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National’s vision: employment without dignity

Written By: - Date published: 3:23 pm, March 3rd, 2010 - 52 comments
Categories: national, workers' rights - Tags:

The National Government’s latest proposals to strip away workers’ protections against unfair dismissal, including extending the 90 day fire at will law, must surely put to bed any idea that this is a moderate, centrist government.

Over the last few months the Government has started to step up its attacks on workers’ rights, eschewing any sweeping overhauls of the Employment Relations Act and going instead for a strategy of death by a thousand cuts.

In an area that marks the core of the Left-Right divide this growing boldness is a telling sign of who National is governing for and raises questions about how long the myth of the centrist John Key can continue.

As the Greens point out, the latest proposals go beyond anything in National’s pre-election industrial relations policy, and I’d add that they go well beyond even the Employment Contracts Act 1991.

National’s proposals include:

  • Expanding the 90 day fire at will period, possibly up to six months.
  • Expanding the 90 day fire at will law to cover even more workers, with a suggestion of taking away rights to fairness and due process from all workers in businesses where there are fewer than 50 employees.
  • Giving employers many more grounds to dismiss workers.
  • Removing natural justice requirements in the dismissal process, including the right to be told what the charges are against you, the right to explain yourself, the right to have that explanation considered, and the right to a fair process.
  • Further limiting the time limit in which an employee can take a personal grievance.
  • Removing reinstatement as a primary remedy.
  • Removing all rights to fairness and due process in dismissal for people over a certain income threshold.

This really is pretty extreme stuff, and there’s no need to go into a detailed rebuttal of each point here. The most telling thing is the weakness of the arguments from National and the business lobby. There appears to be no real reason for this other than the fact that many employers simply don’t understand employment law and don’t like it when that law holds them to account for their mistakes and for their failures of management.

National’s line today on Morning Report was that the law is too focused on process rather than substance, and that employers should not have follow fair process when sacking someone. There’s no evidence for this, all they have is a few anecdotes from the employer lobby, while the minister’s own discussion document shows most people are happy with the current system. Indeed, you’ve got to wonder what use a right to fair process would be if there were no sanction on employers who breached it.

Meanwhile Business NZ’s Phil O’Reilly is claiming that taking away the right to appeal against unfair dismissal and denying natural justice will boost economic growth and reduce unemployment. He doesn’t have a shred of evidence either, and I doubt he believes this nonsense himself.

When you cut through the spin and the bullshit, there’s nothing here but pure self-interest from the employer lobby and their representatives in the National Party.

So, what’s at stake here for working New Zealanders if these proposals go ahead? Quite a bit, actually. As Andrew Little put it yesterday, ‘the ability to take away someone’s economic livelihood is a huge amount of power, and it’s a basic democratic right that all workers have access to natural justice.’

That cuts to the core of what this debate is really about. Employers have a huge amount of power over our lives. When you take away someone’s job you’re taking away their economic livelihood. You’re taking away the means to keep a roof over their heads, to put food on their dinner table and to support their family. An employer holds in their hands the threat of their employee’s financial ruin.

There’s a huge social element here too. A person’s job is a large part of their social life and of their identity. Often a job is the very reason a person moves to a place and becomes part of a community. Taking that away from someone in an arbitrary and unfair fashion is frequently humiliating and emotionally devastating.

In civilised societies we ensure that power as great as this is checked against abuse. In the political arena we have civil rights to protect us against potential abuses of power by the state. We don’t leave it up to citizens to ‘fend for themselves’ against the state or tell them to ‘leave this country and find another one if you don’t like it’. We limit the state’s power to ensure against abuse.

The same principle should apply for corporate power, particularly in the employment relationship. That’s why work rights are important to a democratic society – they’re not just some economic imposition on employers, they’re the civil rights of the workplace.

In rolling back these rights, National and the business lobby are trying to restore the economic relations of the 19th century. Some have mistakenly tried to compare the principle of at-will employment to medieval serfdom. I don’t think that’s quite right. For all the crimes of serfdom, at least there was a sense of noblesse oblige on the part of the landed aristocracy.

The principle of fire at will employment removes even that it is the ultimate commodification and dehumanisation of labour. You are not a human being with a right to dignity and respect and fairness in the workplace. You are a unit of labour, no different from a cargo of steel or a truck full of timber. If your employer doesn’t need you for whatever reason then you’re down the road you, your family, your social standing, the lot of it. It is a charter for employment without dignity.

When John Howard tried this in Australia with WorkChoices a few years back it was widely recognised as a step too far to the right and he was comprehensively turfed out at the next election. Here in New Zealand, John Key gets puff pieces about his visit to a bunch of gushing private school girls in Wellington.

The challenge for the New Zealand labour movement is to take these proposals and all the rest of National’s attacks on our work rights and form it into a coherent narrative about a Government that stands for the rich few at the top and against the interests of the many. And the media commentariat needs to get over the idea that just because John Key goes to the Big Gay Out one day then cuts taxes for the rich the next that makes him a centrist.

52 comments on “National’s vision: employment without dignity”

  1. Armchair Critic 1

    “You are a unit of labour, no different from a cargo of steel or a truck full of timber.”
    When will National realise that people are more than “resources”? Without even addressing the ethical side of the argument, the plan is a fail because cargoes of steel and truck loads of timber do not participate in the economy by spending whatever income they receive over their lifetime. Important difference, that.

  2. Onomatopoeia 2

    But you guys told me the world was going to end with the 90 days “fire at will” bill. People would be starving in the streets. Women would be raped with impunity by their employers. That didn’t happen. So why would I believe you now?

    • Where? Sources please.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        I bet you never get an answer… Idiots like this ‘Onomatopoeia’ are good at making crap up through ‘common-sense’ and totally useless at proving anything that they say is ‘true’.

        In fact it is almost the distinguishing feature of a wingnut… In this case he is starting to look to me like he is a troll…

        • Onomatopoeia 2.1.1.1

          I’ll take that bet. lprent. What are you putting up?

          • mickysavage 2.1.1.1.1

            How about you come up with the sources.

          • lprent 2.1.1.1.2

            It was a bet between the savage and myself – not you.

            I notice that you still haven’t put anything up to prove your assertion…. Did I ever mention what I do to people that just come here to bullshit without anything more between their ears than empty space?

            • Onomatopoeia 2.1.1.1.2.1

              On 9 December 2008 at 2:06 on the thread entitled “Ramming it through” Irishbill predicted widespread sexual harrassment of employees by employers. For some reason, it will not let me copy the link but you can look it up yourself.

              Now I have to admit to being a bit confused about who wins what. r0b wins me not being banned? I’m uncertain of the degree to which he is likely to value that.

              My catchpa is “staying”. It’s in the stars, lprent.

              [lprent: Not exactly. The stars don’t have control of this site. I do. You have to conform to the rough policies of this site. One of the things that I hand out bans for is making assertions without evidence when challenged. To not do so is viewed as evidence of trolling. ]

              • You mean here?

                If you read the comments properly a troll accused Irish of saying something like this. He said nothing of the sort apart from this:

                “I have a friend that has recently dealt with a case in which a small employer decided to reduce a new worker’s hour to a point where they were effectively zero because she rebuffed his advances during a staff night on the piss. That cost that employer a considerable sum. Not for the sexual harassment but for the breach of process.

                Besides you said “you guys” implying more than one. Yet you come up with only one source and it does not say what you claimed it would say.

                Onomataopoeis you are looking more and more like a troll.

                Slept under any bridges lately?

              • omomatopoeia

                One of the things that I hand out bans for…

                That’s the problem around here, and with the left in general. Time was, there was fun to be had here. Ribbing was tolerated accross the divide. Now, Irishbill wades in at a moment’s notice proclaiming (like it is something to be proud of) that not all left wingers are liberal and lprent will accuse anyone who disagrees with him of being a troll. Meanwhile the infantile smugenss of a BLip is encouraged as if he were clever and the mindless facism of a Millsy gets tacit approval. This place used to be reasonably unique in the NZ cyberspace discourse. Now it is a sad little echo chamber.

                [lprent: That is your opinion. Generally it is a hell of lot easier to read without the daft comments derived from reading the debris extracted from your navel. The number of comments keeps increasing and is generally of a higher quality that is actually interesting. If you can’t evolve, then that is mainly your problem. In the end I really don’t care that much about what your opinion is – it is seldom backed with any evidence. ]

              • yeahright

                Watch it buddy or you will be banned

              • felix

                Waaah! It’s no fun here! They make me back up my bullshit and I just caaaaan’t!

                Poor stupid fuck. Go cry somewhere else.

              • Onomatopoeia

                Hey, lprent, I actually like you. You are obviously very well meaning and talented in surprisingly wide-ranging number of fields. But have you noticed that none of your posts seem to attract much traffic. That’s because, despite being well-meaning, intelligent and hard-working, you are not actually that interesting. You are a basically nice human being who has gone a bit mad on a little bit of power in an odd little world. And the way in which you have exercised that power has made this site worse. You will not see that because, being a basically nice person, you value loyalty. So you will slap the backs of the bullies like Irishbill and the one dimensional children who are trying to be the Whaleoil of the left (BLiP, Millsy et al) and pretend to yourself that you are raising the tone of discourse. There are some who remember the early days of this site. When it was possible to make a joke at the expense of a person from any side of the spectrum. If the person was a dullard and the joke was funny, we all laughed and moved on. Not any more. I know you feel you must take yourselves so seriously because the very future of civilization rests with you. But maybe you are wrong.

                And as for putting yourself above the stars, that’s so not Grey Lynn of you.

                Oh, and Felix, I did back up my “bullshit”. Are you seriously saying that the left has not been arguing that lots of really, really bad things would happen once the “fire at will law” (as you insist on calling it) came in? Because they just did. And if you do not think bad things were going to happen, why did you not support it? Oh, I know why: because you thought lots of bad things were going to happen. Only they didn’t.

                [lprent: Answered in OpenMike. It is cluttering this post. ]

              • BLiP

                Moi – and BlubberBoy?

                Classic.

              • felix

                “Oh, and Felix, I did back up my “bullshit’.”

                No you didn’t. You claimed this:
                “But you guys told me the world was going to end with the 90 days “fire at will’ bill. People would be starving in the streets. Women would be raped with impunity by their employers.”

                And mickey called you on it. And then you had a little cry about how it’s no fun around here because you can’t make shit up and have it stand unchallenged.

                “Are you seriously saying that the left has not been arguing that lots of really, really bad things would happen once the “fire at will law’ (as you insist on calling it) came in?”

                Ah, so “you guys” means “the left” which means “something I thought I saw on the standard”. How about you figure out who the fuck you’re talking to and address a comment to them directly. I don’t speak for “the left” or anyone else.

                For the record though, look around you, moron. The govt is now trying to remove everyone else’s workplace rights too, as predicted. That’s a “really, really bad thing” in my book.

                Now back to your claim that “you guys told me … People would be starving in the streets. Women would be raped with impunity by their employers.”

                Come up with anything yet?

                Didn’t think so.

              • felix

                BLiP, I suspect he means to say that you’re the diametric opposite of Cam Slug. He just doesn’t have the facility to express the idea very well.

              • BLiP

                Ahh – that makes more sense. As unarmed as he is, I thought he might have been trying to be witty. Of course, I should have realised when his said his first comment concerning rape was a joke. Funny guy.

    • Bright Red 2.2

      there have been abuses of the 90 Day Bill. Some of them have been mentioned on this site. But with no legal recourse and without DoL monitoring the impact of the law, it’s hardly surprising that many abuses don’t come to public light.

    • Daveo 2.3

      Another aspect people don’t realise is that most employers don’t understand the law. They actually think the fire at will provisions come in automatically, when the employer has to actually put it in themselves. As a result most people aren’t actually on them.

      As you see the rot extend to large businesses more people will go on them. The difference is large organisations with HR departments actually know what they’re doing.

      There have been a few cases – that girl at Overland who was forced to buy shoes worth more than her pay or she’d get the sack under the fire at will law, and there was one Unite had a protest about recently. I understand the CTU has fielded quite a few cases, but understandably people are unwilling to speak out in case it hinders their chances of getting another job.

      Doesn’t help either that the Department of Labour hasn’t been keeping any stats.

      The other thing worth noting is that this package is far wider in scope than the original fire at will bill. It really is quite extreme.

    • Roger 2.4

      John Key said it would reduce unemployment and give people a better chance at finding employment. That didn’t happen. So why should I believe him now?

      • Sam 2.4.1

        Yeah good point. I for one would love to see some stats on how well the fire at will act has helped keep unemployment down.

    • kaplan 2.5

      So Onomatopoeia. You support the right for employers to be able to breed workers in captivity, feed them nothing but bread and water and instead of wages simply provide the most minimal level of heat and shelter required? That’s truly awfull.

      What’s that you say? You didn’t say that?

      Oh.. hard luck. it’s on teh interwebs now.

  3. If they passed this the next class of workers they would go for are the union delegates. The right and ability of workers to organise collectively would obviously be on the line.

    Yet they have promised to catch our wages up with those in Australia. It is obvious they do not have a freakin idea how to do this. They do not even understand that undermining workers protection can only drive wages down, not up.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      “they have promised to catch our wages up with those in Australia. It is obvious they do not have a freakin idea how to do this.”

      It’s the will that’s lacking

      “They do not even understand that undermining workers protection can only drive wages down, not up.”

      Oh, I think they understand perfectly.

    • Ari 3.2

      You assume their goal was actually to drive everyone’s wages up in the first place, and not simply to engage in class warfare. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the government’s actual goals have little or no relation to their electioneering.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      Yet they have promised to catch our wages up with those in Australia.

      That’s what they promised and yet it’s obvious that it’s not something they ever wanted or that they would do anything about.

  4. vto 4

    I’m confused.. Surely bosses would not want to have a discontented workforce because that only makes things more difficult for the bosses.

    While generally more sympathetic to the ‘right’ view of things I do not understand this approach.

    Maybe they are simply simpletons now in Wgtn. Maybe it is not the bosses but the absentee owners who dont really care for the community who are driving this type of approach. Maybe something else.

    Sheesh, I don’t know much but I do know that you get more in the world with honey than you do with vinegar…

    • Roger 4.1

      In my workplace, I know that some bosses will be salivating over this because for every person in a job there, there are 50 applications sitting in an office tray from people willing to do anything for work.

      • vto 4.1.1

        But that is exactly what I mean Roger. No employer wants to be employing people all the time – they just want happy staff who stay and do a good job. One employee who stays is better than ten employees revolving through the same door each year.

        • Daveo 4.1.1.1

          Abuse doesn’t have to be limited to a policy of revolving sackings and rehirings every 89 days. There are any number of reasons why an employer might sack someone unfairly – happens all the time already, only at the moment there’s protections against that sort of thing.

        • Roger 4.1.1.2

          Yes, but here is what I’m highlighting. I know of managers that are quite adept at attacking some workers while others remain oblivious or happy. They then choose to drive them out the door so the problem of the unhappy worker goes away and they can get someone else they know or like.

  5. no, Mr Key, no 5

    ! Breaking News !
    The Government today announced the introduction of the 3,784 day ‘right to fire’ trial period for all employees. When questioned as to why they thought such a lengthy trial period was required, or even fair, the spokesperson replied “f#*k off and do what you are told’

  6. Who is the “person” GuestPost?

    Why should we listen to them?

    What is their agenda?

    Do they work for a union?

    Are they a Labour party member?

    [lprent: Who cares – comment on their writing – not whatever insane theory you’d like to believe. Of course if you want to get a real paranoid theory going, then I suggest that you avoid reading the site policy which tells you the types of things that moderators over-react to. ]

    • Quite possibly they are either a Labour Party member or a Union employee or (gasp) maybe both.

      Address the issues raised rather than attempting to denigrate them.

    • yeahright 6.2

      Could have sworn its wa mickeysavage making comment on my comment earlier today?

      What the blooming heck is going on here????

  7. no, Mr Key, no 7

    i am neither and that is irrelevant

    it was satire people, an abstract of the situation exagerrated to create effect of reason

  8. no, Mr Key, no 8

    my view is simple, remove the legislation entirely and go back to treating people with a little dignity
    but no government is capable of doing that as their agenda has other motives

  9. The “issues” are postulations and scaremongering for the most part.

    An example of this scaremongering is the text

    “National and the business lobby are trying to restore the economic relations of the 19th century. Some have mistakenly tried to compare the principle of at-will employment to medieval serfdom. I don’t think that’s quite right. For all the crimes of serfdom, at least there was a sense of noblesse oblige on the part of the landed aristocracy.

    The principle of fire at will employment removes even that it is the ultimate commodification and dehumanisation of labour

    Asking questions is not denigration (but you know that) rather it is putting the postulations and scaremongering into context as to their motivation.

    Thanks for letting me respond (and I hope my markup skills are not too rusty).

  10. @no, Mr Key, no – are you the author? I didn’t read the post as satire & I normally recognise satire when I see it.

    [lprent: I’d suggest that speculating on the identity of the author of any post could lead you to a ban. Read the policy. ]

    • no, Mr Key, no 10.1

      no i am not the author ‘guestpost’ , i was saying my post, ‘no Mr Key, no’,was satire of the article
      i think a wire got crossed somewhere. have a nice day

      [lprent: 😈 There are always fools who will believe anything. It was quite amusing watching two of them get twisted]

  11. no, Mr Key, no 11

    i thought the 3,784 days was obvious enough that everyone could see it was humour, or is the
    government really so bad you actually think it was a real announcement.

    That is a very very frightening concept and my sides are hurting from laughter,

    • I thought it was very funny although for a split second I wondered if it was a real announcement …

      • yeahright 11.1.1

        No it wasn’t satirical or funny or life like and the chronological order was out of whack but the inline commenting functionality fooled the fools so to speak

  12. Bill 12

    Hate to say this, but…maybe if the unions hadn’t gone along with the ‘partnership’ model ( even only in word if not completely in deed) and maybe if the unions hadn’t fought shy of taking back the right to strike and maybe if the unions had engaged their members more in improving working conditions (holiday pay etc) rather than relying on lobbying of a broadly sympathetic government that was also trying to mollify business, then maybe I’d think the present government would have a fight on its hands.

    But too many NZ unions held their breath and pussyfooted waiting for better deals to be passed into law following negotiations with the Labour party…thereby effectively chopping off their own balls…the balls being the ‘movement’ suffix that should naturally follow from the word ‘union’.

    Of all the comments here, of those that are not hand wringing, not one seems to step beyond the ‘write to the editor’ type response. And I think there is much more to that than the make up of ‘the standard’ readership. Sadly.

  13. Red Rosa 13

    All this reminds me of the quote from Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala Teton Sioux, in ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’.

    ‘The white man made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it.’

    We NZ’ers could almost say – ‘John Key made us many promises, but he only kept one. He promised to reduce wages, and he did.’

    Maybe someone from the Maori Party will read this.

  14. Ah, “No, Mr Key No” I was wondering what the heck you were talking about.

    Looks like there are three fools in this particular tangle eh Lynn.

    • Dave O 14.1

      Just one and that’s Iprent looking like the dick he is going in balls deep and failing on the coverup

      Classic comedy gold

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    7 days ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    7 days ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 week ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    1 week ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    1 week ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    1 week ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    1 week ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
    This is the third of the synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016). The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Unlike the humble cup of coffee and t-shirt that we looked at in ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The freshwater mussel housing crisis: eviction by invasive weeds?
    Tom Moore Traditionally a food source and cutting tool, freshwater mussels/kākahi are now widely valued as water filters that help clean our waterbodies and maintain ecosystem health throughout Aotearoa. The improvement they provide in water quality can make it easier for other animals to live in streams and rivers, as ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Back it up Luxon: endorsing the destructive past is not actually the way forward
    And to think he gave all the potential goodwill away with that moronic, cult-like statement (repeated ad nauseam by many National hardliners) that Key is quite simply “the greatest PM we ever had”… Installation complete: this was nothing ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Good riddance
    National MP and former Conservation Minister Maggie Barry will not seek re-election next year. Good riddance. Because in case anyone has forgotten, barry is a bullying thug who terrorised both public servants and fellow MPs. She is one of the people who makes Parliament a toxic workplace, and our country ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: D-Day
    The Zero Carbon Bill is back in the House today for its second reading. While this isn't the final stage, its still effectively D-Day for the bill. Because today, at around 5pm, is when we're going to find out if it has a majority, whether National will support it or ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    15 hours ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    21 hours ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    5 days ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    6 days ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Closer cooperation with Korean horse racing industry
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters met with Korea Racing Authority Chairperson Nak Soon Kim in Seoul today to discuss closer cooperation between the New Zealand and Korean horse racing industries. As part of the visit to the Seoul Racecourse, Mr Peters witnessed ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Otago to lead digital creativity
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10 million to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “The initiative will bring us closer to the vision of ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 ...
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF backing Dunedin’s waterfront ambitions
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support local plans to revitalise and stimulate economic development opportunities in Otago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The four Regional Economic Development Ministers have approved an in-principle investment of $19.9 million towards the region’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • M. Bovis eradication progress welcomed
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is pleased to have received the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) report on the Coalition Government’s Mycoplasma bovis eradication efforts, which shows significant progress in the fight against the disease. New Zealand First Spokesperson for Primary Industries, Mark Patterson, says the report’s findings ...
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF boosts Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sector
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development Hon David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing to support economic growth opportunities for Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sectors, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Trade and Export Minister David Parker announced today. Almost $20 million ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister Peters discusses Pacific challenges and denuclearisation in Seoul
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Minister Winston Peters and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, discussed in Seoul today opportunities to work more closely in the Pacific and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Mr Peters and Minister Kang confirmed New Zealand and the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF supports high speed broadband for marae at Parihaka Pa
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development  Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Māori Development The three marae in the historic Parihaka Pa complex in Taranaki have been upgraded to high speed broadband with the support of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Connecting the ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Reform of public service a step closer
    Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins today introduced into Parliament a Bill that will make it easier for the public service to tackle the biggest challenges facing Governments. The Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced further support as the Government of Samoa responds to a serious measles outbreak. “New Zealand will deploy a further 18 vaccination nurses, bringing the total to 30 working in Samoa over the next four weeks,” Mr Peters said. “A New Zealand Medical Assistance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
      Fa’atalofa atu, malo e lelei, Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you to the Child Poverty Action Group for asking me to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have been happening across my the social development portfolio.  Can I firstly acknowledge the vast ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
    ***Please check against delivery*** Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning to open this year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Conference and AGM. Firstly, thank you Dr Alan Jackson, NZTR Chair for your introduction. And let us acknowledge also: The NZTR Board; Dean McKenzie, Chair ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
    The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer and more secure, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi has announced today. Both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
    A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve - is being celebrated today at a community event in Tairāwhiti/East Coast attended by the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “The creation of this marine reserve in November 1999 was a game ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
    ew, modern emergency department and outpatient facilities at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital mean better emergency care for the growing tourist mecca’s visitors and locals, says Health Minister David Clark. Today Dr Clark officially opened the hospital’s redeveloped Emergency Department and Outpatient facilities. The new facilities include: •    An extended Emergency Department ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Contraception important for New Zealanders
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says today’s release of sexual and reproductive health data reinforces the significance of the Government’s commitment to providing free or very low-cost contraception. The Ministry of Health today published statistics from the Ministry of Health’s 2014/15 Health Survey. “It is important people can make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ medical staff and measles vaccines going to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that at the request of the Samoan Government, New Zealand will be providing further support to Samoa as it faces a worsening measles outbreak. “In response to a request from the people of Samoa, New Zealand is providing 3000 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Disability Action Plan 2019 – 2023
    “The new Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 moves us towards the inclusive and accessible New Zealand that this government has committed to,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today.  “The Action Plan was designed by disabled people, their family and supporters, the disability sector and government agencies. It will ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Joint Statement – Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting
    Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting 14 November 2019 Joint Statement 1. Defence Ministers Ron Mark and Dr Ng Eng Hen today conducted their third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Singapore. 2. Building on the Enhanced Partnership signed between both countries in May this year, this annual meeting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Sexual Violence Legislation Bill has its first reading
    A Bill to improve the court system’s response to sexual violence has passed its first reading in Parliament today. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill will reduce the trauma sexual violence complainants experience in court, while maintaining defendants’ fundamental rights and making sure the trial process ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Streamlined business invoicing a step closer
    Streamlined payment practices are a step closer for Kiwi businesses with the formal launch of New Zealand’s e-Invoicing framework. Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says the government has now established the structure to enable automated and direct data exchange between the accounting systems of buyers and sellers. “The move to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More frontline biosecurity officers protecting NZ
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