Key promises productivity magic

Written By: - Date published: 6:50 am, June 19th, 2008 - 46 comments
Categories: election 2008, john key, national, slippery - Tags: ,

Key reckons he could bring down inflation by targeting ‘low quality’ government spending. How?

To counter inflation, you need to increase productivity. Inflation is projected to run at 4.7% this year. The Government makes up a third of the economy. If Key was to bring that down to 2% by increasing Government productivity how much would he have to increase Government productivity? About 7.5% a year.

Productivity growth during New Zealand’s history has averaged about 2% a year. The idea that Key will magically lift that number to 7.5% for the public sector, especially when he has no experience and no plans, is laughable.

[Bear in mind also, all the stories you hear about productivity in the public sector being low are just stories. Most of what the Government produces is not bought by the consumer there is no price on the outputs it makes and that means the normal way of measuring productivity ($ of output/$ of input or labour) doesn’t work. How do you work out whether productivity of the Army or the Police or teachers is up or down? You can’t.]

46 comments on “Key promises productivity magic”

  1. expat 1

    To counter inflation you need to increase productivity – or cut costs – or both.

    Productivity in government departments is renown for being low value add to GDP growth i.e. economic growth.

    So, cut back on non essential gummint spending that dilutes avg GDP growth and increase relative productivity growth elsewhere.

    Multiple this by giving the cash back to the punters for reinvestment in the real economy or by investing in infrastructure that has been neglected for a decade.

    Its simple maths.

  2. T-rex 2

    Steve – easy

    Increase police productivity by implementing social policy that increases crime levels. Police have more to do, more murderers are taken off the street, productivity goes up!

    Increase army productivity by joining in the next war of opportunity. Soldiers on permanent deployment, army actively recruiting to make up numbers following deaths, productivity goes up!

    And here we’ve been saying the National Party has no policy!!!

  3. burt 3

    I note that DR. Muppet Cullen is pushing back against high pay increases in the public sector again this year. (See page 2 Dom Post) “STATE employees seeking big pay rises had “lost touch with reality”…

    So have I got this right, increasing productivity is impossible and big pay rises are out of the question? In other words … suck it up guys because only the MP’s can have circa 10% pay rises every year….

    Just how do you guys think we will close the wage gap between NZ and Aussie? Let me guess – more middle class welfare….

    There is only one problem, if we can’t afford decent pay rises – how will we afford more middle class welfare? How can we afford the existing levels of middle class welfare if we can’t afford to pay people reasonable salaries?

    Re: Welfare – it only increases take home pay. Take home pay is not as cool a thing to increase as gross pay right? It’s better to increase gross pay because that provides more opportunity to increase taxes and redistribution… which allows the govt to increase take home pay for ‘some people’ and reduce it for others. Sounds a bit like communism to me…

  4. MacDoctor 4

    Your argument is somewhat facile, Steve. Government spending is a major driver of inflation, particularly in the areas of unnecessary bureaucracy. You should therefore expect a significant drop in inflation as well as an increase in overall productivity both in government and in the private sector (less compliance costs).

    Captcha: defending buyers – Too late!

  5. We could start with sacking the team that just spent 56,000 dollars on badges for schoolkids.

  6. burt 6

    From stuff: Big state sector pay claims ‘unrealistic’

    Dr Cullen said the Government was still in negotiations with Toll Holdings over the purchase of its rail operations. Details are expected after July 1 if the talks are successful. The Government has budgeted $690 million for the rail and Cook Strait ferry businesses.

    It’s OK, there is still a chance that the govt won’t waste a few hundy-million more than it needs to. This money could be used for conferences, management retreats or pretty posters telling us all how great the Labour-led govt is and how we are so much better off under Labour. Just don’t ask for a pay rise !

  7. alex 7

    Peeps,

    NZ First is in the news again for a charity that is giving back its donation.

    “New Zealand First has been embarrassed again over its attempts to avoid repaying taxpayers the $157,934 it unlawfully spent last election.”

    Can someone confirm, is NZ First within its legal rights to give the money away to charity?

  8. They don’t “legally” have to give the money back Alex. “Morally” is another issue.

  9. And perhaps some of the $240,000 that Te Puni Kokiri spent in less than a year on staff conferences.
    Both the badges scandal and conference scandal were gleaned from the front page of stuff with little effort Steve.
    Continually beating the “there is no waste in govt spending” drum is not working.

  10. T-rex 10

    Man – I just saw the story on those badges.

    We’re hardly talking big money here, and any advertising campaign has elements of hit/miss… but what a miss! Honestly, that is the dumbest idea I have heard since… well, actually since about 2 minutes ago, when I replied to travellerev, but it’s still pretty dumb.

    Who the hell did they think would actually embrace wearing those? The principal is right, what patronising sh*t!

  11. None of you have shown how to increase productivity by anywhere near 7.5%. This is not peanuts we’re talking – cancelling a few conferences won’t get you there.

    Think of it this way. The government spends $61 billion a year. To increase productivity 7.5%, you would have to slash that by $4 billion a year, with no loss of output (assuming that the money, now following into the private sector produces average productivity).

    Where is the $4 billion to cut for no productivity loss? Take into account that $22bln of the $61bln is just government transfers, so cutting them won’t boost productivity one iota – you would just be taking moeny from one part of the community and giving it to another. Also take into account that of the remaining $39bln – $13bln is on health and National has pledged not to cut overall funding for health and another $10bln goes on education.

    Now, you’ve got $16 bln of which to cut $4billion for no output loss. But wait, $2billion goes on servicing debt and $2 billion goes on the Super Fund, and are you going to cut the $7 billion that goes on defence, police, and infrastructure?

    You’re now left with $5 billion to cut $4 billion for no productivity loss. Good luck.

  12. T-rex 12

    Steve, I will buy you beer if you go and respond to Deans question on the after tax incomes thread.

  13. The point is Steve, that after 9 years of unconstrained growth in spending by this govt it is ridiculous to assert that no savings can be made. Also ridiculous to assert that there is no bad or wasteful spending.

  14. burt 14

    barnsleybill

    We could start with sacking the team that just spent 56,000 dollars on badges for schoolkids.

    That $56k will be almost enough for the Clark & Cullen’s pay rises this year. So yes it’s significant.

  15. barnsleybill. I’m not asserting there is no waste or no room for improvement, far from it. But I am saying you’ll never get a 7.5% annual producitvity improvement. (I fail to see why people can’t see the difference between those positions)

    Show me the money.

    Assuming the badges are not at all productive (and by any measure of productivity, they actually would be productive) then you’ve saved $65,000 by cutting them. That leaves just $3,999,935,000 of other non-productive spending to cut.

  16. Ari 16

    Your argument is somewhat facile, Steve. Government spending is a major driver of inflation, particularly in the areas of unnecessary bureaucracy. You should therefore expect a significant drop in inflation as well as an increase in overall productivity both in government and in the private sector (less compliance costs).

    MacDoctor, you do realise that National plans to spend even more than Labour does, and has not outlined enough cuts to even reduce spending to the level it would be before their big broadband spendup?

    How is National simultaneously going to reduce Government spending and give you a tax break and invest one and a half billion on Broadband? And yes, tax breaks are government spending- especially in terms of driving inflation up.

  17. MacDoctor 17

    Ari: If National does spend more without reducing government expenditure, then that would be inflationary. This is elementary economics. I am fairly sure Bill English understands this.

    National, of course, are not going to reveal where they are going to cut spending until the last moment, to reduce to opportunity of a Labour beat up of every least little cut.

    And yes, tax breaks are government spending- especially in terms of driving inflation up.

    Not so. Tax breaks are the least inflationary form of government “spending” – some tax breaks are put into saving, some into debt reduction and some are ploughed back into businesses. All these things are de-inflationary. Every cent a government spends is inflationary except debt reduction (and, possibly, the Cullen fund).

  18. Tane 18

    National, of course, are not going to reveal where they are going to cut spending until the last moment, to reduce to opportunity of a Labour beat up of every least little cut.

    So, to cut to the chase, they don’t want voter scrutiny of their public service cuts, which is why they won’t release policy until it’s too late for voters to figure out what’s happening.

    Good to see we’re on the same page on this.

  19. Steve makes an important point: we must make the distinction between productivity and waste.

    Clearly “Lisl Prendergast, principal of Sacred Heart College”: considers $65,000 spent on badges “designed to prompt discussions between pupils and teachers” a waste of money. As a parent with a child at primary school I tend to agree. I know the principal and vice principal at Ponsonby Primary spend a lot of time fund raising for ‘luxuries’ like building maintenance. I’m sure Anne Malcolm ,principal of Ponsonby Primary, could have easily spent the $65,000 plus associated policy wonk salaries on maintenance.

    But how does it stack up in terms of measuring the productivity of the education department staff who carried out this project ? The inputs are easily measured in terms of wages and costs but how do we measure the outputs ? Will this exercise perhaps result in $65,000 savings on dole payments to south Auckland students who decide to continue with their education rather than drop out and smoke dope ?

    I have no idea, and I would love to know if any of the highly paid policy wonks in Wellington do. Do they measure the outputs of their bright ideas ?

    What I do know is that Government spending as a percentage of GDP justs gets bigger and bigger. Meanwhile overall productivity carries on falling.

  20. Byran.

    “What I do know is that Government spending as a percentage of GDP justs gets bigger and bigger. Meanwhile overall productivity carries on falling.”

    both of those assertions are incorrect.

    Govt as a portion of GDP is falling, look at the 2008 Budget projections. Moreover, more of that spending is just govt transfers.

    productivity is rising, you are arguing that growth in productivity is falling, not that productivity itself is falling. And even that claim is debatable and the result of complex factors.

    I don’t appreciate the racist undertones of your comments that links Maori langauge badges, South Auckland kids, and dope-smoking. You can take that kind of stuff to Kiwiblog.

  21. MacDoctor 21

    Tane: Good to see we’re on the same page on this

    I don’t even think we’re using the same book…:-)

    So, to cut to the chase, they don’t want voter scrutiny of their public service cuts

    No, Tane, No=one could object to public scrutiny of their policies. They just don’t want to leave people like you time to drum up hysteria over them.

    Go on. You know you want to…

  22. Rocket Boy 22

    ‘How is National simultaneously going to reduce Government spending and give you a tax break and invest one and a half billion on Broadband?’

    We are all being a bit silly here, National will not be able to make the necessary productivity savings to fund whatever tax cuts they will offer (which is kind of the point of Steve’s post). They will simply borrow and move certain expenditure out of the budget to balance the books. Anything that is ‘infrastructure’ – new roads, new schools etc will be financed with borrowing so that future tax payers will have to pay for it.

  23. burt 23

    There is a simple solution. Increase departure tax to $1m. People leaving NZ for reasonable pay rises (which they won’t get here if Dr. Cullen has his way) will need to decide, do they borrow the $1m and get out or do they stay.

    If they stay they keep paying tax and MP’s can have their big pay increases even if the rest of us can’t. If they leave then the tax they pay to leave will give the MP’s their big pay rises even if the rest of us can’t have them.

    See it’s simple when you treat rich pricks as cash cows rather than productive contributors to the NZ economy.

  24. Tane 24

    Burt, I’m not sure how you persist in your “Labour sucks at wages” meme when, as much as I have my issues with Labour’s labour market policies, they actually have a pretty good record on raising wages. Certainly compared to that other lot.

    [Though I have to say Cullen’s comments on public sector wage restraint this morning were disappointing.]

  25. burt 25

    Tane

    I persist because the govt (of any stripe) have a long history of calling for wage restraint while enjoying significant pay rises themselves.

    Disapointed at Cullen’s comments… If I were a strong union supporter I’d be calling for a change of govt about now…

  26. Steve: the charts you have linked to are for revenue not spending as a percentage of GDP.

    BTW: have you ever lived in South Auckland and by South Auckland I mean the poor, working class parts of South Auckland not Karaka, Red Hill etc ? Having grown up myself in working class South Auckland I can assure you that my comments are not racist but reflect the real challenge that schools face in these areas to offer children a world view that doesn’t include violence,crime and drug addiction.

    This is an educational and social challenge that cannot be met by a few badges and DVD’s designed by Wellingtonian policy analysts and advertising agency flunkies ( of any colour).

  27. Steve: “Moreover, more of that spending is just govt transfers”

    By “Govt transfers” I presume you mean taking money at gun point from middle class people who don’t qualify for WFF and giving to middle class people who do ?

  28. Bryan. you fool, that’s a multi-page doc I linked to, look at the third page for expenses as % of GDP.

    What DVD are you talking about, Key’s?

  29. Tane 29

    Disapointed at Cullen’s comments If I were a strong union supporter I’d be calling for a change of govt about now

    Burt, if the Alliance were polling 45% I’d be right there with you. But they’re not, and the only viable alternative is the Tories, who’d be even worse for workers. In any case, you know I vote Green.

  30. Rex Widerstrom 30

    How do you work out whether productivity of the Army or the Police or teachers is up or down? You can’t.

    If you define “productivity” as dollars out for dollars in then no, of course you can’t. But governments realise this and so set performance standards and indicators for agencies of state to reach.

    I’m no expert on the Army so I’ll leave that to someone else. But it’s entirely possible to measure the “productivity” of the Police. How much money went in? Then, measure their performance against a set of targets… things like clean-up rates, successful vs unsuccessful prosecutions, number of complaints to the PCA, and so on.

    At present some of these sorts of things are measured whilst others are not.

    Since politicians of all stripes love pumping money into “law ‘n’ order” every election, an audit of Police “productivity” in its broadest sense would, I strongly suspect, lead to savings, efficiencies, or both. However the Police – who are very adept at public relations – have succeeded in scaring successive governments away from any serious review of their budget and performance lest that government be seen as being “soft on crime”.

    However, I agree with you that finding the kind of gains needed to meet the targets Key has set is probably impossible. It’d be nice to see someone try, though. Rudd’s “Razor Gang” isn’t saving nearly what he predicted, but it’s put the wind up wasteful public servants and is leading to efficiency gains – which, being a public servant from way back – is perhaps all he really intended in the first place.

  31. Steve: “Ministry Maori education deputy secretary Apryll Parata said the “buttons” were in packs with DVDs and other teaching resources. About 70,000 were sent out – one for each teacher.”

    So clearly that was a “No” to my question concerning your experience of actually living in the South Auckland Labour professes to care so much about.

  32. Byran. I don’t live in South Auckland, nor am I a Labour supporter. Not that my place of residence would have anything to do with Labour’s concern for South Auckland even if I were a Labour supporter.

    However, as you would know if you actually had any info on politics, Labour is very strong in South Auckland – they’re opening new branches there left right and centre. Don’t see much from National in those parts.

    Rex. I know there are other measures of output from orgs like the Army, I cut the sentence on it, but the post is about the economic metric of productivity and the idea that National will reduce inflation by magically raising publci sector productivity.

  33. burt 33

    Tane

    I hear what you are saying about “what options do we have’ but lets get this out in the open.

    Compare the gross percentage of pay increases the senior ministers have had since 1999 compared to the gross increase in the median wage. Filth .

    Now put that into context Dr. Muppet Cullen has been saying for most of the last 9 years that tax cuts are not the answer to increasing peoples incomes. He’s held tax thresholds at 1999 levels and blamed business for low pay increases.

    Now of course it’s an election year and for the first time since 1999 the Labour party are backs to the wall in the polls so what happens We get tax cuts and we get told that we have lost touch with reality if we expect big pay rises .

    So what’s the deal Tane? How can anybody from the left side of politics continue to support a Muppet Finance Minister who’s had it his way for 9 years but suddenly becomes a turn-coat when the going gets tough? The policies he’s denigrated for the last 9 years are now flowing from his own govt .

    Can we now expect Dr. Muppet Cullen to suddenly start talking about take home pay being the thing we need to focus on? Give that man some gardening leave and don’t vote for a major party that’s my call for election 2008.

    captcha: depart both – see captcha knows what to do with the two major parties 🙂

  34. Burt. Let’s get this out in the open. MPs do not set their wages, nor do they vote in approval of them.

    I would like to see MPs wages tied to the minimum wage but it’s miniscule part of government spending and not something that politicians decide so I don’t see why you go on and on about it. As much as you would like it to be, MPs salaries are not Labour’s fault, nor would National change the system.

  35. burt 35

    Steve P.

    Yes I know MP’s don’t set their own wages, I wish you would stop that distraction every time I bring up MP’s pay increases.

    The point is Steve, MP’s approve the pay rises of many…. Including senior Dr’s who are not going to get a pay rise the same size as the MP’s.

    It’s not the fact that the MP’s get the pay rises that is the issue – the issue is they won’t approve similar pay rises for others.

    I also know that MP’s can’t control private business, but Dr’s, nurses, Police, Teachers etc are all very underpaid and leaving the country. If Teachers had received the same circa 10% pay rises every year since 1999 that senior ministers have – we would not have a Teacher shortage.

  36. Matthew Pilott 36

    Burt:

    A: grow up never mind, boys will be boys.

    B: why would I pay any creedence to your arguments when you persist with the tory idea that we’ve been ‘waiting nine years for tax cuts’? Ask yourself what happened to taxes in 1999.

    C: The tax cuts aren’t regressive, so there’s no problem there. They also cut corporate tax, so your ‘9 years’ line is even more of a joke.

    bryan: “Gun point” What is it with kids these days? For some people, paying tax is like trying to make a three year old eat veges. I take that back. It’s what I imagine it would look like if an adult were acting like a three year old being forced to eat veges.

  37. MPs don’t approve pay rises of any public servants like doctors. That’s an operational matter and handled by the Ministries (or other employing body, eg DHBs for doctors), not the Ministers or Parliament.

    It’s a very important distinction at the heart of how we do government in NZ.

    Also, don’t you want bigger tax cuts? Where’s the money going to come from for pay increases on the scale you’re talking. I mean, you just called for a roughly 50% increase in the wage cost for Education. You’re talking a billion a year plus at a rough guess for your increase in teachers’ pay alone.

  38. burt 38

    Steve P.

    I mean, you just called for a roughly 50% increase in the wage cost for Education.

    I would have thought that many on the left would be calling for big pay increases in govt sector employment. Must be hard defending low pay increases over time and calling for bigger wage rises at the same time – how do you do it?

  39. I’m all for larger public service pay rises. But you’ve got to be able to pay for them.

  40. Matthew: given “imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine of up to $50,000.” appears under penalties on the IRD website I don’t think “at gun point” is too far into hyperbole when it comes to describing taxation.

    Steve: Labour is popular in South Auckland for the same reason Jesus Christ is: an unwillingness to take personal responsibility for ones situation. Those residents of South Auckland who do take personal responsibility for their lives find themselves moving on.

  41. Steve: “I’m all for larger public service pay rises.” I bet you are 🙂

  42. Felix 42

    Bryan, you read far too much PJ O’Rourke and it’s not helping you become any smarter.

    You’re either saying there should be no laws, no penalties or no enforcement.

    Which is it?

  43. Matthew Pilott 43

    Bryan, that’s as stupid as saying you’re prevented from committing murder “at gunpoint” because there are associated penalties. Do you want any enforcement of law in New Zealand? I guess not.

    Not that I really want to reduce my response to your level, but just quietly, you can head off to a country with no taxes at any time, good luck with that. The decent folk of this country will look it not as extortion, but as a price for services better provided collectively.

    And you’re still looking like that three year old, having your wee tantrum, shoulting at mummy that you don’t like vegetables, so you shouldn’t have to eat them.

    P.S from what I’ve read here all you got out of your experiences in South Auckland was a tendency to look back with bigot-tinted glasses (I’m not sure which colour that is specifically), as opposed to some meaningful insight. How is voting for Labour showing an unwillingness to take ‘personal responsibility’?

    Have the opposition got any policies to make the alternative one of ‘taking responsibility’? Or are you just generalising, and launching a tirade at a few hundred thousand people you seem to percieve as lazy, irresponsible bludgers?

  44. Matthew/Felix: Gentlemen I am simply reinforcing the point that many on the socialist end of the political spectrum seem to forget: the right to tax that governments have, needs to be accompanied by careful spending what it must be remembered is other peoples money.

    For example Labour’s current plan to make redundancy clauses compulsory in employment contracts is yet another example of a government being very free with other peoples money.

  45. burt 45

    Bryan

    If you believe that a tax cut is the govt giving people money then it naturally follows that the govt are allowed to spend their own money how they like. Welcome to socialism. Please don’t confuse the issue with absurd assertions like tax payers money is the money of tax payers spent for them by the govt.

    Of course money paid in taxes is to be spent as the govt see fit. The business of govt is whatever govt define it to be.

  46. Matthew Pilott 46

    Bryan, reinforce away. Don’t forget that the state is the enabler of private enterprise, not some obstruction as the libertarians would have you believe.

    Calling taxation theft is not simply reinforcing the idea that tax money needs to be spent carefully as you posit. It’s implying that it is taken against will and used for purposes to no benefit whatsoever to the payer.

    Clearly false.

    And of course your original comment was about WfF – surely you know WfF is in effect a rebate on tax paid – no one gets back more than they pay in taxes so your original premise was a bit off too.

    burt, you wouldn’t know socialism if it bit you on the arse and nationalised your industry. Please don’t pretend to speak for it.

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    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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