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Let’s play blame the public servant

Written By: - Date published: 8:55 am, July 4th, 2014 - 49 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags: ,

public service whipping dog

In days gone by the concept of Ministerial Responsibility would mean that any significant failing by a Department would see the responsible Minister take the blame for what happened.  Following the Malaysian diplomat incident it appears to have been replaced by a substitute concept, that not only is the Minister not responsible but the Government is entitled to attack a public servant in an attempt to divert political blame.

If this sounds somewhat extreme you only have to consider John Key’s recent statement to see that it actually appears to be Government Policy.  From Stuff:

A mid-level foreign affairs official appears set to take the blame for an incident in which a foreign diplomat accused of attempted rape was allowed to leave the country, a move his government thought had New Zealand’s blessing.

Yesterday Prime Minister John Key dismissed questions about whether Foreign Minister Murray McCully should resign, saying he would not accept it if he did, because McCully had been let down by officials.

He signalled that a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official who left the possible impression that New Zealand was not clear that it wanted the man to face justice here should assess their career options.

‘‘If that person doesn’t have clarity about that position then they need to think very strongly about whether they’re in the right job,’’ Key said. The situation had added to the distress of the victim by creating ambiguity.

‘‘That led to a situation that is unacceptable to me, and I think it is very distressing for the woman,’’ Key said.

There is to be an independent inquiry into how the ambiguity over New Zealand’s position was created, and why it took so long for Mfat to inform the Government that Malaysia believed it had acted in accordance with New Zealand’s wishes.  I am not sure why there needs to be one.  Key has clearly made his mind up already and told the public what the result will be.  This will make any potential Employment dispute interesting.  An employer is meant to have an open mind and give the employee a chance to make submissions before making a decision in a disciplinary matter and Key’s mind is clearly closed.

And this situation could have been managed better if McCully had not in a panic released into the public domain the two inter government communications without checking the background.  This required a public response by the Malaysian Government and instead of the situation being resolved through diplomatic channels it was resolved publicly through the media.  McCully let short term political considerations outweigh relationships with an important friendly nation.

Presuming that New Zealand did give a nod and a wink to Malaysia that they could remove their Diplomat from the country and presuming McCully had no hand in formulating this position and did not even know this was happening then the conclusion must be that MFAT is not working properly.  And the cause?  The Dominion Post editorial this morning gently suggests that the McCully reforms are to blame.

There remains a suspicion, after all, that the present shambles has its roots in the disastrous restructuring of the ministry under McCully’s watch. That “redisorganisation” led to a revolt of the ministry’s most senior staff and then to an apparently botched witchhunt ordered by State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie.

The whole project was misconceived and mismanaged, based as it was on the principle that the ministry could operate with far fewer experts. McCully blamed it all on his CEO, saying it was his idea and he had to face the music. This is nonsense. No bureaucrat would persist with a major restructuring that his minister opposed.

So now there will be an inquiry to find out who made such a hash of the Malaysian affair. Unfortunately, that inquiry will be narrowly focused and will not look at the wider problem of the botched restructuring and its effects.

This Government has a clear pattern of behaviour.  “Reform” Government departments by stripping out resources.  Then blame individuals when the inevitable happens and performance drops.

49 comments on “Let’s play blame the public servant”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Personal responsibility means it’s someone else’s fault.

  2. Steve Reeves 2

    Yes, a government of cowards. Great example to the rest of NZ, not to mention the rest of the world.

    And gratefully emulated by managers all around the country.

    And it does raise the very real question: what ARE ministers responsible for?

    There must be something, because they get paid at a level that suggests they have some for something.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      And gratefully emulated by managers all around the country.

      What do you mean emulated? Being poor managers is where National learned, comprehensively, to be an even worse government.

  3. cogito 3

    From 3News:

    Key – “”If that person doesn’t have clarity about that position, then they ought to think very strongly about whether they’re in the right job.” 🙁 🙁 🙁

    Hopefully voters will take the same approach to Key himself on Sept 20th as “clarity” about his accountability to NZers is a concept that appears to completely escape his comprehension.

    • framu 3.1

      which raises the question of where did they get the lack of clarity from?

      to pin a lack of clarity on the staff member, without even looking at management and its structures, then publicly claim they should quit is appalling leadership

  4. karol 4

    This is disgraceful behaviour from John key. He has publicly condemned a public servant, without due process. A public servant cannot defend themselves publicly. Shameful and cowardly behaviour from arse-covering Key.

    • cogito 4.1

      A picture of a reptile or a rat would be highly appropriate at this point.

      • North 4.1.1

        ShonKey Python – no whakapapa to Monty Python. The latter hilarious directed chaos. The former chilling directed malevolence. Camouflaged with Everyman but devoid of his values.

    • Mary 4.2

      And if someone questions Key about this he will just say “Oh no, I wasn’t at all suggesting the person should be fired. That’s entirely a matter for MFAT and the investigation. I was merely commenting on what happened. It could’ve been about anyone. I certainly wasn’t attempting to interfere in that process or in what is clearly an operational matter, and it would be highly inappropriate for me to do so.” Now let’s see what happens to that job. Is it possible Allen could really arrive at a conclusion other than the public servant having to “rethink their career options” after prime minister comes out with remarks like that? Key is filth.

  5. Weepu's beard 5

    To me there is a correlation between this sort of blame game and the culture of Maori blame and poverty blame which has been fostered and legitimised all across the spectrum of the right.

    The stench of our increasingly disharmonious society is coming from the 9th floor.

  6. Chooky 6

    Reminds me a bit of Cave Creek where DOC was absolutely gutted of personnel on the Coast and then some poor DOC manager who had a huge overload of work did not check the building of the platform and the tragedy occurred

    ….except in this case after blaming the DOC manager ….the HOD of DOC resigned and then I think the Minister for DOC also resigned

    ….but personally I thought the Government should also have been called to account for this tragedy because it was responsible for cutting crucial DOC workers and creating an impossible work overload.

    • Chooky 6.1

      my point is…the Minister should resign

      …and of course …. if it can be proved that there was a cover up at the highest levels or a political trade-off with Malaysia ….then the Prime Minister’s integrity is called into question as well.

    • Anne 6.2

      ….except in this case after blaming the DOC manager ….the HOD of DOC resigned and then I think the Minister for DOC also resigned.

      My recollection too Chooky. The Labour minister responsible for DOC was Whanganui’s Russell Marshall and I think he resigned because “it happened on his watch”.

      One can imagine the yells of “disgrace, disgrace” from sections of the media if he hadn’t resigned, but when it is a National minister the silence is deafening.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        One can imagine the yells of “disgrace, disgrace” from sections of the media if he hadn’t resigned, but when it is a National minister the silence is deafening.

        QFT

  7. bad12 7

    i don’t MS have an iota of belief that ‘government reforms’ lead to ‘wrong advice’ being given to the Malaysian’s with regard to the Government’s supposed wishes to have the alleged offender remain in New Zealand to face the accusations,

    My point is this, until the media approached the High Court and had the suppression orders lifted what had both McCully and Slippery the Prime Minister publicly said about this fiasco,

    Nothing!!!

    Not a peep, not one word, yet the pair of them, McCully and the PM, knew of the arrest, and, neither of them saw fit to ask even one follow up question of their officials either in MFAT or the Office of the Prime Minister itself???,

    Until that is???,

    Until the news media went to the High Court and had the various suppression orders lifted from the initial charges laid in the District Court, what was it, 7 weeks after the fact???,

    SO, while suppression orders were in place, its deep silence about the whole incident from both McCully and the PM, the whole incident is neatly wrapped up, swept under the carpet, the diplomat removed,

    My belief is that the above is exactly what the Prime Minister and His Foreign Affairs Minister wanted to occur, AND, that it is very likely that Official Information Requests will at some time uncover communications between the highest level of Government and the highest level of Police which indicate to the Police that as this matter was covered by diplomatic immunity the suppression orders that were sought in the District Court by Police were necessary as a matter of National Security…

    • mickysavage 7.1

      You will see bad12 that I said “[p]resuming that New Zealand did give a nod and a wink to Malaysia that they could remove their Diplomat from the country and presuming McCully had no hand in formulating this position and did not even know this was happening …”

      I agree that the OIAs could be very interesting and the suggested complete lack of knowledge of what was happening is strange. The story was obviously big and for Key and McCully to be completely indifferent to it seems wrong.

      • dv 7.1.1

        McCully has said it was the biggest issue in a decade.
        Bizarre he took no further notice.

        And how much of the internal structure lead to the problem.

      • bad12 7.1.2

        Wasn’t a criticism MS, although i admit it could be read as such, the dates of the initial lodging of the appeal to the High Court by the media to have the suppression orders lifted may be of interest/importance in the timeline,

        It is likely that the PM/ McCully knew of this occurrence and some attempt may have occurred then to created confusion within MFAT as to what the Government required,

        That is probably a machiavellian step too far tho, i believe that both of them, the PM and McCully,after the suppression orders were put in place simply thought ”job well done” thinking that no-one was going to have the suppression orders lifted and thus no-one would ever know,

        It is also pretty much what i would term a ”given” that the Judge in the original appearance at the District Court would have been ”briefed” on the issue of diplomatic immunity and the necessity of suppressing all the details of the case making the whole appearance of the accused simply a pro forma exercise,

        Under what auspices such a briefing took place, National Security/Office of the Prime Minister/Ministry of Justice/Police/MFAT, there is likely to be an email trail between all these organizations, is hard to ascertain…

        • Tracey 7.1.2.1

          and lets look a little further. we are told

          minister knew nothing. asked nothing after may 10
          ceo knew nothing. asked nothing.
          head of protocol must be good cos she just got made ambassador to brasil

          believing all of the above we then must believe that a mid level staffer at protocol woke up one day… with no precedent and no authority and decided to overule govt wishes on this?

          no wonder tui signs are gone. couldnt bring themselves to mock this govt..

          • srylands 7.1.2.1.1

            Why don’t you think that is plausible?

            • Tracey 7.1.2.1.1.1

              Because unlike you, i dont believe a mid level staffer would decide to enter into such discussions without the authority.

              • McFlock

                My guess is that slylands routinely exceeds his authority (and level of intellectual competence)

              • Tracey

                ” c Initial reports are that the officials involved were highly experienced. ” srylands

                If that is a true statement of facts then it makes it even less plausible that more than one official would work to directly contradict the government without authority.

                If the officials had gone maverick, then allen must go, because after two years he hasnt changed the culture mccully brought him in for. Thats over 1.2m wasted on his salary.

            • freedom 7.1.2.1.1.2

              Let’s play blame the public servant

              in case you missed it, you have a straightforward question awaiting an answer

            • bad12 7.1.2.1.1.3

              SSLands, just for once in your miserable trail of comments can you perhaps attempt to make a lucid point,

              Tell me, do you think on His appearance in the District Court with only the duty solicitor as representation that the alleged offender and the Judge presiding didn’t know exactly what was going to happen,

              The Police do not usually seek blanket suppression orders when criminal cases come befor the courts, why did the Police seek the blanket suppression orders in this case…

              • Macro

                In these cases suppression is automatic – not for the offender – but to protect the “victim” (so I understand) from an interview on “morning report” with a law prof discussing the matter.

  8. Jack 8

    Smoke & Mirrors Stuff just like the Dong Liu Affair, “Transperancy” is a foreign word, very scary country we are living in at present. We just need the facts rather than a game of charades being played out in the media.

  9. veutoviper 9

    Thanks for this post, MS – and love the cartoon.

    The Stuff article really raised my blood pressure this morning although I read it last night. What got my goat this morning was the change of its title to ” Mfat official takes blame” – as if this had already happened.

    The Herald also now has an article which gets even more specific as to the likely victim.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11287221

    At the very bottom of this article about Rizalman wanting to delay his return to NZ is this statement:

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Key has directly criticised the MFAT deputy chief of protocol who gave Malaysia the impression New Zealand was happy for Rizalman to leave the country and escape the charges. (My bold)

    Time and time again Key and his Miinisters have claimed that they cannot interfere in ‘operational matters’ of their various Ministries – as McCully has also claimed in this case.

    But here we have the PM not only preempting the results of the internal Clayton’s review of MFAT’s actions in this fiasco, but virtually naming the sacrificial lamb.

    This not only is an interference but also raises major issues in respect of employment law IMO.

    AND have they not learnt from the other recent Rebstock review of the MFAT leaks where three MFAT officials were all but named in the review leading to court action and a lot of adverse publicity. On that occasion, McCully was also involved.

    http://www.google.co.nz/url?url=http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/9513418/Diplomats-reject-Rebstock-report-findings&rct=j&frm=1&q=&esrc=s&sa=U&ei=ec61U451g6mTBc_1gPAJ&ved=0CCwQFjAH&sig2=CYU7aZ1zJGarU3V34ajWMA&usg=AFQjCNHT-7gbTIKwEFZIPsUqt9GYnC8maA

  10. Sable 10

    Can’t imagine why anyone would want to work for these political douche bags. Talk about enthusiasm in the service of a crappy cause…

  11. Clemgeopin 11

    @MICKYSAVAGE or anyone.

    I posted this on mcCully in Trouble article yesterday, but no one commented on it. Here it is. What do you think?

    “This.important matter has been so murky, shady and dodgy, with lots of spin, blame shifting, abrogation of responsibility, misleading of the PUBLIC and passing the buck, that I think an urgent parliamentary privileges committee investigation is necessary to question the people involved and to flush out the real truth”

  12. ianmac 12

    Key is in an impossible position. (Poor lamb. Toughen up Sweetie.) He cannot afford another Ministerial failure of McCulley to add to the Collins, Williamson, debacles so close to an Election. Perception.

    • Captain Pugwash 12.1

      I don’t want to see Murray McCulley bagged too much; we need to keep the door closed, as much as possible, on Colin Craig, and the “flat earthers” in “Colin Craig’s Conservative Party” (CCCP). On another note, back in the day I seem to remember at the Olympics, the athletes of the Soviet Union had CCCP on their singlets.

    • aerobubble 12.2

      Worse. He called the election earlier than usual. He didn’t see that politics would get an extension.

      He apologized to Malaysia before he apologized to the victim for McCully’s depts bungling.

      And then, finally, why was McCully being misled, and why isnt he angry about it. Either it was meant to play out like this, and McCully takes a popularity hit in his constituency leaving room for CC. Or, McCully has lost control of his dept. Or both.

      But note Cunliffe is now off the news.

  13. dv 13

    When is MFAT going to leak again?

  14. Ad 14

    Well said Mickey.

    Enjoy congress – wrap up warm.

  15. srylands 15

    “In days gone by the concept of Ministerial Responsibility would mean that any significant failing by a Department would see the responsible Minister take the blame for what happened.”

    You are quite wrong.

    The State Sector Act states that CEs are responsible for “the department’s or departmental agency’s responsiveness on matters relating to the collective interests of government”

    That is exactly what this failing was about.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1988/0020/latest/DLM129548.html

    The Cabinet Manual states:

    “Ministers decide both the direction and the priorities for their departments. They should not be involved in their departments’ day-to-day operations. In general terms, Ministers are responsible for determining and promoting policy, defending policy decisions, and answering in the House on both policy and operational matters. Officials are responsible for supporting Ministers in carrying out their ministerial functions.”

    http://cabinetmanual.cabinetoffice.govt.nz/3.5

    Also you have cited no evidence that this failing was in any way related to resourcing. Initial reports are that the officials involved were highly experienced.

    In summary there is absolutely no convention that states that the “Minister is always responsible” when Government administration goes wrong. In New Zealand its is usually quite the opposite. If you are capable of honest reflection you will know that Helen Clark applied this distinction with rigour.

    Politically I am not sure what you are trying to achieve.

    • framu 15.1

      ok – so labour has more ethics and morality than the nats then – thanks for pointing that out

      but what do you think about key sticking his big oaffish foot into this – key is directly involving himself in operational matters to the point where he is potentially breaking employment law – whats your opinion of that?

      • Tracey 15.1.1

        cant see where the manual says mccully must run for cover when his dept fucks up and not front in parliament… Not just once…

    • Tracey 15.2

      so you ARE familiar with the cabinet manual? You recently appeared singularly unable to grasp breaches of the “highest ethical standards”

  16. ianmac 16

    Oops! On National Radio at lunchtime they broadcast the concern that Key has offended against the staff of Foreign Affairs by naming him before an enquiry has happened.
    “‘‘If that person doesn’t have clarity about that position then they need to think very strongly about whether they’re in the right job,’’ Key said.”
    This is so wrong but so typical of Key. “He has broken several rules,” the report said.

    • veutoviper 16.1

      I assume you mean the item starting at 4.37 in on Midday Report.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/middayreport/audio/2602155/midday-news-for-4-july-2014

      [audio: http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mdr/mdr-20140704-1200-midday_news_for_4_july_2014-048.mp3 ]

      The item addresses concerns expressed by Richard Wagstaff, PSA, that Key has broken several rules under the Cabinet Manual and the State Sector Act by making the remarks he has made about MFAT staff. This article did not name the official or officials per se (who could be a ‘her’, Ianmac!)

      However, as I noted in my comment at 9 above, the Herald this morning in effect did so, by mentioning the deputy head of the Protocol section, at the end of this article.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11287221

      Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Key has directly criticised the MFAT deputy chief of protocol who gave Malaysia the impression New Zealand was happy for Rizalman to leave the country and escape the charges.

      I don’t have time right now to identify the particular sections of the Cabinet Manual and the SS Act that Wagstaff was referring to (but I know they are there somewhere).

      Perhaps, S…. Rylands should identify these sections for us! And pigs might fly ….

      • North 16.1.1

        SSlands is obviously super cognisant of the fact that too, too much now in this ocean of shit governance ShonKey is the guy who squeaks out, the guy who NEVER carries the can. And that people are concluding that it’s just too good to be true. That’s what worries SS. Hence his painfully constipated efforts to establish that there never was such a thing as ‘ministerial responsibility’. Righteo ! Algud !

        The sneering conceit, the bloated barefaced entitlement of it reached new heights with McCully’s apology……..wait for it…….to ShonKey. There wasn’t a 21 year old female victim here who might be entitled to an apology at all. Oh no……..down on the knees grovelling slavishly before His ShonKeyness. Who reclines a la the emperor with no clothes, forgives his subject McCully, then leans forward to menace an MFAT employee. Way to go ShonKey !

        Women vote too SS. The snowball starts to roll……

  17. North 17

    Get real – ‘personal responsibility’ is only for those ‘down there’, the underclass as defined by those who shall not carry responsibility. Listen thee and behold……this is the word of the GodKey.

    I fear that something really terrible is happening to New Zealand. Time frame – who knows ? Tyranny is not always reflected a la Ceaucescu.

  18. dimebag russell 18

    @slylands.
    all verbiage.
    government is not a corporation.
    when the ministers department screws up then he is responsible.
    depending on the severity of the event then the minister may be required to resign.
    that is the principle of responsible government as taught even in primary schools.
    if you dont understand that then you are just talking a whole lot of nonsense to confuse people and doubt that there is any meaning to anything.

  19. dimebag russell 19

    anyway the key government is gone in spetember.

  20. BLiP 20

    This latest example of the John Key-led National Ltd™ government’s “blame culture” seems to me to be a microcosmic example of the macrocosmic effects currently being delivered to New Zealand society. Its as if the complete lack of morals required by an international money-changer to generate a fortune has now come to bear in the running of a government. Just as the world of money-changers produces a stready stream of ill-fortuned and uninformed investors for consumption by an elite few, this corrupt approach to the running of society produces a steady stream of victims in order to shelter perpetrators from accountability.

    • freedom 20.1

      +1

    • cogito 20.2

      Let us not forget that money-changers were thrown out of the temple.

      Time now to throw out money-changers out of government.

      Filth is filth, then and now.

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    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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. ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    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 If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks 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 ...
    31 mins 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 ...
    45 mins 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 ...
    19 hours 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 ...
    20 hours 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 ...
    20 hours 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 ...
    2 days ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    2 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 ...
    6 days 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
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    3 weeks 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
    3 hours 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
    14 hours 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
    14 hours 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
    19 hours 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
    19 hours 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
    22 hours ago
  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
    Eleven men from a pilot forestry training programme for prisoners in Northland now have full time jobs or job offers upon release, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. The ‘release to work’ programme was a collaboration between Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Reform of public service a step closer
    Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins today introduced into Parliament a Bill that will make it easier for the public service to tackle the biggest challenges facing Governments. The Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced further support as the Government of Samoa responds to a serious measles outbreak. “New Zealand will deploy a further 18 vaccination nurses, bringing the total to 30 working in Samoa over the next four weeks,” Mr Peters said. “A New Zealand Medical Assistance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
      Fa’atalofa atu, malo e lelei, Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you to the Child Poverty Action Group for asking me to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have been happening across my the social development portfolio.  Can I firstly acknowledge the vast ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
    ***Please check against delivery*** Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning to open this year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Conference and AGM. Firstly, thank you Dr Alan Jackson, NZTR Chair for your introduction. And let us acknowledge also: The NZTR Board; Dean McKenzie, Chair ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
    The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer and more secure, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi has announced today. Both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
    A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve - is being celebrated today at a community event in Tairāwhiti/East Coast attended by the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “The creation of this marine reserve in November 1999 was a game ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
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