Man for all seasons – book review

Written By: - Date published: 8:42 pm, November 7th, 2010 - 12 comments
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“Man for all Seasons” is the title of David Grant’s authorised biography of Ken Douglas ONZ. The choice of title puzzled me – “A Man for all Seasons” is the title of Robert Bolt’s award-winning play about Sir (later Saint) Thomas More, whose refusal to endorse Henry VIII’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon led him inexorably to the scaffold. The original comment about More’s conviviality was made by one of his contemporaries. Both More and Douglas were showered with honours by the rulers of their time, but by contrast with the uxorious More, Grant’s book makes clear that when it came to relationships with women Douglas was no saint. As for constancy of principle, while More always knew his steadfast courage would cost him his life, Grant reports that Employers Federation President Steve Marshall’s summary verdict on Douglas was that “Ken won’t die in a ditch.”

David Grant is at pains to point out that he has aimed for a “warts-and-all” biography. He is a prolific historian, including a recent history of the Titahi Bay Golf Club, where Douglas was long-term President, and this is his first biography. Ken Douglas is an engaging, interesting, powerful and sometimes mesmerising personality, but I think Grant’s book also has a tinge of “warts-and-all” hagiography. For example, on the first page after summarising the complexities of Douglas’ character and the apparent paradoxes of his life, his critics are dismissed as “emotional” without elaboration or explanation. This is ironic as the book subsequently makes clear that Douglas’ crucial decisions and choices were by his own admission based on emotion – from a “kick in the guts” from his unionist grandfather at the start of his career, to his decision to join the communist party because of his opposition to racism in rugby.

The danger with rose-tinted biography is that it can lead to air-brushed history. One is struck by the relative absence of comment or alternative viewpoints from most of Douglas’ union contemporaries, in contrast to the profusion of those from his later time on boards and councils. Some of the key union leaders such as Bill Andersen and Pat Kelly, with whom Douglas clashed, are no longer with us. But there are many others with whom he worked who are still here. I would have liked to have heard more of their views, as they could have made for a more rounded picture. Besides the lack of contemporaries’ comment, the book has many basic errors of fact.

In his summing-up, the author states that Douglas’ reputation is ultimately based on his role as a central leader in the union movement over the last quarter of the twentieth century, and it is on this that he should be remembered. Based on the loss of members and bargaining strength in unions at the time Grant says “many have argued that Douglas was a failure. But this is short-sighted. Many of the key factors were outside his control.” He goes on to give his own verdict. “In evolutionary terms, Douglas was the ideal man for the times – with the ability, perspicacity and thick skin needed to act as the conduit between the old-style ‘factory floor’ unionism of Skinner and Knox and the more complex requirements of his university-educated successors in a more sophisticated technology-based workplace and deregulated labour market.”

Nobody – well almost nobody – in the union movement would ever have wanted Ken Douglas to die in a ditch; but in my view the critical question is to assess how well he fought from the ditch in the interests of working people; or as he would have put it, how well he defended the class interest. In particular, how did he handle the issues that were under his control. The strategic role of unions was the basic issue played out over Douglas’ time at the head of the movement. His ambition was clear and frequently and powerfully articulated – he saw unions and particularly the central union organisation as full partners with government and employers in setting the country’s economic and social direction. Two things however are important to make the connection between ambition and achievement; firstly choices made at critical conjunctures, and secondly leadership style.

It is often the early choices that are the most crucial. One such was Douglas’s decision in the mid-1980’s to remain as Secretary of the Federation of Labour under Jim’s Knox’s presidency, instead of taking up the presidency himself and bringing in Rob Campbell as Secretary. That had been Campbell’s understanding and expectation. I was the Labour Party’s Trade Union liaison officer at the time and was in Campbell’s office in the FoL building the day he was given the news. I can still remember the look on his face, part hurt, mostly anger, when he told me – he clearly felt a promise had been broken.

Looking back I think that Douglas’ decision proved to be a major setback to union influence for the Federation of Labour. Campbell and Alf Kirk, who was working for the FoL, had produced a blueprint for a negotiated approach to wage bargaining in their book “After the Freeze”. In Australia, The ACTU had established an Accord with the Hawke Labor government in 1983, trading moderated wage adjustments for benefits in wider economic and social policy. Arguably it was one of the major reasons why the 1980’s adjustment in Australia was so much more successful than that in New Zealand. There had been some efforts to come to a similar arrangement with New Zealand Labour before the 1984 election, and Grant states that it lapsed because it was opposed by Stan Rodger. Hugh Oliver’s research, reported in Brian Easton’s “Rise of Rogernomics”, showed that this was because Labour M.P.s did not think that the FoL leadership could deliver on an accord. Had Campbell been promoted to work alongside Douglas, his ideas and energy along with others such as Rex Jones of the Engineers, Rick Barker of the Hotel Workers and Peter Harris in the PSA would have produced a powerful leadership cluster that could have laid that criticism to rest.

Douglas’ justification for this decision is that he was opposed to personality leadership along the lines of Muldoonism and Rogernomics; presumably that he saved the Fol and later CTU from “Campbellism”. Whatever the truth of this, the FoL at the time certainly became stalled in its search for influence, and the fight against labour market deregulation was led by the Labour-affiliated unions. The lack of respect for the FoL lasted well into the Fourth Labour government. Grant quotes Denis Welch’s account of Knox’s address to the 1986 Labour Party conference (mistakenly describing it as the FoL’s conference). “Some delegates even heckle him – this man who once commanded the rapt attention of Labour audiences on the strength of his mispronunciations alone. The hecklers include certain MPs and at least two of them decline to stand in the obligatory standing ovation.” Knox did not deserve to go out like this either. Grant concludes his account of this episode, which clearly remains sensitive for his subject, by recording Campbell’s later career as a businessman, the implication being that he was not proper unionist. I think that is unfair; along with Peter Harris of the PSA, Campbell led the early fight against Rogernomics in the Labour Party economic debates. And after all, one of the paradoxes Grant set out to explore was Douglas’ progression from barricade to bargaining table to boardroom – it could be argued that Douglas just took longer.

Another crucial choice involving a Campbell is not recorded in the book. In the late 1980’s George Campbell, then Secretary of the Australian Metals Union, and later Labor Senator, came to New Zealand with the specific intention of trying to persuade Douglas to join the New Zealand Labour Party. The Australians had a strategic trans-Tasman view, and were looking for trans-Tasman labour movement convergence. They also understood the corrosive effect of sectarian left politics; their factional battles were fought inside the Labor Party. He made the pitch at a private dinner in what is now the Duxton Hotel; in the end nothing came of it. Douglas stayed with the SUP. That decision too had some significant consequences. Douglas’ preference for sectarian left politics meant that he did not have the sort of wider political connection at the time that might have made his ambition possible.

For example  I don’t think Douglas understood what Lange’s offer of the so-called “compact’, made shortly after the Labour Party conference in 1988, was really about. Ken Douglas thought the unions had finally been given their place at the tripartite table; whereas Lange, who had just given Roger Douglas his dismissal notice, was looking for union support for his stand. Had effort been put into support inside the Labour Party for Lange’s fundamental change of tack rather than into convincing sceptical unions to sign on to the compact its subsequent history might have been very different. After Lange’s later resignation compact negotiations drifted along without any real commitment from government, and with employers sitting on their hands. It’s sole outcome a year or so later of a two percent wage movement in return for moderation of interest rates, suggested by Mike Moore just before Labour’s landslide defeat, was a triumph of hope over expectation and in the end no victory for workers. To his credit, Douglas later admitted he had been too slow to move; and certainly his later support for Helen Clark within the Labour party was highly valued.

The second issue of Douglas’ leadership style is more fundamental. Union leaders are ultimately only as influential as their connection with an organised membership. Douglas gained his spurs and made his reputation in the Drivers’ Union, where mentor Chip Bailey had set up the delegate structures where issues were debated directly with the membership. Over time Douglas’ leadership grew more distant from union members, and was exercised through committee and conference as well as his influence over individual union leaders. In the time I knew him from the mid 1980’s I always thought of him as a top table man; confident in his own opinion, able to manage upwards with considerable skill.

This disjunction from union members became crucial when the National government launched its attack on unions in 1990 with the Employment Contracts Act. As Grant outlines, Douglas was desperate to maintain a relationship with the Jim Bolger and the National government, on the basis of the fragile compact arrangement. But such relationships need member understanding and commitment to be effective. This is where the criticism of Douglas’ response to the Employment Contracts Act is pertinent. Unions such as the Engineers had worked on their strategies to cope with the anticipated attack on unions’ bargaining and organising rights, but for many less well-prepared unions the attack was devastating. A call to arms was important for member morale; but when emotion was needed, Douglas the emotional leader did not take the opportunity.

The internal debate in the union movement about leadership style ran right through the 1990’s. Summarised, it could be described as bottom-up organising versus top-table lobbying. At one extreme, it led to a split with the emergence of the WCL-influenced alternative trade union centre, the Trade Union Federation, which was also sectarian but more inclined to class conflict than collaboration. On the other side, the lobbying approach manifested itself in the CTU’s appeal against the Employment Contracts Act to the world’s last bastion of tripartism, the ILO.

In the end, the unions who favoured an organising approach did their own thing, and took their own initiative without reference to the CTU. They formed a loose alliance across both union centres and ran a fightback campaign against the National Government’s attempt to strengthen the Employment Contracts Act after 1996. The campaign focussed on the National government’s proposition to allow the contracting out of holiday entitlements by cashing them up. The campaign was symbolised by a widely-distributed 1997 Christmas card saying “Max (Bradford) wants to take your holiday.” Nationwide demonstrations supported by skilled lobbying resulted in New Zealand First playing a key parliamentary role along with Labour and the Greens in preventing any further anti-worker legislative change. There is nothing of this story in Grant’s book, which is why in my view it takes an airbrush to the history of the period.

Around this time unions also called for a review of the CTU. They wanted an organising centre, and Douglas was not the man to lead that. He had become increasingly isolated from ordinary members, seeking solace in the sporting clubs where as Grant says he felt safe. He had also turned his attention through the nineties to the wider union world, where he did play a prominent and widely appreciated role. Before he was farewelled from the CTU, Douglas had succeeded in becoming elected to the Porirua City Council. The last part of the book describes his subsequent career as a widely-respected member of a number of boards and Councils. Without exception, the tributes are generous and warm as well as thoroughly well-deserved. It is as though he has finally found his true metier where the insights drawn from his enquiring mind, breadth of vision and vast experience of the world  are not hindered by the politics of organisational delivery.

So back to the title – Man for all seasons? The only clue as to why Grant chose the title comes when he refers to Douglas’ chameleon tendencies which means he wasn’t referring to constancy. As for conviviality, Douglas was definitely a clubman for all seasons. Whether it was rugby, cricket, softball or golf; in summer or winter or in between, his contribution was and still is enormous. However I think the best description for him is one he gave to himself. After he had finally joined the Labour Party but missed selection for the Porirua council he stood as Independent Labour. He was always really Labour, and definitely  always independent; while he always gave it a go, it wasn’t always easy to put the two together.

I think Grant’s  description of Ken Douglas as the bridge between “cloth-cap unionism and the university-educated leaders of the present” takes too big a leap. It elides too much and also does not do justice to the many other people through the period who also came from the shop floor, also came up with ideas, organised and inspired, and in the end won the battles on the ground that ultimately led to the repeal of the Employment Contracts Act by the fifth Labour government and that laid the groundwork for a modern union movement. Grant’s book is a  fascinating if challenging read, but in my view it should not be regarded as definitive for the history of the achievements of the union movement throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Many other heroes of the period remain unsung, and the full story still untold.

12 comments on “Man for all seasons – book review”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Thoughtful piece/review Mike. KGD is the classic embodiment of the rough working class axiom “did he go bad, or was he always”. This guy went from self proclaimed marxist to helping derail mass resistance to the Emploment Contracts Bill, seeming incredibly, to believe tri-partism could work with a union hostile government. It is likely Douglas did join the Labour Party in the above time frame, but as a ‘secret’ or non public member. He had two pressing tasks before being more publicly associated with the NZLP:
    a) to leave the SUP (NZ Socialist Unity Party) in a non viable state, and definitely not able to be handed over to GH Andersen. (This was accomplished relatively simply by his supporting the ANZAC frigate programme at the ’88 SUP national conference which soon enough caused the desired party split).
    b) effect the switchover from the SUP to the LP as ‘house’ political party of the official union movement.

    I have never forgotten at Jim Knox’s memorial service at the Auckland Trade Union Centre, aging ’51 lockout leader Jock Barnes lambasting Douglas in a most forthright verging on abusive manner on his (KGD’s) personal and the NZCTU’s failings. But Jock just said what the several hundred present, in their hearts knew to be true.

  2. SHG 2

    That’s not a book review.

  3. The Voice of Reason 3

    Excellent review, Mike. I’ve known Ken Douglas since about 1980 and have bumped into him at the occasional work or social do since then. It’s always been good catching up with him and he’s still a great raconteur and wit. Your review helps put a few things in perspective for me and certainly makes me want to add the book to the Xmas reading list. Few of us live a long life without making mistakes and I for one would never characterise Ken as crook in any way, and certainly not on the take as it turns out the senior leadership of the CPNZ were, but he clearly took a direction in the last twenty years that surprised and disappointed a lot of people.

    His emotional or gut instinct decision making was the major contrast for me between him and Bill Andersen. GH was far more analytical, measured and strategic in his planning, but that also left him occasionally inflexible.* Douglas was possibly more in tune with where the NZ economy and therefore its workforce were going in the nineties, but that doesn’t make his slide into social democracy and eventually the board room any more palatable.

    * ‘occasionally inflexible’. A wee joke there for ya, TM ; )

    • Tiger Mountain 3.1

      “in the situation” TVoR, heh.

    • David 3.2

      “not on the take as it turns out the senior leadership of the CPNZ were”

      Interesting comment. Care to elaborate?

      • The Voice of Reason 3.2.1

        Happy to, David.

        It came out a few years ago that the SIS had put one of the CPNZ leaders on the payroll for a decade or more after he got into financial strife and was easily compromised. At the time of his exposure as a grass, I believe he was Party president, but it might have been secretary. He admitted taking cash for passing on info and it was widely reported in the press at the time.

        The name escapes me, but no doubt Trevor Louden’s New Zeal website* will have the details or you could look it up on Google. Looking at my comment again, I should have said ‘one of the leadership’ not tarred them all with the same brush, so sorry to any sensitive Stalinists upset by my linguistic innacuracy.

        *Trev says some very unflattering things about me, too, which is very encouraging!

        • Tiger Mountain 3.2.1.1

          TVoR-Sid Scott, Vic Wilcox? There is one documented case of CP turncoating-jazz muso George Fraser who was employed in the 50s intially by “Special Branch” of the police and then handed over to the fledgling SIS. Fraser worked at NZBC and narked for about 10 years. He confirmed the old tale about a wire to the Auckland ‘Bacon’ station from the St Kevins arcade CP office. His 1995 book “Seeing Red”, The Dunmore Press, ISBN 0 86469 255 2, tells the tale. Funny thing after fleeing to the US the SIS dropped him and he returned to NZ and went public long after many cared and participated in the campaign against the SIS Ammendment Bill 1977. Still awake?

          To the whingers: it is not compulsory to read anything on this fine blog that others pay for and maintain.

          • The Voice of Reason 3.2.1.1.1

            More recent, TM. I think it came out when the SIS started opening their files a couple of years ago and somebody got their own file and put two and two together. I wish I could remember the name, but it wasn’t anybody I knew, so it obviously didn’t stick in the memory. But it’s unfair on the others who were dinkum, so I’ll have a hunt tonight and see what I can find out.

  4. Swampy 4

    There are better things to read on this blog than someone using a “book review” as an exercise in revisionist history that no one is interedsted in. You could no t get this “review” published in any newspaper

    • felix 4.1

      “You could no t get this “review” published in any newspaper”

      So what? it’s already published on a very popular website.

      • lprent 4.1.1

        Yeah, our ‘circulation’ is probably outperforming quite a lot of the minor newspapers now. It is certainly intensively read looking at the server traffic.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.2

        it’s already published on a very popular website.

        Accessible for free, exposes the slackness of the MSM and which doesn’t send profits to Murdoch and his ilk. Must burn huh, Swampy.

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  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks ago

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