Killing the golden geese

Written By: - Date published: 9:26 am, October 16th, 2010 - 42 comments
Categories: ACC, kiwisaver, privatisation, superannuation - Tags: ,

Amidst growing realisation that the right wing “neo-liberal” economic agenda as a whole is fatally flawed, some of the previously ardent supporters of privatisation in NZ are admitting that the last round of sell-offs was a mistake. But the current National leadership haven’t got the memo. They’re ideologically opposed to state owned assets. They’re still developing an agenda of privatisation, including assets like ACC. They tried to push through the idea of flogging off KiwiBank. They cut back on contributions to the Cullen Fund, costing us an estimated $30 Million or more.

Unfortunately for the zealots, the Nats’ position makes no sense. This has become particularly obvious because of their dismal performance in lifting NZ out of recession. The occasional feeble flickers of life that we do see in our otherwise moribund economy are down to two factors, occasionally favourable commodity prices, and returns from state owned assets. For example, according to Treasury back in May:

Deficit Falls Further The Government’s deficit has decreased further, with the Crown’s operating balance for the nine months to March 31 coming in $2,006 million smaller than forecast at $1,327 million mainly due to gains on the Crown’s investment portfolios held by the NZS Fund, ACC and EQC.

Good news thanks to state owned Super Fund, ACC and EQC (so thank you Labour governments 2001, 1974, 1947). And now the same thing this month:

Oct. 14 (BusinessDesk) – The government’s deficit shrank as bigger returns from the ACC and New Zealand Superannuation Funds bolstered sagging revenue streams.

The government’s deficit narrowed to $4.5 billion in the year ended June 30, from a $6 billion deficit a year earlier, according to financial statements released today. That was underpinned by a $2.5 billion gain in the value of the so-called Cullen Fund and ACC investment portfolios

These state owned assets are generating some rare bright spots in an otherwise dismal sea of poor economic news. So why would any rational government sell ACC (or other state owned assets)? Why would any rational government be cutting back on the Cullen Fund? In short, why are the Nats determined to kill the golden geese?

42 comments on “Killing the golden geese”

  1. ianmac 1

    The lack of revenue from the tax take will lead to further justification for further cuts in State spending. So why reduce taxation? Aha! An excuse for cuts in State spending, and a platform for privatisation. Of course. Silly old me!

  2. jagilby 2

    The government is the only entity that has the ability to sell an asset (at the value of it’s discounted FUTURE cash flows) but maintain the ability to derive revenue from that asset into perpetuity (taxes) and assert its control over that asset (regulations). What’s not to like?

    Does your definition of “privatisation” also include public capital raisings for the likes of Kiwibank? In that case it’s a little disingenuous to call that privatisation because Kiwibank is currently capital constrained and will require an injection from somewhere other than the socialist money gnome at the bottom of the garden.

    • Armchair Critic 2.1

      …will require an injection from somewhere other than the socialist money gnome at the bottom of the garden.
      Primarily because that gnome is exhausted from helping National by bailing out SCF.
      Hopefully John or Bill will ask the fairies at the bottom of the garden to step up.

      • jagilby 2.1.1

        Nice to know you were opposed to Labour’s rushed implementation of the Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

        A scheme that I am not entirely opposed to (aside from guaranteeing interest payments) on the basis that it prevented our credit markets from absolute destruction.

        If your appreciated the facts you’d know that National effectively bailed out SCFs lenders – real people – SI lemmings who dived into SCF debentures with full knowledge they were now effectively “risk free”. If that bail out had not happened then there would be far more farms sold offshore at bargain basement prices as the market would have been flooded with supply from fire sales. What would you have thought about that?

        • millsy 2.1.1.1

          The best thing would have been for the government to secure some form of equity in SCF.

          • jagilby 2.1.1.1.1

            Equity?
            Do you mean that non-existent thing that Allan Hubbard has his name on?

            The government effectively has rights to all proceeds from the unwinding of the loan book and asset sales. I’d say that’s about as good as it gets.

        • Armchair Critic 2.1.1.2

          Nice to know you were opposed to Labour’s rushed implementation of the Deposit Guarantee Scheme.
          I said nothing of the sort.
          Since you apparently missed the point, I’ll restate it for you.
          I was contrasting:
          “the apparent willingness (actually it seemed more like eagerness, but let’s not overstate the case) of the government to bail out SCF.”
          versus
          “the obvious reluctance of the government to help Kiwibank raise capital”
          Got any comment on this contradiction, or would you prefer to avoid discussing this aspect of National’s double standards?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      The only people who believe in pixies with free money at the bottom of the garden are NACT. This is seen as they give lots of our money to themselves and their rich mates and boost wasteful government spending. Such wasteful spending is clearly seen in Paula Bennetts requirement for people on the UB to reapply every year. It’s just more unnecessary work especially when there isn’t any jobs available.

      • jagilby 2.2.1

        Wasteful government spending? Ha, you mean that nine year project from circa 1999-2008 that is currently being wound down?

        Lots of “your” money… how much tax do you actually pay. Personally. In absolute terms.
        Now quantify how much benefit you get from Government – come again with what side of the ledger are you on again?
        Also, can you make out the difference between
        1) “giving lots of our money” and
        2) “taking less of something that wasn’t yours in the first place”.

        Why are there no jobs available?
        Our capital markets are an absolute joke that’s why. Anyone with a half decent idea can’t raise capital necessary to progress it to the next level and scale up their operations.

        Where exactly do you think your beloved ACC investment portfolio and NZ super fund have been making the lion’s share of their returns? In the offshore capital markets, that’s where – you know, those massive evil capitalist institutions of greed – That reality must be very difficult to come to terms with.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1

          What absolute delusion.

          Ha, you mean that nine year project from circa 1999-2008 that is currently being wound down?

          The waste that NACT can’t actually find? They’re cutting anyway and making sure that the government doesn’t have enough money to do anything so that people become even more dependent upon them and their rich mates so that wages can be forced down.

          Why are their no jobs available? Because the delusional ponzi scheme known as banking and finance destroyed the economy by creating lots of money through debt that can’t be repaid.

          That reality must be very difficult to come to terms with.

          No, once I realised that capitalism is pure delusional ponzi scheme it was quite easy to come to terms with. BTW, ACC gets it’s money from the workers and “invests” it’s surplus, ie, it wasn’t having a financial crisis as claimed by NACT which proves that they lied.

          Also, can you make out the difference between
          1) “giving lots of our money” and
          2) “taking less of something that wasn’t yours in the first place”.

          Yes, I can detect delusional RWNJ thinking when I see it. Society is expensive and yet you think that it costs nothing rather than that you have to pay to keep it going.

          • jagilby 2.2.1.1.1

            Haha, Ponzi scheme. The word of the day on Sesame Street. We’ll be here all day on that.

            Well actually, they might not have mentioned this in all the books you selectively choose to read and tout as qualifications, but financial position is defined by the rules of accrual accounting – that means stating all of your current obligations. For ACC their current obligations include the future funds required to rehabilitate injuries etc that have already occurred (i.e. the “outstanding claims liability”).

            So come by me again with that “surplus” idea – presumably you’re talking about the $12.8b of investments they have against the $24.4b of outstanding claims liabilities?

            Read some more books, this time on financial statement analysis and then have a look at ACC’s last two annual reports and tell me what you think about their debt-equity ratio – You might have some questions about what it means when that number is in the negative. That’s not usually covered in the books. In short it means you’ve got a pretty big issue to contend with.

            Just wondering what your take is on my initial thoughts on privatisation though (you know the part of my initial post that you ignored) – Sale price recognising all future free cash flow streams (cause that IS how any going concern is valued – thus if you had a golden goose it would recognise that) and continued revenue and control. Seems pretty attractive to me.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1.1.1

              As I said, it’s delusional.

              Sale price recognising all future free cash flow streams (cause that IS how any going concern is valued – thus if you had a golden goose it would recognise that) and continued revenue and control.

              If someone is willing to pay X amount for something then it must be worth more than that and so it’s worth keeping it. Ergo, no such thing as a sale price.

              In reality such things as Kiwibank and ACC are more valued by the services they provide to the community than by their cash flow. ACC worked fine before it was shifted into a pre-funded system. Kiwibank could be easily expanded to meet the needs of NZ by the simple expedient of the government investing in it with money printed directly for the purpose (any inflationary aspects of printing money can be offset by increasing taxes).

              • jagilby

                Haha. You’ve just stepped way out of your depth here. You have no idea how much pleasure I’m taking in retorting to this.

                M&A and Corporate valuations have been my bread and butter for the last 5 years. While you’re on here all day vomiting bile onto your keyboard, talking about the evil forces of imperialism and finding fun new ways of calling Key the anti-christ I’m doing this shit in the real world. So I find it hilarious when you talk about what happens “in reality”.

                You’ve completely missed the issue of fair value – i.e. “amount of money for which it is assumed an asset or liability could be exchanged in an arm’s length transaction between informed and willing parties”. Key points being “informed” and “willing” parties.

                Let me break down exactly how the Government would benefit from selling assets.

                In any transaction the vendor (i.e. the Government in this case) will forecast what it expects to achieve from the asset in question. The modelling period could be as far out as 50yrs and take into account expectations for strategic expansions, increases in operational efficiencies etc etc. From these forecasts a fair value is established that the vendor will likely add fat to. This is all kept confidential but establishes a lower bound that the vendor is “willing” to sell at – the vendor will only sell for a minimum value that it thinks it could realise with its resources. That is key.

                The bidders/purchasers then have the opportunity to open the books (conduct due diligence) and model their own forecasts. Now this is where the difference in what something is “worth” will start to play out. The purchaser may have different expansion plans or be able to achieve additional efficiency through synergies with their current business.

                Then the negotiations begin with the vendor not willing to sell for less than the value it could realise and the bidder not revealing the upper bound that it could achieve. If the bidders modelling does not result in a price that the vendor is willing to accept then the vendor doesn’t have to sell. The vendor (Government) would only sell above their modelled fair value but, importantly, would not have access to those synergies or be party to bidders confidential expansion plans so would not be able to realise the additional “worth” of the asset to the purchaser in any case.

                Ergo, the sale price benefits both parties.
                The vendor gets more from the sale price than value they could derive; and
                The purchaser get the asset for less than the value they could derive.

                In the event of a sale involving the Government, the Government has the advantage for 3 reasons:
                1) it can sell assets for at least what it derives as fair value and still tax benefits derived from synergies or different expansion plans that it would never have been able to achieve had it held the asset;
                2) it can regulate the purchaser if the purchasers objectives post-acquisition are not aligned with what the Government wishes to achieve; and
                3) As with any purchase the vendor has a more complete set of information on which to base its assessment of fair value.

                I’m not going to even get started on how bad an idea printing money would be let alone offsetting inflation by increasing taxes. I’ve wasted enough time without arguing against pure insanity.

                • KJT

                  It is a good idea to let the private financial gambling sector to go on printing money at will?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Key points being “informed” and “willing” parties.

                  The government selling off state assets didn’t have anything to do with informed or willing parties. Nearly everyone opposed it. Considering that they were sold off for less than what they were worth to the community also proves that the government wasn’t informed.

                  You’re arguing from the PoV of a neo-liberal and I’ve already answered that. In other words, you’re arguing from the PoV of the delusional.

                  • jagilby

                    It’s the PoV of a practitioner.
                    Your PoV is clearly blinded ideology – you can’t claim to actually understand the process at all.

                    “Willing” as in the Govt not acting under duress – I wasn’t meaning the electorate.
                    But you knew that, you had to blur it because you don’t have a leg to stand on.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Ergo, the sale price benefits both parties.

                      Nice theory – it doesn’t work as reality has proven. Nearly everything that the neo-liberal theory says is wrong. Considering that it’s also based upon some assumptions that just don’t apply in reality it basically means that the entire theory is delusional.

                      “Willing” as in the Govt not acting under duress – I wasn’t meaning the electorate.

                      Do we live in a democracy or a dictatorship?

                      We are worse off after selling state assets. Obviously, we didn’t get any advantage from selling them. Why didn’t we if all due diligence was done as you say? The only answer is that not everything was taken into account when setting the sale price. And, again, if someone is willing to buy at that price it must mean that it’s worth more, ergo, selling it at that price is irrational.

                      One question I believe wasn’t asked when they sold off Telecom was How much will it cost to run two or more telecommunications networks? This is an important question because they were talking about competition and the only way you can get competition in telecommunications is to have two or more networks and paying for the extra networks would have to come out of the economy. That means that everything else that needed doing would have to be put on hold as more resources were diverted to telecommunications. Result – massive friggen waste. We don’t need two or more such networks – one’s fine.

                      The same applies to ISPs, phone and electricity suppliers. If you only have one network, because it’s the most efficient method, then having more than one ISP just creates unnecessary bureaucracy.

                • Rijab

                  “Haha. You’ve just stepped way out of your depth here. You have no idea how much pleasure I’m taking in retorting to this.”

                  … A dangerous thing to post on the internet; your arrogance mixed with lively ignorance must amuse many observers. If this is your “bread and butter”, then I strongly suggest you head back to University. But hey, I’m sure everything in ‘your’ life is running exactly to plan, everything seems so simple, so who needs to comprehend more than that right?!

                  Keep on keeping on.

        • millsy 2.2.1.2

          \”jagilby\”,

          How many hospitals did National close between 1990 and 1999?
          How many hospitals did Labour close between 1999 and 2008?

          Does it occur to you that this \”wasteful government spending\” you go on about was actually ensuring that people actually got a healthcare system, and not just a bunch of crumbling boarded up buildings?

          anti spam word: memorys

          • comedy 2.2.1.2.1

            Aren’t the more reasonable questions to ask

            1. How many hospital do we need ?
            2. What services should they provide ?
            3. Where should they be situated ?
            4. How much funding will they require ?

            • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.2.1.1

              Great questions. National didn’t ask them either before closing a few dozen.

    • bbfloyd 2.3

      J… in an ideal world you might have a point….. unfortunately we have had such luminaries as bill birch and bill english driving these policies through. this is the first fatal flaw in any of these strategies. the second, of course is the fact that overseas interests have bought up these assets at ridiculously low prices and promptly started the bleeding process. for privatisation to work requires responsible owners running these assets in a fashion that actually grows the investment for the long term good of the companies AND the society that they are supposed to be serving… as you well know, that hasn’t happened.

      i would contend that playing relatively meaningless, and contradictory word games does no more than inflate your own sense of intellect rather than contribute useful information..

      • jagilby 2.3.1

        Well that’s correct and that’s the point I was trying to get at.

        Privatisation is not, in of itself, a bad thing as some people will have you believe.
        There has just been a history, as Jim Bolger also pointed out this week, of particularly bad and rushed execution in New Zealand (I’ll just ignore the snails pace that the electricity sector was/is privatised at).
        That goes for buying assets too – Jim, as chairman of KiwiRail, was too kind to admit to that.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.3.1.1

          Privatisation is not, in of itself, a bad thing as some people will have you believe.

          Yes it is as it’s done solely for the benefit of the individual rather than the benefit of the community. As such the community always loses as has been conclusively proven by our experience ever since our governments started selling stuff. Telecom is the glaring example – if we’d kept it we’d already have FttH and the ultra fast broadband that comes with it. We certainly wouldn’t now be having to bribe further private organisations to put in place the infrastructure that we need.

          • jagilby 2.3.1.1.1

            Really? FTTH already?
            What basis do you place that on?
            Because so many state-owned incumbent Telcos have mature FTTH networks… oh wait.

            There are actually no countries with FTTH penetration above 30% – Japan has the highest at ~25%-26% at last check. South Korea has ~50% FTTB. And guess what – as far as I know all of the major FTTH rollouts have been done by private companies.

            For it to be all up and running we’d have to have started 5-10 years ago. You really think that the NZ Government, had they owned Telecom, would have forked out $5b-$7b for FTTH (because that is what the final cost to lay fibre nationwide will be)? Before anywhere else. Wow… talk about going out on a limb with big calls.

            And you call me deluded.
            Just keep playing at The Standard all day and further removing yourself from reality.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.3.1.1.1.1

              You either forget, or just didn’t know, that Telecom was making a profit in the 1980s and it was that profit that profit that put in all those nice digital exchanges, the really big cables so that everyone could have a phone as well as started the original fibre network.

              1985 – $272m
              1987 – $300m
              1988 – $310m

              those figures are not adjusted for inflation but are the reported amounts.

              Telecom started rolling out FttC in the late 1980s. Telecom, in the late 1990s and early 2000s were taking it out and replacing it with copper so that they could get ADSL out. The better option, but more expensive, would have been to start the ADSL cabinetisation process then (late 1990s, probably best in early 2000s). The chances are, this is what would have happened if Telecom had still been state-owned and the profit, instead of going overseas, was still being put into the network as it was in the 1980s. Basically, what we’re talking about here is about another $10b to $20b, in today’s dollars, being fed into the network over the last 20 years. FttH? Not a problem and it wouldn’t have been the government funding it.

              Telecom went the cheap way that allowed them to maximise profit rather than the best way that would have maximised benefit to the community.

              South Korea has ~50% FTTB. And guess what – as far as I know all of the major FTTH rollouts have been done by private companies.

              http://www.itif.org/files/2008BBAppendixF.pdf

              Through these programs, South Korea not only invested a substantial amount of money from the government budget, enacted promotional regulations, and provided incentives to private companies to build networks, it also enacted a number of successful efforts to spur broadband demand and digital literacy.

              Private companies – with government funding.

        • KJT 2.3.1.2

          Privatisation of natural monopolies especially those involved with vital infrastructure have proved to be a bad idea anywhere they have been tried.

          That is from another practitioner.

          Accrual accounting is designed for no other purpose than deciding on tax to pay. A gerrymander for accountants in and out of parliament.
          Any relationship to company values/profit is entirely coincidental..

          The value of ACC to the economy is in the savings we make from not having the dysfunctional legal and medical answer to industrial accidents that they have in the USA.

        • Vicky32 2.3.1.3

          “Privatisation is not, in of itself, a bad thing as some people will have you believe.”
          Er, of course it is.. and I am not going to argue economics, I know from nothing about it, but I do know that Thatcher was totally wrong when she said there was no such thing as society..
          Deb

  3. Treetop 3

    Quite frankly it is a no win for anyone, history will repeat itself to those who do not learn from it:
    The Muldoon government of 1975 destroyed compulsory superannuation.
    ACC is working and far better than anticipated.
    Kiwibank is growing.
    NZrail will now pick up due to two mayors having vision for it.
    EQC has resources for its intended purpose.

    I have come to the conclusion that Key’s style is a moving money around. The NZ economy cannot be run like a stock exchange.

    • millsy 3.1

      “The Muldoon government of 1975 destroyed compulsory superannuation.”

      Even if the New Zealand Superannuation Corporation, and the scheme that it had administered survived, I still belive that someone would have ended up flogging it off or breaking it up down the track.

      • Treetop 3.1.1

        Just look at the fragile super fund we have now and how sucked dry it is. I agree with you that the temptation would have been too great with the 1975 super fund.

        • KJT 3.1.1.1

          First it would have been sucked dry by fees to financial service providers, as most super schemes were in the seventies, then the 1984 Labour Government would have sold the remnants to their mates for half price.
          Followed by a knighthood for the buyer.

      • bbfloyd 3.1.2

        M .. even for an assumption, that is teetering on the edge of the cliff… how do you think people would have reacted if the muldoon government hadn’t dismembered the scheme, and it had been allowed to develop without interference?….. i would contend that a safer assumption would be that it would have become polically difficult to do as you assume.

        if you doubt this, then it would be instructive to ask students of political histories how the fear of electoral backlash have tended to dominate decision making.

        • millsy 3.1.2.1

          The Fourth labour government didnt really appear to be worried about political backlashes.

          Nor did the Fourth National.

  4. millsy 4

    The goverment needs to start buying things back, not selling them.

    A good start would be Telecom, and possibly the forests that we flogged off in the 1990’s though with the Kaiangaroa forest, some sort of joint ownership arrangement with the new iwi owners may have to be thrashed out.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    In short, why are the Nats determined to kill the golden geese?

    They don’t want to kill them, they just ownership of them so that they and their rich mates gets the massive benefits rather than the people (us) that they were set up to help. It’s juts another round of privatising the gains and socialising the losses.

  6. Rharn 6

    In recent years the National Party has never acted in the National interest. They are ideological driven because those that sit ‘behind’ the National Party i.e Buisness Round Table and the right wing think tanks, control the policy of the National Party by way of party funding.

    • clandestino 6.1

      I wouldn’t fret too much, the prevailing macroeconomic edifice is set to crumble before our very eyes when protectionism v.2 with a mercantilist twist kicks in.

  7. jagilby 7

    I actually thought, after reading the title, that this post was going to be about the NZ film industry.

    I guess that might have read “killed” rather than “killing”.

    • millsy 7.1

      So you are against film industry workers getting decent wages and conditions then?

      Given that the set designers in the LOTR series did an excellent job, it would be a bit saddening to learn that they earn less than minimum wage…

  8. Maggie 8

    The normal process of privatisation:

    1. Government sells asset to Rich Cat Capitalists
    2. RCCs hike the price of services to public in order to maximise profits to shareholders
    3. RCCs ignore any need for investment in, or maintenance of, infrastructure
    4. Asset falls into disrepair and service becomes nonexistent
    5. Asset faces bankruptcy as customers boycott it because service is too expensive and unreliable
    6. Government steps in to buy asset back in order to rescue it
    7. Government faced with huge bill to rebuild neglected infrastructure

    Examples: Air New Zealand, Kiwirail

  9. Brokenback 9

    I have a simple response to the much promoted sale of ACC ?

    Why is it necessary /adventageous ? because it is a planned outcome of the NACT govt.
    The private model swings on “outcomes” .

    Why this particular outcome?
    Because the transantional Insurance Companies, regional offices Australia, who gave willingly to Nact campaign chest want their reward .

    Compulsory Universal Insurance in a fascist society , without the legal right to sue for Punitive Damages , is a license to print money— even if it is the artificially propped South Sea peso.

    The campaign against the sale.

    NO SUE , NO SALE.
    Should get a few pesos out the back door of the Law Society for leaflets.

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    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    2 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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