National: it’s not worth the pay cut

Written By: - Date published: 1:46 pm, October 19th, 2007 - 58 comments
Categories: economy, workers' rights - Tags: ,

The National Party are clearly worried. They’ve done pretty well so far with the populist rallying cry of tax cuts, but they always knew their record on wages would come up at some point.

Because as National themselves are fully aware, while tax cuts might on the face of it put more money into workers’ pockets, their industrial relations policies are so heavily geared towards keeping wages down that for most working people the promised tax cuts simply aren’t worth the pay cut that would follow.

With the Council of Trade Unions this week announcing its intention to run a strong campaign based on protecting work rights and lifting wages, National clearly saw the game was up and entered into full inoculation mode.

Their first salvo was fired yesterday by the party’s resident blogger and former researcher David Farrar. By calculating the average wage over National’s last term and comparing it to Labour’s, then adjusting for tax rates and inflation, Farrar argued workers gained an extra $83.59 in take-home pay under National and just $33.90 under Labour. That worked out, he said, to a 15.2% increase under National and just 5.1% under Labour.

So the next time someone drones on about how bad the 1990s were for the average worker, Farrar gloated, just remember they were three times better than the last eight years.

Of course, Farrar’s statistics were self-serving crap. Anyone who knows the first thing about stats understands that it’s pointless to use the mean to discuss the wages of the typical worker, especially if you’re looking at the period of the last National government when inequality increased as rapidly as it did.

The median is a better measure by far: 50% of people earn more than it and 50% earn less, while most people earn somewhere thereabouts. As a pollster by trade, Farrar should know this. The man deals in statistics every day. He knows which ones are meaningful, which ones are misleading, and how to spin them either way to say whatever you like. That he chose to use the mean rather than the median shows just how disingenuous his little exercise really was.

Because when you use the median instead, the difference becomes clear immediately. Here’s a graph on median wage increases between 1991 and 2006. Note the difference in wage rises between the red and the blue:

nominal-small-revised.jpg
[click graph for full size version]

Median wage

1991 $272
1999 $328
2006 $485

That’s a 21% nominal wage increase under National, compared to a 48% increase under Labour.

But of course, as Farrar points out, you have to adjust for inflation. On that we’re agreed. He also argues that we should adjust for tax rates so that we’re measuring take-home pay rather than wages.

The fundamental problem with this approach is that if I get a $20 a week tax cut but corresponding cuts to public services mean I’m paying an extra $40 a week in user charges, I’m not actually any better off even if my tax bill says so. But we’ll factor it in to keep David happy.

We’ll also exclude Working for Families, a major tax credit for working families that means many low-income workers effectively pay no tax at all. And to make things even harder for the red team, we’ll also exclude government tax credits for KiwiSaver which, as No Right Turn has pointed out, are more generous than National’s 2005 tax cut plan.

So even given all these concessions, how does the typical worker’s take-home pay compare between National and Labour?

take-home-pay-small.jpg
[click graph for full size version]

Take-home pay

1991 $284
1999 $325
2006 $394

Yep, even under David’s handicap workers have had an increase of 21% ($69) in their take-home pay in the seven years of Labour government between 1999-2006, compared with just 14% ($41) under eight years of National from 1991-1999. And that’s without having to borrow, sell assets or increase user charges.

So David, next time you drone on about how bad Labour’s been for the average worker, just remember they’re three times better off than they were under National in the 90s.

Because when you add it all up, National’s tax cuts just aren’t worth the pay cut. And sooner or later, the voters are going to figure it out.

[UPDATE: Fixed the median wages graph to include the year 2000.]

58 comments on “National: it’s not worth the pay cut ”

  1. ak 2

    Yes, excellent Tane. You’ve bent over backwards and still managed to shove it up Farrar convincingly.
    As a reward you can go and play with burt – though after you big boys picked on him last time I don’t think mrs Farrar’s letting him come over any more….

  2. Indeed! I also think the narrow focus is misleading – any discussion about productivity necessarily requires consideration of the factors limiting competitiveness and productivity improvements. DPF’s focus is like a crooked throw the the lineout, it shifts the momentum in the wrong direction.

  3. Wodger 4

    There’s a different take over here: http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2007/10/median_incomes_over_time.html

    There will probably more vigorous discussion at KB as well.

    Crank up the random number generator – I’ll stick with Mark Twain.

  4. Sam Dixon 5

    honesty is the best basis for policy.

    our mate DPF still needs to learn that,

  5. have you fwd this to any media outlets? it might help them with their ‘toys and candy’ twitch

  6. Tane 7

    Hi bean, I figure they’ll probably read it here. But if someone else wants to pick it up and run with it then they’re more than welcome.

  7. pete 8

    Your graph seems to be suffering from the Y2K bug…

  8. Sam Dixon 9

    So, at the end of every week, the typical kiwi has more in his back pocket under Labour,

    and the amount extra is growing faster under Labour

    and Melissa Median gets Working For Families tax credits for her kids, she gets 20 hours free childcare if she has a 3-4 year old, she gets $1040 a year on Kiwisaver, she might get a Welcome Home Loan, she gets cheaper doctor visits and perscriptions, she has more Police on our streets, lower crime, lower pupil to teacher ratio in her kids’ school or maybe interst-free student loans, more elective surgery, better roads, higher life expectancy… anything I’ve missed?

    So, does she want to give up all that and faster wage growth for a 410 a week tax cut? National hopes so.

  9. Wodger 10

    Sam Dixon – do you know Mike Smith? – perhaps you could introduce hime to the concept

    “honesty is the best basis for policy”

  10. Tane 11

    Oops – thanks Pete, I’ll fix that now.

  11. robinsod 12

    Wodger – Yawn. I’m sure you could ask Mike Smith yourself. I just looked up the phone book and Wellington Labour HQ is 04 384 7649. Why don’t you fuck off and ask him yourself. Once you’ve got an answer come back here with it. Now be a good boy and run along…

  12. ak 13

    Yep Sam, as well as all that if she gets crook or falls on hard times she won’t be stigmatised and will get far better service from Work and Income who are now commited to ensuring everyone gets their full legal entitlements, and the voluntary welfare groups who might be able to help her are now better funded and supported by govt. Oh and she’ll be treated by one of the best health systems in the world: check this out – second best health system behind Germany and miles ahead of the US system which comes last at three times the cost per head.
    http://www.commonwealthfund.org/usr_doc/1027_Davis_mirror_mirror_international_update_final.pdf?section=4039

  13. Sam Dixon 14

    “…for a 410 a week tax cut?” should be $10 a week of course

  14. Leftie 15

    Great work….My co-workers would be interested to see these graphs as well.

  15. Wodger 16

    Good to see you are up to date on the Labour Party Talking Points Sam, but you better check on your honesty policy…

    20 hours “free” childcare – I see the architect of that snafu is departing the scene

    lower crime – I guess you missed the headlines “iolent crime rise ‘national disgrace'”
    Violent crime up from 105/1000 pop in 98/99 to 127.1/10000 in 06/07

    elective surgery – every worked that out on a per-capita basis Sam?

    Do you actually know anyone in that situation Sam? Maybe you should ask them how they cope with the rates bill, the power bill, vehicle running costs and so on.

    Next you’ll be claiming that Labour is improving Melissa’s chances in the bedroom!

  16. robinsod 17

    Wodge – I thought you weren’t coming back until you rang Smith? Oh and I’m no economist but I’m pretty sure rates, power and vehicle costs are included in inflation. But of course you could be making a non-tradeables argument (in which case are you saying the govt should be subsidising them?). Somehow I suspect you’re not that sophisticated though.

  17. Sam Dixon 18

    Wodger – go to the stats site there in the table builder you can see the stats for every type of recorded offence going back to 1998 you’ll notice a significant decline across the board.

    Where there has been an increase is in domestic violence – the experts attribute that to higher reporting, a good thing.

    Maybe The Standard boys could post use a nice wee graph from the Stats figures.

    And, obviously, the figures Tane has provided have inflation taken into account: that is, they are adjusted for nominal increases in rates and other non-tradables (checkou the CPI stats to see how everyhitng is included and weighted).

    Also, as men are less likely to commit suicide, be injured at work, be killed on the road or by someone, and as she and her partner are likely to have generally better health, and are less likely to feel lonely or depressed now than in the 1990s (its all in the Social Report), I would say, yes, Melissa’s chances in the bedroom have improved under Labour.

    (anyone want to track down old durex surveys and make sure?)

  18. Wodger 19

    Sam

    I was suggesting that you forget about waving statistics around (have you checked Mark Twain yet) and talk to something else than your keyboard. You might just find that Melissa isn’t a Labour voter, or that her de-facto likes to give her the bash

    Keep up the party line though – if crime decreases, thats good, if it increases, thats just an increase in reporting, and thats good too – I’m sure it sounds good in Labour party meetings, even if most of New Zealand knows what it really means.

  19. Sam Dixon 20

    Wodger – the stats unit of the Police are the ones who explain the crime data, I’m just relaying to lazy buggers. Are you saying they produce Labour party lines now? How’s the tinfoil hat fitting?

    Seriously though, its desperation stuff to say ‘stuff the stats, I knows what I knows’ anyone can say anything, no one story can give an overall picture of society, that’s why stats not stories are the foundation of policy.

  20. robinsod 21

    Wodge – ohh Mark Twain and “the party line”. Between your unsubstantiated claims and your abstract and off-topic references to Twain, Wodge you’re making it really hard for me to say this: but fuck off until you come back with a real argument instead of the smug and self-deluded shit you’re peddling at the mo’.

  21. Lady Leftie 22

    Thanks team for the graphs – it is always good to stick stats up the arse of that National Party blogger David Farrar.

    I was wondering if you had the time for a Lorenz Curve to show the change in income distribution? It might not be the prettiest picture, but relativity is always an important measure to consider too.

  22. This is, frankly, the problem with focusing on a reasonably narrow indicator as a measure of the performance of a government. Wages are at might be a reasonably direct measure of economic activity/performance, but they’re only an indirect measure of government performance. Why not broaden the lens to include capital deepening, exports, R&D etc?

    Labour’s stewardship of the economy has been at least as good as Naitonal’s but lets all be honest and accept that the NZ economy is not performing as well as we’d like. Once we’ve made this leap, the discussion is sensibly on what to do – Labour’s clearly got some ideas and initiatives e.g. increasing workforce skills, improving R&D incentives, investing in infrastructure and promoting personal savings and increase access to domestic capital. What’s Nationals? Cut taxes?

  23. Sam Dixon 24

    mardypants – liked your guys bit on that actually – we mustn’t attribute too much of the economy’s performance to the government – there are other very strong drivers at play. that said, government policy (especially such different policies as 1990-99 and 1999-2007) do have quite an impact on wages – i’ve looked at the median numbers myself and its a flat line from 1991 to 1996, thats the result of the ECA crippling low income earners.

  24. ak 25

    Oh and four weeks holiday, paid parental leave, ever-rising minimum wage, the list is just too long, how about someone doing a “before and after” for Melissa?

  25. Sam Dixon 26

    ak – good idea, its hard with WfF because you have to make assumptions about her family type, what would be the fair way of doing it,assuming she has two kids (the most common family unit apart from couple only). I’ll see what I can do and see if our hosts here wat to put it up.

    thanks for catching 4 weeks leave and parental leave – knew i’d missed stuff 🙂

  26. Sam, points well made. IR is critical to the way the labour market functions and I’ve also seen numbers on the impact of the ECA. I think this discussions is helpful but my concerns are a little broader – setting the rules by which the labour market operates affects access to employment and distribution of benefits (along with tax laws) but there’s so much more to what governments do and Farrar ignored this because he thinks there’s an indicator that advances his political agenda.

  27. PaulL 28

    Damn this site is slow 🙂

    I was taught at school that graphs should start at zero unless you have a really good reason. Not the end of the world, but anyway…

    I’m a bit lost Tane on how you are 3 times better off under Labour, when your statistics seem to say about 33% better ($21 v’s $14).

    You are using median income. Of course, this needs to be corrected for hours worked, which median full-time income wouldn’t. Any comment on movement in the number of hours worked by part-time workers in the relevant periods? Otherwise I’m not sure how we get such a discrepancy between median income here and median full-time income per DPF.

    Can you separate the tax correction from the inflation correction? I’d be interested to see the intermediate result so I can understand how such a big difference in gross translates into such a small difference in net.

    After all this (and if we had the graphs starting at zero) I think we could probably agree that there was little difference between the two in real terms, to the median worker. If you were a median full-time worker a little better off under National, if a median part-time worker, a little better off under Labour.

    We might also ask the question as to why Australia seems to have streaked ahead in this time – the discrepancy between them and us has grown considerably under both these governments. Should we be concerned, or is this just NZ’s lot – we cannot do any better (poor us, too dumb compared to our neighbours?)

  28. Robinsod 29

    Paul, I’d guess that the reason oz has “streaked ahead” is that they haven’t had the ECA (and a barely better version of it) to deal with but don’t worry. I read Costello a year or so ago claiming they needed to make their wages more competitive with ours. Looks like work choices is getting them there.

    Bu they if you want to go back to the pre-workchoices Aussie IR system I’m more than happy to follow…

  29. Murray M 30

    Good to see you lefties having a fine chat amongst yourselves. Nobody with an IQ registering above the Richter scale wants to engage with you.

  30. Robinsod 31

    Well that explains why you’ve dropped in muz.

  31. Murray M 32

    I have not taken part in this discussion, therefore I have not engaged. Don’t call me muz, only my friends are allowed to call me that.

  32. Robinsod 33

    Jeez – you’ve engaged now though, how about “muzza”?

  33. Murray M 34

    Okay I will troll. I’m assuming the Robin”sod” means you where the badge of being sodomised as a source of pride.

  34. Robinsod 35

    Okay, I’ll give away one of the minor secrets of the Kiwi blogosphere – it means I don’t give a sod for you or your arguments and I’ll bend you over when ever I feel like it (it’s not homophobic – it’s about power) Oh and you mean “wear” but seeing as your such a “I’m taking my brilliant arse to aussie – fuck you” kind of a guy I’m sure you made that (really basic) mistake on purpose. Eh Muz?

  35. Murray M 36

    Yes I did, and for the last time don’t call me Muz

  36. “Jeez – you’ve engaged now though, how about “muzza”?”

    I think “mad muzza” is his common tag.

  37. Robinsod 38

    Ok Muz – see what I mean? I hope you like Aussie, where exactly are you heading?

  38. burt 39

    The argument here is that the mid point on a line proves National will cut pay?

    What would be interesting to see would be this graph alongside the median cost of living, median house price and median mortgage size over the same period. That would tell you a story.

    This is pretty line that could produced from the state owned power generators profits or the ministry of ed budget. A graph for school teachers would of course be a lot flatter.

  39. JamesK 40

    Burt, it’s adjusted for inflation.

  40. burt 41

    JamesK

    And as such it’s a pretty good representation of inflation. Which is what I was saying, perhaps poorly.

    I think power prices would track a similar graph (as would state owned power company profits). I also suspect the price of a liter of milk or petrol would track a similar picture. This is the effect of CPI increases on wages, no more no less.

    It represents no standard of living increase, just a shift from CPI running at 1.5%-2.5% to 2.5%-4%.

    Labour have hiked inflation compared to National – Bravo.

  41. pete 42

    I was taught at school that graphs should start at zero unless you have a really good reason.

    Time series graphs tend not to start at zero, because we’re more interested in the changes than in the actual value. The big bold blue and red colouring in is probably borderline misleading, but it sure does look pretty.

    Otherwise I’m not sure how we get such a discrepancy between median income here and median full-time income per DPF.

    The low-income end of the distribution has less bargaining power and so were more likely to be casualised under the ECA. Chop off the left hand tail and the median jumps to the right (1990-1999). Add the tail back in and the median jumps back to the left (1999-2007). DPF’s figures are dominated by this effect; Tane’s figures capture the actual movements in the income distribution.

  42. Sam Dixon 43

    burt you moron –
    inflation adjusted means that changes in cost of living including house prices is already taken into account. the figures you see say that in 1991 the median income after tax would buy good and serices that cost $284 in 2006, whereas in 2006 the median income after tax would buy goods and services that cost $394 in 2006..

    your economic iliteracy is actually embarassing – that is, i feel bad for you for making such a fool of yourself over a basic economic point.

  43. Sam Dixon 44

    PaulL – DPF’s graph only measures full time wages, Tane’s meaures incomes – why is Tane’s better?

    first a premise: the object is to find out how much the typical person has in their back pocket and how that changed under naional and labour.

    The after tax, inflationed adjusted median income does this better than the after tax inflation adjusted median wage becuase it measures all income rather than just full time wages – so changes in the balance of sources of income distrort Farrar’s figures but not Tane’s. For instance, since 2000 many high income people have shifted earnings that were previously wages into dividends or trusts, that makes am average wage measurement lower but median income is not affected and continues to show the true picture.

    Also,just measuring fulltime wages does not tell you anything about if most people have more money in their pockets becuase there is more work around, the median income does.

    Basically, Tane’s figures are the full picture, Farrar’s are a portion of Tane’s figures that have selectd for the parttern they seem to show.

    (DPF’s previous one only measured ordinary time wages even wose, becuase it missed out changes around penal rates, and it was a mean so subjec outler effect from a few wealthy people getting much mroe wealthy than others, thus giving a false picture of the ordinary person’s income)

  44. burt 45

    Sam

    burt you moron

    So where is the statement that the first graph (which looks very much like an inflation graph) is adjusted for inflation… It is not.

    The second one is adjusted for something, spin perhaps. Perhaps you could publish the percentage used for inflation each year and then I’ll happily debate how you got $284 (as a 1991 median wage adjusted by 15 years of inflation).

    Until then I’m happy being a moron for being able to see the unadjusted graph for what it is, a representation of inflation.

  45. burt 46

    Sam

    $272 adjusted by 15 years of inflation to get $284 shows a total of 4% inflation over 15 years.

    Not according to this: http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/keygraphs/Fig1.html

    Inflation has been hovering around 2%-4% every year since 2000. Not 4% over 15 years.

    Busted. The inflation adjusted graph is sham.

  46. burt 47

    Sam

    If inflation has been hovering around 2% for 15 years the total effect of that 2% over time is circa 35%.

    $272 adjusted for inflation over 15 years (35%) is actually $418. Your graph should be point down, which I believe is what DPF has been trying to tell you.

    So who is the moron?

  47. burt 48

    Sam

    I was being nice to you guys with the above numbers, from the Reserve Bank link. “Since 1990 CPI inflation has averaged around 2.5%”, which over 15 years gives a gross increase of circa 46%. (not the friendly 2% I first used)

    So $272 grossed up by 46% = $503 which is more than the unadjusted 2006 figure of $485. We really are going backwards compared to inflation.

  48. Sam Dixon 49

    no burt, i’m afriad the problem is still you’re an idiot.

    This time you’ve forgotten to take tax into account. you’ve got to take that off before applying the CPI.

    fish in a barrel mate.

  49. pete 50

    burt:

    Since 1990 CPI inflation has averaged around 2.5%

    Economists do some odd things with growth rates based on the approximation exp(x)-1 ~ x for small x.

    So if prices rise 37.5% in 15 years they’ll call that a 2.5% “average” (i.e. 37.5%/15 = 2.5%)

    Using the Reserve Bank’s inflation calculator I get:

    272.00 $3q1991 = 370.71 $3q2006

    So $272 grossed up by 46% = $503

    A 46% increase on $272.00 should give you $397.12. Might want to take that calculator in for a service.

  50. Sam Dixon 51

    here’s how to calcualte it:

    a) get the gross median nominal income for the year (1991 $272)

    b) take off tax (23.5% in 1991 leaving $208.08 net median nominal income)

    c) use the RBNZ’s calcuator to adjust to 2006 dollars (rather than, you know, guess) – CPI in 1991 735,in 2006 1000. $284 net median real income in 2006 dollars.

    d) repeat, graph, laugh at Farrar.

  51. I think Muzza’s getting pissed at you, Robinsod! Muzza, chill out.

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    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    3 days ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    4 days ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    4 days ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    4 days ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    5 days ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    6 days ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    6 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • In Defence of Kāinga Ora
    Given the headlines around the recent findings of the ‘independent’ review of Kāinga Ora by Bill English, you might assume this post will be about social housing, Kāinga Ora’s most prominent role. While that is indeed something that requires defending, I want to talk about the other core purpose of ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Baby You're A Rich Man
    “How does it feel to beOne of the beautiful peopleNow that you know who you areWhat do you want to beAnd have you traveled very far?Far as the eye can see”Yesterday the ACT party faithful were regaled with craven boasts, sneers, and demands for even more at their annual rally.That ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Stopping a future Labour government from shutting down gas exploration
    A defiant Resources Minister Shane Jones has responded to Saturday’s environmental protests by ending Labour’s offshore oil exploration ban and calling for long-term contracts with any successful explorers. The purpose would be to prevent a future Labour Government from reversing any licence the explorers might hold. Jones sees a precedent ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23
    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 2, 2024 thru Sat, June 8, 2024. Story of the week Our Story of the Week is Yale Climate Connection's Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths, by ...
    7 days ago
  • Fission by the river
    This is where we ate our lunch last Wednesday. Never mind your châteaux and castles and whatnot, we like to enjoy a baguette in the shadow of a nuclear power plant; a station that puts out more than twice as much as Manapouri using nothing more than tiny atoms to bring ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is the ocean acidifying?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is the ocean acidifying? Acidification of oceans ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000+ on Queen St.
    The largest protest I ever went on was in the mid 90s. There were 10,000 people there that day, and I’ve never forgotten it. An enormous mass of people, chanting together. Stretching block after block, bringing traffic to a halt.But I can’t say that’s the biggest protest I’ve ever been ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Josh Drummond's Columns
    Hi there,I wanted to put all of Josh Drummond’s Webworm pieces all in one place. I love that he writes for Webworm — and all of these are a good read!David.Why Are So Many “Christians” Hellbent on Being Horrible?Why do so many objectively hideous people declare themselves “Christian”?Meeting the Master ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday soliloquy and weekend Pick ‘n’ Mix for June 8/9
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: On reflection, the six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty this week were:The Government-driven freeze in building new classrooms, local roads and water networks in order to save cash for tax cuts is frustrating communities facing massive population ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The no-vision thing
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • When Journalists are Disingenuous
    Hi,One of the things I like the most about Webworm is to be able to break down the media and journalism a little, and go behind the scenes.This is one of those times.Yesterday an email arrived in my inbox from journalist Jonathan Milne, who is managing editor at Newsroom.I don’t ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Me, elsewhere: Just say you’ll do the thing
    Wrote something over at 1/200 on a familiar theme of mine: The way we frame the economy as a separate, sacred force which must be sacrificed to, the way we talk about criminals as invaders who must be repelled, the constant othering of people on the benefit, people not in ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 week ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted
    A nice bit of news today: my 4600-word historical fantasy-horror piece, A Voyage Among the Vandals, has been accepted by Phobica Books (https://www.phobicabooks.co.uk/books) for their upcoming Pirate Horror anthology, Shivering Timbers. This one is set in the Mediterranean, during the mid-fifth century AD. Notable for having one of history’s designated ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministerial conflicts of interest
    Since the National government came to power, it has been surrounded by allegations of conflicts of interest. Firstly, there's the fast-track law, which concentrates power in the hands of three Ministers, some of whom have received donations from companies whose projects they will be deciding on. Secondly, there's the close ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The 2024 Budget Forecasts Are Gloomy Prognosis About The Next Three Years.
    There was no less razzamatazz about the 2024 Budget than about earlier ones. Once again the underlying economic analysis got lost. It deserves more attention.Just to remind you, the Budget Economic and Fiscal Update (BEFU), is the Treasury’s independent assessment and so can be analysed by other competent economists (although ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • A government that can't see twenty feet ahead
    There are two failings that consistently characterise a National government. One is a lack of imagination, the other is their willingness to look after their mates, no matter what harm it might do to everyone else.This is how we come to have thousands of enormous trucks carving up our roads. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • A post I hope is incorrect
    In May, we learned that National MP David MacLeod had "forgotten" to declare $178,000 in electoral donations. Filing a donation return which is false in any material particular is a crime, and the Electoral Commission has now referred MacLeod to police, since they're the only people who are allowed to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Māori Cannot Re-Write New Zealand’s Constitution By Stealth.
    The Kotahitanga Parliament 1897: A Māori Parliament – at least in the guise of a large and representative body dedicated to describing the shape of New Zealand’s future from a Māori perspective – would be a very good idea.THE DEMAND for a “Māori Parliament” needs to be carefully unpicked. Some Pakeha, ...
    1 week ago
  • Cowpats and Colonials.
    Dumbtown, is how my friend Gerard refers to people like ZB listeners - he’s not wrong.Normally on a Friday I start by looking at Mike Hosking’s moronic reckons of the week which he vomits down the throats of his audience like helpless baby birds in a nest, grateful for the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on cutting the sick leave of vulnerable workers
    Should sick leave be part and parcel of the working conditions from Day One on the job, just like every other health and safety provision? Or should access to sick leave be something that only gradually accumulates, depending on how long a worker has been on the payroll? If enacted ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Nobody Move: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    So long as we live in a democracy, economic policy can never be anything other than social-democratic.“HEH!”, snorted Laurie, as he waved his debit card over the EFTPOS machine. “Same price as last week. I guess budgets aren’t what they used to be.”“I wouldn’t know,” replied the young barman, wearily, ...
    1 week ago
  • In Search Of Unity.
    Kotahitanga: New Zealand’s future belongs to those who do not fear a nation carved out of unity and solidarity, and are willing to trust the carvers. Some New Zealanders will be required to step up, and others, perhaps for the first time in their lives, will be expected to step ...
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 7-June-2024
    Welcome to another Friday roundup! Here are some recent links and stories that caught our eye, perfectly timed for your watercooler discussions and weekend reading. As always feel free to share more in the comments. Our header image this week is by Patrick Reynolds, and shows Te Komititanga from above. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 7
    As Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, ACT’s Brooke van Velden is fronting proposed changes to sick pay regulations and The Holiday Act. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Did we boil the oceans by cutting pollution?
    Lowering aerosol emissions from shipping has altered clouds, with potentially drastic effects. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: Here’s the top six news items of note in climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, and a discussion above between Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer:New evidence is increasingly pointing at efforts ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #23 2024
    Open access notables Abrupt reduction in shipping emission as an inadvertent geoengineering termination shock produces substantial radiative warming, Yuan et al., Communications Earth & Environment: Human activities affect the Earth’s climate through modifying the composition of the atmosphere, which then creates radiative forcing that drives climate change. The warming effect ...
    1 week ago
  • Fragments
    The best observation I’ve read this week about the deep, profound harm Trump is doingTrump has hurled threats and smears at witnesses, jurors and the judge (including his family)... [he] has tried to intimidate witnesses and delegitimize the New York courts as corrupt. In continuing to incite his mob (that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • March for Nature
    Do do do do do do do doDo do do do do doDi di di di di di di di di di diNature enter me…In 2018 the Labour lead government banned new oil and gas exploration in Aotearoa. A change welcomed by those who care deeply for our environment and ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus and pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 6
    The Transport Minister is trying to push through urgent legislation that would allow him to change emissions standards for car imports without approval from Parliament, after only consulting car importers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Just as two major reports showed fossil fuel burning was warming the planet to dangerous levels and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • A Better Broadway: Act 2
    This is a guest post by reader Grant A, the second of a pair about how to fix Broadway. If you missed the beginning of the show, here’s the link to Act 1 from yesterday. Yesterday, I discussed changing traffic circulation around Broadway in Newmarket. This included implementing a car-free ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago

  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Paid Parental Leave increase to help families
    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Brooke van Velden says paid parental leave increase from 1 July will put more money in the pockets of Kiwi parents and give them extra support as they take precious time off to bond with their newborns. The increase takes effect from 1 July 2024 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Defence increases UN Command commitment
    The number of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to the Republic of Korea is increasing, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.  NZDF will deploy up to 41 additional personnel to the Republic of Korea, increasing the size of its contribution to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand to attend 'Summit on Peace in Ukraine' in Switzerland
    New Zealand will be represented at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine by Minister Mark Mitchell in Switzerland later this week.    “New Zealand strongly supports Ukraine’s efforts to build a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Minister Mitchell is a senior Cabinet Minister and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Big step forward for M.bovis programme
    Farmers’ hard work is paying off in the fight against Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) with the move to a national pest management plan marking strong progress in the eradication effort, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The plan, approved by the Coalition Government, was proposed by the programme partners DairyNZ, Beef ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Build To Rent opening welcomed by Housing Minister
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Housing Minister Chris Bishop formally opened a new Build to Rent development in Mt Wellington this morning. “The Prime Minister and I were honoured to cut the ribbon of Resido, New Zealand’s largest Build to Rent development to date.  “Build to Rent housing, like the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Agriculture to come out of the ETS
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