Less (inequality) is more….

Written By: - Date published: 7:19 pm, January 25th, 2014 - 39 comments
Categories: capitalism, child welfare, class, crime, david cunliffe, democratic participation, education, election 2014, equality, health, john key, Metiria Turei, poverty, sustainability, workers' rights - Tags: ,

.….. more equality is  better for everyone.

 

With John Key misleadingly trying to deny the significance of the inequality gap,

and David Farrar falsely claiming that poverty doesn’t have a profound impact on education,

it looks like this is likely to be an important election issue.  Time to revisit the Spirit Level.    Back in 2010, Standard author Bunji posted a series of 6 “Digested reads” on the book, The Spirit Level: why equality is better for everyone, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (2009).

1: The Problem:

Poverty profoundly damages lives. Adding to that high levels of inequality bring stresses that are bad for all of us.  In a hierarchical and overly competitive society we all suffer. Poverty results in poor health and this impacts on all areas of life. On top of that the stresses of inequality can be overwhelming. Bunji wrote:

The Spirit Level authors believe income inequality is largely important as it is our current way of measuring hierarchy in society.  Other forms of inequality are probably important too, but income is where the data and evidence is, and it is the way society currently values people.  A certain level of wealth is required

But, for everyone, even with a reasonable income, the stress of competition and “keeping up with the Joneses” takes its toll.

Having less than those next to us makes us anxious and stressed.  It affects our self-esteem.  We become self-promoting and insecure, as we are constantly in a race and scared of being found out as not as important (ie wealthy) as we make out to be.  We have less time to make and keep friends as we spend all our time trying to earn and spend our wealth to maintain our place.

In a more equal society the race isn’t so all-consuming, we have more friends, more trust, more community and more happiness.  But no less wealth.  He who has most toys doesn’t win, he just makes sure others lose out more.

Bunji followed this post with others elaborating on this main point:

2.  Inequality is bad for everyone’s health.

3.  Equality breeds trust; inequality breeds crime. (Or: Do you want to be a bonobo or a chimp?).

4. Equality: better education and social mobility. Inequality: more teen pregnancies.

5. Equality works better for a sustainable future.

Bunji explained it thus:

Equality does not equal sustainability, but it is much more suited to the task than our current system.  Without the constant need to consume more and more as we compete for status, we use up far less of the earth’s resources.

There is a strong link between inequality and consumerism.  Everything from advertising (NZ & USA spend twice as much on advertising as a percentage of GDP compared to Norway & Denmark) to working hours (there is a strong trend between average hours worked to how disparate middle and upper incomes are) reflects this.

[…]

But that is not sustainable.  Even if we develop better technologies, giving us, for example, more fuel efficient cars – we’d save money, and then spend it on more goods that consume more of the planet…

6. What we can do to embrace equality – through society and government.

Bunji concludes:

It won’t take a revolution to achieve greater equality… but it will take a transformation, with a sustained sense of direction and a strong view as to how to achieve the required changes.  […]

The fact that results of so many studies show better results for the rich as well as the poor in more equal societies definitely helps that goal.  Societies do better with a more income-equal framework, but also individuals do too.  The gifted get more chance to shine, not less, in a more equal society.  Equality does not mean we all become the same.

Bunji then goes on the discuss the above in detail, and provides some examples of ways to bring about a more sustainable and livable society.  Some of the ideas amount to more democratic processes, with more cooperative activities and more employee stakes in business enterprises.

It will be interesting to see the extent to which inequalities are addressed in the 2 State of the Nation addresses in the next couple of days:

Turei children

Metiria Turei at Picnic for the Planet: January 26, 2014 – 11:00am – 3:00pm – Waitangi Park, Wellington

Cunliffe Labour save our future

David Cunliffe – A Nation of Opportunity: Monday, 27 January 2014 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM – Kelston Girls’ College Auditorium, Corner Great North Road and Archibald Road, Kelston, West Auckland.

39 comments on “Less (inequality) is more….”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Re-read “The Spirit Level” recently, still a most persuasive work. In a New Zealand context until there is justice in all respects for colonised Māori descendants the negative experiences of that group drags everyone down. Not that racists will admit that.

    More patents are issued in more equal countries so thinking is likely improved not dumbed down. Equal does not mean the same indeed.

    Made me laugh in light of the “Left is dead” discussion in recent days that Cuba was the only country at time of TSL’s publication that met all the criteria for a sustainable economy combined with acceptable living standards using the UN Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint per Capita.

    • karol 1.1

      ntil there is justice in all respects for colonised Māori descendants the negative experiences of that group drags everyone down. Not that racists will admit that.

      Yes, and I noticed that the impacts of “other” inequalities, as explained by Bunji, are also likely to be damaging: eg those of ‘race’, gender, sexuality, disability, etc.

      But income inequalities are easier to measure.

      I did edit down one point of Bunji’s that I wasn’t keen on. He said in post #1:

      A certain level of wealth is required but in the wealthiest 50 nations virtually everyone has access to that.

      I do think there are a significant number of people in NZ, on the lowest incomes, who do not have that “certain level of wealth”. People who cannot afford sufficient, nutritious​ food and/or healthy and safe accomodation.

      They are obviously a relative minority, and their plight is not a great vote winner these days. But I do think we need to acknowledge their existence and their urgent needs.

      I didn’t want to take up space in the post debating that, but, I think many TS posts have/do argue for their needs.

      • Olwyn 1.1.1

        In response to both the quote of Bunji’s that you disagreed with and your answer to it, I think that poverty in a developed country takes its own special form. To begin with, the assumption that almost everyone has access to “a certain level of wealth” results in an expensive way of life – even at the most basic level. When you lack the income to meet its demands, your hardship is less visible than the third world variety, but is still very real hardship.

        • Indeed. A lot of the worst effects of poverty in New Zealand are caused by people trying to live like they’re not in poverty in terms of their luxuries, but shooting themselves in the foot by not paying attention to their real priorities. I don’t blame those people, it’s easy enough to understand, and a lot of the things that get decried as pure luxury by the Right are actually just lower-priority necessities to participate in New Zealand society as full citizens. (eg. cell phones, televisions, etc…)

          That’s not to say there aren’t a lot who just couldn’t feed their families on their incomes no matter what they do, but the number of people who have the symptoms of poverty aren’t the same as the number of people who have sufficient income to live a life without experiencing poverty.

          • Olwyn 1.1.1.1.1

            There is more to it than that. The actual necessities for life in a developed country are very expensive, and alternatives are not easily attained. Rent, power, travel costs and the dreaded water bill eat up a large portion of a small income, and food becomes the variable. It is very hard to do without the things listed in the kind of society we live in.

    • RedLogix 1.2

      In a New Zealand context until there is justice in all respects for colonised Māori descendants the negative experiences of that group drags everyone down. Not that racists will admit that.

      Umm – yes. Been good to get away from it all for a while this last year. It’s not until you hop out of the pot do you realise quite how hot it’s gotten.

      UN Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint per Capita

      Yes a rather remarkable intersection. Not too many people willing to think through all the implications of this fact.

    • karol 1.3

      What is TSL?

      • saarbo 1.3.1

        The Spirit Level

        damn TLA’s

      • Tiger Mountain 1.3.2

        The Spirit Level

        • karol 1.3.2.1

          🙂 Thanks.

          • fisiani 1.3.2.1.1

            Please keep banging away with the delusions of The Spirit Level which has been thoroughly debunked http://spiritleveldelusion.blogspot.co.nz

            • joe90 1.3.2.1.1.1

              Debunked by the tobacco industry’s galtian fuckwit, too funny.

              http://www.tobaccotactics.org/index.php/Christopher_Snowdon

              • fisiani

                Instead of attacking the author try reading. No one with a brain accepts the erroneous findings of The Spirit Level any more. That is why none in Parliament mentions it.It’s an embarrassment to the Left.

                • RedLogix

                  So exactly what is Snowden arguing?

                  1. That a world in which 85 people have more net worth than the bottom 3.5 billion people is actually not all that unequal?

                  2. Or that somehow this level of inequality is good for the world, and perhaps it would be better if the level of inequality was even higher? Maybe all the ills of the world would be solved if just one person owned everything?

                  3. Or that the level of inequality just does not matter? In which case why do you care?

                • gem

                  Our parliamentarians may not have read it, which is why they don’t, and as far as I know, never seriously raised it in Parliament or in the media.
                  The authors responded to their critics’ claims, and it seems those trying to disprove the thesis cherry-picked their own stats to suit their agenda.
                  The Spirit Level documentary is coming out later this year, which will I’m sure deal with those claims.

                  • karol

                    David Cunliffe has definitely read The Spirit Level. He mentioned it, for instance in the House in 2011.

                    As Wilkinson and Pickett in The Spirit Level pointed out, we are all in this together. When we share the gains and share the pain we are all better off than if we have a society of haves and have-nots, where a few at the top do better and better and most in the middle and the bottom do worse. It is not sufficient to rely on a relationship with a few well-placed mates—the Mark Weldons, the Rob Fyfes, the Fonterras, the Telecoms, and the MediaWorks of the world—to fill the gap, because it does not make the difference.

                    But it is more common for MPs to refer to recent NZ studies in the House. They have mentioned the increase in inequality in NZ a lot.

                    And Green MPs have referred to Rashbrooke’s book on the inequality crisis in NZ.

                    David Clendon, July 2013:

                    Some members may have seen a presentation earlier this evening on a new book, edited by Max Rashbrooke, that has been published recently called Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis . Chapter after chapter describes how across the board in society in all sorts of sectors and all sorts of ways that inequality gap is opening up in New Zealand. And now we are seeing unequal access to justice, and that is simply unacceptable in a modern, liberal democracy.

                    David Cunliffe mentioned The Spirit Level when he was doing a live commentary on Question Time, for The Daily Blog: – June 2013:

                    2:08 PM Martyn Bradbury: It’s not easy to hide the inequality that is tearing the egalitarian dream to bits, but Joyce does a pretty good job of it

                    2:09 PM David Cunliffe: JOyce puts down economists Hichkey and Oram… Parker questions whether OECD believes income inequality high in NZ… and getting worse …Joyce pressured, says it is about growing jobs …

                    2:09 PM David Cunliffe: Methinks Mr Joyce should read The Spirit Level

                • karol

                  I reckon Bryan Bruce, doco maker has a pretty good brain. He mentioned The Spirit Level in relation to his doco, “Mind the Gap”, which aired on TV3 last year. TV3 Reports:

                  In Bryan Bruce’s Mind the Gap, which screens on TV3 tonight, a number of the world’s leading economists say the trickle-down theory – which argues that to increase the lot of the poor, the rich have to get richer – is a fallacy.

                  “Every top economist I spoke to [said trickle-down economics] doesn’t work,” Mr Bruce said on Firstline this morning. “Ordinary people know it hasn’t worked.”
                  One of those economists, Prof Robert Wade of the London School of Economics, tells Mr Bruce there has instead been a “trickle-up” of wealth, from the poor to the rich.[…]

                  “You have less violence, less drug addiction, all those things. Prof Richard Wilkinson is one of the people I speak to – he wrote a book called The Spirit Level, and it shows all of these correlations between having a more equal society and a better life for all of us. It’s much better if we share.”

                  2 profs with better brains than many MPs.

                  • gem

                    Yes, Bruce’s doco was excellent. I watched it with two other people, and for one of them it was quite a revelation. This surprised me at the time, but we forget that many people aren’t exposed to these ideas. What I haven’t heard Labour/Cunliffe do is clearly explain the Spirit Level premise, i.e, that when we are equal we ALL do better in a whole raft of ways. Yes, Labour bemoans inequality, frequently; but it’s not just about lifting those at the bottom up to ”our” level, it’s the fact that the most equal societies are more successful all round.
                    If they are telling it, and I stand to be corrected if I’ve missed it, they aren’t doing a great job. Just bemoaning the state of affairs isn’t enough.
                    Appeal to Kiwi pragmatism that it actually makes sense, because it does.

            • Plan B 1.3.2.1.1.2

              I do not think you are correct in any way in making this remark. I read comments on the blog you mention and… nothing has changed, the book and the ideas behind it have not been debunked. Why would you say they have?

              http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/authors-respond-questions-about-spirit-levels-analysis

    • Draco T Bastard 1.4

      More patents are issued in more equal countries so thinking is likely improved not dumbed down.

      That may have something to do with it but, IMO, a lot has to do with the fact that the people having ideas a) don’t come forward with them because they know they’ll get ripped off and/or b) don’t have enough resources to develop their ideas themselves.

      As an example of a) the person who developed industrial diamonds did so in his spare time but he used [large companies] facilities to do it. Once he was completed the company took all the credit and the profit and gave him a $10 gift voucher.

      Another example was a contract I had where the IP clause in it stated that any ideas I had to do with the industry belonged to the company. There was no mention of extra compensation.

      There’s probably more problems of that sort of ripoff going around as well. It’s what happens when you cater to the greedy – the people at the bottom realise that they’re getting ripped off and stop. It’s not that they’re lazy, it’s that they’re sick of working hard and seeing other people benefit from it but not them.

      • Xtasy 1.4.1

        It is scientifically proven that FEAR and STRESS kill brain cells. So the neo liberal “Natzis” that love to instill the fear into every working and especially non-working person, they are doing endless damage to the health of uncountable persons. This will prove to be very costly for future generations, having to foot the health costs for treating the damaged.

        Only later generations will have to cover for that, the health costs, that will come as a result of draconian welfare reforms, of unjust, harsh working conditions and the like.

        http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/08/30/2555601/living-poverty-effect-brain-constantly-pulling-nighters/

        http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6149/976

        It is time the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) and Royal Australasian College of Physicians, same as local NZ science institutions accept and acknowledge this, not the crap of some NAZI like Principal Health Advisor Dr David Bratt, working for MSD and WINZ, or Mansel Aylward, present us, that “worklessness” is the problem.

        It is inequality and poverty that do the damage, and work may be good for some, may be ok for others, but it is rather a healthy, balanced, fair and decent life and society that delivers the best health outcomes, independent from paid work, voluntary work or anything else so conditional as this present NZ government wants to indoctrinate us with.

        Where are the “Down Under” scientists opening up for real, fact based, balanced and fair science? Or are they all on the payroll of UNUM and the likes?

        http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/medical-and-work-capability-assessments-based-on-the-controversial-bio-psycho-social-model/

        http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15188-medical-and-work-capability-assessments-based-on-the-bps-model-aimed-at-disentiteling-affected-from-welfare-benefits-and-acc-compo/

        P.S.: Don’t know why this ended up under Draco’s comment, but I may have clicked the wrong template or what. Anyway, it is not so much about what Draco mentioned, but I hope it makes sense. Good night all!

        • Johnm 1.4.1.1

          Xtasy
          If you beat a person with the stick of poverty and hopelessness long enough and the inequality of contempt and powerlessness most may never get up again and indeed an underclass of the hopeless is truly created. Then continue demonising them through the media and idiot bigot jocks like Laws on Radio Live and you get a fascist circus of wretchedness of spirit both with the haves and the havenots. Also a predator class of get rich by capital gain landlords feeds off the poor and their meagre welfare benefits by supplying run down accommodation which is damp and mouldy and cold enter illness and depression. Then the hospital visits and incapacity, and the draconian response and homelessness and begging and deaths from exposure.

          A society that advances in a unified way without destructive inequality is the pattern for success where parasitical elements who prey on their fellow citizens are controlled.

  2. gem 2

    Good post. To counter the right this election, the emphasis should be the fact we have to have big government to deal with the social problems wrought by inequality/free markets/structural unemployment. This could act as a sort of triangulation against the right’s spin that big government is the province of the left. National is fond of telling us it is spending record amounts on welfare/health; turn it around on them.
    I can’t find the passage in TSL I wanted to quote on this point, but this is similar:
    ”If you fail to avoid high inequality, you will need more prisons and more police. You will have to deal with higher rates of mental illness, drug abuse and every other kind of problem. If keeping taxes and benefits down leads to wider income differences, the need to deal with the ensuing social ills may force you to raise public expenditure to cope.” (page. 246)

  3. Whateva next? 3

    …..but how to get the message to the great undecideds??

  4. James Thrace 4

    Max Rashbrooke’s book is a fantastic read.

    Particularly where he outlines that the shift has moved away from seeing the family as a social unit towards the family being seen as expendable units of labour and consumerism in an industrialised capitalist complex rather than as a community driven unit.

    It really does grasp the bare roots of the problem in NZ in that it has become all about Me, Myself and I.

    Thatchers claim that there is no such thing as Society was taken a bit too far. I posit that in NZ there is no such thing as an individual without Society.

    Society breeds the individuals we have. It does more to explain the various natures abundant in NZ and the lack of rational behaviour exhibited by certain members of the community towards the need to assist those around them, and only assisting themselves.

    The Spirit Level has no doubt opened the door for a lot of people into understanding and beginning to grasp the inherent ‘wrongness’ of one CEO being paid $4M a year while the backs of the workers upon which said CEO is paid exorbitant rates, are valued at little more than $45,000 per year.

    Unfortunately, I have yet to see this conciousness seep through into more than two of our political parties. Green and Te Mana both understand this. I wait with bated breath for Labour to finally understand that there is a need to introduce salary capping, or even bring in higher taxes for those most able to afford them, such as the aforementioned CEO.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      In the 1950’s and 1960’s the USA used income tax rates as high as 91% to effectively limit top salaries.

    • gem 4.2

      Labour is weak-willed and out of touch on CEO pay and tax. It will be interesting to see what’s in tomorrow’s speech, but Parker in the Listener this month said he wanted top personal rate of tax would be 39% (on incomes over $150k), and no change to the business rate. I think that’s the same as the 2011 manifesto.
      In Britain, Labour has just announced it will reinstate the 50p rate on personal income over £150k (it is 45p at the moment).
      And why isn’t Labour talking about a financial transactions tax? This could solve the dilemma of taxing overseas purchases. OK it’s not without its issues, but surely worth exploring.
      Did Labour MPs use their Opposition downtime constructively to seek out some new ideas?

      • greywarbler 4.2.1

        FTT – Tobin tax? A small one – is it less than 1% usually suggested – on each deal, then a lesser GST tax, suggest 10%. That would go a long way to achieving better tax takes, and it is really not fair to tax over 48% at the highest.

        And let’s have inheritance tax and Capital Gains Tax and Stamp Duty and those useful taxes that took money off those receiving dosh often on inflated profits as on property. Always wanting less tax and very simple tax is a twisted way for the wealthy who are anything but simple, to act when it comes to taxes.

        Complicated taxes to the rich are merely like cryptic crosswords, lots of people can handle them easily. For those that can’t there are people you employ to find ways round them and it creates a nice area of financial management that keeps semi-criminals happy. Meanwhile most people would be paying sufficient tax to run the country yet enable them to have a hefty whack left for themselves.

        By the way I was reading a 2005 Listener and it referred to certain people in the lower South
        Island as being the Tartan Mafia. Who are they?

        • gem 4.2.1.1

          Yes, FTT is also known as Tobin tax. There is no need to have FTT and GST; just have the FTT, the revenues could be huge. Unlike GST, FTT is progressive.
          The percentage take is tiny, for instance, less than 1%, more like 0.1% on each and every transaction; the level is flexible, depending on transaction type, volume of transactions etc.
          Jim Anderton’s New Labour and its successor entities all promoted it.
          ”Always wanting less tax and very simple tax is a twisted way for the wealthy who are anything but simple, to act when it comes to taxes.”
          Yes, I love it how the regressive things have to be universal, but entitlements have to be ”targeted” to those deemed needy.

        • Plan B 4.2.1.2

          I think they were people in money in Dunedin and Central Otago , associated or owning Forsyth Barr. People like Howard Patterson etc. Very rich and fingers in many pies down there.

  5. Bill 5

    Two quotes from a speech given in 1972 by Jimmy Reid that’s (sadly) as relevant today and half a world away as it was then.

    A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement. This is how it starts, and before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack. The price is too high. It entails the loss of your dignity and human spirit.

    I am convinced that the great mass of our people go through life without even a glimmer of what they could have contributed to their fellow human beings. This is a personal tragedy. It’s a social crime. The flowering of each individual’s personality and talents is the pre-condition for everyone’s development.

    If you’ve never read his speech given to Glasgow University students in ’72, then here’s the link.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/still-irresistible-a-workingclass-heros-finest-speech-2051285.html

    • Anne 5.1

      Chris Hipkins goes some way to rehabilitate his reputation in my eyes:

      Labour supports Green’s Education measures

    • karol 5.2

      Ah. And he said all that in 1972. And he n=ends with a quote from the people’s poet, Rabbie Burns – (although I guess the patriarchal language was of its day – but otherwise, great sentiments).

      The golden age, we’ll then revive, each man shall be a brother,

      In harmony we all shall live and till the earth together,

      In virtue trained, enlightened youth shall move each fellow creature,

      And time shall surely prove the truth that man is good by nature.

      And tis around the time of Burn’s aniversary.

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  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    5 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    7 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    7 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    1 week ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    1 week ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    1 week ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago

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