but people should have a look this rather interesting paper by Brian Easton at the Public Sector Finance Forum last year. “The Current State of the Public Sector: An Economist’s View. He gives a good breakdown of the overall position.

    “On existing definitions the OECD ranks New Zealand as 20th out of 30 in terms of total government revenue, which includes non-tax revenue sources and local authority rates. Remember too, the effect of grossing up transfers. Thus it is hard to argue that New Zealand is particularly highly taxed in comparison to other rich countries.

    Even so, there has been extraordinary effort to demonstrate that New Zealanders are highly taxed and that the economy would perform better were tax rates lower, often using almost fraudulent statistical procedures. The alacrity with which some advocates seize upon incompetent analysis to justify their views suggests a debate more driven by enthusiasm than competence.”

    There is quite a lot of commentary by someone I’ve been reading for decades, and who is usually correct in his long-term analysis. It is pleasant not reading about the short-term obsession on this and other blogs.

  43. lprent 43

    There are some interesting papers there on Government/Policy

  44. randal 44

    well why doesnt he take a wage cut himself or does he consider that he is personally becoming more productive by the moment?

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    2 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    3 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    3 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    5 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    5 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    5 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks ago

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