National Brain Drain

Written By: - Date published: 10:23 am, September 12th, 2011 - 46 comments
Categories: science, wages - Tags:

I heard John Key talking at the Auckland North Shore Business awards a little over a week ago, and he was talking about how important R&D was to New Zealand, and how we needed to increase it. It was one of a number of comments that diverged significantly from the National government’s actions during his speech (he also said a CBD rail-loop was likely, despite the main road-block being Steven Joyce).

National have cut government R&D budgets. They cut the Labour Fast Forward Fund to boost agricultural science. They got rid of Labour’s R&D tax credits.

And then they wonder why we’re not increasing our private sector research investment from 1/3 the OECD average.

The latest result is 560 of our top brains declaring that they’re likely to have to head overseas.

They recognise that NZ has invested a lot in them. They want to stay here. But the jobs aren’t here for them, and in fact jobs are being cut from under them.

How is this New Zealand’s Brighter Future?

We need a government that cares about R&D and wants to create high-value, high-wage jobs for New Zealand.  Jobs that will give New Zealanders the incomes they need.

And an innovative New Zealand to lead the world in the 21st century – instead of just aiming to be a fast follower.

Although this post should be covered by the opinion section of electoral law and shouldn’t need authorisation, here’s mine anyway, just to be safe:
Authorised by Ben Clark, 54 Aramoana Ave, Devonport

46 comments on “National Brain Drain”

  1. tc 1

    And in an environment slanted to the employer where tradespeople who qualify are not given their qualified minimum wage and told….’what’cha gunna do about it’.
    They leave for an environment where workers rights are protected, he’s now in Oz and lost to the NZ building industry.
    Spoke to a builder on the weekend who said there’s also alot of oversights/shortcuts to ‘certify’ industry folk for chch rebuild….ah that brighter skills filled future.

  2. Bill 2

    What’s a ‘high value’ job? Who determines that ‘value’? And if (as I suspect) ‘high value’ means ‘a job requiring specialist knowledge or expertise, then what happens to the bulk of workers, their relative position in society and their wages?

    • Blighty 2.1

      I don’t think anyone wouldn’t argue that a more prosperous society is one in which we produce more (value) for unit of input (eg labour)

      • prism 2.1.1

        Blighty Eh? What has productivity per unit of labour got to do with being a prosperous society? That’s a catchcry of the right – one of those meaningless slogans that people can’t pin down in physical terms and conceptual terms can be vague as those using it know what they mean but no-one else can read their minds.
        Unless the workers are paid a decent wage and on top of that share in the increase value because of the increased prodictivity we still end up with a wealthy upper class and a bunch of serfs with a smaller number of middle managers and skilled people trying to hold their place in the middle class.

        • In Vino Veritas 2.1.1.1

          Good one Prism. And “a decent wage” is the catchcry of the left. Of course you cant put a number to it, so it’ll remain pie in the sky, sort of like Labours tax policy slogan “a fair share”. Never any line in the sand.
          From your comment, I’d imagine your knowledge of business and how it works could be written on the back of a postage stamp with a very thick felt tip marker.

          • prism 2.1.1.1.1

            @In Vino Veritas – The last time I read your comment I thought that you needed more wine before revelation hit you and I still think that. I give you the John Cleese argument diploma.

      • marsman 2.1.2

        NZ’s productivity has risen but over the last 30 years most of the prosperity resulting from that increase has gone into the pockets of the owners/managers who employ the low paid workforce.

    • Ben Clark 2.2

      Hi Bill,

      A high-value job is one that pays well. Which to an extent is one that can afford to pay well. That may require some skill or specialist knowledge, but there’s no reason the bulk of workers can’t be doing higher-value work – particularly if employers invest in productivity-increasing equipment.

      So creating good jobs for skilled people doesn’t need to leave the rest of society behind. Indeed if it brings more money into the country, it should increase the amount that’s available to be paid to currently lower-wage workers.

      • Bill 2.2.1

        “A high-value job is one that pays well.”

        Okay. So ‘value’ is defined simply in terms of monetary compensation in this instance ie, a high value job is simply a well paying job. So a toilet cleaner would be doing a ‘high value’ job if only they were paid more? But the reason toilet cleaners and others aren’t paid more is because workers and their wages are seen as liabilities whose effects on profit levels must be ameliorated.

        So, care to explain how R&D will rectify the situation whereby employers gain ever greater profit at the direct expense of workers?

        I’m all in favour of R&D by the way. But the fluffy vacuous jargon like ‘high value’ that characterises the supposed flow on benefits simply reminds me of all that nonsense we were subjected to when developing a ‘knowledge economy’ (whatever that wooly fluff might have meant) was all the rage.

        If R&D was to produce techniques or ideas that could be translated into some manufacturing context, why would any reciprients of said ideas or techniques not base their operations in a low wage overseas environment as they do at present?

        Or is the plan to ‘lead the world’ in selling ideas and techniques and wait for some mystical trickle down effect to lift the wages of the toilet cleaners?

        • mik e 2.2.1.1

          By increasing the number of better paid jobs in general so employers have to pay higher wages to keep staff.

          • Bill 2.2.1.1.1

            But what’s that got to do with a magic R&D wand?

            Increasing levels of employment (by any of a number of means) and increasing the min wage would achieve that scenario.

            How does investment in R&D achieve that end? How many jobs is it envisaged would be created? And even if those particular jobs are high paying, how does that translate into ‘better paid jobs in general’?

            • Ben Clark 2.2.1.1.1.1

              The magic R&D wand isn’t going to solve every problem.

              It’s about growing a bigger pie, which we need to do if we want to ‘catch Aussie incomes’. We can’t do it by more farming, if we want our environment not to be completely destroyed.

              There’s a separate issue about making sure that the pie is better distributed than it is now (see Capital Gains Tax, 39% top rate, first $100/week tax free, GST off fresh fruit & vege, $15 minimum wage). Plenty of academic research shows how important greater income equality is.

              That R&D is likely to help with climate change issues as well. And increase productivity in other sectors. So it flows through to a lot of things.

              (How many jobs? Nokia alone gained several thousand through Finland making R&D a priority. How do those high-paying jobs translate into better paid jobs in general? If I invent a better widget at my company that makes millions, hopefully they can afford to give everyone, cleaners included, a raise – not just me)

              • Draco T Bastard

                It’s about growing a bigger pie…

                Growth – the sure-fire way to societal collapse.

                • Blue

                  So your answer to increasing salaries and skills is a ‘contracting’ economy as opposed to one which grows? – and you call the right economically illiterate. Funny stuff.

              • Bill

                Aw c’mon Ben!

                Skipping past your unreconstituted neo liberal ‘big pie’ analogy that will somehow materialise at no environmental cost in a finite world…and allowing you to duck any notion that we simply redistribute what we already have to achieve pay parity with Australia…

                …so we’re looking at a couple of thousand jobs tops. Nothing wrong with that. As I said, I’m all for R&D.

                But that’s all it is, isn’t it? It more or less begins and ends there because, as I said previously, manufacturing will tend to locate in a low wage economy over seas just as it does now. (eg F&P had and have R&D located here… at least for the time being. All the NZ manufacturing capabilities were shut down thoough in spite of their R&D record. And Haier could pull the plug on it’s NZ R&D unit at a moments notice.)

                So again. Please explain to me how R&D has a positive knock on effect in terms of general job creation. The truth is that in a particular instance it might, but that’s far from a given and the result could just as easily be zero new jobs, or even redundancies, no?

                Meanwhile, to claim that an employee coming up with an innovative idea, solution or whatever in the context of an already existing production environment might lead to a wage increase for all employees within that company is, to say the least, ludicrously niaive. The individual employee may well receive some form of reward from the boss or bosses (assuming another employee doesn’t sucessfully claim the credit!) But aside from that, profit margins increase leading (perhaps) to a higher dividend for shareholders. End.

                That’s how it generally pans out in the real world.

                The company cleans up. The cleaner remains on a paltry income. And one or two line workers become surplus to requirements thanks to ‘the widget’.

                • lprent

                  Ummm I can probably as well as Ben can bearing in mind both of us work around this area. Of course I’m probably somewhat less polite than Ben would be (he is nice, I am not).

                  NZ definitely isn’t the place to do mass manufacturing – it is relatively noncompetitive when there are few advantages to overcome the freight costs, the scale of the local market, and that other countries only really require capital and/or labour to get into it . But IMHO – who in the hell wants it anyway?

                  Placing people like zombies on a production line is something that we as a species really don’t like doing. I’ve been around a few large production lines doing operations and production management work and as far as I’m concerned they are rather horrendous places to be. The sooner we ramp up the robotics to stop using people as machines the happier I will be. Machines are good at repetitive mindless processes and people are not. People however are really really good at doing tasks that change all of the time, markedly adept at handling people, and some are really good at being innovative. Those are their strengths.

                  So if there is manufacturing then ideally it should be small scale targeted to vertical markets world wide and based heavily on R&D and knowledge of a particular market. The production runs are too damn small to automate and short enough that people working in manufacture get to do new things all of the time. This is essentially the German manufacturing model of smallish firms selling expertise to the world, and doing very well out of it even in a world wide recession.

                  In fact this is exactly the manufacturing environment that both I and Ben currently work in. Both of us are on the development side, but the intellectual property we produce keeps a pile of manufacturing jobs in NZ in small scale runs and extensive prototyping. It is far too much of a pain to setup a production run in China or elsewhere.

                  There is a pretty large engineering manufacturing market in NZ for exactly this type of market and it is growing quite rapidly. The problem is that it has capital/startup issues to develop and get to market. The R&D support in NZ doesn’t exactly induce people to stay here at present.

                  • Bill

                    An answer that starts to make some sense. Finally. Thankyou.

                    • Maynard J

                      Jobs don’t create themselves, so for many workers R & D is generally the difference between not having a job, and having a job. The latter is generally preferable. Research -> company opens -> people work in said company. This happens on a smaller scale as well as a large scale. These jobs generally pay more than Maccas or Pak n Save, so they help your average worker.

                    • Bill

                      Okay, so let me see if I’ve got this. Private companies aren’t investing in research or development and so run the risk of ‘withering on the vine’. And tax breaks, rather than the threat of going out of business are the incentive they need?

                      I’d have thought any company involved in a changing manufacturing environment would assign a proportion of turnover to R&D as a matter of course and regardless of any tax break. And if business conditions showed they weren’t assigning enough, that they’d assign more ie take a short term cut in profits.

                      On the other hand, Maynard J, you seem to be suggesting that government undertakes R&D that will, at least in some cases, offer opportunities to the private sector to create companies/jobs. In other words a massive public subsidy to a small number of ‘correctly positioned’ private individuals/ companies, ie the public takes the risk and bears the cost while the private sector takes the benefits. (I could see the likes of Fontera being keen)

                      Hmm. Thinking, y-nah. I can’t really see what the general public or workers in general get out of either of those deals. I mean, the government might be able to turn around and say ‘Look at us (NZ) – world leaders in x, y or z’.

                      But in the same way that NZ are world leaders in dairy, the fact remains that the general public and workers and general get nothing out of it.

                      But maybe I’m missing something?

                  • In Vino Veritas

                    Nice work IP. I would point out that R & D work needs to have an ultimate market, and having had some involvement in writing off many millions of dollars of failed R & D work, too many NZ’rs expect to just show up, get funded, and research and develop something that no-body wants, or can’t ultimately be utilised for whatever reason. It’s a high risk area and certainly isn’t something that any Government should be significantly involved in.
                    I’d also say that scientists in particular, have been leaving NZ since time immemorial, just because the US and Europe is where the funding capital is. So the so called “brain drain” has been occuring for years. If it’s increased, its more than likely because there are more graduates who need to find work. Animal and food chain science doesnt cut it for everyone!

  3. insider 3

    Our ‘top brains’ have always headed off overseas no matter who the government is. ANd universities have always complained that they don’t get enough money. Has anything really changed with the change of govt?

    The reality is we are never going to retain talent in highly specialised fields where people want to do leading edge work that is not done in NZ. Our varsities are not, by and large, going to offer that in areas such as IT, physics, biochem, pharma etc. So people going offshore to gain greater expertise is not something to complain about, because we could never meet their research needs. We should be celebrating they want to do that work and are considered good enough to get places at specialist universities. The system needs to do a good standard of work and be flexible enough to allow specialities in areas where we can gain an advantage, but not pretend we are going to match the global best in all subjects.

    • r0b 3.1

      Our ‘top brains’ have always headed off overseas no matter who the government is. ANd universities have always complained that they don’t get enough money. Has anything really changed with the change of govt?

      Yes.

      • aerobubble 3.1.1

        Sorry, didn’t you hear him, people always whine about money, and highflyers always
        leave this shore, and he’s damnit not going to be aparty to any change in the outcome.
        National is a party of stage managing the hollowing out of the economy.
        29 died in a mine, 127 died in the Earthquake mostly in one building, leaky
        homes abound, its too late for all those people who lost their homes, their
        lives, their loved ones, and it will always be too late since people will
        whine about the cost and the brains will leave anyway.
        In a few years National will remove resource consent and new homes
        will go up on liquifable sands, and leak, or a mine disaster will kill someone,
        some other big idea to make savings.
        because its too complex, it cost to much, they always want more money and
        the brains are overseas and too expensive.

        • In Vino Veritas 3.1.1.1

          Poor old aero. The mine was built with a unescapable 2km entrance tunnel because Labour wouldnt consent it closer. Houses were built on liquifiable sand and leaked under Labour. Buildings were built under Labour that wouldnt stand a 7 quake.

    • alex 3.2

      We should be playing to our strengths more and encouraging Green jobs within the country, we have a massive amount of natural resources which if effectively managed could be used permanently and sustainably, and those would be jobs that could only be done in NZ, stopping the brain drain in some fields.

      • aerobubble 3.2.1

        We don’t have the modern tax regime in NZ that promotes investment by locals for locals.
        And why get paid in the south pacific peso.

    • mik e 3.3

      Outslider your broad generalization is just an apology for this governments cutting of R&D and lower funding per student ratio’s that are down grading our universities and our future wealth creation.All growing economies have increased significantly the amount they spend on education and innovation .National has cut and cut and scared away some of our finest research scientists especially in agriculture.As Rod Oram has time and time again told us we need to make more out of what we do well .National as per usual just put bandaids on gaping wounds and spin their way out of no action . That is why we are falling behind Australia .Pity they can’t use that skill and money fix the problem of helter skelter funding for R&D WE need consistent long term funding and support not willie nillie National

  4. belladonna 4

    I suspect the unemployment statistics would look quite different if the numbers departing New Zealand were also taken into consideration.

    • aerobubble 4.1

      Yes. And then take a look at how many commit suicide after being denied the benefit.
      Youth suicide, any suicide, requires a bleak outlook. And what an outlook we have
      given ourselves.

  5. ChrisH 5

    I don’t agree with National’s policies but I’m going to vote for that nice Mr Key !

    • Carol 5.1

      Do you live in Helensville, then?

    • mik e 5.2

      ChrisH so your going to close the gap with Portugal Iceland Ireland Italy Grease and Spain. Instaed of Australia.

    • tc 5.3

      Yes let’s all vote for the nice man who fronts a party bereft of vision/plan/integrity/honesty and pile our dough into the nearest pyramid scheme we can find while we’re at it…..isn’t it great to be a leeming.

      • Carol 5.3.1

        The only way anyone can vote for John Key is if they are in his Helensville electorate. Otherwise they are voting for Key’s party and its policies. We have a parliamentary system, not a presidential one… though JK is a bit of a POTUS wannabe.

        • Redbaron77 5.3.1.1

          I think ChrisH was making an oblique comment about apparent political fog voter’s appear to be caught up in …

  6. Anthony 6

    The petition seems to be a bit of BS, anyone worth their salt generally wants to do post doc overseas anyway (anecdotal of course).

    Bigger pond, more to learn, access to more conferences, working at a top ranked European university etc etc. It’s kind of like a rite of passage, much like the academics OE.

    Doesn’t mean most of us aren’t planning on coming back afterwards.

    • aerobubble 6.1

      LOL. To what? Retire? Return to a university position in NZ? Our universities
      are not that highly regarded, I think Auckland is in the top 200. The same
      rule applies we can’t pay them to come, and it shows even in our universities.
      And therein lies the problem with the economy, Denmark can do it, Switizland
      can, so why can’t NZ. It can if it stops importing its policy and its policy
      discussions from the US, and starts import liberal progressive european
      policy designed and implemented in and for small democracies.
      i.e. Don’t vote National if you want a economy run for the people of NZ.

      • Anthony 6.1.1

        I’ll be back to teach and research in NZ because I love this country, its home and my whanau are here – lot of other people are like me too.

        Also ranking schmanking… if your research is solid you still get opportunities, it’s why we have peer review not university ranking review. Personally I didn’t choose this path for kudos or “BIG MONEY”, I did it because I love what I do.

    • Ben Clark 6.2

      Doesn’t mean most of us aren’t planning on coming back afterwards.
      But you’ll probably want a job here when you return, right? And if there aren’t any because things are so badly funded, well…

  7. …he was talking about how important R&D was to New Zealand, and how we needed to increase it.

    As he said when he scrapped all those govt R&D initiatives, he has every confidence that the private sector is willing and able to fund the level of R&D needed – which was either an astonishing display of the ability of NZ journalists to remain poker-faced when being told the most blatant and ridiculous lies, or an equally astonishing display of just how thick our journos are. Bottom line is, no-one laughed in his face.

    • mik e 7.1

      The only private sector organization I’ve seen even speak about the issue , Has been a handful of has been politicians led by Ruth Richardson ,Trying very hard to not look like they are covering up Nationals huge botch up in this area

    • lprent 7.2

      Agreed. I was astonished right up until I realized that journos don’t indulge in anything as useful as export based businesses…

  8. Ianupnorth 8

    I was offered a position at our ‘top’ University (they also allegedly have trains there) and I rejected it because the academic standards well, were quite comical. The learning outcomes for their post graduate work were pitched at the same level as the under graduate programme I had manage in the UK.
    The level of scrutiny within NZ academia, in terms of scrutiny of each others qualifications is, well, suspect, largely because they have a sense of their own self importance.
     
    A colleague who I worked with in the UK (in a Uni that was in the top 20 their – it had more undergraduate students than most NZ towns) asked me

    Do you want to be a big fish in a little pond, or a little fish in a big pond?

    It is very easy to come to NZ, gain a senior academic role, and act like an expert – it is much harder to do that in the UK or Canada, and more difficult than in Aussie than NZ.
     
    There are real opportunities for this country to invest in the really talented individuals that are coming through the system, but the under graduates are in demand globally; unless the country invest in their talent, provides a way for them to prosper here (shit I am sounding like a capitalist now!) they will go where the money is.

  9. Afewknowthetruth 9

    Everything is Orwellian.

    Ignorance is strength, war is peace, freedom is slavery.

    When any politiican talks about the need for increased R&D that is code for curtting R&D funding.

    When any politician talks about growing the economy that is code for transferring a greater portion of the shrinking cake from the have-nots to the haves..

    What a pity Ben is still firmly locked into the idiotic growth delusion, depsite all the evidence that growth is over (due to peak oil) and all the evidence that growth is the problem … environmental collapse and all that.

    As long as we have politicians and budding politiicans demanding destruction of the planet we live on that is exactly what we are going to get.

  10. freedom 10

    At School when the teacher was telling porkies i would put up my hand and patiently wait to be called on. I would wait quite a while sometimes, then the reluctant teacher would call on me with the marvin-esque reservation that only comes from experience of what was to follow. This most often happened in Social History type classes, especially when colonisation was being discussed.

    I would question what was said, The teacher would respond, this would go back and forth a bit and usually had one outcome, i would end up in the hallway. (Sometimes i was actually correct btw, didn’t change the outcome tho) The teacher, rather than admit fault with the material or their application of the material would punish the person who spoke up to question it.

    I witness the same thinking every time i read of events like that ascribed to the recent business meeting.
    “I heard John Key talking at the Auckland North Shore Business awards a little over a week ago, and he was talking about how important R&D was to New Zealand, and how we needed to increase it. It was one of a number of comments that diverged significantly from the National government’s actions during his speech (he also said a CBD rail-loop was likely, despite the main road-block being Steven Joyce).”

    What stopped you from standing up and questioning that which you knew to be false! My bet is it was nothing else but the juvenile fear of being sent into the hall. The prevalent position of most seems to be keep your head down and your wallet protected. The decalration that you listened to the lies and did nothing is a telling example of the oncoming dystopia.

    So you would get kicked out, and your business might suffer, is that more important than constantly letting these parades of political lies continue. Is it more important then the consolidation of regressive policies that are infecting every facet of our populace with selfish and anti-democratic beliefs.

    My tendency to demand honesty from those around me has certainly limited my commercial activities over the years and you are correct in your probable assumption i am not a businessman. I have no International profit to protect, i have no vast empire to consider. I do not have the livelihoods of my employees to function as a conscience for my actions… on that last point i posit that neither do you.

    If these bs events that fill the calendars of our political mouthpieces are not held to account in Public, then it is no surprise that NZ has been progressively sold off to the world. We are constantly told business people are leaders of our communities, I can not recall the last time one actually stood up for reality and confronted the lies of our politicians outside of a formal or predicated format that was only of benefit to their particular industry.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Climate Change: Strike!
    Today is the first day of the global climate strike. Led by schoolkids, people all around the world are going to protest to demand action on climate change. New Zealand isn't doing it till next Friday (join us!), but if you want to get active early, there's plenty to do ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    8 hours ago
  • Climate Change: Squandering our opportunity?
    The Herald has a story today about the 400 MW of wind power currently under construction. Good news, right? Except that none of it is being driven by policy (instead, its about replacing Contact Energy's Taranaki Combined Cycle gas-fired power plant, due to shut down in 2022), and most of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    9 hours ago
  • Protect The King!
    To Protect and Serve: When the Prime Minister finds herself enmeshed in the coils of a full-blown political scandal, her colleagues and party comrades have only one priority: to release her as swiftly – and with as little lasting injury – as possible. Is this what Jacinda Ardern’s colleagues and ...
    10 hours ago
  • The rot at the top.
    When military leaders cover up and lie to elected civilian authorities, the foundation of democratic civil-military relations is undermined because it is those authorities who are entrusted to hold the military accountable to the public that they mutually serve. But this is only true if civilian political authorities take their ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    11 hours ago
  • Challenging the voting age in court
    The Make It 16 campaign to lower the voting age is launching this afternoon, and they have already announced plans to challenge the law in court:The campaign, named "Make it 16" will launch at Parliament on Friday, with plans to take their case to the High Court, testing the rights ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    11 hours ago
  • Israel’s elections herald a long siesta
    by Daphna Whitmore The long years of Netanyahu’s reign are drawing to an end. For years he has epitomized reactionary zionism as he oversaw hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers seize land in the West Bank. There are now 700,000 settlers, putting an end to the myth that Israel was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    12 hours ago
  • Petrol companies promise prices will come back down once peace is restored to the Middle East
    BP, Z and Mobil all insist that petrol price hikes are temporary, “in a very literal sense.” The nation’s major petrol providers are trying to allay customer fears over prices, promising that they’ll move to lower them again “immediately” when the Middle East is returned to its formerly peaceful state. ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 day ago
  • All Blacks unveil boat for Rugby World Cup 2019
    South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat. In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign. In a press conference that went ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 day ago
  • An increasingly shoddy coverup
    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    2 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    4 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    4 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    4 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    5 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

No feed items found.