Mythbusting: Largest party must govern

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, November 4th, 2008 - 46 comments
Categories: election 2008 - Tags:

Because the polls are showing a Labour, Greens, Progressives, Maori alliance could govern, National is crying that the largest party has some kind of ‘moral mandate’ to govern. Much as the cricket team which has the highest individual run scorer has the moral mandate to win the game, I guess. Back in the real world, though, it is common for governments in countries that use proportional representation to not include the largest party.

In the last 12 elections in the Netherlands, 3 have not included the largest party (the left-wing Workers’ Party)

The Social Democrats are the largest party in the Swedish Parliament but the right-wing Alliance for Sweden, led by the Moderate Party, governs. This was such an unexceptional event in Sweden that the Moderates and their allies declared victory within three hours of the results coming in and the leader of the Social Democrats resigned at the same time with nary a whimper about moral mandates.

In Germany, right-wing coalitions governed despite the Social Democrats being the largest party in 1949, 1965, 1982, 1983, 1987, and 1994.

In Austria in 2002, the major right-wing party won the most votes but the Social Democrats governed with the far-right party.

I could go on, but the point is this: the will of the people is what matters in a democracy and when the people have voted for a bloc of parties that can work together and command the confidence of Parliament that bloc is the legitimate government. National would have no moral mandate to govern when a majority of people had voted for parties that oppose, or are expected to oppose, National.

46 comments on “Mythbusting: Largest party must govern ”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Just out of interest which of those countries have an MMP (or other proportional system)

  2. 08wire 2

    Well said and well researched, Steve. Nice job. I especially like the line about the cricket teams!

    (Although if we ever get to the point of having an 11-party coalition, then something will have gone seriously awry somewhere…)

  3. 08wire 3

    HS – The answer to that question is “all of them.” It is worth noting, in addition, that FPP-type systems cannot be relied on to have the most popular party win, either. They even have the most popular **movement** lose from time to time. Just ask Al Gore, or the New Zealand Labour Party circa 1978 and 1981.

  4. Daveski 4

    “the will of the people”

    How cute. The problem with MMP is that there is no such thing. It is the will of the parties and one of the reasons there is a backlash – from some – against MMP.

    Rest assured that should Labour have had the largest single bloc of votes, we could have expected quite a different analysis.

    Even so, as I’ve admitted before, I’ve rarely agreed with SP but in most occasions he attempts to provide some rationale for doing so (except for when it comes to “Aunty”* Helen’s performance on TV debates).

    * Helen herself referred to “Aunty” Helen with respect to the PI vote. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  5. NeillR 5

    SP, it’s not going to matter. The only question will be whether National chooses to take others into government with them, they are that far ahead.

  6. randal 6

    ah SP natoinal is just trying to run a conspiracy theory line for the uneducated and gullible among its supporters.
    you know the one.
    12 is a dozen.
    6 is half a dozen so where is the other half and why wont you tell us.
    when you look at the zoobies that Natoinal lines up for its photo ops around the place its no wonder that the most simplest parts of our constitiution are mangled and twisted out of shape so the dum dums can have something to get annoyed about and feel aggrieved about and hard done by because they are to stupid to do any thinking on the matter
    doh!

  7. Daveski. you’re out of touch. People refer to Clark as Aunty Helen with affection throughout the Maori and Pacific communities. You might not know that in many Polynesian languages the words for aunt and uncle are not limited to blood, they can refer to any respected person, just as the word brother extends to cousins and other friends.

    Clark is referred to as Aunty Helen because she has dedicated her life to improving the lives of people including Pacific Islanders and she has delivered.

  8. Daveski. I never relied on some mythical moral mandate to oppose National’s attempts to form a government as the second largest party after the 2005 election. Why would I?

  9. yl 9

    Sorry to thread jack, but…

    The books are 800mil in the red. This is 1.7bil better then forecasts thought. Looks like Don Brash was correct a few weeks back when he said that the New Zealand economy is in one of the best positions to get through this eco crisis

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/vote08/4749560a28435.html

  10. Razorlight 10

    SP

    I may be wrong but I can’t find a direct quote from any member of National, as you so eloquently put it “crying that the largest party has some kind of ‘moral mandate’ to govern”. I would be interested to hear which candidate has cried this. I don’t think there are any but am happy to be corrected.

    But here is my bleat. If the right block with 51 % of the vote misses out to the left block on 49% due to a the MP using their 7 seat overhang to give Helen a 4th term there will be alot more than crying. That will, in my opinion, be the end of MMP

    [crying is just tears, its extolling forcefully, it’s also being whinging little boy because the rules aren’t what you want them to be. The scenario of Right 51%, Left 49% is not the one that Key is refering to when he talks about the largest party having a moral mandate to govern. In your scenario, the Right is the largest bloc and you haven’t specified which bloc contains the largest party because its irrelevant. SP]

  11. Daveski 11

    SP – my comment was in reference to Helen’s use of it, not the community’s. That’s the bit I struggled with.

    Good point re 2005 so I withdraw my comment.

    I do think the “will of the people” is overstated in MMP. STV would be my preference now which would seem to take some of the powers away from the party and restore a bit more natural balance.

    I think your broader argument is pretty accurate ie NZer’s still think alone the lines of FPP. Having said that, Key and/or his strategists appear finally to have understood MMP and that’s one of the reasons Labour is struggling as much as it is.

  12. higherstandard 12

    RL

    I don’t think that will happen – much as I personally would like to see the Maori party tale all their sets it looks as though Parekura and Nania will both hold their seats.

    Despite that I still think that many are taking as a given that the Maori party will only support a Labour led government which is taking too much for granted.

  13. Ianmac 13

    Some have argued that the biggest party get to choose first, but they all mix and match until one bloc has a majority to take to the Governor General.
    It is conceivable that there could be a dead heat and I suppose there would have to be a new election and Labour would carry on in the interim. And show how to manage a recession.

  14. randal 14

    razorlight you are entitled to your opinion but I dont think its worth jack.
    the whole system is not going to change just because of an overhang in one election
    if you think it is then you are having obvious delusions along with the rest of the natoinal party who it seems are already looking for a grievance now that they know which way the wind is gonna blow
    hehehehe

  15. I worked on STV. I don’t like it. There is no guarantee of proportionality and the results are actually the same most of the time as using FPP (assuming a 1 equates to a tick)

    Look at Australia, essentially a two party system and STV for the Senate has devolved into essentially a list system where you specify your favourite party and they allocate their preferred order of candidates.

    Having studied electoral systems at uni and professionally, I think MMP is the best one going (which is not to say its perfect). That’s why the Royal Commission recommended it and more countries are adopting it or its cousins

  16. Razorlight 16

    HS

    Agreed that it is unlikely. But the fact remains. To win the treasury benches you will need more than 61 seats.

    Is that the intention of MMP?

    My idea of proportional representation is if you can command 51% support you should have the right to govern. Under MMP this is not the reality.

  17. randal 17

    the intention of MMP is to elect a parliament. the parliament will then form a government
    it is far less complicated than the american electoral college and will produce a popular government no matter who has any clever ideas that dont mean very much in the wider scheme of things

  18. Razorlight 18

    And who from National has publicly said that the party with the largest vote should have the right to form a government.

    I still can’t find anyone who has said that, but then again I was wrong with something in 1986 as well

    [John Key has repeatedly stated that National would have a moral mandate to govern if it wins the most votes and minor parties should follow that. There are numerous articles on it, google ‘moral mandate john key’. SP]

  19. cocamc 19

    yl – how do you read that. The article says the forecast was for 943m surplus so $1.7 billion reversal.
    This is worse. company tax take down. tax adjustments are due to accruals

  20. Vinsin 20

    Razorlight
    I think you’re dreaming if you think the right bloc is going to get 51% – they’ll get close, maybe 48, maybe 49%. But i think you’ll find on election night that their numbers just aren’t there. In 2005 national were polling around 45% – 49% in most polls and still looked unable – and unwilling – to form a coalition, they ended up getting far less as we all know. The news be it Tv3, Tv one, Herald, the dominion post, all need Polls to add some kind of weight to their particular brand of political entertainment; however the polls are nowhere near a bankable representation of how things will turn out on November the 8th.

  21. Ari 21

    One thing that strikes me as missing is that the situation being described is much like how Helen Clark didn’t have any moral mandate to govern when Don Brash was also trying to form a government. A stronger bargaining position, maybe… Do any of your recall anyone kicking up a fuss about that? I certainly don’t, so it seems incredibly opportunist for it to start now.

    How cute. The problem with MMP is that there is no such thing. It is the will of the parties and one of the reasons there is a backlash – from some – against MMP.

    How very cute. Listen, the parties recieve a mandate from the electorate in direct proportion to their number of party votes. If the electorate is not demanding enough information to make good decisions based on who can work together, then we’re merely reaping what we’ve sown if unexpected coalitions happen. Yes, the parties can override the will of the people- but understand that it’s a calculating risk every time they try.

    As for dissatisfaction with MMP- I’ve yet to see any evidence of widespread disfavour. It seems to be isolated to core National and Act supporters in my experience, although I’m open to the possibility that I just have a very pro-MMP circle of acquaintances.

  22. Chuck 22

    I’m not saying it was you, Steve, but a lot of people on the left were aghast that George W Bush claimed victory in 2000, and considered his victory tainted and Al Gore the rightful president – solely because Gore did better in the (meaningless) national popular vote.

  23. bill brown 23

    Re: dissatisfaction with MMP. Pundit quotes a study that shows voters who have only voted MMP are very much less inclined to get rid of it.

  24. randal 24

    and John Keys and his natoinal party are still lying through their teeth about anything and everything
    what a cynical view to have of the people of new zealand that they are prepared to just flat out lie almost all the time

  25. Lew 25

    Razorlight: For documentary evidence, here’s audio of John Key saying National would have `strong presumption of a moral mandate’ to lead a government: http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20081027-0706-United_Future_Rules_Out_Talks_With_Labour_After_Election.ogg

    L

    Captcha: `CLOSE disaster’

  26. Vanilla Eis 26

    Chuck: there was a delightful article in the NY Times last week about how it would be possible to win the presidency with 26% of the popular vote, assuming every eligible voter in the country participated. I’m at work so can’t find it easily, but I’m sure you can find it.

    The US does not have a proper democracy, at least not like they think they do.

    And as far as Al Gore went, it was more a case of the Supreme Court ordering the Florida recount to halt, thereby preventing knowing who actually won the election as at the time Bush was possibly ahead by mere hundreds of votes in a state where millions voted. I believe there were multiple counts going on, and some put Bush ahead, some Gore. Are you certain that Bush was the rightful President, considering that Florida may not have voted in his favour?

  27. Lew 27

    Chuck: I spend a fair bit of time (to the dismay of some of my good friends) defending the 2000 US presidential election result on these grounds – while there were shenanigans, they were legitimate shenanigans conducted by those constitutionally authorised to conduct such shenanigans. That result was a strong argument for electoral law reform, but a lot of people (on both sides) seem to want to take it and instances like it as reason to throw out the rule of law when it doesn’t suit them. Can’t happen.

    L

  28. Lew 28

    Vanilla Eis: Are you certain that Bush was the rightful President, considering that Florida may not have voted in his favour?

    Yes, because the SCOTUS (never mind the fact it was stacked by Bush Sr) is the body charged with determining the lawfulness or otherwise of a recount, and they duly did so.

    You can argue that morally Gore should have won, but that’s different from arguing that electorally he didn’t win, which isn’t a plausible position.

    L

  29. Lew 29

    Razorlight: My idea of proportional representation is if you can command 51% support you should have the right to govern. Under MMP this is not the reality.

    Under MMP it almost always is the reality. The overhang plays a small (but potentially critical) amount of merry hell with that, but it’s not yet happened, and may not yet happen. In any case, it’s not an argument for scrapping MMP – it’s an argument for modifying it in order to minimise the overhang.

    L

  30. randal 30

    dont talk sense lew
    otherwise the drongos will have nothing to get aggrieved and hard done by about after they get a kick on saturday
    oh god. i’ve got a ute and go pig hunting but no one understands me
    bwah bwah hah

  31. NeillR 31

    Does Labour use a proportional system for electing its candidates? If not, why not?

  32. Lew 32

    NeillR: That’s an idiotic question. In fact, since the second is predicated on the first, it’s two idiotic questions.

    Proportional voting systems aren’t appropriate in all cases.

    L

  33. randal 33

    lew
    you cant argue with an idee fixee

  34. QoT 34

    @bill brown: And it’s been my experience that young voters who have only ever voted MMP are even MORE keen on it when you explain what FPP is – because a depressing number don’t even know the difference.

  35. Vinsin 35

    QoT – i wish you didn’t put that qualifying statement at the end of your sentence, it’s absurb, not at all true, and… for the sake of being incredibly vague and general – like your statement – false.

  36. HS,

    I never knew that I had something to be so proud of in my countries history.
    Thank you for asking which countries had the MMP system in place.

    It seems that the Dutch were the first to have a revolution and told the ruling elite to shove it. Apparently this lead to the English war, the French revolution and ultimately to the American revolution.

    I looked it up again because when I was young it was not so much taught as an actual revolution against the Dutch oligarchs (I wonder why, ooh oops by the time I was born the descendants of the most important revolutionary leader were firmly in power as the new oligarchs) but as a revolt against the Spanish king Phillip who owned the Netherlands at the time. It resulted in an eighty year long war which was declared over in 1648. After which the Netherlands became a republic. In fact it was the first Royalty free republic ever.

    The Dutch have had a MMP system ever since. And it has done us no harm, what with the Dutch golden age coming after that and all.

    The Dutch have had this system for 360 years so I think we can safely say the system works.

    When I watch debates on TV here, I am appalled at the impolite yelling and hawking and the inane one party or the other party rules immaturity.

    When you watch debates on Dutch TV people actually listen to one another and the leaders of the smaller parties are a real part of the political process. They need to be taken serious because you may have to govern with them in the future. This allows for the more extreme views to be heard and taken into consideration.

    If the bigger parties don’t take the entire population into consideration they will suffer because the population will vote for the smaller parties knowing that this really will make a difference.

    Holland as a country has prospered with this system and even if poverty and the industrial revolution left huge swats of the population disenfranchised there was more equality on the whole than in countries such as France, England and Germany and it’s not for nothing that it inspired other countries to revolt.

    Having said that, this system until 1919 did not include the female vote since women were only given the vote in that year whereas NZ as the first western country gave women the vote in 1893.

  37. higherstandard 37

    Indeed Eve

    I was surprised as well. I’ve always enjoyed the Netherlands when visiting or passing through.

    Why though are you here rather than there – both pleasant countries I know but I can’t see the attraction of moving all the way from Holland to NZ just as I’d struggle with why people would want to do the opposite.

  38. HS,

    New Zealanders have absolutely no idea how lucky they are.

    I feel every day like I’ve died and gone to heaven. Silence (In Holland you can never get away from traffic noise, light 24 ours a day, etc) peace, food from my own garden and the most amazingly friendly community and I live in a gobsmackingly beautiful spot with views to die for in a rental (Why buy a house if you know it’ll be loosing value within the next 6 months) surplus to requirement rather than a money making tool for as long as we want for a sum for which you could only have a one room apartment in a grotty suburb in Holland. In Holland you would absolutely not have been able to live on one median income with two people and here we can actually save.

    If I have to go into a town I can’t wait to get back home and I honestly don’t understand how I ever managed to live in a city like Amsterdam. To me Holland is like hell on earth these days.

    No, me and Kiwi hubby are perfectly fine were we are.

  39. HS,

    Wow, we actually had a civil interaction there. LOL

  40. higherstandard 40

    Aye tis nice for a change.

  41. Lew 41

    For those of you who persist on claiming the moral mandate of a plurality, consider these words from the early days of MMP in NZ by (then) Governor-General Sir Michael Hardie Boys, which carry the weight of constitutional precedent:

    “In a parliamentary democracy, the exercise of my powers must always be governed by the question of where the support of the house lies. It is this simple principle which provides the answer to those who sometimes suggest that in situations like that encountered by NZ after the last election, the head of state should simply call on the leader of the largest party to form a government. Size alone provides no reason to prefer a party if its leader does not appear to have the support of the majority of the house. It is better to wait for negotiation amongst the parties to produce a majority.

    (Quoted in http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20081105-1130-Legal_Commentator_-_Dean_Knight.ogg – my emphasis.)

    That’s pretty definitive.

    L

  42. Swampy 42

    “I could go on, but the point is this: the will of the people is what matters in a democracy and when the people have voted for a bloc of parties that can work together and command the confidence of Parliament that bloc is the legitimate government. National would have no moral mandate to govern when a majority of people had voted for parties that oppose, or are expected to oppose, National.”

    Once again, like the Greens in their blog, trying to change the purpose of the voting system.

    People vote FOR a party/candidate. They do not vote AGAINST a party/candidates.

    As we know the government is formed as a result of coalition negotiations after the election. The fact that the National party does not hold an absolute majority of the votes in Parliament does not exclude them from having a mandate to enter or negotiate a coalition agreement.

  43. gobsmacked 43

    Swampy

    Dean Knight – and more importantly, the former Governor-General – have clearly and succinctly addressed the issue, in Lew’s link above.

    Worth listening to. Kills the myth stone dead, once and for all.

  44. Vinsin 44

    Swampy;
    “People vote FOR a party/candidate. They do not vote AGAINST a party/candidates.”

    That is absolute bollocks. Ever heard of tactical voting, vote splitting. People vote for country they want, not the party/candidate. They vote for the issues that make sense to them, this is why a typically green voter might party vote labour to strenghten their support or why someone might vote for rodney hide. The fact National doesn’t have an overwhelming majority is besides the point, the problem they have is that they won’t be able to form a coalition with NZF, Green and the Maori party.

  45. Lew 45

    Vinsin: Even a tactical blocking vote is a vote FOR a candidate – not against. Swampy’s quite right in this regard.

    Swampy: Nobody’s arguing National should be enjoined from entering coalition talks – indeed, nobody can legally prevent them doing so. It’s just that the Governor-General must allow the first party leader who has the confidence of the house to govern. There’s no first dibs, no special privileges, no special anything which accrues to the party with the largest plurality. Except maybe bragging rights, which, if they can’t be converted into the confidence of the house, are worse than worthless.

    All else being equal, the party with the largest plurality should be best capable of forming a government. But all things are not equal in this case.

    L

  46. Lew 46

    Peter Dunne ran the same race condition line on NatRad this morning, that National winning a plurality would mean the public had a `reasonable expectation’ that they would govern, and that they should get a headstart in the `race to prove confidence to the G-G. Conveniently ignoring the fact that each member can only vote confidence for ONE person, so by necessity only one coalition can be formed.

    L

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    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
    3 days 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
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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. ...
    5 days 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
    5 days 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, ...
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days ago
  • In Defence of Kāinga Ora
    Given the headlines around the recent findings of the ‘independent’ review of Kāinga Ora by Bill English, you might assume this post will be about social housing, Kāinga Ora’s most prominent role. While that is indeed something that requires defending, I want to talk about the other core purpose of ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Baby You're A Rich Man
    “How does it feel to beOne of the beautiful peopleNow that you know who you areWhat do you want to beAnd have you traveled very far?Far as the eye can see”Yesterday the ACT party faithful were regaled with craven boasts, sneers, and demands for even more at their annual rally.That ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Stopping a future Labour government from shutting down gas exploration
    A defiant Resources Minister Shane Jones has responded to Saturday’s environmental protests by ending Labour’s offshore oil exploration ban and calling for long-term contracts with any successful explorers. The purpose would be to prevent a future Labour Government from reversing any licence the explorers might hold. Jones sees a precedent ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23
    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 2, 2024 thru Sat, June 8, 2024. Story of the week Our Story of the Week is Yale Climate Connection's Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths, by ...
    6 days ago
  • Fission by the river
    This is where we ate our lunch last Wednesday. Never mind your châteaux and castles and whatnot, we like to enjoy a baguette in the shadow of a nuclear power plant; a station that puts out more than twice as much as Manapouri using nothing more than tiny atoms to bring ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is the ocean acidifying?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is the ocean acidifying? Acidification of oceans ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000+ on Queen St.
    The largest protest I ever went on was in the mid 90s. There were 10,000 people there that day, and I’ve never forgotten it. An enormous mass of people, chanting together. Stretching block after block, bringing traffic to a halt.But I can’t say that’s the biggest protest I’ve ever been ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Josh Drummond's Columns
    Hi there,I wanted to put all of Josh Drummond’s Webworm pieces all in one place. I love that he writes for Webworm — and all of these are a good read!David.Why Are So Many “Christians” Hellbent on Being Horrible?Why do so many objectively hideous people declare themselves “Christian”?Meeting the Master ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday soliloquy and weekend Pick ‘n’ Mix for June 8/9
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: On reflection, the six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty this week were:The Government-driven freeze in building new classrooms, local roads and water networks in order to save cash for tax cuts is frustrating communities facing massive population ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The no-vision thing
    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
    1 week ago
  • When Journalists are Disingenuous
    Hi,One of the things I like the most about Webworm is to be able to break down the media and journalism a little, and go behind the scenes.This is one of those times.Yesterday an email arrived in my inbox from journalist Jonathan Milne, who is managing editor at Newsroom.I don’t ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Me, elsewhere: Just say you’ll do the thing
    Wrote something over at 1/200 on a familiar theme of mine: The way we frame the economy as a separate, sacred force which must be sacrificed to, the way we talk about criminals as invaders who must be repelled, the constant othering of people on the benefit, people not in ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 week ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted
    A nice bit of news today: my 4600-word historical fantasy-horror piece, A Voyage Among the Vandals, has been accepted by Phobica Books (https://www.phobicabooks.co.uk/books) for their upcoming Pirate Horror anthology, Shivering Timbers. This one is set in the Mediterranean, during the mid-fifth century AD. Notable for having one of history’s designated ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministerial conflicts of interest
    Since the National government came to power, it has been surrounded by allegations of conflicts of interest. Firstly, there's the fast-track law, which concentrates power in the hands of three Ministers, some of whom have received donations from companies whose projects they will be deciding on. Secondly, there's the close ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The 2024 Budget Forecasts Are Gloomy Prognosis About The Next Three Years.
    There was no less razzamatazz about the 2024 Budget than about earlier ones. Once again the underlying economic analysis got lost. It deserves more attention.Just to remind you, the Budget Economic and Fiscal Update (BEFU), is the Treasury’s independent assessment and so can be analysed by other competent economists (although ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • A government that can't see twenty feet ahead
    There are two failings that consistently characterise a National government. One is a lack of imagination, the other is their willingness to look after their mates, no matter what harm it might do to everyone else.This is how we come to have thousands of enormous trucks carving up our roads. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • A post I hope is incorrect
    In May, we learned that National MP David MacLeod had "forgotten" to declare $178,000 in electoral donations. Filing a donation return which is false in any material particular is a crime, and the Electoral Commission has now referred MacLeod to police, since they're the only people who are allowed to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Māori Cannot Re-Write New Zealand’s Constitution By Stealth.
    The Kotahitanga Parliament 1897: A Māori Parliament – at least in the guise of a large and representative body dedicated to describing the shape of New Zealand’s future from a Māori perspective – would be a very good idea.THE DEMAND for a “Māori Parliament” needs to be carefully unpicked. Some Pakeha, ...
    1 week ago
  • Cowpats and Colonials.
    Dumbtown, is how my friend Gerard refers to people like ZB listeners - he’s not wrong.Normally on a Friday I start by looking at Mike Hosking’s moronic reckons of the week which he vomits down the throats of his audience like helpless baby birds in a nest, grateful for the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on cutting the sick leave of vulnerable workers
    Should sick leave be part and parcel of the working conditions from Day One on the job, just like every other health and safety provision? Or should access to sick leave be something that only gradually accumulates, depending on how long a worker has been on the payroll? If enacted ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Nobody Move: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    So long as we live in a democracy, economic policy can never be anything other than social-democratic.“HEH!”, snorted Laurie, as he waved his debit card over the EFTPOS machine. “Same price as last week. I guess budgets aren’t what they used to be.”“I wouldn’t know,” replied the young barman, wearily, ...
    1 week ago
  • In Search Of Unity.
    Kotahitanga: New Zealand’s future belongs to those who do not fear a nation carved out of unity and solidarity, and are willing to trust the carvers. Some New Zealanders will be required to step up, and others, perhaps for the first time in their lives, will be expected to step ...
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 7-June-2024
    Welcome to another Friday roundup! Here are some recent links and stories that caught our eye, perfectly timed for your watercooler discussions and weekend reading. As always feel free to share more in the comments. Our header image this week is by Patrick Reynolds, and shows Te Komititanga from above. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 7
    As Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, ACT’s Brooke van Velden is fronting proposed changes to sick pay regulations and The Holiday Act. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Did we boil the oceans by cutting pollution?
    Lowering aerosol emissions from shipping has altered clouds, with potentially drastic effects. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: Here’s the top six news items of note in climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, and a discussion above between Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer:New evidence is increasingly pointing at efforts ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #23 2024
    Open access notables Abrupt reduction in shipping emission as an inadvertent geoengineering termination shock produces substantial radiative warming, Yuan et al., Communications Earth & Environment: Human activities affect the Earth’s climate through modifying the composition of the atmosphere, which then creates radiative forcing that drives climate change. The warming effect ...
    1 week ago
  • Fragments
    The best observation I’ve read this week about the deep, profound harm Trump is doingTrump has hurled threats and smears at witnesses, jurors and the judge (including his family)... [he] has tried to intimidate witnesses and delegitimize the New York courts as corrupt. In continuing to incite his mob (that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • March for Nature
    Do do do do do do do doDo do do do do doDi di di di di di di di di di diNature enter me…In 2018 the Labour lead government banned new oil and gas exploration in Aotearoa. A change welcomed by those who care deeply for our environment and ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus and pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 6
    The Transport Minister is trying to push through urgent legislation that would allow him to change emissions standards for car imports without approval from Parliament, after only consulting car importers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Just as two major reports showed fossil fuel burning was warming the planet to dangerous levels and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • A Better Broadway: Act 2
    This is a guest post by reader Grant A, the second of a pair about how to fix Broadway. If you missed the beginning of the show, here’s the link to Act 1 from yesterday. Yesterday, I discussed changing traffic circulation around Broadway in Newmarket. This included implementing a car-free ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • National breaks another health promise
    National has broken another manifesto health promise, apparently to save only $550,000. It will now train an additional 25 med students next year rather than the 50 it promised. This comes on top of the delays caused by National’s coalition partners in pushing ahead with the Waikato Medical School and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Climate Adam: Coping as the world’s best known climate scientist
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Katharine Hayhoe is quite possibly the world's most famous climate scientist. She's produced wide ranging research, and communicated climate change with ...
    1 week 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    2 days ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Paid Parental Leave increase to help families
    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Brooke van Velden says paid parental leave increase from 1 July will put more money in the pockets of Kiwi parents and give them extra support as they take precious time off to bond with their newborns. The increase takes effect from 1 July 2024 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Defence increases UN Command commitment
    The number of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to the Republic of Korea is increasing, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.  NZDF will deploy up to 41 additional personnel to the Republic of Korea, increasing the size of its contribution to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand to attend 'Summit on Peace in Ukraine' in Switzerland
    New Zealand will be represented at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine by Minister Mark Mitchell in Switzerland later this week.    “New Zealand strongly supports Ukraine’s efforts to build a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Minister Mitchell is a senior Cabinet Minister and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Big step forward for M.bovis programme
    Farmers’ hard work is paying off in the fight against Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) with the move to a national pest management plan marking strong progress in the eradication effort, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The plan, approved by the Coalition Government, was proposed by the programme partners DairyNZ, Beef ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Build To Rent opening welcomed by Housing Minister
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Housing Minister Chris Bishop formally opened a new Build to Rent development in Mt Wellington this morning. “The Prime Minister and I were honoured to cut the ribbon of Resido, New Zealand’s largest Build to Rent development to date.  “Build to Rent housing, like the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Agriculture to come out of the ETS
    The Government will deliver on its election commitment to take agriculture out of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) and will establish a new Pastoral Sector Group to constructively tackle biogenic methane, Coalition Government Agriculture and Climate Change Ministers say. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand farmers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Luxon Tokyo-bound for political and business visit
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Japan from 16-20 June, his first visit as Prime Minister.   “Japan is incredibly important to New Zealand's prosperity. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and our fourth largest export destination.  “As you know, growing the economy is my number one priority. A strong economy means ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bayly travels to Singapore for scam prevention meetings
    Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Andrew Bayly, travels to Singapore today to attend scam and fraud prevention meetings. “Scams are a growing international problem, and we are not immune in New Zealand. Organised criminal networks operate across borders, and we need to work with our Asia-Pacific partners to tackle ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More help for homeowners impacted by severe weather
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