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LB: Government Spin and Hidden Secrets

Written By: - Date published: 4:24 pm, March 8th, 2014 - 34 comments
Categories: Economy, education, employment, Environment, national - Tags: ,

This post was originally posted at Local Bodies by bspout. It is a pretty good summary of National’s spins away from reality.

This National led Government has seriously mismanaged things and is desperate to hide the true effects of its governance over the last five years. I half suspect many of the retiring National MPs are jumping ship because they don’t want to be around when the proverbial hits the fan.

National have carefully constructed showy facades that hide flimsy realities and I have attempted to give some examples below:

THE ECONOMY

The facade: A Rock Star Economy

The Reality: We are enjoying the the dairy commodity boom, another property bubble and the activity generated from the Christchurch rebuild. Agricultural markets fluctuate, all our eggs are in one agricultural basket and all we need is another embarrassing contamination and we could lose markets quickly. Overblown property prices only benefit a few, a later crash is inevitable and Christchurch is a temporary phenomenon. The recovery is an unequal one, only 36% of those participating in a Stuff survey feel that they are better off and for the very wealthy the recession ended three years ago, the trickle down isn’t occurring. Research and Development is underfunded as a % of our GDP. Our current account deficit is still one of the highest in the OECD and the use of GDP is not a good measure of general economic performance.

What the Government is doing: Throwing out lots of ‘good news’ stories and claiming anyone who points out the weaknesses are just party poopers. It is still selling assets (Genesis Energy) and borrowing heavily.

EDUCATION

The facadeWe’re fixing a failing system and we’re making good progress.

The Reality: Our once successful public education system didn’t need fixing. It is reeling from the forced introduction of the flawed National Standards, the Novopay debacle, the constant blaming of underachievement on teachers (rather than poverty and inequity) and buying into the global eduction reform movement (GERM) that has had a devastating effect on other countries. For the first time in decades we have plummeted in our international ranking. Our teaching has narrowed to literacy and numeracy, constant data collection and our advisors and special education support have been cut. Early childhood centres are no longer funded to employ 100% qualified staff, our teachers are demoralized and our support staff feel undervalued.

What the Government is doing: Using flawed data and misinformation to give the impression of improvements (when there are none) and refusing to allow scrutiny of that data. Parata claims that Level 2 results have seen a remarkable 7% lift in Pasifika pass rates and 4% for Maori, but these statistics are being questioned. Attempts to analyze the data was suddenly blocked by the NZQA, who strangely removed the information from their website (May ’13). When the Listener lodged an OIA request to see what prompted this decision, nothing could be found, it had just happened. The $359 million windfall for super teachers and principals will make little difference to achievement but will potentiallybuy out education leadership and make them compliant to flawed government policy.

THE ENVIRONMENT

The facade: Our environment is better than most and looks great in movies.

The Reality: 80% of our lowland rivers polluted, our wetlands and estuaries are experiencing eutrophication and 50% of our native species are heading for extinction. The growing intensification of dairying and the expansion of coal mining, fracking and deep sea oil drilling will see our greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow. Our clean green, 100% pure branding is being questioned internationally.

What the Government is doing: The RMA is being weakened and public input into consents for potentially polluting industries like deep sea oil drilling is being blocked. The Government has cut funding to an already struggling DoC and is determined to push through irrigation schemes, despite concerns, to further intensify dairying. The Government is still pursuing the mining of conservation areas. The Government stopped the comprehensive State of the Environment reporting and all reporting will now be limitedto what they want the public to know. Independent scientific assessments from the likes of scientist Mike Joy have been actively discouraged.

CHILD POVERTY

The facade: poverty has flatlined, the Government has increased immunisations, is insulating homes  and getting people into work.

The Reality: At least 20% of children live in poverty where their basic daily needs are not met (food, clothing, sleeping arrangements) and it has been estimated that around 50% of all children will experience poverty at some time. Maori and Pasifika families have suffered more than others with the median household incomes dropping considerably over the last few years. Inequality is growing faster in New Zealand than most OECD countries. New Zealand has amongst the worst statistics (29th out of 30) for the health and welfare of children.

What the Government is doing: Lifting demands and expectations that parents should be in work (no matter the pay, hours and conditions) and encouraging growth of early childhood centres but not funding above 80% qualified staff. Keeping the minimum wage low so that we have growing numbers of working poor. No expectation that rental homes meet minimum  standards. Knowingly misrepresenting poverty statistics and refusing tomeasure child poverty or follow the advice of the Children’s Commissioner and theSalvation Army.

EMPLOYMENT

The facade: The Government is creating more jobs and unemployment is dropping (now 6%)

The Reality: We still have almost double the levels of unemployment that existed when National came to power in 2008 (3.9 unemployment) and we now have one of the largest percentages of those under-employed in the OECD. Roy Morgan has assessed our unemployment as actually 2.5% above official statistics and has unemployment at 8.5% and a further 11.3% are looking for more work or are under-employed. This means that almost 20% of our workers are either unemployed or under-employed and this is equal to 519,000 people. This number has increased by 69,000 since the last quarter estimates. The working poor are being seen in growing numbers at food banks. Many manufacturers are struggling with the value of our dollar and the high costs of rental property and power. Our wealthiest business people have seen huge increases in wealth (much due to property investment) since 2011 but this has not translated to higher wages or greater investment in jobs. New Zealand is now regarded as lower wage economy with flexible employment law that is suitable for setting up call centres.

What the Government is doing: Keeping wages low with the introduction of a youth rate and using Working for Families to subsidise wages for employers ($3 billion per year).Government procurement does not support New Zealand businesses as it could and we are losing skilled workers and higher paid jobs that would employ the 25% of our university graduates that head overseas. The Government is also changing employment law to limit things like collective bargaining and removing compulsory meal breaks to favour employers.

I intend to use future posts to describe how the Green Party would do things differently and put in place  sustainable alternatives that will allow more New Zealanders to prosper. I haven’t covered other secrets that are of concern, like the real truth behind GCSB operations and the secret TTPA negotiations, but this will do as a start I guess.

34 comments on “LB: Government Spin and Hidden Secrets”

  1. geoff 1

    Great post, clearly covers most of the big failings of National.

    • Chooky 1.1

      +100…great points

      Labour needs to be punching these points home where ever and when ever possible

      David Cunliffe needs to be seen with Shane Jones together punching these points home…Jones puts the Maori/Polynesian face on the Labour Party …and he is a King Batsman…together Cunliffe and Jones could be a formidable duo!

      (cf the new Mayor Tommy Carcetti and his right hand man Norman Wilson in the fourth season of ‘The Wire’….this TV series set in Baltimore which apart from a very graphic illustration of USA education( and what we should and should not do here in NZ) ….is also a very astute portrayal of how to operate in a difficult and divided political environment and win!)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Carcetti

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Wilson_(fictional_character)

      • Chooky 1.1.1

        oops havent seen the following series ….but this duo works very well initially

        …one thing Labour does need is a strong Maori face in the leadership/spokespeople ranks… and there are plenty of very able Maori waiting in the wings…as yet unused

        ….cf. National which is doing everything it can to up its attractiveness to the very people it is screwing

  2. karol 2

    Yes, this is an excellent post. It also focuses on the issues. The left had been making inroads on many of these issues, such as on child poverty, the inequality gap, power prices, TPP, the invasive surveillance state, youth unemployment, house unaffordability, the need for fair employment practices and wages, etc – plus a little bit on the shallowness of the “rockstar economy” concept.

    So the right has unleashed a barrage of diversions onto MPs clothes, houses, etc., and beating up minor slips into something major. Team Key doesn’t want to talk too much about these significant issues.

  3. Jimmie 3

    A great essay on leftist rhetoric. A sad pity that voters don’t seem to share the author’s sentiments.

    If John Key is the devil incarnate and has mismanaged NZ inc for the last 5 years don’t you think that National would be sitting on 30% in the polls and Labour would be knocking on 45%?

    This hasn’t happened so there is something wrong with the scenario as painted above – it could be that NZ inc is doing quite well and John Key looks set to hit a 3rd term later this year.

    • lprent 3.1

      You did miss the bit about “spin” right? Do you need a wikipedia link about what it is used for? Basically the author is saying that National is masking the reality from the public using spin.

      /sarc

      Shorter version – are you are a mindless dork?

      • Old Tony 3.1.1

        Prefers Jimmies version to the untruths and distortions of this item:
        1. Government austerity in 2008 courtesy of Labour spraying money around like confetti so any impact like GFC left no room to manoeuvre.
        2. Mother of all housing booms caused in part by Labour’s envy tax increase in 2001 or thereabouts which Westpac did some research on and noted had caused a significant part of total price increases as higher earners used the differential between personal and other tax rates to their advantage in buying property.
        3. Economy has been one of the most successful in the world post GFC as any comparison of growth rates will show.
        4. Fall in comparative education achievement primarily attributable to Labour’s period in office given the lag in these things.
        5. Earthquake did have some minor impact believe it or not but clearly the Greens haven’t noticed.
        6 Unemployment great compared to many other economies.
        7. Expenditure on health and education continued to grow post GFC unlike places like Ireland and even Canada where real cuts occurred.

        And so we could go on.

        • Pasupial 3.1.1.1

          Old fool

          Do you have any evidence, or are you just spewing untruths and distortions randomly?

          1. “Labour spraying money around like confetti”; a strange turn of phrase for paying off debt rather than borrowing to pay for tax-cuts like NAct.
          2. “Labour’s envy tax increase in 2001 or thereabouts”; check your facts, yes 39% for $60000 was higher than 33% (1988-2000), but lower than any rate from 1935 through 1988. A targeted progressive tax for those who profited most from social infrastructure, compare with the current regressive GST hike that takes from those who can least afford it.
          3. GDP is not the economy, the GINI has really come out of the bottle since NAct took office.
          4. I don’t trust your assertion that education disparities are “primarily attributable to Labour’s period in office given the lag in these things”; evidence please.
          5. LB noted “activity generated from the Christchurch rebuild” if you’d bothered to read the post.
          6. Our unemployment rates have indeed increased greatly compared to many other economies.
          7. Evidence please (for public rather than private education and health-care).

          And so we could go on.

          • David H 3.1.1.1.1

            Spraying money around? 9 years of Surplusses whilst paying for the folly of the previous Nat government.

            National
            Borrows and spends like there’s no tomorrow if you are rich enough to join in the largess.
            So when Labour wins the next election, the state of Nationals 6 years of books will tell a nasty story of mismanagement, upon incompetence, right up-to ministerial level and higher!

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.2

          “Left no room for manouvre”. Lying asshole Old Tony

          “This is the rainy day the government has been saving up for”. Bill English.

          So, who to believe, the lying asshole or Bill English? The lying asshole would say believe Bill English. Go figure.

          • Old Tony 3.1.1.2.1

            Abuse aside that is not a bad riposte. I don’t think the two things are inconsistent. Labour paid down debt, set up Cullen fund etc and those things were great aids to the Nats in grappling with the GFC. However they also entrenched huge increases in Government spending through no-interest student loans, working for families etc which could not readily be unwound post GFC and did markedly cramp the new government’s ability to act.

            I think the last Labour government did some good things, but the hopelessly lopsided commentary of this item deserves an equally one-sided response.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.2.1.1

              More bullshit. In 1999, government spending was 35% of gdp. In 2008, government spending was 35% of gdp.

              Shall we just assume that everything you believe is wrong?

            • felix 3.1.1.2.1.2

              When talking about the interest on student loans I think we should go back a bit further. The loans aren’t some naturally occurring phenomenon which has to exist while we only quibble over who pays the interest.

              The introduction of the loans represented the end of “free” education, prior to that the state paid nearly the full cost. This system was only demolished so right-wing govts could cut taxes and there is no reason we can’t go back to sharing the cost of education more widely as a public good.

              This is where the discussion should centre. Interest on student loans is a cost to the state but the loan itself is proportionally a far greater burden to the individual citizen.

      • Jimmie 3.1.2

        Putting aside your childish name calling lprent, believing an alternative reality that NZ is turning into a third world country that will only be fixed by the election of Labour/Greens this year is laughable and chasing a fantasy.

        This is the same mindset that caused the left to lose in 2011. Basically the hypothesis that NZ is going down the toilet, the Nats are using evil spin doctors to hypnotize the electorate, and the government will change as soon as enough voters awake from their stupour is what is driving the left heading towards the election this year.

        Is it because the reality that unemployment/crime are going down, the economy is growing strongly, and consistent popular support for John Key is just too painful for the left to accept?

        Or is it because the Opposition consists of a hopelessly divided Labour party who don’t know what or who they stand for and a Green party with the economic literacy on par with a 5 year old?

        After 6 years in the political wilderness and steering another 3 in the face the paradigm of the evil spinning Nats conveniently sidesteps the necessary surgery and reality check required by Labour of getting their house in order. (A change in leader has done nothing to change this)

        • geoff 3.1.2.1

          Hopefully your side keeps believing that bullshit, Jimmie, because you won’t even see it coming when reality rolls in and knocks you flat on your arse.

          • Jimmie 3.1.2.1.1

            Well I suggest you book mark that comment and maybe we can revisit the subject the day after the election lol?

            • instauration 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Jimmie
              Can you suggest a colour or season to ascribe the next election ?

        • Sosoo 3.1.2.2

          In times of recession, people tend to become more conservative as they look to hang on to what they have. Of course, while individually rational, it’s collectively self-defeating behaviour, and that’s why we have been in this general malaise for so many years now.

          National is disproportionately gaining votes from older people who pigged out on the welfare state while things were good, and now don’t want to pay their fair share. It’s annoying, but putting up with periods of conservative stupidity is the cross that intelligent people everywhere must bear.

          • Clubconnecter 3.1.2.2.1

            It’s also fair to say that Nact and Blinglish created a ‘false’ recession by digging an enormous hole with their 2008 tax cuts, which in turn, they used as justification for the asset theft (still on going) in term 2. Just for the RWNJ’s – Yes I am in the top tax bracket and would happily pay 39% again.

            “National is disproportionately gaining votes from older people who pigged out on the welfare state while things were good, and now don’t want to pay their fair share. It’s annoying, but putting up with periods of conservative stupidity is the cross that intelligent people everywhere must bear.”

            Excellent point. It can’t be emphasised enough. NZ Super recipients account for the largest proportion of ‘beneficiaries’ by a wide margin – the ‘boomers’ who are more than happy to accept ‘welfare’ but don’t want to pay for it.

            Suffices to say I think that many NZ’er’s are selfish, having been manipulated into the current paradigm by 30 years of NeoLib ideology, policy, propaganda and media.

    • Peter 3.2

      So none of these criticisms are valid because Kiwis’ love seeing John Keys photo on the cover of the Woman’s Weekly? There are none so blind as those who do not want to see.

      • Sosoo 3.2.1

        The Woman’s Weekly is pitched at conservatives: it’s their version of the New York Review of Books.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    We do have a rock star economy.

    It’s Justin Beiber, rather than Mick Jagger, though.

    A flash-in-the-pan sugar-hit with no underlying quality or staying power.

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    There has been no real productivity growth during this government’s term. The financial numbers are epiphenomena of a real economy that is stagnant or in a morbid decline. Were the economy genuinely growing employment numbers and tax receipts would be much better. What have had, and what we have is the kind of robber government associated with South American military juntas. They will say anything, but they are here to steal. Nothing they do works, and they don’t care. If we want the kind of New Zealand we grew up in we are going to have to have these buggers out. It really doesn’t matter how, the pretence of democracy is so broken it has not constrained them at all.

  6. The section on child poverty is, much as I hate to say it, unfair to the government.

    The ‘facade’ part isn’t actually a facade – the ‘getting people into work’ bit certainly is, but poverty genuinely has pretty much flatlined, with only a slight increase under the current government, and that attributable to the GFC. And they have subsidised housing insulation, even if it was the Greens’ idea.

    The ‘reality’ part was mostly also a reality under the last Labour government and will be a reality under the next one. It will continue to be a reality as long as we have upwards of 20% of children being raised on a benefit at or soon after birth, and it will continue to be a lot worse for Maori as long as they have upwards of 40% of children in that category. The government that has a useful idea what can be done about that would be a very unusual one, and it’s a bit rich to blame the current one for not being that government.

    The ‘what the government is doing’ part is, again, largely what a Labour government would do, with the difference that the current government aims to see pay and employment conditions worsen (which is really the only sense in which they are genuinely doing something that increases child poverty, and is covered elsewhere in your post). Any sane government will expect and if possible require that the income spent on raising children is income earned by the children’s parents working for a living – National is in no sense unusual in this. And, as you point out, they are encouraging the growth of childcare centres – your quibbling about proportion of ‘qualified’ staff required is just that. Childcare centres don’t actually need 100% qualified staff, and this push to make them 100% qualified is yet another example of how the takeover of Labour by the tertiary-educated public-sector middle class is strongly against the interests of the working class Labour is supposedly meant to represent.

    • RedBaronCV 7.1

      There wouldn’t be so many children raised on a benefit if:
      – jobs paid decent wages
      – wealthy males paid decent child support instead of dumping their kids on the state.

      • Psycho Milt 7.1.1

        I’m afraid going easy on deadbeat dads isn’t unique to the current government either.

        A Labour government may do something to drive up wages (don’t assume it though – the last one decided it was easier just to top up low wages with welfare payments), but the cultural shift towards beneficiary parenting proved resistant to the last jobs boom and will likely prove resistant to the next one. As long as we all pretend that sole parenthood is a perfectly good family type, rather than an unfortunate circumstance to be avoided if possible, there’s little the government’s going to be able to do about child poverty.

        • JanM 7.1.1.1

          Maybe if there was more genuine help to support relationships in trouble there would be fewer solo families, but at present even the little support available seems to be being eroded by a lack of funding – penny wise and pound foolish, eh?
          It’s cheaper in the short term to vilify the people who aren’t coping than to give them a hand-up when they are in vulnerable circumstances, but the long term consequences can be anything but inexpensive to deal with.
          Solo parenthood will continue to be a significant part of our society until we work out how to be the fence at the top rather than the ambulance at the bottom.

          • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.1.1

            Oh, please – I’ve met plenty of supposedly “vulnerable people who aren’t coping” who are actually just too self-centred to make the necessary compromises for a marriage to work. And a lot of that 20+% who are on a benefit at the birth of the child or shortly after aren’t in anything you could describe as a “relationship.”

        • RedBaronCV 7.1.1.2

          The issue PsychoM isn’t the single parent who does the work and pays the money for the children – the reponsible one , it’s the parent who can’t be bothered being a parent and does the runner without paying. Very prevalent in the high income group.

          It’s interesting psychology that so many state resources are put into hounding the responsible parent and none into hounding the parent who doesn’t bother.

    • JanM 7.2

      And your knowledge base for making statements against all ece teachers being qualified is???????????

      • Psycho Milt 7.2.1

        The lack of any evidence for its necessity.
        The fact that childcare centres have functioned perfectly well without 100% qualified staff in the past.
        Having personally witnessed the value of practical expertise and depth of experience some of these “unqualified” childcare workers bring to the job, particularly to care of the under-2s, when my own kids were attending one.
        Having personally witnessed the resentment some of these “unqualified” staff felt at the prospect of being forced to either take up unnecessary and expensive tertiary education they didn’t want, find another line of work, or retire early.

  7. mickmarvel 8

    Key has got this one in the bag. We are stuffed. That stupid anden talks that much shit she is chasing people away.

  8. mickmarvel 9

    Solo parents are a large block of our voting base. we must not be seen to vilify them. They must believe we have their welfare at heart.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • New era for Ngāti Kuri and Auckland Museum
    Words and images by Jacqui Gibson Gone are Auckland Museum’s days of doing science using a museum-centric academic approach, after Māori land rights holders Ngāti Kuri gave the museum an ultimatum.
    Tom Trnski holding a fossilised whale tooth from the Far North.Aussie-born Head of Natural Sciences at Auckland Museum ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Circling vultures: Why MediaWorks TV is really in trouble
    MediaWorks announced in October 2019 that it intended to sell off its struggling television business and cancel or cut back on several popular local programmes, including New Zealand Today, Married at First Sight New Zealand and 7 Days. Its radio and outdoor advertising arms are currently performing well, but MediaWorks’ ...
    Briefing PapersBy Peter Thompson
    4 days ago
  • Scary Opinium Poll
    Westminster voting intention:CON: 44% (+3)LAB: 28% (-1)LDEM: 14% (-1)BREX: 6% (-)via @OpiniumResearch, surveyed this weekChgs. w/ 08 Nov— Britain Elects (@britainelects) 16 November 2019 This, of course, doesn't look good.  Labour have been chucking big, headline grabbing policies left, right and centre ... Well, maybe not right.  Left, left ...
    4 days ago
  • A coward’s ploy.
    Some readers may remember that I mentioned last year that I was applying for NZ citizenship. I filled out the paperwork and had my original citizenship interview in February. Everything went well until they discovered that, because I had spent five months in the US in 2017, I had not ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Left censorship and exclusion against gender-critical women: a Marxist critique
    by Deirdre O’Neill It is becoming quite acceptable for certain sections of the left to declare that people like me – women who are ‘gender critical’ – should not be allowed in leftist or anarchist spaces. Leaving aside the arrogance and implicit authoritarianism of this claim, its lack of critical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Uncertainty” can be better solved with a better grasp of life’s inherent complexities…
    There is an article in The Conversation, written by Jeremy P. Shapiro (Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University), about what he sees as the psychologically-based underpinnings of three main matters that seem to vex people all around the planet. The article is titled “The Thinking ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    5 days ago
  • Citizens vs the Rogue Deep State
    . .   Blogger Martyn Bradbury has won his case against unreasonable search and surveillance against the NZ Police; and subsequent Police attempts to produce evidence in secrecy, in a closed Court. His case highlights a disturbing growing trend in Aotearoa New Zealand for State power to be used against ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Massey University’s free speech policy double-plus-good
    The Committee of Disobedient Women has intercepted an email from Dr Emma Eejut, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Massey University to the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Jan Thomas. Dear Jan, Thank you for your courageous move.  I think 10 pages of blether** should tie any of the students game enough to try holding ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Unacceptable
    That's the only response to the findings of the Ombudsman's investigation into LGOIMA practices at the Christchurch City Council:My investigation identified serious concerns about the Council’s leadership and culture, and its commitment to openness and transparency. In particular, Council staff raised concerns with me about various methods employed by some ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • There is what corruption looks like
    NZ First seems to be nakedly trying to enrich itself from public office:A powerful New Zealand First figure helped establish a forestry company that then pushed for money from two key funding streams controlled by a New Zealand First Minister. An RNZ investigation has found Brian Henry, lawyer for Winston ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Escape from Manus Island
    Behrouz Boochani is an award winning author and journalist. He is also a refugee, who for the past six years has been detained in Australia's offshore gulag on Manus Island, and in Papua New Guinea. But last night, with the cooperation of the WORD Christchurch festival and Amnesty International, he ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • When World’s Collide.
    Different Strokes: If a multicultural immigration policy imposes no obligation on immigrant communities to acknowledge and ultimately embrace their host nation’s most cherished traditions and values, then how is that nation to prevent itself from being reduced to a collection of inward-looking and self-replicating ethnic and cultural enclaves?THE COALITION GOVERNMENT’S ...
    7 days ago
  • Could There Be Method In Massey University’s Madness?
    Protective Zone: Reading the rules and guidelines released by Massey University, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that its governing body considers the whole concept of free speech a disruptive threat to the orderly imparting of orthodox academic knowledge.IN TRUE ORWELLIAN fashion, Massey University has announced its commitment to ...
    7 days ago
  • How does poor air quality from bushfire smoke affect our health?
    Brian Oliver, University of Technology Sydney New South Wales and Queensland are in the grip of a devastating bushfire emergency, which has tragically resulted in the loss of homes and lives. But the smoke produced can affect many more people not immediately impacted by the fires – even people many ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: We need more trees, not less
    Farmers held a hate-march on Parliament today, complete with MAGA hats, gun-nut signs, and gendered insults. While supposedly about a grab-bag of issues - including, weirdly, mental health - it was clear that the protest was about one thing, and one thing only: climate change. And specifically, forestry "destroying" rural ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The IGIS annual report: Dead letters and secret law
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released their annual report today, and I've been busy reading through it. In amongst the usual review of what they've been doing all year, there's a few interesting bits. For example, a discussion on "agency retention and disposal of information", which points out that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A referendum on bigotry
    The End of Life Choice Bill passed its third reading last night, 69 - 51. Thanks to a compromise with NZ First - which looks to have been necessary on the final numbers - the commencement of the bill will be subject to a referendum. Given the ugliness of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why municipal waste-to-energy incineration is not the answer to NZ’s plastic waste crisis
    Trisia Farrelly, Massey University New Zealand is ranked the third-most-wasteful country in the OECD. New Zealanders produce five times the global daily average of waste per person – and they are getting more wasteful, producing 35% more than a decade ago. These statistics are likely to get worse following China’s ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Political parties and GMOs: we all need to move on
    Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Ideology
    by Deirdre O’Neill Under Thatcher and then Blair and continuing up until our contemporary moment, the working class has seen its culture slowly and progressively destroyed. The change from an industrial society to a service society produced a marked shift in focus from the working class as the backbone of ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Irony
    Since 2013, the Australian government has detained refugees without trial in Pacific gulags, where they are abused, tortured, and driven to suicide. The policy is not just an abuse of human rights and possible crime against humanity; it has also had a corrosive effect on the states Australia uses as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    1 week ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    1 week ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    2 weeks ago

  • New high tech traps will reduce the need for 1080 poison
    New Zealand First are celebrating the announcement of an investment of $3.5 million into five new trapping devices. These are a range of bait and trap devices, all designed to be left unattended for long periods of time. NZ First conservation spokesperson Jenny Marcroft says that this latest development will ...
    17 hours ago
  • Cowboy clampers will be stymied
    Clayton Mitchell, Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs The ‘wheel clamping’ Bill that will cap clamper fees to $100 passed its third reading in Parliament today. New Zealand First welcomes The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill to combat predatory wheel clamping behaviour in what is currently a largely unregulated business. Cowboy clampers are: gouging ...
    2 days ago
  • Mental Health Commission back on track
    Jenny Marcroft, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its first reading in Parliament. “Today’s progress takes serious action on the mental health and addiction crisis the country is facing,” says New Zealand First Health Spokesperson Jenny Marcroft. “The re-establishment ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    3 days ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    3 days ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    3 days ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    4 days ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    4 days ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    1 week ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Milestone of 1800 new Police officers
    The Coalition commitment to add 1800 new Police officers to frontline policing has been achieved with the graduation of 59 constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters say today’s graduation means 1825 new Police have been deployed all ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • PM appoints business leaders to APEC Business Advisory Council
    Ensuring APEC work gets input from diverse New Zealand business and trade interests is behind three new appointments to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Rachel Taulelei, Malcolm Johns and Toni Moyes have been appointed to represent New Zealand on the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • PM speech notes for Trans-Tasman Business Circle
    Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa. Thank you for having me to speak today. To start, I’d like to acknowledge Sharron Lloyd, the General Manager of the Trans–Tasman Business Circle, the partners for this event Westpac’s  David McLean, and Derek McCormack from  AUT, and, of course ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Otago Regional Council given deadline for freshwater management plan
    A four-month investigation by former Environment Court judge Professor Peter Skelton found that Otago’s freshwater planning system is not fit for purpose to manage the region’s rivers, lakes and aquifers and that the Council has inadequate rules for the taking of water and the discharge of nutrients.   “Existing planning provisions ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • LGNZ Rural and Provincial Sector Speech
      Introduction Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to speak to an LGNZ meeting since the local elections, and I’m delighted to see the fresh faces of newly elected mayors. To returning mayors here today, as well as chief ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • New Zealand to attend G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Japan
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters departs New Zealand today to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nagoya at the invitation of this year’s G20 President, Japan. “This is the first time New Zealand will attend a G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and we are deeply honoured that it is at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Ambassador to the European Union announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of diplomat Carl Reaich as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to the European Union. “The Ambassador to the EU is one of the most important and senior roles in New Zealand’s foreign service, advocating for New Zealand’s interests with the EU institutions,” Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • New inventions boost Predator Free 2050 effort
        Innovation and technology are behind five new tools to give nature a helping hand by helping eliminate predators, funded through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage and Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “The new tools will be trialled in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • APEC 2021 Bill passes first reading
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation 2021 (APEC 2021) Bill in Parliament today. The temporary bill supports New Zealand’s security preparations for hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in 2021. “APEC is the leading economic and trade forum ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making progress for our kids
    The Government is making progress on improving the wellbeing of the one million New Zealanders under the age of 18,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on World Children’s Day. The Government has today recommitted to the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history – the United Nation’s Convention on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Māori women in business contribute to our economy, whānau and communities
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter has released a new report celebrating the contribution of Māori women in business across Aotearoa New Zealand. “Māori women are leaders in our communities, they employ many people and support our economy and our communities,” Julie Anne Genter said. The report, Ngā wāhine kaipakihi: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Two schools on the way for Omokoroa
    Four parcels of land have been bought in Omokoroa, in the Western Bay of Plenty District, for an education facility that will accommodate both a primary and secondary school on a campus-like facility, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Two parcels were acquired from private land owners and two were ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Families Package helps over 1 million New Zealanders in first year
    1 million New Zealanders warmed by the Winter Energy Payment 36,000 families bank the Best Start Payment in first year 6,000 more families received the Family Tax Credit, 220,600 in total   They receive an increase too – from an average of $117 to $157 a week for Inland Revenue clients, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Clamp down on wheel clamping passes third reading
    New rules to clamp down on overzealous wheel clamping and extortionate fees charged in order to release a vehicle have passed their final stage in Parliament today. The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill has now passed its third reading. “These changes mean $100 will be the maximum wheel clamping ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill passes first hurdle
    An independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission is a step closer after it unanimously passed its first vote in Parliament today.  The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill lays the groundwork for establishing the Commission as a fully independent crown entity – delivering on a key recommendation of He Ara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued
    We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to screen travellers for border and immigration risks off-shore before they travel to New Zealand. It was launched in August and became mandatory on 1 October 2019. More than 500,000 NZeTAs have been issued since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Plan of action to protect seabirds
    A proposed national plan of action to reduce the number of seabirds caught in fisheries is being circulated for public feedback. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage say New Zealand is a global centre of seabird diversity with about 145 species in our waters. It has more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • National interest test added to overseas investment rules
    The Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. Associate Finance Minister David Parker said under current Overseas Investment Act rules, assets such as ports and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
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