Myths and moralising – the conservative trademark

Written By: - Date published: 2:17 pm, December 29th, 2011 - 36 comments
Categories: Economy, history - Tags: , ,

The Economist has a wonderful blog post from “Democracy in America” tearing apart an  argument by a conservative columnist for the New York Times

DAVID BROOKS argues that analogies between today’s America and that of the Progressive era are misplaced, and Progressive-era solutions ill-suited to modern times, because today’s America faces challenges it didn’t face back then. For example, today inequality is rising:

Moreover, the information economy widens inequality for deep and varied reasons that were unknown a century ago. Inequality is growing in nearly every developed country. According to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, over the past 30 years, inequality in Sweden, Germany, Israel, Finland and New Zealand has grown as fast or faster than inequality in the United States, even though these countries have very different welfare systems.

So, what was happening with inequality a century ago? In the 19th century, as basically everyone has always recognised, the budding industrial economy created very large increases in inequality.

The Gini coefficient on taxable wealth in Massachusetts increased from 0.734 in 1820 to 0.907 in 1900, and in Ohio it rose from 0.806 in 1830 to 0.864 in 1900 (Steckel 1994).

But maybe Mr Brooks meant to refer to the beginning of the 20th century? What was happening with income inequality from, say, the point when we can start consulting income-tax data, in 1913? Well, the share of pre-tax income earned by the top 1% of American households went from 18% in 1913 to 24% in 1928, pretty much exactly the same thing that happened again in America between 1993 and 2007.

Lovely – cutting with links, facts, and above all an understanding of the linkages between the multitudes of factors that make up modern societies that Brooks’s simplistic understanding clearly misses.

David Brooks tries to say that the recent increases in inequality are unique and are due to recent efficiency gains leading to changes in individual productivity. But as the DIA post points out that is complete bollocks (except he does it far more politely than that). Extreme improvements in efficiency and therefore individual productivity have been going on throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. We have been through the productivity increase cycle many times over the last 200 years.

Multi-factor productivity growth was highest between 1928-1950, and in general was much higher from 1890-1950 than from 1980 on, though it has picked up again since 1996.

Like most “progressives”, I think that rising inequality is a symptom of the inability of societies coping with the rapid changes in productivity rates. When we get rapid improvements in productivity there are more people thrown out of their jobs. Pretty much what we are seeing today.

In the past this has lead to rising inequalities and recessions rapidly falling into depressions as the wealthy hoover up surplus wealth without putting it into new enterprises. Meanwhile the jobless and underemployed tighten their belts and the economies stall through lack of customers apart from a small group of extremely wealthy – who start sliding backwards as their customers diappear. This is characterised by a rapid reduction in the velocity of money in the economy. It is a negative sum system that ultimately beggars everyone and leads to extremely frightening political consequences.

The general solution that evolved through the first half of the 20th  century was twofold. Firstly the state redistributed wealth from the wealthy back into the economy through taxation of various kinds. This redistribution was largely used to upskill the working population through government interventions in the market to form new industries by subsidies or infrastructure development of retraining. This has been shown to work at both reducing the crippling wealth inequalities, and to cause the formation of new industries and employment. But it does stick in the craw of conservatives and capitalists who have an emotional dislike for realising how dependent their prosperity is on the prosperity of others.

In the current ‘recession’ (which is looking more and more like a depression to me), the main response to date has been to simply prevent banks and financial institutions failing. That needed to be done. However very little has been done to deal with the consequences of changes in productivity. Instead what we get is standard response of conservatives everywhere when they don’t like ideas. It isn’t the lack of jobs, lack of investment capital for new industries,or the poor training – they blame the victims of productivity increases for “moral” issues.

The rest of Mr Brooks’s column criticises high rates of out-of-wedlock births and other vague indicators of moral malaise. “Bad habits have accumulated. Interest groups have emerged to protect the status quo,” he writes; apparently interest groups did not attempt to protect the status quo in 1911. “The job is to restore old disciplines, strip away decaying structures and reform the welfare state,” he finishes. This leaves him open to the riposte “no it’s not”, a rebuttal against which his column has failed to provide any evidence.

Even smart conservatives in my experience are generally idiots because they think far too short term, fail to look at history  and in the final analysis view everything from their own narrow short-term interests rather than those of society as whole. That is why despite my natural inclinations towards the right, I could never standing the sickening myth-remaking of history and the external moralising about other people that hypocritically concealed naked self-interest. David Brooks is just another example.

36 comments on “Myths and moralising – the conservative trademark”

  1. Georgecom 1

    One important aspect of the 20 century social welfare compromise was matching wage increases to productivity. In the US, for example, wage growth in the core heavy metal industries was linked to productivity. In NZ the state linked a ‘living wage’ and general wage orders to economic coditions, including productivity rises. In this manner rising productivity was shared with the workers and simply not captured by capital. Rising living standards were ensured for the many.

    The benefits of current rises in productivity are not flowing through the population but are being captured at the top of the socio-economic spectrum. A society ‘struggling’ to adjust to rising productivity must include meausres to spread the benefits around, not merely hope for some trickle down (in reality it’s trickle up).

    • Gosman 1.1

      Quite possibly you are correct however that doesn’t explain why some of the areas that had high productivity gains due to the deregulation of the economy starting in the 1980’s, (e.g. Telecommunication and Transportation for example), were generally the most Unionised and highly paid prior to the reforms. This would suggest that productivity was being inhibited rather than enhanced by the system.

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        high productivity gains due to the deregulation of the economy starting in the 1980′s, (e.g. Telecommunication and Transportation for example), were generally the most Unionised and highly paid prior to the reforms.

        Absolutely nothing to do with de-regulation… and everything to do with the massive implementation of new automation technologies that was occuring at the exact same time.

        Indeed if we look at the consequences of de-regulation in the finance industry; it’s obvious that the consequences have been a stunning destruction of wealth and productivity; while at the same time highly unionised and very well paid industries like the German automakers have remained exceedingly successful.

        I’ve pretty much spent my entire adult life as tiny part of that revolution, and I can assure you the idea that somehow ‘market de-regulation’ was the principle drive of increased productivity in the last 30 years is a total… well myth.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.2

        “Productivity gains” are weasel words. The gains didn’t go to the laid off workers, nor to their communities wracked by unemployment nor to the country which lost strategic assets from its balance sheet. The gains all got offshored, and now the Government is subsidising broadband infrastructure for Telecom. How productive is that.

        • grumpy 1.1.2.1

          I think we used to call it Marginal Revenue Product of Labour…………………..?????

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.2.1.1

            Firing workers tends to be more profitable than having them around.
            No company that I know makes management decisions based on the ‘marginal revenue product of labour’.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.3

        If there had been any productivity gains in telecommunications since deregulation then we would expect to see two things:-
        1.) Significant reductions in real prices
        2.) An improved, high bandwidth network capable of supporting modern needs, ie, 100mbps broadband

        We haven’t seen either of those things. We have seen Telecom rip ~$20b dollars out of the economy in profit, extra costs to the economy as multiple networks get built and the need for the government to step in and pay Telecom and others to bring the network up to speed. If deregulation and privatisation shows anything it’s that it’s very expensive and doesn’t achieve what all the people in favour of it say it will – Lines their pockets with our wealth though.

      • Georgecom 1.1.4

        You are correct that it doesn’t explain productivity increases in certain sectors of the economy, and nor is it intended to. It reflects that we previously had mechanisms for ensuring rising productivity levels were spread amongst the many, not simply trapped by the few as we presently have.

        But changing the subject, at least 2 answers have seemingly been provided. New technology has come about and in the 1980s anyway, thousands of state sector workers laid off which will show higher productivity per labour input.

  2. Gosman 2

    Interesting arguments from both sides. What I find especially fascinating about this subject is that I very much doubt that the amount of direct income transfers from wealthy to poor has changed much over the last few decades.

    For all the left’s bemoaning of a supposed cuts in support to the poorer sections of society I would argue that spending has been realitively consistent over the past few decades. Indeed if we have a look at the graphs in figures 2, 3, and 4 of this paper ,(http://ips.ac.nz/publications/files/99f91186d74.pdf), it should be obvious that the State’s expenditure on welfare as a percentage of GDP has been remarkable consistent over time.

    Even the infamous ‘Mother of all Budgets’ didn’t seem to make much of a dent in this percentage figure. Certainly it is clear that prior to the economic reforms of the mid 1980’s Social welfare spending looks to be about 11 to 12 percent of GDP and that was about the extent of the spending in the late 1990’s.

    What is also clear from those graphs is that the size of the State has been steadily rising over the last hundred odd years and it was only in the 1990’s that this started decreasing significantly. Yet the areas that led to this reduction weren’t obviously in one area and certainly not in cutting welfare. In fact it looks like a large part of the reduction is as a result in reduced financing costs.

    So why do we have such an inequality problem then if we are essentially spending the same amount on welfare that we did thirty odd years ago before we were meant to have such an inequality issue? Well perhaps the answer to that is related to where we are spending that welfare money. Instead of reaching the people it should be targetted at , i.e. the bottom sections of society, it is being skimmed off by those who are better off. In short we are providing welfare to the middle and upper income groups via welfare programmes such as Working for Families and Superannuation.

    This is why I am comfortable with Labour party policies such as increasing the age of entitlement to Syuperannuation and even imposing a Capital Gains tax. Coupled with more effective targetting of benefits to those who need them rather than those who don’t you might be able to reduce the social impacts for those on lower incomes.

    • lprent 2.1

      Yet the areas that led to this reduction weren’t obviously in one area and certainly not in cutting welfare. In fact it looks like a large part of the reduction is as a result in reduced financing costs.

      It was. I think at one point we were spending about a quarter of the governments revenue on interest – and this was on the governments interest rates. Fortunately the reduction in global interest rates helped a lot as did the reduction in inflation down to manageable levels. There may have been a impact from asset sales in the 80’s and 90’s. But is suspect when you looked at the nett costs of increased people on unemployment in areas without employment, I suspect it was minor and largely eaten up by middlemen.

      But I wasn’t talking about welfare. The vast bulk of that is superannuation or highly variable based on a lack of jobs during recessions. A few minutes of reading on the latter will show that the numbers of people on long term benefits is minimal when there are jobs available. The problem is how to get those jobs.

      The question is how do you get new industries created in times of depression to create jobs, when the wealth required to capitalize those industries is being held in a small population of increasingly risk adverse wealthy? We have been through this cycle numerous times in the last 200 years, and in the absence of new resources, it gets increasing more difficult for the “market” to it without a shove from the state.

      It is the indirect transfers from the wealthy to the whole of society via infrastructure, incentives, and direct training that pay the dividends.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        That is fascinating. So in lieu of direct transfers from wealthy to poor via welfare you think there is some other method involving Governmental support of business do you? I therefore presume you support the reimposition of high tarriffs and import substitution as the solution to this issue do you? The alternative is direct subsidisation of industry. This would require the renegotiation or outright withdrawal of NZ from a number of international trade agreements, (many of which were negotiated and signed under the previous Labour led government it has to be stated). I have yet to see a political grouping in Parliament seriously argue for this. It is a valid policy to pursue though, just not one I subscribe to. Why do you think no political party is pushing for this?

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          High import barriers, subsidies and other government protections were critical to the success of Japanese and South Korean auto, heavy machinery, ship building and high tech precision machining industries.

          The US Govt continues to subsidise their pharmaceutical and military-industrial complex to the tune of trillions per year.

          Government intervention and protection has also been critical to the success of the NZ ag/hort industry, including dairy.

          Other countries understand that close co-operation between a country’s industries and its government is absolutely necessary for global success. Germany, USA, Japan, Taiwan, China, Singapore, South Korea all get this implicitly.

          Why are we so slow.

    • McFlock 2.2

      Indeed if we have a look at the graphs in figures 2, 3, and 4 of this paper ,(http://ips.ac.nz/publications/files/99f91186d74.pdf), it should be obvious that the State’s expenditure on welfare as a percentage of GDP has been remarkable consistent over time

      Really? Of those charts, figure 3 is the only one that even mentions welfare. It seems to show around a 2 or 3% of GDP drop in welfare and GSF from 1994, which according to table 1 was 13.5% of GDP in 2008/9. So it would have been around 16% of GDP if it were “remarkabl[y] consistent”.
       
      Oh, and when comparing us to the 1970s you need to factor in unemployment rates, union membership keeping wages reasonable, the opportunities provided by the education system at the time, and demographic changes /  the entire gender politics thing. Plus, of course, the stuff we chose to ignore then like “domestic” violence.
       

      • KJT 2.2.1

        I would expect the total payments for welfare to be relatively constant. Recent Labour Governments may raise things such as the UB slightly, but NACT always causes has many more unemployed.
        Neither change the biggest welfare payments, super, by much.
        Most likely this largely cancels out.

  3. Georgecom 3

    One extra factor I neglected to mention in NZ was the Awards system and relativities. A wage increase struck in one of the core Awards, like the metal trades, was passed through the economy by the mechanism of relativities (pattern bargaining) that saw productivity dividends flow through the working class.

    Anything like that now?

    • Gosman 3.1

      If those productivity gains were truly being spread around the economy as you claim then there wouldn’t have been distortions requiring Government interventions to support productive sectors of the economy. This is the reason Farmers supported reforms that led to increased productivity in the transport sector as part of the Quid pro quo for removing direct subsidies such as SMP.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        In a near zero growth environment, the more productivity gains we have, the higher unemployment will be.

        • grumpy 3.1.1.1

          Seems to me that higher relative incomes are more disproportionate in the non-productive sectors………………

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            The ponzi-financial and banking sector, particularly. Also amongst the financial asset ownership class.
            Driving workers out of employment can be very profitable.
             

      • Georgecom 3.1.2

        The Awards and relativities framework allowed econom ic gains to be sp[read around the economy. One of the determinants for Awards and GWOs was productivity.

      • mik e 3.1.3

        Farmers didn’t support Roger Douglases reforms because all other farm export economies still haven’t reduced their subsidies.
        If they supported ACT they would have voted for Dinosaur Dons Nicholson.

      • mik e 3.1.4

        Gooseman road transport is still being subsidized heavily.

    • Mike 3.2

      Productivity has increased 90% in the last 30 years, whereas wages for those on lower incomes have remained stagnant or decreased in real terms. We used to share the gains from productivity increases by raising wages, etc. But in the last 30 years, the rewards have been mostly sucked out of the economy by way of profits.

  4. randal 4

    yeah like consultants, pr people, and general liggers and sausage roll abusers, all wrapped up in the sobriquet of nashnil gubmint parasites.

  5. ropata 5

    I don’t think the charge of propagating mass inequality is fairly laid against traditional “conservatives”, it is more the result of the neo-con / neo-lib movements who decided that the social contract was boring and getting super rich was much more exciting. Conservatism by definition puts great stock in history. The “Conservative” label has been greatly undermined by those with a (dominionist/evangelical/apocalyptic) religious agenda who forget the secular humanist foundations of democracy in the USA and elsewhere.

    Nowadays we all understand conservatism to mean the Brit “Conservative” party, US Republicans, or NZ NACToid corporate drones. Their moralising about identity politics was conservative in tone but their economic acts (and wars) were devastatingly radical.

    It’s the neocons, not the paleocons, who have screwed up the world.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      +1

      Its the neoliberals, and especially the neocons, who are the corrosive fuckers.

      Give me a ‘right wing conservative’ guy like Holyoake or Eisenhower any day.

      • Lostinsuburbia 5.1.1

        Yeah well Eisenhower wanted to tell the military-industrial complex where too go. That took some balls

  6. jcuknz 6

    I wonder if in the time being until people stop over copulating and over populating the world the solution would come from down skilling so that more people would be involved in less production to waste the worlds resources. Somehow, and I don’t have a clue how, we have to get away from the system that relies upon increased production and find an equilibrium … but first we need fewer humans … and spare me all the rude words such common sense seems to bring from short sighted un-thinkers.
    All the best for the New Year …..God help us all, or somebody ….something.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      A steady state economy powering a steady state society. Anything else and we will be screwed…soon too.

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 7

    The debunking handbook (pdf) discusses effective strategies for countering misinformation. Perfect for those wingnut moments.

  8. M 8

    ‘Even smart conservatives in my experience are generally idiots because they think far too short term, fail to look at history and in the final analysis view everything from their own narrow short-term interests rather than those of society as whole. That is why despite my natural inclinations towards the right, I could never standing the sickening myth-remaking of history and the external moralising about other people that hypocritically concealed naked self-interest. David Brooks is just another example.’

    Nice one Lynn – as you have said in the past you’re right leaning by heredity but left leaning intellectually (not exact words I know – forgive me) and thanks for having the balls to write this because for me right leaners in the main are short term thinkers who seem to operate on thinly disguised fear that by someone getting a slice of the pie too that they are somehow diminished.

    • lprent 8.1

      *grin*. It isn’t really by heredity – there are quite a few manual workers and unionists in the family tree along with the assortment of entrepreneurs, managers, shopkeepers and tradespeople. But I do have quite that strong tendency to have extremely individualistic tendencies and confidence in my own abilities verging on outright arrogance that shows up here frequently – usually when I’m tongue-lashing a fool. That tends to predispose you towards the ‘right’ way of thinking. I was particularly enamoured of it when I was doing the MBA in the mid-80’s.

      But there are different types of right leaners. The envy ones are almost the least of the problem. There are a lot of right leaners who intellectually see the issues but who have this interesting disassociation between understanding the issues, seeing how it will cause future problems, and feeling the responsibility for doing something about it in reasonable time frames. They tend to view everything as being someone else’s problem, usually the governments, while also decrying the government interfering in whatever they are doing. Kind of strange when they are the government….

      This shows up most clearly in the climate change debate. I just find it kind of weird.

  9. Mike 9

    “But maybe Mr Brooks meant to refer to the beginning of the 20th century? What was happening with income inequality from, say, the point when we can start consulting income-tax data, in 1913?”

    Interesting year 1913. Also the year the Federal Reserve Act was unconstitutionally enacted.

  10. randal 10

    Yes it is much easier to lean to the right. compound interest and all that, plus the psycholoigical satisfaction of bossing people around and last but not least professing to beleive in God so that it is all his fault.
    and they are all so smug and smarmy.
    so where are the f*cking jobs you nimnuls?

  11. Lostinsuburbia 11

    At the end of the day we exist in a modern quasi-feudal society. The majority of us devote our time to labour for the enrich of our boss/Corp aka The lord. Our spare time and capital is used to either rest or invest in our marginal scraps of the economy (I.e serfs got to farm thir own individual plots when not tendering their lordsfields).

    Then we have the modern equivalent of guilds, allowing the major companies to dominate and control their respective markets.

    And above it we have our modern version of the king and the royal court, which is place to make favours, give money for deals, and kid the lower classes that they might get a say.

    Things haven’t changed much – we just have more food, better teeth, and most can read.

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    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    6 days ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    6 days ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Barbaric
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    7 days ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
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    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
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    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
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    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
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    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
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    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Exclusive language
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    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Guardian: Poll shows DISASTER for Corbyn and the End of Times
    The Guardian - ever eager to forewarn of doom and disaster on the left - are leading with a new poll from Opinium, which puts the Conservatives 15% clear of Labour.Con 38% +2Lab 23% -1Lib Dem 15% -5Brexit 12% +1Green 4% +2This isn't good news, and it would be very ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How prostitution became the world’s most modern profession
    Being and Being Bought (Spinifex Press, 2013) by Kajsa Ekis Ekman  A synopsis and commentary of Chapters 1-2 by Daphna Whitmore Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book She opens the discussion with a definition of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Clever legal fellow on Scottish challenge to Brexit
    I make no claims to having much legal knowledge,  so I defer to those trained in this area.I am very much enjoying this twitter stream from m'learned friend in Edinburgh, deciphering the legal arguments around the Scottish court challenge to Boris Johnson, based on the charmingly obscure principle of Nobile ...
    2 weeks ago
  • An Open Letter From Closed Minds.
    Ivory Folly? The University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, upheld the right of the radical nationalist group, Action Zealandia to exercise their freedom of speech – not matter how distasteful that speech might be. A wiser community of students and scholars would have nodded their agreement and moved on. ...
    2 weeks ago

  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
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    2 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
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    2 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
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    2 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
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    3 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
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    3 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
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    6 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
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    1 week ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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