Lifeline funding cut

Written By: - Date published: 1:10 pm, August 2nd, 2017 - 58 comments
Categories: health, national - Tags: , ,

We have the highest rate of youth suicide in the “developed” world. The Nats just cut the funding to Lifeline – Government axes $800,000 Lifeline contract

In March this year, the Ministry of Health axed a decade-long $800,000 contract for Lifeline to provide suicide-prevention training to frontline workers.

The funding cut, which was revealed to the Herald through documents provided to Labour under the Official Information Act, “devastated” Lifeline – an organisation that has worked to prevent suicide in New Zealand for more than 50 years.

The funding was shifted to a “new preferred supplier” after several contractors pitched for the work last November, a ministry official said.

News of the terminated Lifeline contract comes just days after an international expert told an Auckland conference of mental health workers – and ministry officials – that training, particularly the programme run by Lifeline, was one of the most important suicide-prevention strategies worldwide.

In the Herald today – PM’s wife on board of organisation that won million-dollar suicide prevention contract

An organisation that recently won a million-dollar government contract has dismissed speculation that the presence of the Prime Minister’s wife on the board was a factor.

It may be completely innocent as all the interested parties claim. But it’s not a good look to be destroying Lifeline, an organisation doing world class work in an area of desperate need. You don’t easily replace that experience.

58 comments on “Lifeline funding cut”

  1. srylands 1

    And the contract with the new provider includes an increase of funding of 31.25% compared to the previous provider.

    Your post (and to be fair the story) is presenting this as a “cut” when it is an attempt to provide better services at higher volume.

    It is inconceivable that the experts that chose the new provider would have been influenced by anything other than value for money considerations.

    • McFlock 1.1

      Copy that.

      They gave it to the most aspirational bidder who happens to have no experience in the field, because corruption is inconceivable.

      • While I’m open to the possibility that there’s either corruption or simply undue influence from the Prime Minister’s spouse going on, shouldn’t we be pushing for some investigative journalism on the matter rather than simply jumping to conclusions? Especially as a pacific-centred approach in the field should be relatively welcome.

        I agree it is a little fishy however that this area is getting a significant funding increase in a period when the government is being increasingly close-fisted with NGOs.

        That said, I will go on the record as saying that assuming everything is above board, my preferred outcome would have been to split the new funding level between the existing service provider and the new one and then evaluate whether both are succeeding next year, preferably with at least the same level of funding for lifeline. There would seem to be more than enough work to justify multiple services in this area.

        • McFlock 1.1.1.1

          That’s the thing.

          I found Sryland’s rejection of corruption as “inconceivable” to be laughable, but the best case scenario is that they decided to completely change provider when the current provider seemed to be doing the job perfectly well.

          That doesn’t mean the job couldn’t be done better, but having at least one politically-highly-connected person on the board to me suggests the possibility that they got the job more because they were adept at filling in tenders with the right language.

          • AB 1.1.1.1.1

            Exactly – and who in their right mind would take the risk of a wholesale, one-hit change of provider in an area like this where the implications of provider failure are so truly awful?
            A pilot programme or split funding over a transition period would seem to be a minimal requirement for prudence. So if not corruption then incompetence.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.1

              and who in their right mind would take the risk of a wholesale, one-hit change of provider in an area like this where the implications of provider failure are so truly awful?

              National.

              They may be psychopaths but that doesn’t mean that they’re not in their right mind.

          • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.1.1.2

            Well, just like it’s absolutely fair to reject out of hand assertions that there’s no way it could be corruption or improper influence, I think it’s also reasonable to point out that there is a certain level of hubris to assuming that Le Va couldn’t possibly have convinced the panel that they could do a better job than lifeline on their merits. (it also starts straying into potentially problematic racial territory as well given that this will be the first real spotlight on pacific mental health in quite some time) I know that’s not what you’re saying, but some people are and I think it’s reasonable to just stick to “this smells a little and deserves a real investigation,” either an official inquiry or simply sicking an investigative journalist on it.

            And if your suggestion is right, btw, it’s sorta hard to say that boards should ignore someone submitting a better application because they might simply have been walked through it by someone with institutional knowledge- you’re sort of expected to have basic knowledge of how to fill out a tender in the first place, and beyond that panels are supposed to consider the merits of each proposal not simply whether they use the right buzzwords, so it shouldn’t be that easy to persuade them if they’re truly independent experts. This is why I would really like to hear someone interview the panel on what their process was and why they chose to award the tender to Le Va, as then their reasons can be fact-checked and we can either have the evidence we need to say something untoward did in fact happen, or we can realise that they simply won the tender because they seemed to have an innovative approach that could help people, and then we can either move on to other political issues, or simply go back to trying to get some funding for Lifeline to salvage its training services so that they can keep doing highly necessary work while this new service gets set up.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.2.1

              or we can realise that they simply won the tender because they seemed to have an innovative approach that could help people

              If they’re going to win on that then I expect to see several peer-reviewed papers on that innovative approach.

              • While I agree with you with regards to what they did in this case- which is completely ditching Lifeline in favour of the new service, there’s absolutely room to experiment with parallel models and see how they do in practice so long as there’s no research already out there suggesting their model is a bad idea in principle. I think we should be willing to lead a bit, that’s what the whole “innovative” thing is supposed to mean.

                • Of course there’s room to experiment but you do that before you dump a working model for the new one. And then you use the same provider as well – saves on administration and stress for the people involved.

            • McFlock 1.1.1.1.2.2

              While you are correct, I do think that any wholesale change in any area, particularly when it involves abandoning established providers in favour of new entrants into the field, needs to be examined in the context of this government’s track record in issuing and supervising tenders for work.

              In that light, I’m reluctant to simply request further investigation – I think the need for change should be evident from the outset, otherwise I’m frankly bloody suspicious.

              As to writing tenders, it’s one thing to write a realistic tender about what can be offered by a provider. But in my experience the most difficult person to compete against for a job is someone who doesn’t really care and bullshits just enough to appear like a good employee who is realistically aspirational, when in fact they’re inexperienced and have no idea how much work the role entails.

              It’s not just about buzzwords, it’s about whether the new provider really can do more and provide better value than the experienced provider claimed to be capable of. That’s a damned big threshhold unless the existing provider was manifestly incompetent.

              • Yeah, it sounds like we’re on the same page here. Lifeline seemed to be performing very well from what people who have used the service have been saying, so it’s surprising that a completely novice operation would win a competitive tender against them. If it were just that fact, or just the fact that the PM’s wife is on their board, then this wouldn’t really smell fishy enough to be a story… but it does smell, and I hope to hear more facts about it in the future.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.3

            Not to mention the chief science advisor to the MSD is on the board of directors of The Wise Group, LeVa’s parent company.

            Cosy eh.

            That said, NZ is a small country population-wise, so these situations are bound to occur from time to time.

            So far as I’m concerned the health budget should be spent on public services, not private providers, so whether this is a crone appointment or not it’d be gone by lunchtime if I were PM.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.3.1

              So far as I’m concerned the health budget should be spent on public services, not private providers, so whether this is a crone appointment or not it’d be gone by lunchtime if I were PM.

              Fully agree that the health budget, and government services in general, should be spent fully in house. The research budget could, of course, be spent in house, in universities or private sector businesses.

        • greywarshark 1.1.1.2

          then evaluate whether both are succeeding next year, preferably with at least the same level of funding for lifeline.

          How do you evaluate ethically. If the object is stopping suicide, then the expected numbers will go up or down. So do you say ‘Oh dear, more people topped themselves – the new plan is not working?

          And partly it is talking to troubled people, distressed, lonely people. Does the organisation find out how many times they have called. It might be regularly twice a week. Would money be saved by limiting them to two? And what if the contact with someone else is what keeps them alive? Are they just an expensive ‘want’ rather than a ‘need’? Do you set them a code and give them so many allowed calls.

          The thing is that Lifeline trains its own people in accordance with its own culture, which I understand is to kindly, non judgmental, not offering advice or very much, being positive etc and trying to be not personal and confidential.

          This new outfit will presumably come under the new Social Investment budget and may be the reason why the new line was introduced by English. I don’t like pollies setting up government jobs for their own relatives. The Gnats are bad enough at selling off, leasing off, giving away bits of the country and its services to outfits like Serco, but unleashing their sanctimonious family members on suffering humanity is the last straw. Along with the desire for disclosure by agencies having government funding, this next would lead to knocks on the door from someone – I am not from government but private (so better) and I am here to help you and take over your life.

          This from the previous post 1/8/17 on this from Descendant of Sssmith makes concerning reading:

          Trying to bury bad news


          “In last year’s budget, the Nats awarded a $4.8m contract to an unknown organisation called PEDA without tender and against official advice. The people behind PEDA were apparently tied to Bill English via his wife. The full truth still hasn’t come out. Now, the Nats are up to the same trick with Parents Inc.

          Paula Bennett’s Ministry of Social Development will pay $2.4 million to Parents Inc for “parenting courses for the caregivers of vulnerable children”. This contract was untendered and previously unknown.”

          Parents Inc: it’s PEDA redux

    • Gabby 1.2

      Who are these experts?

    • Keepcalmcarryon 1.3

      Inconceivable I tell you.

  2. savenz 2

    Disgusting! But what we have come to expect from this crony government.

  3. zuszsa 3

    I would dearly love someone to do some investigating of The Wise Group (of which LaVa is a subsidary). As an organisation they seem to be hoovering up all sorts of government social sector contracts and IMHO something about them has a bit of a whiff.

  4. Venezia 4

    I thought the same. No names, no accountability. How can you find the information about who they are?

  5. You don’t easily replace that experience.

    I suspect that the new organisation fully expects all the Lifeline personnel to shift over to them – with the associated pay cut.

    After all, there’s absolutely no possibility that the new organisation has it’s own personnel already. Such a service isn’t something that a country is going to have competition in.

    • And thus the squeeze continues. =/

    • Crunchy 5.2

      “with the associated pay cut.”
      Got any evidence to back up that assertion?

      • Not ATM. IIRC, there was something about the change in blood-test providers in Auckland to a new firm. The new firm was dependent upon the existing personnel at lower wages to even start.

        • Crunchy 5.2.1.1

          Not at the moment, if I recall rightly, there was something…
          You have the gall to demand evidence, with statements like that?
          Little surprise that you have zero cred, and your ideology has zero cred.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1.1

            Did you note the word ‘suspect’ in my first comment?

            It’s a way to indicate that I’m not giving an absolute, this will happen. But there is form in NZ for such things:

            Ms Lawer acknowledged that under the law the small family-owned business had a right to make her redundant.

            But an agreement for a redundancy payment was in her original contract, and Ms Lawer said that should have been passed along as contracts changed hands. She has never received one.

            She wants either Jani-King or Phagura Limited to pay her out $6804, or the equivalent of 30 weeks’ wages.

            Despite pesky little things like laws.

        • DoublePlusGood 5.2.1.2

          Moving from Diagnostic Medlab to Labtests absolutely resulted in a whole pile of less experienced (and in a couple of personal instances, thoroughly incompetent) phlebotomists being hired by Labtests at terrible wages, to underbid the contract. There were all sorts of difficulties at the beginning where they clearly didn’t have a great results reporting system, causing problems for health professionals that needed the results.

  6. Crunchy 6

    I’m sure I read (was it here?) a complaint that massively increasing suicide numbers were the fault of the National Govt. So that same Govt a)increases funding massively and b) takes the contract away from an organisation that obviously hasn’t been doing a very good job.
    Hard to please some people…

    • Stuart Munro 6.1

      Yup – take the job away from the world leading experts and give it to a bunch of wannabes from Dipton without addressing the structural causes. Geneyis!

      And if Labour don’t strike it down on day one they’ll have substantially worse suicide figures in their first term for the plague rats of the MSM to whinge about to try to build a Gnat recovery.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1

        That depends: nationalising public services doesn’t mean withdrawing them, it just reduces the profit gouging.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      Either way it’s an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff the National Party shoves people over.

      By the time Mary English is wringing her hands in a counselling session, the damage has already been done.

      This is your right wing dogma though: people commit suicide because they made bad choices. Nothing to do with you at all.

    • takes the contract away from an organisation that obviously hasn’t been doing a very good job.

      Got anything to back up that assertion?

      • Crunchy 6.3.1

        You’re kidding, right?
        I could search for and link to countless comments on this site, official statistics, MSM reports etc referring to increasing suicide numbers. I’m not going to play your little game – I’m too busy providing well paid jobs and safe working conditions to a whole bunch of hard working people actually doing great things for NZ. Those good jobs and the camaraderie, satisfaction pastoral support if needed that help to keep people from topping themselves. Maybe you should do the same instead of trying to convince people that their lives are fucked because it’s someone else’s fault. FFS

        • greywarshark 6.3.1.1

          You’re kidding right Crunchy (is that the Clown – perhaps you don’t take the role of political policies for all in the country seriously).

          You appear to be affronted about people worrying about suicide numbers and wanting to keep preventative methods and agencies keeping them at the minimum.

          So satisfied you are in your little bubble providing well paid jobs you say,
          safe working conditions, to hard working people. You say they are actually doing great things for NZ, but what is not explained so we don’t know if its true. And I wonder whether you have done something original or just set up a business to carry out what government used to do and has now privatised.

          Whatever you are so self-satisfied you sail along a metre above the common ground we walk on. There are hundreds of thousands who can’t get enough jobs or hours to provide a living. It is not a luxury for them to get pastoral support to help with their problems, but government is reluctant to provide it and I guess you don’t want to see any of your taxes going for it.

          What’s more you don’t give a fuck about them, only thinking of us all with derision, so why don’t you stay away and enjoy your spare time with your mates in the bubble. You might learn some reality if you keep coming here and that would do your head in. Mr/Ms Smug – no bill to be paid for this advice, just pay your taxes please that have been legally calculated.

          • Crunchy 6.3.1.1.1

            If your comprehension skills were better you may have noticed that I’m supporting greater Govt funding to a new initiative where an established organisation is not performing well – based on statistics. If you don’t want attempts to keep people from suiciding to score political points you are a POS.
            I lead an organisation (started as a small business by others many years ago) that had an average H&S record, and more than a few disengaged staff. I’m proud that with my blue collar roots and self funded skills update I have decreased harm and increased earnings and job satisfaction for over 50 people.
            I pay PAYE & have no ability to minimise tax.
            The rest of your envious waffle doesn’t deserve response, but maybe you should get on the Labour Party list as you appear ad useful as most of them.

            • greywarshark 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Crunchy
              Statements of a pompous self-satisfied prick

              [people, dial back the abuse please – weka]

        • Draco T Bastard 6.3.1.2

          I could search for and link to countless comments on this site, official statistics, MSM reports etc referring to increasing suicide numbers.

          That’s irrelevant. We need statistics to show that Lifeline was/is doing a bad job.

          I’m not going to play your little game

          You don’t like it that you got called out on your lie.

          • Crunchy 6.3.1.2.1

            Ok, you win. I’ll accept your assertion that suicide rates are dropping. Is it because lifeline have been doing such a great job, or is it because NZ is in great shape after 9 years of good Govt?

            • srylands 6.3.1.2.1.1

              You are wasting your time with reasoned argument here. It is worth trying for while to remind yourself that nothing has changed. Then move on.

            • Draco T Bastard 6.3.1.2.1.2

              I’ll accept your assertion that suicide rates are dropping. Is it because lifeline have been doing such a great job, or is it because NZ is in great shape after 9 years of good Govt?

              And that would be another lie (I didn’t assert that suicide rates are dropping) followed by a leading question. You really do use a lot of deceit when communicating don’t you?

              Just because some suicide rates are going up doesn’t necessitate that Lifeline are doing a poor job.

              After all, Lifeline only gets involved if the people thinking of committing suicide call them. So, what percentage of people commit suicide after calling Lifeline? Has that rate gone up, down or remained steady?

              The next part is education but there’s a pesky law that prevents any talk about suicide in the public space and so that’s a little difficult.

              You are, quite simply, lying scum.

          • Crunchy 6.3.1.2.2

            So do you assert that stastically proven increases in suicides are due to this Govt?

  7. Ad 7

    This kind of service should be treated the same as ambulances:
    a non-contested fully hospital-integrated service.

    In the inevitable service breakdowns as one provider changes for another, the damage is to actual people.
    Not worth it.

  8. Sacha 8

    Let’s not get carried away in this instance. The contract concerned was not for frontline suicide counselling itself – which Lifeline is still funded for – but to “provide suicide-prevention training to frontline workers”.

    Without more details we cannot compare what Le Va and Lifeline were offering, but there has always been a problem with Pakeha-led services resulting in worse results for Maori and Pasifika people.

    • weka 8.1

      +1

      Also an issue is how much Lifeline depend on that contract to function as an organisation.

      • Sacha 8.1.1

        That seems more likely to be a legit issue – this govt have screwed down admin funding for most organisations in favour of tagged service funding at the cheapest rate they can get – unless its a for-profit contractor, strangely.

    • Crunchy 8.2

      Hi Sacha
      So can you confirm that lifeline is still funded for their core activity?
      Does this mean that Govt funding is actually massively increased, and more targeted to increasingly vulnerable communities?
      Surely the author of this post isn’t bullshitting?

  9. esoteric pineapples 9

    Reading the comments on this from Martin Bradbury at The Daily Blog, it seems that Dr Mary English is very religious and has problems with abortion, gays and feminism. If this is true, then I would wonder if the company who won the contract has a similar perspective, wants to “cure” people of these issues and will be spinning this line when it counsels people.

    • Sabine 9.1

      just pray the suicidal thoughts away.

      Christians for Mammon! all hail the golden cow. Blessed be.

    • weka 9.2

      Mary English is also anti-abortion. I can’t confirm this with a link, but am pretty sure she was a senior figure in SPUC back in the day (pre-internet). There’s enough there to look at conflicts of interest.

  10. Sabine 10

    forced birther and anti mental healthcare.

    great.

  11. patricia bremner 11

    National. Underfund it.
    Say it is failing.
    Bring in your privatised model.
    Publicise losses
    Privatise profits.

    Happens all the time.

    Will be interesting to see what the Jacinda “circuit breaker” offers on mental health.

    I’m “positively certain” it will be better than the above. Cheers!!!!!

  12. SMILIN 12

    couldnt they get a grant from lotto, worthy cause just as important as health education and housing .
    i forgot they dont get anything either because of this neoliberal buy out of our sovereignty
    how long before we officially hear the nz govt is no longer credible in the UN and we are fully taken over either by the US or Australia ?

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    5 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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 ...
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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