More facts on the table

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, July 24th, 2009 - 42 comments
Categories: economy, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

Now, yesterday a couple of righties didn’t want to believe the evidence in front of their eyes that the GDP per person gap between Australia and New Zealand doubled during the neoliberal economic revolution. They got upset at my conclusion that repeating those same policies (which is what Don Brash’s 2025 Taskforce will inevitably recommend) would, therefore, be pretty dumb if the aim is to catch up to Australia’s income levels.

‘Pfff’, they said ‘GDP per capita what’s that? Only the premier measure of the amount of economic activity per person in a country. We refuse to accept that as evidence of the income gap and demand more indicators.’ Well, the advantage of writing for a blog that has been covering these issues in depth for nearly two years, is I can easily oblige:

earnings 450 gap 450

(source: Treasury)


(sources: Aus, NZ)

Now, obviously the wage gap is most pertinent, showing massive growth during the second half of the neoliberal revolution, but the others show how that came about: lower wages in NZ, a lower share of GDP for Kiwi workers. There are plenty more graphs in the archives showing things like how the poorest 40% of Kiwis got poorer in real terms between 1998 and 2001, while they enjoyed the largest percent gains in wealth under Labour, how National let the minimum wage fall, how median hour earnings fell with the introduction of neoliberalism. There’s a real treasure trove in there for anyone looking to get informed – the wages and workers’ rights categories especially.

42 comments on “More facts on the table ”

  1. Ianmac 1

    Brian Easton wrote a few years ago in the Listener, about the savageness of the “adjustments” carried out in the late 80’s and through the 90’s. I think he was saying that the changes were necessary but the associated cuts caused the plunge and because of this the adjustment back to parity never happened. We fell behind and stayed behind. (I’m not any sort of economist but in a simplistic way that makes sense to me. Baby with the Bathwater ….)

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      The reforms were supposed to do that – capitalism requires that most people live at subsistence levels and that a large percentage live below poverty level so that a few (<1%) can live the high life. The reforms set up lower wages so that profits could be higher – there is no other reason for them.

      • Tom Mathews 1.1.1

        “capitalism requires that most people live at subsistence levels ”

        it’s not doing a very good job then… Even if we took away welfare, the amount of people living at subsistence levels in the entirety of the developed world wouldn’t even come close to being a majority. I can’t think of a way for you to possibly salvage that claim – it’s just bizarre.

        • snoozer 1.1.1.1

          Median weekly income is $519 a week – $26,000 a year. Not exactly wealthy.

          And remember that there are 300,000 people on benefits, 500,000 on super, and 300,000 on minimum wage. If capitialism were allowed to run free, if there was no state socialist intervention, all of them would lose most or all of their incomes – and their competition would in turn drag down wages for others.

          You don’t see how nasty capitalism could be because it is partially restrained by socialism. Even so, it’s still pretty nasty – 10% of households (not individuals, households) have an income below $19,000

          (numbers from Stats and MSD)

        • Clarke 1.1.1.2

          You’re ignoring the trans-national effects of globalised capitalism. A large number of people live at subsistence levels so that developed nations can have an affordable coffee, for instance. Or do those people in the Third World not matter?

          • Phil 1.1.1.2.1

            What? I was unaware these people were living in high wage countries until they started selling their coffee to people in developed countries.

            • Clarke 1.1.1.2.1.1

              So is there a specific reason why they should continue to live in poverty, instead of participating in the benefits of globalised capitalism like the rest of us in the West?

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2.1.2

              Actually, they were living comfortably until we screwed things up for them a couple of centuries ago. The problem with colonialism is that it tends to destroy infrastructure and institutions that evolved to work in the local environment.

  2. JustRight 2

    How about you pull out the tradeables sector versus non-tradeables sector in the Labour years. What I suspect you will see is non-tradeables wage growth (ie Government spending on wages) was the only area where Workers incomes as % of GDP grew. The rest of Labour’s policies effectively killed off any growth in the tradeables sector through being inflationary – causing exchange rate issues through higher interest rates.

    • Daveo 2.1

      Ah the EPMU’s 5% in 05 campaign was in the private sector. Ran right through the CTU as well. Same goes for Supersize My Pay. Labour’s minimum wage increases (70% over 9 years I think it was) also mainly benefited the private sector workforce.

      You don’t know what you’re talking about mate.

    • Clarke 2.2

      My cousin works as a farm worker on a dairy farm in the Waikato, and he says his wages went up 30% in the last four years. I think he’s convincingly in the tradeable sector, and I don’t think a single dollar of that increase was due to a Labour government paying teachers and nurses properly.

  3. So Bored 3

    Well done Marty,

    If I was critical yesterday it was because the evidence was not explicit enough to stand up alone, all four graphs start to tell a sorry tale of woe. What you can now expect is for the usual suspects to tell you that despite all evidence to the contrary that the New Right deforms were a success, or that up is down, black is white etc.

    Where the proponents of the Neo Libs may be very correct about the success of their agenda is also evident….their intention was to make the rich richer, and they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. That does not prevent the avaricious tykes wanting even more. And it wont stop the chearleaders of the wealthy from trying to dress this sordid outcome up with spurious justifications.

  4. chris 4

    Nice marty, but I wouldn’t defend GDP too heavily. There are other, much better measures for real economic performance out there than GDP, not that any of the wingnuts proffered for any of them, of course

    • snoozer 4.1

      I like GPI – Geniune Progress Indicator – but Marty’s right that GDP is the premier indicator, it’s got the history, it’s used by everyone and there are robust standards. Of course, it’s just an indicator of economic activity, not standards of living or wealth or utility gained outside the formal economy (from unpaid activities, nature, and black markets.

  5. Mark M 5

    The graph on workers income as % of GDP is interesting but it can be interpreted in several ways .

    You could argue that the period marked current Govt simply shows that New Zealands wages were a greater % of GDP because the economy was stagnant and our wages were growing much faster than the general economy , hence lower productivity ,which I assume is what the treasury secretary was saying this week.

    The Australian graph is probably turning down because there economy has been very sucessful over the last decade and the growth in the economy has far outstripped the growth in wages and is an improvement in productivity.

    The logical conclusion with this graph is if we keep going with the growth in wages as a %of GDP do we eventually get to the point where wages take most of GDP and leave nothing else.

    If so is this good or bad

  6. Zaphod Beeblebrox 6

    Would be interesting to chart productivity of Aust vs NZ during the same period. I think you will find they closely match. Higher wages= a healthier, more educated and qualified workforce, a more motivated workforce with more spending and saving power for your dometic economy.

  7. pantson 7

    I don’t want to get bogged down in jesuit like arguments on both sides of the debate but it irks me to see the lack of economic common sense displayed on both sides of the debate here. I’m not going to “prove” either thesis here, but perhaps point out some of the difficulties making such heroic assumptions as appear above. GDP is ok as a headline indicator but it has a lot of potential traps too – bear in mind what GDP is (apologies to any former 5th former that sat school C economics)

    GDP = C + G + I +(X-M)

    Clearly the components of GDP growth are important. It is obviously very easy for a government to “game” GDP in the short term. Marty your analysis would be more robust if you actually looked at the underlying components of GDP and compared those. The things that really count for the sustainable (lets not try and define that) growth of an economy are firstly I and X, then M, then C and lastly G. But all 5 of those factors have way different lead time effects and efficiency in leading to further, later GDP growth.

    GDP is also widely acknowledged as having some serious shortcomings as a sensible measure of an economy’s progress – sure, a like for like comparison between two countries is less dangerous but ponder these shortcomings:

    GDP
    – does not measure anything to do with quality of life, environmental sustainability
    – makes no prediction of future GDP sustainability
    – adjustments for product or service quality improvement
    – genuine discrimination between real wealth production and wasteful spending (ie building a 100m high gold sheep counts the same as the equivalent amount of milk powder exports)

    There are plenty of other more sensible comparisons to make between the two countries to prove or disprove your point. For instance the comparison I’d like to see is between government spending as a % of GDP (won’t prove anything but would be interesting.) I’d suspect under first 7 of the last 9 years of Labour that would look quite good – but clearly doesn’t prove increased govt spending leads to increased GDP as their are plenty of other independent factors (mostly the global commodity boom) that you need to control for.

    My view on the Labour Govt reforms of the 80’s and the Ruthenasia of the 90s- both were necessary in terms of curing massive structural faults in the NZ economy due to the crazy extreme socialism of Muldoon, but I think we did get carried away with the pace and suddenness of those reforms. And I would also posit that the most important factor in NZD GDP growth in the short to medium term is import demand for commodities from our trading partners. Policy makes bugger all difference in the short term – its a 10 year plus game that should really only have an impact on investment levels..

  8. vto 8

    Dont want to ruin the party marty but you’ve done it again. Those graphs are just more figures. They show no link between the fact of an increase in the gap and the reason for that increase in the gap. They are useless.

    That was the whole point yesterday – nobody doubted the figures showed movements in the gap but plenty doubted your claimed reasons for those movements.

    You said those movements were all due to the neo-lib policies. When it was suggested that various other factors can influence it, such as labour govt response to 87 sharemarket crash, or winston peters, or a weather event etc, you scoffed and said no no no it was all caused by the neo-libs, the lot of it.

    But then, later, on the “Show Pony” thread you said “there was a drought, a bursting housing bubble, a global spike in oil and food prices in the first half last year. They caused the recession, not Labour.”

    .. so which one is it marty?

    And now today you post up another bunch of grapes, I mean graphs, which are exatly the same as yesterday’s in their uselessness. They show no link between the gap and its reason.

    • vto 8.1

      marty, I’ve put the above to you three times now and you have not provided even an attempt at an answer. On your own threads.

      I will take that as an admission of uselessness.

      sharpen up.

      • Pascal's bookie 8.1.1

        Could be he’s looking away out of politeness.

        • felix 8.1.1.1

          awwwkward….

          • RedLogix 8.1.1.1.1

            vto,

            If the graphs showed completely different results that confirmed what you believed, you would be chortling on about how wonderful they were.

            Instead Marty has done the work to give you four different ways to measure the trans-Tasman wage gap… and you literally stick your fingers in your ears and go nahnahnaha.

            • Tim Ellis 8.1.1.1.1.1

              The graphs don’t show any causative relationship though, Red. As VTO has pointed out, they don’t show any of the global or domestic events that may affect different economies differently.

              Marty used these graphs in order to prove a political point. Yes a lot of people do this, to prove a political point, but let’s not mistake it for rigorous economic analysis.

            • felix 8.1.1.1.1.2

              Marty took a bunch of stats and formed a hypothesis from some of the patterns he found.

              Tim has an alternate hypothesis which better explains said patterns and I’m sure he’ll tell us when he’s good and ready.

              There you go Tim, don’t say I never stick up for you.

              edit: I see Tim has already been asked for his hypothesis below. Shouldn’t be far off, he’s nothing if not a diligent worker.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    Marty, your own data demonstrates that the widest the wage gap has ever been has been under the previous Labour Government.

  10. RedLogix 10

    The graphs don’t show any causative relationship though

    Data is never the same as ‘causitive effect’, rather the ‘rational scientific method’ depends on using data as evidence to support the hypothesis of one.

    New Zealand notoriously implemented the most radical and searing version of hard-right neoliberal economics, policies that were unquestionably the dominant driver of social change in this country during the period under discussion.

    And by golly gosh these graphs demonstrate the results. From which Marty and others have drawn the fairly obvious and quite reasonable hypothesis that neo-liberal economics does not work as advertised.

    The problem is not with the data, it is simply that you do not want to believe the causitive hypothesis we are making. That’s fine, just say so. But I’m going to stick with my view unless and until you can propose a better, more convincing hypothesis that fits the data.

  11. Tim Ellis 11

    And by golly gosh these graphs demonstrate the results. From which Marty and others have drawn the fairly obvious and quite reasonable hypothesis that neo-liberal economics does not work as advertised.

    I don’t think it’s an obvious or quite reasonable hypothesis redlogix.

    Government policy is only one of many factors in overall economic performance. If government policy were the only factor, and if the economic consequences of government policy changes were immediate and direct, then yes you could probably come up with a pretty graph that could be used as reliable causative relationships between government policy and economic performance.

    I think you would be stretching to suggest this is the case.

    Secondly as vto has pointed out, the major contradiction in marty’s argument is that he accepts that there are other major economic factors in play to explain times of low growth under a Labour government, yet attributes all of the low growth periods under a National government to government policy. It doesn’t matter what side of the debate you’re on. That position really isn’t sustainable.

    • RedLogix 11.1

      I don’t think it’s an obvious or quite reasonable hypothesis

      Great. I can see why because it contradicts what you believe. So what alternative hypothesis do you propose?

      • Tim Ellis 11.1.1

        Yes it contradicts with what I believe but that was not the point I was making Red. Go and read my comment again.

  12. pantson 12

    The problem is that Marty is clearly not an economist (or if he is he went to Waikato university 🙂 ) and his arguments/evidence in this case particularly are so general as to be irrelevant – as further evidence I suggest his post ‘Frontline’ cut for phantom savings’ as well as perhaps the best example of dodgy economic analysis.

    There may well be an effect here as he claims but the data he shows does not come close to proving it either way. Both sides of the debate can “prove” their point based on the above graph. Look to productivity measures, real investment levels, control for govt spending growth and allow for existing structural differences in the make up of each economy. Then you might be getting somewhere. If you do want a facile, easily digested data series to compare and contrast – that is slightly relevant and objective than GDP – look at after tax, private sector, average wage growth adjusted for inflation.

    • RedLogix 12.1

      Great. So if you are such a competent economist I look forward to your non-facile (but still easily digested please) contribution to the debate.

      • Tim Ellis 12.1.1

        The guts of it is Red that if you were to do an analysis of the drivers of economic growth in Australia over the last twenty years, they may be very different drivers as have been experienced in New Zealand over the same period.

        Some of the drivers will be short term and localised (local drought, apple moth affecting exports of one product to a couple of markets, dairy prices boom, mineral prices boom, etc). Other drivers may have longer-term consequences (stability of the banking system, capacity for ongoing, sustainable growth in key sectors, exchange rate volatility, etc). Some of the drivers will affect different economies completely differently.

        Marty seems to accept that there are many drivers and factors that have different kinds of impact on economic performance to explain away poor performance during a Labour government. He doesn’t accept that government policy is just one of many factors driving economic performance under a National Government.

        • RedLogix 12.1.1.1

          I’m short on time right now Tim, so I haven’t got any data to point to, but from memory Australia and New Zealand generally tracked each other for many decades right through the 20th century. This suggests that whatever the different ‘drivers’ on their respective economies that you allude to… overall both economies tended to behave fairly similarly.

          The big divergence happened when NZ went down the neo-liberal track, and Australia didn’t.

          Unfortunately the data series Marty has given doesn’t go back far enough to demonstrate my point. Maybe later.

        • r0b 12.1.1.2

          Redlogix: And by golly gosh these graphs demonstrate the results. From which Marty and others have drawn the fairly obvious and quite reasonable hypothesis that neo-liberal economics does not work as advertised.

          Tim: I don’t think it’s an obvious or quite reasonable hypothesis redlogix.

          Don’t be daft Tim. It’s so obvious and reasonable that it’s the broadly accepted explanation. What you mean is that you don’t agree with it.

          Tim: Yes it contradicts with what I believe

          See, that’s what you really mean.

          Government policy is only one of many factors in overall economic performance.

          So I’ll join the chorus asking you to identify those other factors that were more significant than neoliberal government policy and the massive social reorganisation that it caused, and happened to exactly correspond to the same timeframe as our neoliberal governments of the 80’s and 90’s. What were those more significant factors Tim?

          If you can’t identify them your continued adherence to counterfactual beliefs is rather worrying don’t you think?

          • Tim Ellis 12.1.1.2.1

            I hate to disappoint you, but it’s not a chorus r0b. It’s a solo. Yours is the only voice and it’s out of tune.

            • r0b 12.1.1.2.1.1

              Your reply was everything I expected it to be Tim.

            • felix 12.1.1.2.1.2

              Come on Timmeh, time to shit or get off the pot.

              What were the other factors which are more important than those identified by Marty’s hypothesis?

              No more fucking around please.

  13. pantson 13

    Red – I told you where to look – what else do you want? Show some entrepreneurial spirit rather than waiting for a free hand out.

    If I’m going to write research (which I do) I’ll continue to do it in the forum where I get paid for it…….

    • RedLogix 13.1

      It was you making the claim that the ‘after tax, private sector, average wage growth adjusted for inflation’ data series was relevant … so put up or shut up.

      Besides, it is you who is the competent, non-Waikato U qualified economist.

  14. pantson 14

    Thank you for calling me competent and correctly assessing I did not go to Waikato. Look, I’m not trying to start a war here – I think I have been very helpful. I haven’t focussed on what the right answer is – to be honest I don’t know as I haven’t researched it myself or read other research. What I have done in a long post is point out why GDP is a flawed measure for some purposes. And I have pointed out a reasonable, easily found data source that will provide some better insight into the hypothesis Marty made. It may well provide additional support to his hypothesis – I don’t know. But just because someone has the “correct” ideological viewpoint doesn’t mean their analysis will be foolproof, as it clearly is not in this case and many other Marty cases.

    If I were to try and prove/disprove Marty’s hypothesis I would plan on spending a not inconsiderable amount of time reviewing literature and about the same time again analysing data and writing it up. And quite frankly, I’d rather go and sort the garden out on a remarkably pleasant weekend (for a change). But I would urge you to spend some time digging into data and posting a more defensible view (whatever it is) than the crapola above.

  15. Anthony Karinski 15

    Nothing new in this really. Same thing happened in the former USSR states in the early 90’s. Russia went free market deluxe under Jeltsin, orchestrated by American economists who oversaw the fire sale privatisation. GDP, unemployment, crime, social ills – you name it took a massive turn for the worse. In fact Russia has just recently gotten back into the same GDP figures as they had before the iron curtain dropped. As for NZ, the ordinary men and women in the streets of Moscow didn’t like the reforms much and thus we now have strongmen like Putin who for better or worse stamped his authority on the country and wrestled back some control over the economy.

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    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    4 days ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    5 days ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    6 days ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    6 days ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    7 days ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    7 days ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    1 week ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    1 week ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    1 week ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago

  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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