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Labour moving to the right?

Written By: - Date published: 11:09 am, March 18th, 2012 - 153 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour, MMP - Tags: , ,

We all read what we want in to leader’s speeches.

Many commentators, for example, have interpreted David Shearer’s recent speech as signaling a “move to the right”. I’m not so sure. I’m glad that Shearer signaled keeping the capital gains tax policy, hardly a right-wing favourite (expert opinion was so solidly in favour that we don’t need to have that debate again). And the righties point to signals like Shearer’s intention to drop the $5,000 “tax free zone” as an example. But note what Shearer actually said here – “On the other hand, I would want to ask whether a tax-free zone that gives everyone the same sized tax cut is going to be as much of a priority”. Shearer is questioning the policy for giving yet another tax cut to the rich, who don’t need it. If Labour replace that with something better targeted at low income earners then so much the better.

So while right-wingers like Armstrong read the speech as a shift to the right, I think it’s far too early to tell. Let’s wait for the next speech, and the one after that.

But if it’s true and Labour’s policy takes a rightward tack, is that a disaster for the left? Not at all. That’s the same kind of pre-historic “first-past-the-post” thinking that still pervades our politics, and still likes to see everything as a head to head battle between National and Labour. The same kind of outmoded thinking that would credit National with a “Big Win” in the last election, instead of a reduced, razor-thin, one seat majority for it’s policies (hello asset sales and Peter Dunne).

In today’s political world it is not parties that govern, it is coalitions. And if Labour moves “back” towards the “center” then that increases the chance of a left wing government. Matt McCarten sets it out:

Centrist Shearer a let-down for lefties? No way

…I believed Shearer had a better chance of becoming Prime Minister in the next election than any of his colleagues on offer. Under MMP, it’s not the biggest party that wins, it’s the leader of the main party who can form a majority coalition.

If Shearer went further to the left, he wouldn’t grow the coalition but merely succeed in taking votes off his potential allies – the Greens, Mana and NZ First. He’d lose the next election.

That’s why I can see why he believes he has to move to the centre. This opens up space on his left for those three parties to increase their support, promoting more progressive policies than his party does. These parties are already on the left of Labour, on economics anyway, and the Greens and Mana are also on social policy.

After the next election, if these three support parties expand their numbers, they can make legitimate demands that any Labour-led government would have to adopt. It’s called having your cake and eating it, too.

So I think it’s too early to say if Shearer is headed “left” “right” “center” or whatever. Let’s wait and see. But as a leftie I’m kinda hoping that he does move to the center. The country desperately needs a government with a clue and a heart. A left-wing coalition is the only way to get there.

153 comments on “Labour moving to the right?”

  1. Clashman 1

    It worries me if true. Roll on 2014 we will have the choice of a coalition led by National or National lite
    They should be targetting the million who didn’t get out and vote not psuedo centre leftie swing voters who are just as likely to swing back for the following election.

  2. RedLogix 2

    Agreed Anthony. Shearer is no fool and the election is not next week. He’s playing a long game here, and some of it is not going to always make sense to us tribal lefties.

  3. Blue 3

    To me, the Greens are the idealistic left, and Labour is the realistic left. That’s how I see it, and how I want it. You need both.

    The last thing Labour needs to do is to try to take votes off the Greens. But if I were the Labour leader I would be concerned at how many Labour voters deserted to the Greens and NZ First because they felt Labour wasn’t giving them what they needed.

    The biggest concern is how to win back the swing voters, who voted National simply because they didn’t see Labour as a credible alternative Government, even if they weren’t so keen on asset sales.

    Shearer is positioning himself more towards the centre, going after those voters with dog-whistles about bad teachers and welfare. That will likely prove to be a successful strategy for him.

    National won power by me-tooing Labour back in 2008, and it seems that under Shearer Labour will me-too National.

    I don’t have a problem with it as a strategic thing. Just so long as when Labour are in power next they remember that they are Labour, not National-lite.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      The biggest concern is how to win back the swing voters…

      No, that’s not the biggest concern. The biggest concern is the 30% of people who didn’t vote.

      I don’t have a problem with it as a strategic thing. Just so long as when Labour are in power next they remember that they are Labour, not National-lite.

      So, you expect Labour to say one thing to get elected and then do something else?

      • Blue 3.1.1

        The ones who didn’t vote, I think, were swing voters with nowhere to swing to.

        It’s not necessarily saying one thing and doing another. It’s more like, if the policy is right, then how it is marketed is neither here nor there.

        If the policy is wrong, then I don’t care how it’s marketed.

        • Draco T Bastard

          If the policy is wrong, then I don’t care how it’s marketed.

          You were saying that Labour should market themselves as NACT-lite so as to get votes and then put in progressive policies, which is effectively lying, and that you have no problem with it.

          • burt

            Draco T Bastard

            If staunch Labour or National supporters had a problem with popularity based lie to win votes tactics then they wouldn’t be staunch Labour or National supporters.

            • felix

              Except of course the people who happen to be staunch Labour or National supporters because they happen to staunchly support the policies generally put forward by Labour and National, i.e. most of the people who vote Labour and National.

              • burt

                Except of course the people who happen to be staunch Labour or National supporters because they happen to staunchly support the policies generally put forward by Labour and National

                Yes I concede there are people who think “say anything to win the election” is a valid policy and support it in their team while denigrating it in the other team.

                • felix

                  Which is exactly the opposite of what I described, so you just conceded a point to yourself that you’d already made.

                  Careful burt. First sign of madness and all.

          • Blue

            I would love it if NZ were still a left-wing progressive country. But we’re not. Kiwis drank the koolaid, and they like what John Key is selling.

            Labour are not going to win if they try to appeal to conscience and make people feel bad about the ‘greed is good’ ethos they have now. Witness the last election result. Labour was being as principled as I’ve ever seen it, and it got slammed.

            If it’s a choice between ‘lying’ and getting a progressive government, and being honest and getting a NACT one, I’d choose the progressive one that knows how to play politics.

            That’s what I mean about idealism vs realism.

            • burt


              So telling lies to win an election is OK when it’s your team…. Wow, tell me how disgraceful it would be though if it were the other team…

              This comment of yours is as partisan as Trotter’s courageous corruption angle that it’s OK for Labour to be corrupt if it ensures we get a Labour govt.

              • Blue

                I am partisan, Burt. So are you.

                I am not suggesting Labour tell lies. Being upfront about policy, ensuring that it is the same before and after an election is important.

                But adopting some of the language and mannerisms of National is something that shouldn’t be ruled out, in my opinion.

                Your ‘gotcha’ finger is on the blink today.

    • Vicky32 3.2

      To me, the Greens are the idealistic left, and Labour is the realistic left. That’s how I see it, and how I want it. You need both.

      My problem with the Greens is that most Greens I’ve met are the Blue-Green righties… To me, the Greens are idealistic right, not left – and with the exception of maybe 1 person I know (who’s getting pretty disillusioned, he tells me) are all ‘middle class kiddies’ who look askance at we lower-class lefties, considering us liabilities who need to lift our game and get education and jobs (they are uninterested in the education we might already have – cos it’s not an M.B.A, hey?)

      Shearer is positioning himself more towards the centre, going after those voters with dog-whistles about bad teachers and welfare. That will likely prove to be a successful strategy for him.

      Dog-whistling against about ‘welfare’ seems to be a Green tactic to judge by the 20-something Green supporters I’ve worked with!

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        Yeah, there’s an awful lot of recent Green voters who wpould be very comfortable voting National as their second party choice.

      • Ant 3.2.2

        Haha I know a number of people like that Vicky, they’ve become ideologically righties but can’t accept it because it doesn’t fit their personal brand.

    • BoJangles 3.3

      Andrew of Gold Coast Posted at 1:29 PM Today
      ‘Admitted Labor had “stopped listening”.’ How hard was it to look at your water rates, your electricity bill, you rego, your bus ticket, Anastasia. It was not rocket science. The ALP stopped listening years ago when it was taken over by white collar middle management careerists, party flunkies and spin doctors. Let your branch members chose your candidates. Might be a good idea to start with South Brisbane, or is that just another slot for a party accolyte.

      Sound familiar??

  4. just saying 4

    I’m sorry, but hasn’t ‘progressively moving to the right for the sake of the left’ been comprehensively proven, for more than 30 years now, to simply lead the country further and further to the right with no adavantages to the left, or to the majority of New Zealanders?

    Isn’t there a saying about doing the same thing over and over and, each time expecting a different outcome?

    • r0b 4.1

      Is that in fact what has happened? Putting aside the aberration of the Fourth Labour (first ACT) government of 1984 , what examples are you thinking of?

      • just saying 4.1.1

        The Clark government did little more than implement a holding pattern in terms of the left/right continuum. There was a little softening in some areas, but this was offset by a hardening in others, for example the free trade agreements. Goff was to the right of Clark, Shearer is to the right of Goff, and more of an afficianado of the Lange years, than even Goff claimed to be. The parliamentary Labour party is, in many ways to the right of National five to ten years ago.


        • RedLogix

          The party most comprehensively representing left-wing policies in this country routinely polls what…8-12%?

          Governments exercise power only within a relatively narrow band permitted by society. It’s futile to demand Labour impose policy settings that are not going to be widely accepted. Consider the insane reaction to the relatively modest S59 Repeal…

          Crucially until we understand how to move that narrow window in the direction we desire, there is not a lot of point in demanding our Parliamentary representatives position themselves outside of it.

          I’m no more a fan of this fact than anyone else here.

          • just saying

            The Greens most comprehensively represent environmentalism. It’s their reason for existing. True they also have the most left-wing policy outside of Te Mana,but that’s because the supposed left wing party decided to move to the right of Genghis Khan and left a fucking great void that those with souls within the Greens have been trying valiantly to fill, despite it not being their core business.

            • Colonial Viper

              Yep the Greens are not a workers’ party.

              That’s a hat they’ve had to wear because the party which is supposed to advocate for the building up of NZ industry, the decommercialisation of NZ society, and strengthening of workers rights has been busy trying to add a spoonful of sugar to neoliberal free market prescriptions instead.

        • Populuxe1

          WTF?!?! You consider some of the most radical social and law reforms of the last twenty years a “holding pattern”????????

          • Colonial Viper

            Radical social and law reforms?

            This is what Labour still don’t get

            Large numbers of former Labour supporters don’t give a fuck about those. Those things are irrelevant if they don’t keep food on the table, children in the country and jobs in NZ.

            Where were the radical reforms led by Labour to undo the neoliberal framework of the economy and of the media which had been set in place since the 1980’s? The radical reforms which focussed on re-empowering workers in a new paradigm of the economy where people and society came first, and not profits.

            So is Labour the workers’ party, or is it the party of radical social and legal reforms? Voters know what’s important when their living standards and job security are going down the toilet, and it ain’t another round of radical social and legal reforms.

            • Populuxe1

              Look children, this is a Classical Marxist. Like Pandas they are extremely adorable, but apparently unable to reproduce as they are quite rare. Also like Pandas they can only exist in very specific and limited ideological environments. Move along.

              • Colonial Viper

                Weak diversion.

                So is Labour the workers’ party or not? Or will another party have to live up to that mantle now while Labour carries on with being the party of radical social and legal reforms?

                • Populuxe1

                  Yeah, but you’re stuck on this pre-WW2 paradigm that workers are a pre-defined immutable social class with a specific set of interests, beliefs, and politics. And your idea of what constitutes “production of capital” is practically Victorian. Perhaps the true definition of “workers” in the 21st century has left you behind.

                  • felix

                    I think that the ‘Labour’ Party should have as it’s first priority the improvement of the lot of those being paid the least at the bottom of the heap.

                    Does that mean I’m stuck in a pre-war paradigm?

                    • Populuxe1

                      So you don’t consider children, the elderly, prostitutes, and gay couples to be marginalised? Your only definition of oppression and deprivation is economic, therefore yes – you are stuck in a pre-war paradigm.
                      Significant of the Fifth Labour Government

                    • felix

                      I accept that your fantasy version of me might well be stuck in that paradigm, but since I never said anything like what you said I did, I can’t really be held accountable for it.

                      When you’ve done arguing with yourself perhaps you could have a look at what I wrote and try not to add anything to it in your busy little brain before you respond this time.

          • just saying

            …”on the left/right continuum.”

            You do get the difference between that and the authoriatarian/libertarian continuum don’t you?

            I think we need to do much more for oppressed “identity groups”. I don’t think dealing with social oppression is mutually exclusive of dealing with economic oppression. Unfortunately the Clark government* seemingly did. However, I was delighted by the progress you speak of.

            * Due to the fact that many LP members refer to the Lange government as the ‘first ACT government’, I’m never sure which government ‘number’ to use, for describing the Clark government.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    That’s why I can see why he believes he has to move to the centre.

    If Shearer was moving to the centre I’d be more inclined to agree with you but he’s not, he’s moving further to the right and Labour was already a centre-right party. The problem is that a lot of people still believe that Labour is a centre-left party and vote according to that belief. Labour moving further to the right means that, when we get a politically “left” government it will actually be a politically “right” government.

  6. The problem with McCarten’s logic is that in a coalition of the centre left and left, the dominant centrist party policy always rules. The left tail doesnt wag the dog but the dog wags the tail. This fact has been around for at least a century and is known as the ‘popular front’. The point of a popular front is that the centrist dominant partner is used to contain the left preventing any independent left voice from emerging, and preparing the left for a right wing reaction. McCarten should know this because the Alliance failed to significantly pull Labour to the left and was decimated as a result. Meanwhile the left wasted a decade in the political wilderness.
    In this specific context today, Labour is moving to the right to pick up Natlite votes and the price for the left will be not to rock this cosy centrist deal of a slightly more gentle, humane, cleaner capitalism. The Greens will be all for this as their constituency is the educated middle class. Mana is as yet untested. If it follows McCarten’s scenario it will quickly become a barrier to the development of the left. If it fights outside parliament and doesnt get sucked into the popular front led by Labour, the left will come alive in the unity of Maori, Pakeha and other workers.
    But either way capitalism has outlived its humane potential and is now openly destructive and repressive, abandoning democracy hand over fist in order to survive. To try to piss into this wind will leave Shearer and the right rather wet, but the real damage will be to the working class that still has no independent political voice to oppose to the capitalist parties.
    The bright future on the horizon is then neither of Key nor Shearers’ visions, but that of the growing mass movements that are empowering themselves to fight the system outside parliament.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      growing mass movements that are empowering themselves to fight the system outside parliament.


  7. QoT 7

    Labour moving further to the right does one thing: it normalises rightwing ways of thinking and rightwing ways of applying policy.

    It says to the people on the left who have already abandoned the good ship Labour for the Greens, “fuck you, we’ll just keep making coalition deals with the Maori Party and United Future because that’s easier than presenting a truly progressive agenda and communicating it to the public.”

    Goff already tried this, and all that gave the public was a choice between Nice Mr John Key and his policies, or Grumpy Mr Phil Goff and his basically-the-same-but-wrapped-up-in-a-historical-leftwing-ribbon policies. Do we really believe that becoming more like Nice Mr Key’s not-nice party is the way to go?

    Is it seriously too hard for Labour to say “we can build the economy and take care of the poor and defend the kind of values that the majority of Kiwis actually believe in”? Because if so, the party deserves to go die in a ditch.

    And talking down to people who see Labour, which has already moved to the right and already signalled that in the brave new world of MMP it will not use the Greens to implement progressive policies, as though we just don’t understand how things work? Not the most convincing tactic, r0b.

    • Jackal 7.1

      Whether you like it or not QoT the right wings way of thinking and applying policy is normalized in the public vocabulary. It says that commercialized achievement, elitism and class distinction are all important and anybody who objects to such manipulation and inequality will be ostracized or worse.

      Labour has to work within the bounds of these restrictions while providing a clear distinction to them, which is not an easy thing to achieve. What Goff did was half way through an election campaign, try to make the public start talking about things the media didn’t want to discuss. They twisted his assertion about policies (which were completely different to National’s) to make him look like a man standing apart. They continue to use the same subtle camera and editing techniques to make opposition parties appear weak, controlling the narrative in a most deceitful manner.

      It’s not as if there cannot be common ground, but I think the main thing here is that there should be clear distinctions between each parties policies, otherwise they run the risk of being called copycats. Has Labour indicated they will not work with the Green’s to implement progressive policies? I must have missed that press release.

      • QoT 7.1.1

        Has Labour indicated they will not work with the Green’s to implement progressive policies? I must have missed that press release.

        Mmmm, delicious derailling. Here’s some back at you: rightwing ideology is normalised? Let’s all just pack up and go home then. That’s basically what you’re saying, right?

        There is no “point of difference” when Labour feels he need to constantly say “oh, but there are totally benefit bludgers, and we should crack down!” There is no “point of difference” when Labour’s leader’s first big speech agrees that Bad Teachers Must Be Punished. There is no “point of difference” when the Paganis are still deeply involved in Labour and still publicly saying things like “casualisation is just like wanting flexible working hours!”

        It is complete fucking bullshit to cry and moan that Labour and David Shearer have no option but to buy into rightwing framing.

        How about, “we don’t believe that everyone who’s rich got there through hard work – look at Paris Hilton!” How about, “we don’t believe kids are failing because evil teachers are just looking out for themselves – we have one of the best systems in the world and the cause of poor kids failing is poverty!” How about, “when the vast majority of benefit fraud is committed by WINZ staff, we’re not going to waste resources hunting down smalltime fraudsters while people who want to work but cannot find jobs can’t access the support they need in hard times.”

        Nah, obviously it’s just too hard, let’s give up and jump into bed with National’s policies, pray the public will vote for us, and then what – suddenly implement a vastly different leftwing agenda which just gets labelled as deceitful and guarantees 6-9 more years of rightwingers in power?

        How the fuck does this make sense to any of you?

        • felix

          ‘kin a.

        • the sprout

          well said, agreed.
          it would be a phyrric victory. burning the village to ‘save’ it.

          don’t get me started on whether Labour could win an election, or re-election, without its activist core

        • Kotahi Tane Huna

          What QoT said.

        • RedLogix

          For the simple reason that if Shearer goes hard left the media will do a goff on him and Labour loses the next election as well.

          • QoT

            Who the hell is talking about “hard left”, RL? Where is the “hard left” in “we don’t think being rich makes you a harder worker” or “it’s not economically feasible to focus all our attention on a few petty fraudsters while kids starve”?

            No one’s advocating that Shearer open his next speech with a rousing rendition of the Internationale and starts picking up phrases from the Little Red Book. We’d just like, well, an indication that he understands he’s the leader of the Labour Party.

            Or, you know, in three years’ time I could just come back to this thread and post “WHAT THE HELL DID I TELL YOU” after Labour manages to squander the opportunities afforded by massive industrial action, asset sales, ACC privatisation and more tax cuts for the boys because Pagani, Trotter et al have unearthed Ming the Merciless’ ring and used it to push another soulless “Liz Hurley and my wife also” campaign.

            • Jackal

              Delicious! Thanks for the complement QoT, but I’m not trying to derail and I believe my activism answers your question re packing up and going home. There are points of political difference, highlighting similarities in the two parties propaganda that you disagree with doesn’t change that fact.

              Let’s not just call it a rightwing framework, let’s call it a capitalist framework. I think that’s fundamentally what we should be rallying against and it’s not just going to go away because Labour decides to ignore it. It’s going to inflate into the space you want Labour to vacate and take further control to manipulate the narrative which is ultimately detrimental to all involved especially those on the left. Why can’t you see the problem?

              I couldn’t think of anything more repulsive than jumping into bed with National’s policies. Please don’t make my skin crawl again. I also don’t see much in Shearer’s leadership that supports your claim that Labour will betray their core supporters or that they will focus on just a few petty fraudsters. That claim should be leveled against the mainstream media and ultimately their masters, the fucking Tories.

            • RedLogix

              Sorry but you and I don’t get to define ‘hard left’ QoT. The media commentariat have that privilege… not us.

              Notice how the right blogs moaned for years about how Key wasn’t right-wing enough for them… yet he’s the one calling the shots right now, not Goff or Cunliffe.

              • Olwyn

                The problem with a move to the right by Labour at this stage is this: yes, by agreeing to be the corporates’ second eleven they may get more praise from the right wing pundits, and they might also get a bit more money with which to fight an election, especially if Key is going to bow out. Those who have gained under National will not want to lose it again under another government. But in doing so they are also courting irrelevancy. There is no room now for going further to the right and remaining a Labour Party. What is more, those dog whistles toward teachers and beneficiaries do not speak of a healthy centrism, but of the same old spiteful divisive bullshit that keeps everyone looking over their shoulders.

                • RedLogix

                  OK… so keep losing elections. Or at least until you can figure out a way of winning them in the face of a hostile corporate media.

                  Yes I know it’s a capitalist framework that’s calling the shots. But until an alternative narrative gets some leverage… we’re stuck with what we have.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    An alternative narrative won’t get any leverage if it’s not even discussed.

                    • RedLogix

                      We’ve been discussing it here for at least five years…

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      We’ve been discussing quite a bit here over the last few years but I can’t recall an actual alternative to the failed capitalist system.

                  • Vicky32

                    Yes I know it’s a capitalist framework that’s calling the shots. But until an alternative narrative gets some leverage… we’re stuck with what we have.

                    Exactly right… There’s a time to be realistic, and this is it.

                • Jackal

                  Have we actually established that Labour is moving to the right?

                  Let’s presume they are and as you contend there was no room for Labour to go to the right, then there would be no room for National to go to the left either. Your line in the sand seems rather vague Olwyn.

                  What do you think National’s environmental blue/green aspirations are trying to achieve? There is a huge divide in New Zealand’s politics that has meant many Kiwi’s are not represented. I would think that many of these people are lost in no mans land between the waring factions.

                  Was Shearer dog whistling at teachers and beneficiaries or wanting better outcomes for students and poor people? What percentage of students fail because of bad teachers and what payoff is there in ensuring poor people can survive and contribute to New Zealand’s future?

                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    Jackal, are you still running that right-wing line about bad teachers?

                    I was looking at your blog this morning, and I broadly agree with many of your opinions. I noticed that “education” doesn’t even appear as a tag, let alone a recurrent theme.

                    Just saying.

                    • Jackal

                      I have worked as a teacher. Is that qualification enough for you?

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Your point is? You were one of the bad ones so you left the profession?

                      Edit: I’m sorry, I withdraw that. I don’t want to get into another unproductive slanging match.

                      To put it another way “What percentage of prosecutions fail because of bad lawyers?”

                      In other words, there is always room for improvement, but external measures (like PISA) rate an NZ education as one of the best in the world.

                    • Jackal

                      I guess it doesn’t really matter to you whether somebody has experience in a profession or not, if you don’t like their argument, they’re ignorant!

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      If they display ignorance they are ignorant, but I’m ignorant of a whole bunch of stuff and I don’t get upset when people point it out. “Ignorance is a condition we all share”.

                      How many prosecutions fail because of bad lawyers?

                    • Jackal

                      I would guess that more defense cases fail because of bad representation, but like many statistics that should be readily available, they aren’t. The difference educational failure rates have been measured.

                      “Ignorance is a condition we all share”… speak for yourself.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Measured? Is this another one of your ghost studies? I can’t read your ghost studies Jackal.

                      Since you are not ignorant of anything, I have been trying to understand the Coriolis Effect and its implications for the basic layer model. I would value any help you can offer me.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      PS: lol, the question about prosecutions is a bullshit question. Just like that one of yours about “bad teachers”.

                      What is the generally accepted percentage of “teacher effect” as an influence on learning when compared with social factors? Since you’re not ignorant and you have been a teacher this one should be a cinch!

                    • Jackal

                      I have better things to do than to try to match your pontificating and semantic obsession Kotahi Tane Huna that has nothing to do with the post by Anthony Robbins.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Sure it has. You, a self-confessed lefty (another condition we share), are running right-wing attack lines, and this has no relevance to this thread? Have a Tui.

                      This is my last word unless you have something substantive to say. I really am interested in the teacher effect question by the way (and the Coriolis one for that matter, but I’ll work that out on my own)- someone linked me to a study on it a month or two ago and I can’t find the link for the life of me.

              • QoT

                Wait, I’m confused, RL. Am *I* the bad person for arguing [in your head] that Shearer should “go hard left”, or are the *media* the bad people for labelling anything which isn’t a quote from the National Party manifesto as “hard left”?

                And if Shearer did say something like “we are one of the cheapest countries in the world to do business in, and National pretends otherwise” and the media did label that as “hard left” … why is that a problem? Shearer responds “If presenting basic economic facts makes me hard left, I guess I’m hard left then!”, he rolls his eyes, he carries on.

                The right blogs are quite clearly playing a role in normalising rightwing policy. It’d be great if the left blogs could do the same for their own side, instead of saying “shut up, David Shearer said it so it must be great, and you just don’t understand how MMP works!”

                • RedLogix

                  Am *I* the bad person for arguing [in your head] that Shearer should “go hard left”, or are the *media* the bad people for labelling anything which isn’t a quote from the National Party manifesto as “hard left”?

                  Of course not. The thought never entered my mind.

                  The problem we’ve been moaning about for at least three election cycles now is a corporate, capitalist media framework that is fundamentally anti-ethical to our values. There is no ‘normalising’ it. We’ve been slogging away at it for years and the likes of O’Sullivan and Armstrong still bash out their tripe. Goff had a crack at very softly looking like a Labour Party and got crucified by them.

                  If Shearer walks down the same path and get’s the same treatment, why the hell should we expect a different result? How many more elections do you want to lose?

                  Alternately if you want to tell me how to dismantle the power of these media gatekeepers, truly I am all ears.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Alternately if you want to tell me how to dismantle the power of these media gatekeepers, truly I am all ears.

                    Basically boils down to developing alternative media information channels, and highlighting at every turn how the MSM takes a very narrow and particular view on many issues.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Oh yeah. That Interwebs thing… The proliferation of blogs like this suggest that’s well under way. What next?

                  • Olwyn

                    There is more than one reason for Goff’s failing to gain traction. For one, he was associated with rogernomics and did not decisively or unequivocally distance himself from that. Hence he lost support from the left. And his forays into left wing policy were too little and too late to do much for him, especially since some of them were not going to come into effect for years. He was not helped much by a four week campaign either, having kept his policies under wraps till then. Furthermore, Kay was a first term PM and everyone’s darling. It is simplistic to think that Goff didn’t get much traction solely because he failed to bow to right wing conceptualisations.

                    A modest counterexample can be found in Winston Peters – loathed and deprived of oxygen by the media, but able to increase his standing by 3% in three days when the chips were down. Labour of course, seeks a much bigger support base than that of Peters, but in terms of scale it also has much more to build on.

                  • just saying

                    Shearer *is* going down exactly the same path. Don’t you see – he’s Goff with a better back-story. It wasn’t a couple of leftish bones he threw a few weeks out from the election that lost it.

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  @QoT: ‘kinoath.

                  “If wanting our kids to be better educated than Finns makes me hard left, then I guess I’m hard left” *eye roll*

                  “Why would I want to adopt right wing policies when everything they touch turns to shit? Am I allowed to say that on television?”

                • Jackal


                  The right blogs are quite clearly playing a role in normalising rightwing policy. It’d be great if the left blogs could do the same for their own side.

                  Buy into the right wings manipulative propaganda where they hold up pseudo leftists as hard left? No thanks… I can’t even think of a turncoat that we could use. Care to link to any left blogs telling people to shut up for criticizing Shearer… even figuratively speaking?

        • Mel

          “It is complete f* bullshit to cry and moan that Labour and David Shearer have no option but to buy into right wing framing.

          How about, “we don’t believe that everyone who’s rich got there through hard work – look at Paris Hilton!” How about, “we don’t believe kids are failing because evil teachers are just looking out for themselves – we have one of the best systems in the world and the cause of poor kids failing is poverty!” How about, “when the vast majority of benefit fraud is committed by WINZ staff, we’re not going to waste resources hunting down smalltime fraudsters while people who want to work but cannot find jobs can’t access the support they need in hard times.”

          Yes Yes Yes!!!!!!

          I totally agree with QOT.

    • r0b 7.2

      Labour moving further to the right does one thing: it normalises rightwing ways of thinking and rightwing ways of applying policy.

      Interesting point, and one I shall ponder. Surely though it normalises rightwing thinking much more when we elect bloody right wing governments…

  8. burt 8


    But if it’s true and Labour’s policy takes a rightward tack, is that a disaster for the left? Not at all.

    Interesting times, I can hardly wait for you to be defending Labour for all the same things that were completely unacceptable under National. I’m not sure what will be more entertaining though, you defending Labour for running National policies or equally partisan National supporters bagging Labour for the same things that were ‘required’ under National.

    Musical chairs in dim-bulb partisan land …..

  9. To obtain the Government benches Labour have to accomodate the Greens somehow.

    Unfortunately it would appear from Shearer’s speech that both parties are moving wider apart with Labour moving to the right to capture some Natlites.

    The Greens, with a preponderance of an educated middle class are moving further to the left, as they can see their position strengthening with a coalition in view. Many of their voters have the luxury of comfortable jobs and incomes.

    Winston and Hone are not really relevant come 2014 in the overall balance. They are bit players. The Maori party will wither by 2014 – probably to one seat.

  10. Goober Grape 10

    It sounds like a party of no principles to me. Like National.

    “Our goal is power!”

    At any cost.

    • Macro 10.1

      I would describe myself as left wing to the core.
      I stopped voting Labour at least 20 years ago years ago after the assault on workers in the late 80’s. I grew up in a home where politics was the main subject, morning and night. My dad was the president of a strong Union for some 20 years. In his last remaining years he was totally disillusioned with the path the Labour party had taken, and although he had voted all his adult life, in the last 2 elections before he died, he refused to vote.
      Labour have left their roots well behind – the posturing now has little to do with social justice and equality, but everything to do with power.
      My wife who has been a Labour voter all her voting life has lost trust in Labour. She was disgusted to hear David Shearer say the things he did about “bad” teachers. For her that was the last straw.
      I heard recently a radio discussion on politics on National Radio, “from the left and from the right” – Mathew Hootton and Joe Pagani if I recall. I couldn’t decide which was the “left” and which was the “right”. To me, they were both singing from the same song sheet, and it wasn’t a song that had anything to do with a fair go for anyone, apart from the wealthy.

  11. queenstfarmer 11

    I’m glad that Shearer signaled keeping the capital gains tax policy

    Shearer actually signaled a major change to the CGT policy, at least strategically. Before the last election, Labour dishonestly claimed (repeatedly) that the CGT would raise lots of money, to partly plug their huge spending holes, when its own figures showed it would take many years before it raised any revenue.

    Shearer has now said that the CGT is about rebalancing investment classes, and may even enable tax cuts in other areas.

    This is significant change because a) it is correct, b) it is honest this time, c) it is signals a move away from unthinking ideology, at least in this area.

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      Before the last election, Labour dishonestly claimed (repeatedly) that the CGT would raise lots of money

      Not saying that’s not true, but links would bolster your point. Shouldn’t be hard to find. I recall lab being fairly upfront that in the short term there would be a bigger hole, but that the hole would be filled in at about the same time as National was predicting. They were also going to introduce a new top marginal rate, if you recall.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      Before the last election, Labour dishonestly claimed (repeatedly) that the CGT would raise lots of money…

      IIRC, they said that the CGT wouldn’t raise a lot of income itself but cause a) a raise in income from other sources as the the economy rebalanced and b) that any income that did happen would come about in a few years. It was the rebalancing that was most important.

  12. Vicky32 12

    Just a wee question Antony Robbins. Why do you repeatedly say ‘center’ in your post, even when quoting others who say ‘centre’?
    Have American spellings become normal, are they now accepted New Zealand usage? If so, someone should have told those of us who are over 35 years old. 
    (That being said, I have followed some American usages in New Zealand back to the 1960s – ‘dumb’ instead of stupid, etc, and ‘gotten’ apparently goes back to the 1980s, despite that NZers always use it wrongly even by ‘merkin’ standards! 😀 )

    • So, you’re querying his spelling while spelling both his names wrong? Tops.

      • burt 12.1.1


        How can ‘merkin’ be associated with standards for english language?

        And what Psycho said…..

        • Vicky32

          How can ‘merkin’ be associated with standards for english language?

          A merkin is a pubic wig, or so I have been told. It’s also my affectionate nickname for those from the USA, from their own pronunciation of ‘American’! 😀

          • burt

            Yeah I get that, I’ll even admit it turned the corner of mouth somewhat up and I almost chuckled.

          • Populuxe1

            Robert Browning thought than “c—t” was the name of a sort of headgear worn by medieval nuns.

      • Vicky32 12.1.2

        So, you’re querying his spelling while spelling both his names wrong? Tops.

        First, I was asking him a question, not you.
        Second, I apologise to Anthony Robbins  for spelling his name wrong.
        Third, my question still stands. I am not criticising, just asking.

        • RedLogix

          Well while not attempting to answer on Anthony’s behalf, I do know that I much tend to mix up the British and American spellings for a lot of words pretty much at random.

          Just saying…

      • lprent 12.1.3

        That is an evil observation. And I missed it myself! Meh….

    • lprent 12.2

      Hardcore programmers like me, and Anthony is one although somewhat lapsed from the hardcore, generally use center, color, and various other American spellings. The reason is because that is how the programming interfaces are written. And there is nothing else in the world more pedantic than a compiler changing your carefully written prose into machine language. If you put in

      label.setAlignment(Qt::AlignHCentre | Qt::AlignBottom);

      The compiler will throw out an error that we’d have to fix. After that happens for the thousandth time you switch to the less aggravating spelling. I’d point out that the Qt library was written in Scandanvia and maintained by Nokia in Finland. But the language all programmers use is a particular set of languages derived from a variant of English.

      It feeds out from programmers into “natural languages”

      • RedLogix 12.2.1

        ha.. of course. Oddly enough I never quite made the obvious connection.

        Most of the languages I program in are not text based so the effect hasn’t been so obvious… but yes it’s there all the same.

        • lprent

          It is insidious. I jump to a new API/language at least every year and usually somewhat more often. But the languages are all much the same because programmers are less interested in the natural language interface than what it actually does and how succinct the code is. Doesn’t matter if it is ruby on rails or c++ on boost – the natural language interface tends to be standardized.

        • burt


          I always defer to the spellchecker installed. If it’s been set right, I write right more often.

    • r0b 12.3

      Hi Vicky – sorry I missed your question before. Yes lprent has it exactly right in 12.2. For some key words my spelling is American/programming based. I usually catch it when writing text, but sometimes not if I’m in a hurry. Sorry ’bout that!

      • lprent 12.3.1

        I have given up trying. These days I try to eliminate the non-API spelling in everything. Afterall I write far more code than text,

      • burt 12.3.2

        It seems to only be offensive to the English teacher that’s been having trouble finding work. I’m just saying…

        • Vicky32

          It seems to only be offensive to the English teacher that’s been having trouble finding work.

          Thanks a bunch, burt. Let’s face it, I am a worthless piece of shite, okay?
          I give up. In future I shall look on this blog as a little piece of the USA in NZ, because let’s face it, that’s what it is. If I shift between languages several times a day, and I do, then WTF is so hard about switching between what the Empire requires of you in terms of writing code, and the variant of English you all (presumably, though I don’t count on it) grew up with? I predicted this all in an article I wrote years ago (warning – non-American  source, you may want to get your skepticism on! Note how I’ve spelled that word just for you.
          Note to the wise. All spellcheckers – Microsoft (hiss… ) and Open Orifice, presumably also Apple ones, can be set to New Zealand English, although you may have to pay attention – the default is always Merkin, so unless you want to be a part of the Empire in good standing, (Rusty) or you just don’t care, check your spell check! Not that anyone but me actually gives a toss.

          • burt


            You need to understand that I’m just calling it as I see it. I don’t know you from a bar of soap so I make no judgement as to your worthfullness (is that a word??) but I do know that you have previously refused to engage with what I have said claiming it was too hard to read past the Americanism’s in my spelling.

            This blog is ‘more or less’ a public place and rather than trying to tell everyone how to spell and structure their sentences you might find that your opinions on the subject material are more welcome than your grammar lessons.

            Your response to Psycho starting with;

            First, I was asking him a question, not you.

            Completely undermines the sincerity of your next sentence;

            Second, I apologise to Anthony Robbins for spelling his name wrong.

            This place isn’t your class….. it’s a blog where ideas are freely exchanged and the rules are set by the blog owners. Think about it Vicky32, I have no beef with grammar nazi’s because I have spent my entire dyslexic life crashing up against them…. arguably without spell checker I would be unemployed but that aside, surely you have more to add than simply pointing out spelling mistakes.

      • Lanthanide 12.3.3

        Or in my work’s case, we get bugs raised in our tracking system when we have parts of the user interface using NZ/British spelling instead of American.

      • felix 12.3.4

        Using “ize” instead of “ise” makes more sense IMHO, as in energize, proselytize etc.

        Not trying to start a fight. Just putting it out there.

      • felix 12.3.5

        And while we’re here, how come my spellcheck knows “krypton” but not “kryptonite”???

        • Populuxe1

          Because one of them is real and the other is not. You’re a bright boy, work it out – but watch those “ize” endings or CV will accuse you of being a CIA plant.

        • lprent

          Because Krypton is element 36, a noble gas that is not naturally radioactive.

          Whereas kryptonite is a fictional radioactive mineral from the fictional planet Krypton, which was named after the ‘properties’ of Krypton by a illiterate comic writer who’d clearly never read much about it. Probably took the word ‘dense’ when referring to a gas and thought that it meant something like the substance between his ears…

          So endth channelling Sheldon.

          What does this have to do with the topic?

  13. Meh. Aren’t likely to vote Labour or National so don’t have a dog in this race, but really the question of whether Labour’s moving to the right or not is a sideshow. There’s little to choose between Labour and National in the economic sense – Labour goes a little bit easier on public servants and the proletariat, National goes a little easier on farmers and rich people. I’m not any of those things and so are a lot of other people who vote – there’s really little in it for us either way.

    What Shearer really needs to steer Labour thoroughly away from is what lost them the govt benches – a well-earned reputation for being a bunch of do-gooders with a schoolmarmly enthusiasm for discouraging behaviour they personally found inappropriate. All of that is still a big part of Labour, as witnessed by the hand-wringing about who’s eating what, who’s drinking how much, etc. From my point of view a National-led govt is preferable if it lacks the kind of people who see govt as an opportunity to determine the school tuck shop’s product range.

    • Lanthanide 13.1

      “There’s little to choose between Labour and National in the economic sense – Labour goes a little bit easier on public servants and the proletariat, National goes a little easier on farmers and rich people.”

      Disagree. National wants to implement policies that are good in the (very) short term and disastrous in the medium-long term. Labour wants to implement policies that should be good for the medium-long term.

      See also: asset sales, tax cuts and roads of notional significance vs CGT, carbon tax and R&D tax credits.

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        Both big parties are playing a game of neoliberal pretend and extend. Can’t do anything too contrary to orthodox free market expectations or even recognise the resource/energy crunch which we are at the start of and which is going to significantly worsen over the next 4-5 years.

  14. lefty 14

    Like all genuine lefties McCarten knows Labour must be destroyed before politics can shift to the left in this country. Labour just sucks too much energy and goodwill from the left and is constantly promising a better country when in opposition and implementing a neo liberal agenda when in government.

    This has already alienated a huge section of the population from politics as demostrated at the last election. This trend is likely to become even stronger unless something changes dramatically.

    So of course McCarten is encouraging Shearer to move in a direction that would shed its most progressive members. They would then be free to become part of a fighting working class political movement, unfettered by social democrat delusions and,no longer obsessed with being in government rather than bringing about change.

    The Greens will be the first beneficiaries of a swing even further to the right by Labour but they will not take all the Labour vote – their membership is contemptous of the working class (although a number of their MPs are strong on workers issues). At some stage they will settle for a few environmental trinkets to be part of any old government that can put up with their middle class passive agressive ways.

    Hooten and Pagani are also toying with Shearer, they are moving him to the right so there is a backup when the nice Mr Key is eventually exposed. They know an even more right wing Labour could end up becoming government at the next election if they promise to be just like National, and they also know enough to have no fear of the Greens or Winston having any real effect in terms of driving it to the left – after all we had nine years of Labour not so long ago without that happening. The Hooten and Pagani consultancy will profit mightily from the access they can offer business to a tame Labour Prime Minister.

    Shearer is an innocent at large. He has no ideological base to measure policy against and his values are fluid.

    Perhaps it is for the best if Labour keeps moving to the right and eventually either dies off or goes into coalition with National and the Greens.

    With a bit of effort a true left, working class organisation may rise from its ashes.

    Shearer may yet turn out to be a dream come true for the socialist left.

  15. dancerwaitakere 15

    This is actually quite infuriating.

    I am a member of the Labour Party because I believe in socialist and socially liberal values. I REFUSE to let this party be taken over by those who want the party to go in any other direction. I mean FFS. The Labour Party is at SERIOUS risk of doing what the Liberals did at the start of Last century.

    Pull your head in Parliamentary Labour. Or else we will go elsewhere to get a truly progressive Government.

    • once upon a time policy was the result of members remits to conference .Where delegates said yea or nay. Now we read about it through statements made by the leader . The up coming review needs to demand that the party is returned to its members. leaders need to be selected by an all member vote.
      I am concerned that the Maxim Society should praise Shearer , its may bbe nothing but it leaves me a bit chilled,

    • There was a time when policy was the result of remits from members that were debated and passed or rejected at the Annual Conference.
      These days its from statements via newspapers from our leaders.

      Its time our party was returned to the members .All financial members should be able to vote for the leader.

      I must say Im concerned that the Maxim Society should be praising Shearer, It may be nothing but it leaves me a bit chilly.

  16. Bryan 16

    Nonsense. The ‘centre’ is not an objective position, but a relative one. Like a mirage, move towards it and it shifts away. Any ‘move to the centre ‘ by Labour shifts the political consensus to the right and further disenfranchises those that the Party has already left behind.

  17. Mel 17

    My wife who has been a Labour voter all her voting life has lost trust in Labour. She was disgusted to hear David Shearer say the things he did about “bad” teachers. For her that was the last straw.

    Indeed – Dog whistle politics of the worst kind.

    Attacking workers (teachers)… aka bullying…

    Not a good look for someone who isn’t taking sides on sooooo many issues, yet tries to put the boot into teachers to buy votes.

    I have voted Labour all my life….. but maybe not for any longer 🙁

    • RedLogix 17.1

      But the truth is… there are ‘bad teachers’. As there are some ‘bad people’ in every trade or profession. And given that Shearer was talking about raising the quality of education in this country, it was relevant.

      At the same time I suspect lots of people are reading too much into what he said. There a number of actual policy directions you could take to address this … and Shearer was making the point that National Standards as a means to achieve it was clumsy, ineffective and mostly a distraction.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 17.1.1

        RL, the ‘truth’ is, social forces are a far greater influence on academic achievement than ‘teacher effect’. Shearer didn’t just say ‘bad teachers’ he said ‘bad schools’.

        At best it was a stupid remark.

        • Jackal

          OK Kotahi Tane Huna, I can see that you’re determined to misrepresent what Shearer actually said, so I’m only going to correct you once more. Here is the quote:

          We will work with teachers to develop their professional skills, but ultimately we can’t afford to have bad teachers in our classrooms. As a parent, I want to put badly run schools on notice.

          A badly run school is bad because of its administration. The school itself is not bad because that implies everybody working at that school is bad, when it could just be one headmaster who drinks too much and is having a mid life crisis… comprehend?

          Nobody has said that social forces such as poverty aren’t also to blame for lowering academic achievement. I presume you can actually link to something that makes you believe so emphatically that social forces are a greater influence?

          • Kotahi Tane Huna

            Thanks for the correction Jackal. It was an honest mistake, not a determination to misrepresent.

            How are “badly-run schools” going to be identified? Test scores? If not test scores then how?

            Presume away – the last link I provided led to you abusing its author as a bigot and a liar. I can see no reason to further indulge your revolting bile in this regard, especially as your ghost studies have still not materialised.

            I am happy to admit that I am completely wrong, and that Brian Edwards, Populuxe, Olwyn, Mike Smith et al have articulated the problems in Shearer’s speech much better than I have.

            • Jackal

              Always happy to point out your lazy thinking Kotahi Tane Huna.

              How is teacher and student performance going to be tested when Labour is in government, how am I meant to know that?

              You still haven’t let us know whether people with disabilities should be included in comprehension studies or not? Please learn to use google re the research concerning New Zealander’s reading ability.

              I don’t recall accusing your pedestal prof of being a liar. Your word not mine. Please at least try to engage in a discussion based in reality and get over yourself.

              • Kotahi Tane Huna

                Having comprehension problems much, Bile Boy?

                Please learn to use Google Scholar re the research into ‘teacher effect’.

                • Jackal

                  “I do generally tend to find information if it exists.”


                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    Dear Bile Boy,
                    Thank you for confirming what I already knew: that your only source of information is sixteen years out-of-date.

                    Something a little more current.

                    • Jackal

                      How did you manage to read all those various studies and links (all 12,400 of them) in five minutes? There is no point in debating you Kotahi Tane Huna.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Dear Bile Boy,

                      You only searched for studies that reference the IALS data, that’s how.

                    • Jackal

                      Sorry about the huge off topic comment The Standard… but Kotahi Tane Huna asked for it:

                      The Final AILS report in 2000 concluded that New Zealanders aged 16-65 had a quantitative literacy level of 20.4% in level one and 28.9 for level two. Your welcome to provide some proper evidence that the findings are incorrect if you can Kotahi Tane Huna?

                      This OECD report shows that around 34% of the population aged 16-65 report that their reading skills limit their opportunities at work and are at literacy Level 1. These and the following excerpts are all from the first page of google results I linked to above.

                      The initial sampling frame was a list of geographical regions (“meshblocks”). The country was stratified by region and population size, and meshblocks were selected within strata with probability proportional to size. Households were then randomly selected within the meshblock. Finally, a Kish sampling grid was used to select one person per household. The total number of respondents was 4,223

                      Looks like the process they used was robust.

                      In 14 out of 20 countries, at least 15 per cent of all adults have literacy skills at only the most rudimentary level, making it difficult for them to cope with the rising skill demands of the information age. Countries with large numbers of citizens at the lowest level of literacy (more than 15 per cent on the prose literacy test) are: Australia, Belgium (Flanders), Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

                      So is there room for improvement of not?

                      There are also countries that just as regularly have large proportions at low levels of literacy: Chile, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia. Other countries such as New Zealand, the three language groups in Switzerland and the United States fall into the middle on each scale, although the Italian-speaking Swiss appear to do less well on the quantitative scale than the French-speaking Swiss.

                      If you want to understand why the AILS study is still relevant and referenced, perhaps you might like to read the 2001 International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS): Understanding What Was Measured document:

                      In a previous section, three task characteristics labeled context, texts, and process/strategy were introduced. It was followed by a section in which each task characteristic was operationalized into a number of variables. This part of the framework describes a procedure for validating the set of variables developed from these characteristics that have been shown to affect task performance and the placement of tasks along each of the reporting scales. This process borrows heavily from work that has been done in the area of adult literacy where several national and international surveys have reported data that followed this approach:

                      · The U.S. Department of Labor’s Literacy Assessment (Kirsch & Jungeblut, 1992)
                      · The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)
                      Reading Literacy Study (Kirsch & Mosenthal 1994)
                      · The National Adult Literacy Survey (Kirsch et al., 1993).

                      I suppose having a pedestal prof on your side of the argument who wants to discriminate against people with disabilities means all these studies aren’t relevant either Kotahi Tane Huna?

                      Massey University 2009:

                      Without change poor levels of adult literacy skills in NZ will persist; social, cultural & economic effects will be significant.

                      But don’t support Shearer et al for recognizing and wanting to fix the problem…. because as long as you keep saying he’s attacking teachers, nothing is going to change eh! Next you’ll be arguing that there doesn’t need to be good literacy because there are jobs that don’t require good reading comprehension. Are you sure you’re a leftie and not an Act supporter Kotahi Tane Huna?

                      Ministry of Education 2005:

                      As can be seen in the graph above, respondents with Level 1 literacy ability were more likely to be looking for work and not working, than to be in work. Those of Levels 3 and above showed the opposite trend.

                      The 1996 Census and the 2001 Census were used in combination with the IALS to build a statistical model which in turn derived predictions of the number and proportions of those at Levels 1 and 2 literacy proficiency for 1996, 2001, and 2004.

                      Wow! Researchers referencing other studies… they’ve got to be wrong! /sarc

                      The Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey 2008:

                      For both women and men, average prose literacy skill remained relatively stable between 1996 and 2006. However, the proportion of people with very low and very high prose literacy skill decreased.

                      Doesn’t look like there’s been any real increase in literacy levels in that time period then. What year did the Schools change their curriculums again and has there been enough time to see an effect? Remember were talking about the entire population, not just a few thousand students who have had a different teaching method over the last few years. Change in this problem area is going to take a long time.

                      Gender, Ethnicity and Literacy Performance Among Young Adults 2011:

                      The Adult Literacy and Life Skills survey was conducted in 2006. We compared data for both surveys with a particular focus on gender, ethnic background and age. Young adults (16-24 yrs) performed more poorly in 2006 than in 1996 and more poorly than older adults in 2006. Some modest improvements in aspects of literacy performance occurred for Pakeha and Māori adults, but Pasifika adults showed declines in performance between 1996 and 2006.

                      So in the absence of any proper evidence from you Kotahi Tane Huna, I must conclude that one in five New Zealanders are in fact still technically illiterate.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      The final IALS report was based on data collected in 1996.

                      Since then, we have an entirely new National Curriculum, introduced in 2000.

                      Jackal likes to use bile-filled pejorative phrases like “pedestal prof” (perhaps he thinks I have a crush) and “bigoted” to denounce information he doesn’t agree with, and shift the goal posts from “illiterate” to “technically illiterate”, but the OECD reports that:

                      07/12/2010 – Korea and Finland top the OECD’s latest PISA survey of reading literacy among 15-year olds, which for the first time tested students’ ability to manage digital information.

                      The survey, based on two-hour tests of a half million students in more than 70 economies, also tested mathematics and science. The results for 65 economies are being released today.

                      The next strongest performances were from Hong Kong-China, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand and Japan.

                      And PISA reports that:

                      “New Zealand 15-year-old students’ overall reading performance (521) was substantially higher than the average for the 34 OECD countries (493)”

                      It is my contention that we can do far more to improve these statistics by dealing with wider social issues like inequality, than by concentrating on ‘teacher effect’, which makes a relatively small contribution to the problem.

                      “The two main determinants of school achievement are innate ability and the social and material environment”

                      I am not the only one who is uncomfortable with David Shearer’s remarks. Brian Edwards and Tapu Misa, for example, have both come out strongly against them, as have various commenters at The Standard and elsewhere.

                      Finally, in response to the notion that I’ll “be arguing that there doesn’t need to be good literacy because there are jobs that don’t require good reading comprehension. Are you sure you’re a leftie and not an Act supporter Kotahi Tane Huna?”

                      Jackal, do you think that puerile strawmen and juvenile insults strengthen your case?

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      PS: specific education policies I’d introduce by lunchtime:

                      Charter schools and National’s Standards abandoned completely.

                      Tomorrow’s Schools and the curriculum fully implemented.

                    • Jackal

                      The Final AISL report uses data collected between 1992 and 1998 and references research done between 1976 and 2000. What is your point… that your claim New Zealand has one of the best educational sectors in the world is correct? I don’t think it is as good as it could be, which is an argument you seem to finally agree with.

                      What is your other point; that while inequality has increased the fastest of all OECD countries New Zealand educational outcomes have improved? Really! You’re arguing against yourself in a huge logic divide there Kotahi Tane Huna.

                      Thank you for confirming what I already knew: that your only source of information is sixteen years out-of-date.

                      You may not have noticed that I had linked to research published in 2011 that confirms my argument. Unless you were just being lazy or cannot count, you are being disingenuous in this rather drawn out debate.

                      Jackal likes to use bile-filled pejorative phrases like “pedestal prof” (perhaps he thinks I have a crush) and “bigoted” to denounce information he doesn’t agree with, and shift the goal posts from “illiterate” to “technically illiterate”, but the OECD reports that.

                      You’re cherry picking data. If you don’t have the nous to find information that backs up your claims, don’t just throw some largely irrelevant information into the ring.

                      A crush on pedestal prof? WTF! I’m calling him that because his argument is easy to knock down. He’s not only discriminating against those with severe disabilities as you contend, he’s not counted people with minor disabilities as well to reach his 7%. That’s not the way to win friends and influence people on the left wing buddy.

                      It is my contention that we can do far more to improve these statistics by dealing with wider social issues like inequality, than by concentrating on ‘teacher effect’, which makes a relatively small contribution to the problem.

                      The one research paper you’ve linked to to support your argument is pay-walled and likely only in reference to Americas education system anyway. Basing your entire argument that teachers are less responsible for educational outcomes in comparison to social inequality on such spurious information is naive. The study also does not quantify the teacher effect, so I’m still scratching my head and wondering why you believe teachers aren’t more comparatively responsible for educational outcomes?

                      I am not the only one who is uncomfortable with David Shearer’s remarks. Brian Edwards and Tapu Misa, for example, have both come out strongly against them, as have various commenters at The Standard and elsewhere.

                      I don’t particularly care if you’re not the only one who is uncomfortable with David Shearer’s remarks. In fact John Banks and other capitalist mongrels have come out and bagged him as well. Joining their chorus does nothing to support your argument with me. I’m all for constructive criticism, but that’s not what you’re doing Kotahi Tane Huna.

                      Charter schools and National’s Standards abandoned completely.

                      Closing all Steiner schools before lunchtime isn’t particularly left wing. Perhaps you should think these things through before running your mouth off.

                      My argument is that one in five New Zealanders between 16-65 are technically illiterate. Being that you have provided no research to contest that fact, I’m presuming you finally accept that the information is correct?

                      Do you think calling me Bile Boy strengthens your case Kotahi Tane Huna?

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      1. “The only research paper you’ve linked…” one of many that discuss the subject, but why link to others? You will simply state that they are irrelevant because they undermine your thesis. If you think teacher effect is more significant than “… innate ability and the social and material environment” then say so, but I don’t think you will find evidence to support your position.

                      2. “Joining their chorous” what nonsense Jackal. If you need reminding that I criticised Shearer’s speech in this one very specific aspect only, you have only to re-read my previous comments. I haven’t gone anywhere near as far as other lefties on this post. If you think that there should be no criticism of a leaders statements then say so.

                      3. If we add the disabled students that Crooks leaves out we get to 10%, not 20%, but why am I repeating myself? Perhaps if you address the point I won’t have to.

                      4. Steiner schools? I said “Charter schools”, but if you must indulge in such semantic pedantry, I would close any schools that open under Banks’ and Key’s pet project. Satisfied? Doubt it.

                      5. “Spurious”? Of course you are qualified to judge what constitutes “proper evidence” and what doesn’t. What are the criteria again?

                      6. An argument I “finally agree with”. Another strawman – asked and answered. Not repeating myself this time you can trawl through previous comments if you doubt it.

                      7. Neither of us are helped by antagonising one another – your “bigot, liar, propagandist, ACT supporter” etc., my “Bile Boy” – equally unproductive.

                      8. I do think it is relevant that NZ scores so highly against other OECD countries, at a significantly lower cost per student, I might add (Google it if you don’t believe me). Read what Fabregas has to say on the topic.

                      9. Whatever the reality of New Zealand “tail of underachievement”, you have produced nothing to support the thesis that “badly run schools” and “bad teachers” are creating the problem. Our teachers are required to meet professional standards. Are there more measures that can be taken than the ones outlined? I’m all ears.

                      10. One lefty makes a movement, two makes a schism. Bloody splitters!

                      11. Thanks for your time and effort. This head-banging serves some purpose, I hope.

                    • Jackal

                      1. It is your contention that socio economic conditions play more of a part in educational outcomes than teaching methods. I presume you can back up your argument with more than one pay-walled study that does not confirm your position at all?

                      Your ghost studies aside, I think there is some truth in your argument, being that children who are hungry simply cannot learn. But I very much doubt that there has been any research in New Zealand that shows societal conditions are more of a factor overall in comparison to teaching methods… hence your reluctance to provide any.

                      However there is some info that says the socio economic background is not the be all and end all.

                      2. So your criticism is justified irrespective of the facts I’ve provided because other people have criticized Shearer more than you… now who is talking nonsense?

                      3. Wrong! People with disabilities make up the majority of that 20% of New Zealanders who are technically illiterate, it is not 3%. Stop repeating your pedestal profs lies.

                      4. Steiner schools are charter schools. If you’re going to make magnanimous statements as our new leader, at least get them right! Stating a fact is not pedantic pedantry. Don’t just take something I’ve written and apply it out of context.

                      5. The criteria is that we are discussing adult literacy not one particular age group. You have not shown that literacy rates have improved overall by providing one cherry picked example.

                      6. So despite the weight of evidence that shows one in five New Zealanders are technically illiterate you prefer to reside in your preconceived misconceptions. Carry on.

                      7. Agreed. I noticed you left out some of your name calling though. You’ll note I only give as good as I get.

                      8. In some things we do better than the OECD average but in others we don’t. The question is then what should we measure ourselves against? In terms of knowledge and learning for the future I think there is a huge room for improvement… and I don’t mean that as an insult to teachers.

                      9. I’m not interested in lambasting a few teachers who aren’t professional to prove a point Kotahi Tane Huna. However I do accept that there are some teachers, like every occupation, that can improve. Why is there a complete disconnect between this fact and being all defensive about the teaching profession? Considering the hollering at Shearer concerning him wanting to focus on education, your (misdirected) request for information might go unanswered.

                      10. Speak for yourself again. I don’t like arrogance, even from those who purport to be leftwing.

                      11. Not really, I suspect most readers would have become bored of your last word syndrome by now.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      1. No, it isn’t. It is the contention of many researchers, from the epidemiologists who wrote The Spirit Level, to the authors of the study I quoted, but I will take your comment as an indication that you agree with the thesis. Your example of hunger is apt, and then there’s also glue ear, and the infectious diseases that are making a comeback.
                      2. I rest my criticism on the basis of arguments I have advanced. I take heart that others seem to feel the same way.
                      3. Crooks writes “substantial percentages of students gave themselves little chance of completing NCEA level 2 because they left school before completing year 12. This was the case for 30% of NZ Maori students, 13% of NZ European students, 12% of Pasifika students, and a very low percentage of Asian students.” I’m not sure these figures support the notion that “People with disabilities make up the majority of that 20%”
                      4. How many Steiner schools are in line to open in Christchurch and South Auckland under the Charter School policy?
                      5. “One cherry picked example”? Actually three. OECD PISA test scores, Crooks’ (Speciality: student assessment) analysis, and Smythe’s reaction.
                      6. That’s your opinion.
                      7. Mirror mirror on the wall.
                      8. “Room for improvement” is common ground at least.
                      9. Perhaps the teachers you mention cannot improve. Perhaps it would be better to offer higher salaries to attract better applicants, a la Finland.
                      10 & 11. Do you think your opinions say something about me?

                    • Jackal

                      I’ve answered your questions already Kotahi Tane Huna, why don’t you answer some of mine:

                      1. If the 2000 AILS Final report (that stated 20.4% of New Zealand adults between the ages of 16-65 have a quantitative literacy level of 1) is now out of date, when exactly did that occur and what large scale research project has usurped it?

                      2. If the AILS research isn’t even valid to begin with, how come?

                      3. Why wouldn’t we include people with disabilities in the research to gauge overal literacy comprehension levels of a population?

                      4. If the vast majority of up to date research since the AILS study also shows and confirms that one in five New Zealanders are technically illiterate, why are all those studies wrong?

                      5. Being that inequality has increased in New Zealand faster than any other OECD country, why do you think socio economic factors are the main reason for (according to you) literacy comprehension levels have improved?

                      6. How does providing one cherry picked example relating to 15 year olds and their ability to manage digital information show that literacy comprehension levels have improved overall in New Zealand?

                      7. What makes you think it’s just my opinion that one in five New Zealanders are technically illiterate? It is the international academic consensus through various research over many years. You’re welcome to argue against them if you like… their contact details are on the studies.

              • rosy

                Sorry to butt in people… but maybe before arguing whether bad schools/teachers have the greatest impact on learning, maybe children should be healthy enough to learn. The Lane project in Christchurch, with Linwood school have done this and it’s well worth finding out about it.

                A Linwood College research project – Lane (Literacy and Numeracy Empowerment) – showed that issues with eyesight, hearing and oral health were stopping young people from learning, and leading to behavioural problems in the classroom.

                Project leader Alan Parris said the study showed primary healthcare was failing the nation’s youth. About 450 year 9 and 10 pupils were surveyed in 2006 about their lives, had physical health tests and a mental health assessment. Their progress was tracked as they continued through school and new pupils were tested if referred by their teacher.

                More than 70% in the original cohort needed a referral for at least one health problem. Of those, 85 needed eye treatment – including 53 who needed glasses – 147 needed dental work and 12 needed ear treatment.

                The medical interventions resulted in a 12% improvement in pupils’ achievements. Teachers said classroom behaviour also improved across the board.

                David Shearer was whistling to the right, when he could have talked about ensuring that children were learning-ready. If he checked out work such as that done in Linwood he might have noted that children’s lives, not just their learning, would have all round improvement. He chose not to.

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  Thanks for the extra perspective Rosy.

                • Jackal

                  A good point rosy but a bit off the mark. Shearer did in fact talk about ensuring that children were learning-ready in his speech:

                  It’s important to acknowledge that some of the fixes need to happen outside the school gate, in homes where children grow up in poor or dysfunctional families.

                  I’ve spent my life fighting for children in this situation. I want them to succeed.

                  That’s why my goals for education are ambitious.

                  I won’t be satisfied until every child in New Zealand is getting an excellent education, and until every child in New Zealand is being equipped to flourish.

                  I’m not sure how anybody can honestly say that Shearer doesn’t want to improve children’s health so that they can “flourish” in every aspect of their lives.

                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    1. The education system has changed since 1996 when the IALS data was collected. the final 2000 report is a snapshot of 1996. The PISA tests are not exactly small scale.
                    2. Who said it wasn’t valid?
                    3. Asked and answered.
                    5. According to your definition of what I am saying you mean.
                    6. If my reference to PISA is cherry picking, your reference to IALS isn’t?
                    7. If my reference to PISA is a “preconceived misconception” what is your reference to IALS again?

                    “…some of the fixes need to happen outside the school gate…”

                    The Lane project indicates that most of the problems originate outside the school gate.

                    And that’s the point. “Bad teachers” and “badly run schools” do not lead to the fact that:
                    “More than 70% in the original cohort needed a referral for at least one health problem…”

                    Shearer could have said “while the government wastes resources attacking teachers, they are doing nothing to address the appalling health statistics that are plaguing our society and doing real harm to children’s ability to learn.” But he didn’t.

                    • Jackal

                      Kotahi Tane Huna

                      According to your definition of what I am saying you mean.

                      You have argued for a couple of days now that socio economic conditions are the main factor in educational outcomes. You have also stated that illiteracy levels have improved since the IALS research. That is my definition of your argument. Is it wrong?

                      So why do you think socio economic factors are the main reason and that literacy comprehension levels have improved when socio economic factors have been shown to have declined dramatically?

                      You have not answered my questions in anything but your usual disingenuous way. I have already told you why your reference is cherry picking. The IALS research concerns overall literacy levels, your reference doesn’t.

                      Shearer said he wasn’t going to “address the appalling health statistics that are plaguing our society and doing real harm to children’s ability to learn”…. I must have missed that press release.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Jackal, your position is that the quality of today’s teachers and schools can be measured by looking at the literacy rate of those aged 16-65. Perhaps you can spot the flaw in that argument.

                      “more accountable education system” – like the way Tomorrow’s Schools is accountable to communities, or like the way “standardised” test results can be misused to attack teachers?

                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    More on ‘teacher effect’:

                    Margaret Wu, an internationally regarded authority on educational assessment, claims that only 10% of all the determiners of education achievement can be related to teachers. The fact that 25% of our children live in relative poverty would logically have some bearing on the other 90%.
                    University Entrance was the equivalent of NCEA level 2 in my day and, considering how few achieved that then, I would have thought the current 70% pass rate should be something to celebrate.

                  • rosy

                    Yes, he did Jackal…
                    On Children being learning-ready:

                    It’s important to acknowledge that some of the fixes need to happen outside the school gate, in homes where children grow up in poor or dysfunctional families. I’ve spent my life fighting for children in this situation. I want them to succeed.

                    [46 words]

                    That’s why my goals for education are ambitious. I won’t be satisfied until every child in New Zealand is getting an excellent education, and until every child in New Zealand is being equipped to flourish.

                    [Shearer’s objective, which seems to me completely uncontroversial]

                    On the responsibility of teachers for poor outcomes:

                    Study after study shows that the most important ingredient is the quality of teachers. We need to value teachers. We need every teacher in our classroom to be a good one. The vast majority are. But the truth is some are not. We will work with teachers to develop their professional skills, but ultimately we can’t afford to have bad teachers in our classrooms. As a parent, I want to put badly run schools on notice. I expect excellence from every school.

                    [82 words]

                    Some of the fixes outside the school gate’? compared with ‘the most important ingredient is the quality of teachers’? – make of that what you will but I know where I think he thinks the responsibility for poor outcomes lie, and I believe I don’t agree with him.

                    • Jackal

                      I hate to be the realist here and point out the stark reality of the situation, but failure in education is a huge problem (measurable by things like low literacy levels) and it’s not going to go away over night. Inequality is an even bigger monster that is now so installed into our society that it will probably be causing problems for all our foreseeable futures.

                      It’s a matter of scale and the resources available. If you advocate for a blanket approach that reduces all inequality across the board slightly while there is still failure in education (and don’t tell me there isn’t because I see it everyday) then that is all well and good. But there is also a more targeted approach whereby more children will be given a chance to succeed on their own terms.

                      Keep in mind that thanks to National’s economic bungling the pot of gold has dwindled and Shearer as much as you might want him to cannot waive a magic wand to make inequality simply disappear. That’s not to say Labour isn’t going to be working to reduce poverty either, as you and Kotahi Tane Huna seem to imply.

                      What I make of Shearer’s speech is that it’s based on real world experience and good advice, which likely looked at the research and found that a targeted well funded and more accountable education system is warranted and that giving as many children the tools to succeed as possible will have an economic benefit down the line that will mean less overall inequality. It’s the long term outcome for New Zealand that matters.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Where Shearer gets his good advice from?

          • Fortran

            A badly run school is invariably due to a bad Principal.
            He/She is the proximate cause of bad adminstration.
            Boards need professional guidance being the Principal.

  18. Merkin 18

    Excuse me a few posts back – Vicky32 – because it’s all about me! I am not, and never have been, an American (“merkin”). However, as a boy I wanted to move there and ride with Jon and Ponch of CHiPs. As for a pubic toupee? Well, yes indeedy…

    Centre smenter! What part of the political spectrum does the least damage? Maybe that should be the yardstick instead of all this bunk about the promises of a “brighter future”. Status Quo was an average band, but as a political/economic system TINA is a lie. In fact TINA makes me Cross lol.. Those were the days of real talent shows – and they didn’t cost $1.6 million.

  19. Populuxe1 19

    Interesting perspective from former Labour stalwart luvvie Brian Edwards.
    He is not happy with this latest signal of direction from Labour one little bit.

  20. fatty 20

    Great….so even if Labour get back in at the next election, they will do nothing more than normalise right-wing policies.
    Where is the motivation to vote?…I just hope I am out of the country and living in a place that has a left and right option, not 2 twats in the middle.

    Middle for diddle

  21. burt 21


    I say this with all sincerity, Shearer isn’t tainted with the Clark brush. If Labour want to be reelected anytime soon they need to get on with the clean out.

    Shearer putting some distance between the party now and it’s die in a ditch positions of yesterday is indeed required. It will be interesting watching the realignment, to see how the shift is framed is intensely interesting so good times ahead.

    A real change for Labour perhaps, just get Mallard and King to retire and Labour might just look electable again.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 21.1

      Damn straight! Labour needs Burt’s vote! No, wait…

      • burt 21.1.1

        Well they lost it a few years ago…… The arrogance of their supporters will fade after a few terms in opposition as well.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna

          lol They are going to lead the next government, but I’ll be party voting Green.

  22. Some ideas for Mr Shearer on Early Child ed.
    In Hungary they teach their EC teachers to sing in tune. What genius. Play until age 7 means NATSTANDs are rendered harmless by the kids themselves. NACTs beware.

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  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • What about renters?
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
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    6 days ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
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    7 days ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
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    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
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    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
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    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
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    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
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    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
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    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
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    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
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    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
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    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
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    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
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    1 week ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
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    1 week ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
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    1 week ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
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    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
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    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    2 weeks ago
  • 68-51
    The Abortion Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading, 68-51. NZ First MPs bailed because their referendum amendment didn't pass, but there were plenty of MPs to provide a majority without them. The bill is a long way from perfect - most significantly, it subjects pregnant people who need ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago

  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
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    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
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    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • More support for wood processing
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt steps in to protect Air New Zealand
    The Coalition Government has stepped in to protect Air New Zealand with a significant financial deal that protects essential routes and allows the company to keep operating. The Government and Air New Zealand have agreed a debt funding agreement through commercial 24-month loan facilities of up to $900 million*. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Stronger border measures to protect NZers from COVID-19
    The Government has taken further measures to protect New Zealanders from the COVID-19 virus, effectively stopping all people from boarding a plane to New Zealand from 11:59pm today, except for returning New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.  New Zealanders’ partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Action on indoor gatherings and events to protect public health
    The Government has reinforced its commitment to protecting the health of New Zealanders from COVID-19 through the cancellation of indoor events with more than 100 people.  “Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority, and that means we need to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings,” ...
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    2 weeks ago