Nats’ school funding policy under attack

Written By: - Date published: 2:45 pm, April 15th, 2008 - 33 comments
Categories: education, john key - Tags: ,

Stuff reports that “Principals and teachers have savaged a National Party plan to increase funding for private schools, calling it a thinly disguised tax break for the rich.”

New Zealand Secondary Principals’ Council chairman Arthur Graves called Key’s proposal to increase funding to private schools at the expense of the public system “a deliberate attempt to undermine and rob public schools and essentially provide a tax break for the rich,” saying “It takes the resources away from the schools that need them.” Frances Nelson, President of the Teachers’ Union the NZEI shared this view, saying “Any money given to private schools will be lost to the public sector. The taxpayer and the children of New Zealand deserve better”.

Once again, Key’s ended up in a policy “no man’s land”. He’s shied away from making the change his caucus and backers really want to see in education – a return to bulk funding – National’s pollsters having evidently confirmed it’s a “third rail issue” and ruled it out as politically untenable. But Mr Key has to say something; people are beginning to wonder where the emperor’s clothes are and National’s unlikely to fool anyone with their self-conscious re-branding of bullet point policy releases on their website: “Our policies so far”.

33 comments on “Nats’ school funding policy under attack”

  1. Steve Pierson 1

    “our policies so far” it smacks of desperation.

    and having a look them:
    first thing is they fit all on one page.

    second thing is half of them are ‘more trades training’, which Labour has already announced.

    third: ‘clear national standards’ not sure how that will help any child learn better..

    fourth: parents get to see report cards. yawn. they do already.

    fifth: tackling tech teacher shortage. not an acutal policy because you havne’t said how.

    sixth: encourage businesses to help schools. Again how? is this a partial step to privatisation?

    seventh: 10% top up on voluntary loan repayments, a subsidy for those rich enough to afford voluntary repayments.

    So, one meaningful policy and its a sop to the wealthy, just like the private school plan.

  2. Another way to look at this is to say that those who send their children to private schools are taxed twice. Having the funding follow the child and letting parents choose where they send their children to school,provides teachers and schools with direct feedback on performance. Mr Key needs to stop being Helen-lite.

  3. The most “desirable schools” already have the lions share of access to resources – i.e. sponsorship of sporting/cultural activities, arguably better teachers, who are entitled to extra-salary benefits.

    Why is this policy even needed? Oh, wait – that’s right – its a tax cut for the wealthy.

  4. insider 4

    There’s an assumption that this money will be ‘taken’ from public schools – where’s the evidence?

    It’s my understanding that private schools have always received funding from government but it has not increased in nearly 10 years. Surely they are the ones that have had funding taken?

    Why are people in education so scared of competition?

  5. Mike Collins 5

    I’m not an apologist for National by any means but this sounds like a reflexive anti National tirade by these notoriously anti National groups. I fail to see how this policy takes away from the public system when what Key is talking about is increasing funding to the private school system from $40 million to $70 million. He is not saying that he will cut this $30 million from public school spending in order to do it.

    Key’s policy is not my preferred solution but a grain of salt is required when listening to teachers/principals unions. Likewise the bandwagon approach employed by a_y_b could do with a little more analysis than simply parroting these groups’ press releases.

    This ideological problem with private schools does nothing to help the kids in this country. Who cares what school is doing the educating so long as the kid is educated? Oh I forgot. The profit motive is evil.

  6. Steve Pierson 6

    giving private schools even more money so that they can afford even more than now to take the best teachers and educational resources for the kids with the rishest parents, leaving the rest of us with worse schools, is wrong.

  7. Mike Collins 7

    No Steve,

    What is wrong is making parents (wealthy or otherwise) having to pay twice for the type of education our kids deserve. The lack of supply side flexibility in our school system is the problem and throwing more money at it will result in the same productivity increases from the comparable health sector – ie little to nothing.

    However I do agree that Key’s policies in education to date won’t fix any problems.

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    insider – from my understanding of those in the education sector, they consider it a cooperative exercise, not a competitive one. If one school wins, others lose out. is that how we wich our education model to be? What effect will that have on unfashionable schools, in poor areas – and how would that not start to prepetuate underachievement and exacerbate poverty?

    Mike Collins – if those who send their childdren to private schools are paying twice for ‘the type of education our kids deserve’, the logical conclusion is that public and private schools need funding (public funding, from taxes) to ensure they all have the resources available to match those of the best off private schools.

    I’m all for that…

  9. insider 9


    Decile 1 schools are the ones with far higher levels of funding than any others and which can pay more for teachers. They pull resource from other state schools.

    Is there any evidence private schools do pay more? I’ve not heard that from the teachers I know who have and do teach in them.

    What are these resources they ‘take’ and how do they make the system worse? Where is the evidence they have that market power? Are our teachers so bad that the tiny proportion of roles in private schools can significantly distort the rest of the education sector? Sounds like that is an issue the state sector needs to address internally rather than blaming private schools

  10. Chris S 10

    insider, why should education be subject to market forces?

    If a school is a business, it’s primary purpose is to turn a profit – providing education becomes 2nd.

    And “where’s the evidence”? No evidence needed, it stands to reason. You have $X for education. The money you give to private schools ($Y) is not being given to public schools ($Z).

    If $X = $Y $Z then $Z = $X – $Y

  11. Chris S 11

    Ate my plus sign… “If $X = $Y $Z then $Z = $X – $Y

  12. insider 12


    So young and so naive…Are you seriously telling me that schools don’t target pupils and teachers they want to attract? Of course they do. Join a board or talk to a few principals. You’ll find it;s not all Morris dancing and singalongs I’m afraid.

    capcha customer reform

  13. Mike Collins 13


    If it were as simple as providing more funding and getting better results I would be all for it. Now I am fairly sure you would know it is not as simple as that. Anyone needing any evidence can simply look at the health sector to know that increasing funding does not necessarily increase outcomes.

    The model that we have for public eduction (and the government’s interaction with private institutions) needs an overhaul if we are truly going to deliver educational outcomes that our kids deserve.

    You posit that some schools will fall by the wayside in a competitive model. I concede this is a possibility but do not think this is a necessarily bad thing. After all if they do fail, they have failed because they are failing our kids. The alternative(s) would have been more attractive to the parents and caregivers. A competitive model will allow for innovation and franchising of successful processes and ideas. Competition is certainly nothing to be scared of.

    Of course I say all this without believing that anyone here will change the way they think. However I think it is important to say the present system is not optimal and throwing more money at it won’t fix the issues. Particularly if the underlying structural faults aren’t fixed first.

  14. Matthew Pilott 14

    Insider, please refrain from personal comments eh, what’s the point in that?

    I’m referring to the industry as a whole. You’re certainly right that schools are competitive at an individual level, with what is available – the best students and teachers. That’s nothing to do with what I’m talking about. Is your solution to open up every other aspect of education to competiton? How will that help?

    When you say ‘competiton’, tell me – what happens to the losers?

    Mike Collins, I will admit that in such a competitive model, I can’t see much more happening than the best schools getting better, more expensive and more necessary for students to attend (imagine being asked which college you went to first up in every interview…). The gap will simply increase, and what will happen to those left behind? They can’t exactly close, or go out of business – they’ll just become ghettoised, as will the areas around them (ok that’s an extreme scenario, perhaps ‘depressed’ is a better term).

    I’d be happy to hear an alternative that paints a positive picture of a competitive education industry. I accept that simply throwing more money at schools won’t help, as you say, it’s not something I am advocating – it was just a response to the comment that private schools deliver ‘the education our children deserve’, and the logical conclusion therein.

    As I see it, though, with a market there are winners and losers. In this case, a vast majority of students will be losers, and it won’t be their fault.

  15. Pablo 15

    “Another way to look at this is to say that those who send their children to private schools are taxed twice”

    Bullshit argument. You can’t point to the portion of your taxes that specifically pays for your children’s education, any more than you can point to the portion that provides for the police force. People with no school age children don’t get a tax rebate for the education services they don’t use. People who don’t get robbed don’t get a rebate for police services not used. The government funds the services it believes to be beneficial out of a pool of money, it doesn’t collect certain amounts from specific people to fund parts of its budget.

  16. Mike Collins 16


    That’s just running around in circles and if you are seriously suggesting that they don’t pay twice, then I think you may have made yourself dizzy from it. It is a semantic argument because Kiwis hold dear a belief that education should be free as that’s what they pay their taxes for. It is an indictment on the structure of our education system that parents often need to pay considerably more than their taxes to fund the education of their children to a decent standard. Now of course it is a choice to send your child to a private school. But if your local public school(s) don’t come up to standard – is it really that much of a choice? Many people from all backgrounds wouldn’t say so. In that sense it is a tax.

    Unfortunately at the moment the only ones who can generally afford private schools are by and large the wealthy. Allowing vouchers opens up options for poorer sections of society that many would wish they could take now if only the opportunity were there.

  17. Hillary 17

    “Decile 1 schools are the ones with far higher levels of funding than any others and which can pay more for teachers.”

    Insider, have you been to any Decile 1 schools lately? I haven’t seen any evidence of the far higher funding you say they receive. The decile system exists to address equity issues for schools with less well resourced school communities, and there’s room for it to go much further.

    Decile 1 schools don’t pay teachers, their salaries come from the Ministry of Education and there’s no pay differential based on the decile level of the school the teacher works at. But what a good idea that would be!

  18. Ari 18

    Mike, if parents put money into public schools like they do into private ones, I’m pretty sure the public schools would actually be better.

    Hillary- you’re absolutely right. The decile system doesn’t actually go far enough in overcoming the challenges of running a school in a poor community, and we could do much better for our kids than diverting money away from disadvantaged kids and into tax breaks for people who send their kids to private schools.

    Also, have you been following me? I’m sure I suggested paying staff in lower-decile schools more to reflect the difficulty of the teaching environment. I think it was on Frogblog…

  19. Pablo 19

    No Mike, you are running around in circles trying to justify the ridiculous idea that taxes pay for specific services and that you should be able to pick & choose what services you pay for and which you don’t.

    We don’t believe that education should be free cos that’s what we pay our taxes for. We believe education should be free because it is a social good that the community benefits from – from lower crime, better jobs, more wealth for everyone. You fundamentally misunderstand the argument if you think we want free education because of a sense of entitlement. The ridiculous thingis that these arguments were settled 100 years ago or more. Read Mill or Dickens if you don’t believe me.

    With regard to choice in education. I have a choice about where to send my children when they go to school. If none of the public schools offers a decent standard of education I have two choices: send the kids to private school or work to make my local school better. That’s what communities do. They work together to make things better for everyone.

    You on the Right have the mantra that the individual is paramount, well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. On the left we appreciate the value of the community as more than a group of individuals. Individuals suffer when the community is destroyed.

  20. Tamaki resident 20

    “there’s no pay differential based on the decile level of the school the teacher works at. But what a good idea that would be!”
    Hillary – I’d be interested if you could explain that one a bit further. From my observations the teachers at a lower decile school work with less resources, and in a lot harder environment. Are you suggesting they be paid more? If yes, then I agree.

    Disclosure: My kids go to a decile 10 school, which means we pay over $400/child in “donation” and a further approx. $100 in Activity fees etc.

  21. Hillary 21

    Pablo, I agree with you about communities being greater than the sum of their parts and all. But lucky old you to have a choice to send your kids to a private school, at $12k a pop per child per annum.

    Maybe Slippery John wants to reduce the cost of private schools to make them accessible to the plebs. Yeah, right. I bet that even with extra funding from National the cost of them wouldn’t go down, their facilities would just get even better. The point of most private schools is to promote privilege and elitism. Just like National, if they’re honest.

  22. Mike Collins 22

    Hillary – “The point of most private schools is to promote privilege and elitism.”

    Well no, it is to get a good education. That’s a very cynical view you hold.

    Ari – “if parents put money into public schools like they do into private ones, I’m pretty sure the public schools would actually be better.”

    Perhaps. But you are forgetting one crucial factor – the element of competition. The driver of the excellence for private schools is the profit motive. In order to make a profit they must be successful. They are successful if they educate the kids well. The circle is virtuous.

    I have no problem with public schools. I went to one myself and have no regrets about my eduction. My wish is for Kiwi kids to have access to the types of education that will best suit them and best enable them for their futures be it public or private provision. What I am trying to discuss is a model for allowing this access to quality to be available to everyone, not just those that can currently afford it. I don’t believe the current system works as well as it should. There are supply side deficiencies in the current model that mean that simply throwing more money into it just won’t achieve proportionally greater outcomes.

    “You on the Right have the mantra that the individual is paramount”

    Yes from a philosophical standpoint I do think the individual is paramount. However that aside the solution I am advocating is not entirely consistent with a philosophical individualist perspective. If I were being hardline I would suggest that no tax dollars fund eduction at all and that parents pay what they can afford. In the real world we must all accept the limitations of philosophical hardlines and look to situations that are viable. I would ask you to reflect on the limitations in today’s world of the collectivist model that you hold dear .

    You say – “…or work to make my local school better. That’s what communities do. They work together to make things better for everyone.” If you’re being truly honest can you see the difference between this lofty ideal and large scale reality? This just isn’t working as well as it needs to be with regard our education system.

  23. Draco TB 23

    The profit motive is evil.

    Actually – it is.

    Consider two schools. They have the same number of teachers who are paid the same amount, same expenses etc. One is public and the other is private. Which is the most expensive? The private one.

    The private one will be more expensive because the owners of the school want some profit out of their investment. The profit can be realized two ways 1) By charging more or 2) By reducing the amount spent on the services provided by the school. The profit itself is no different than a tax.

    Private schools should not get any public funding at all simply because public funds aren’t there to prop up some individuals profits. That’s all public funding of private schools is.

    What is wrong is making parents (wealthy or otherwise) having to pay twice for the type of education our kids deserve.

    How are they being forced to pay twice?

    If people choose to send their kids to a private school and not take advantage of the public school system that’s their choice. They’re still only being taxed once. Anything they pay to the private school is their own business.

    customer reform

    Now that is something I could support. Somewhere along the line some idiot mentioned that the lie that the ‘customer is never wrong’. People took it to heart but after years dealing with customers I can emphatically say that the customer is almost always wrong.


  24. Pablo 24

    Hilary, I should have been more clear. I wasn’t talking about my specific circumstances, but in the general sense. My point was that if the local school isn’t up to scratch, I have two options, not the clayton’s choice of sending the kids to a private school (which in many circumstances is not an option at all).

    Mike, it might be a lofty ideal, but only because we have destroyed the idea that working in the community is a good idea. My parents helped by coaching sports teams and cubs when I was a kid. I can name half a dozen great teachers who helped me in extra-curricula activities like sport and music when I was at school in the 70s and 80s. Teachers don’t do that any more. Sports clubs, recreation groups (scouts & girl guides for example) and other community groups are crying out for volunteers, because the mantra since the 80s has been if it ain’t paid, it ain’t worthwhile. That is a direct result of the Rogernomics revolution.

    FWIW (and I am talking about my personal situation now), my wife is the president of the local plunket playgroup and she volunteers at the local toy library. The company I work for has a volunteer programme where staff tutor and mentor kids at some high school out in Henderson. There are still people who believe volunteering is more than a lofty ideal.

    Your point about ideology is reasonable. I don’t have a hard and fast attachment to collectivism, as you call it. I have observed in both NZ and the UK the destruction of communities and isolation of individuals that cause most of the social ills that conservatives complain about. I am as dismissive of extreme collectivisation as I am of extreme market solutions.

  25. Mike Collins 25


    Thanks for your response. I agree that communities are vital (if it weren’t clear from previous posts) and like to do my bit with volunteering where I can, admittedly not often enough. Just to clarify, the solution I support in education is not an extreme market solution. It is a mixture of the collectivist model and market economics. The collectivist aspect is through funding. Funding through taxes as opposed individuals. The market aspect is through the delivery of services – in this case education.


    “Consider two schools. They have the same number of teachers who are paid the same amount, same expenses etc. One is public and the other is private. Which is the most expensive? The private one.”

    I would be inclined to agree with you if the situation you site above actually existed. The inputs and outputs are very much different in reality. You are neglecting to calculate enhanced results and enhanced efficiencies more inherent in a competition subjected environment. If the costs and the results are the same, as in the scenario you posit, why would anyone want to send their kids to a private school? After all it’s probably costing them more at the moment. The fact they do would seem to expose your hypothetical situation as just that. And to pre-empt an answer from Hillary I don’t think parents would be willing to send them anyway as the kids will get to learn elitism and priviledge.

    “How are they being forced to pay twice?”

    I believe I have answered this already. While no one is forced to send their kids to a private school some feel they have no other option. If the alternative is a substandard education, then those with the means will pay extra. That is not much of a choice in my opinion. It is a tragedy though that only some are in a position to exercise this choice. The solution I advocate certainly can not be considered elitist or propetuating priviledge.

    “Somewhere along the line some idiot mentioned that the lie that the ‘customer is never wrong’. People took it to heart but after years dealing with customers I can emphatically say that the customer is almost always wrong.”

    Try owning a business with that mindset and see how far you get. That mantra actually means you need to keep the customer happy to retain their custom. There are plenty of times when customers may make what we consider to be a wrong choice – but hey it is their choice. All you can do is provide advice. People usually don’t react too well to being told they are wrong. And isn’t it elitist to consider yourself right above others?

    Captcha: From Herman – not so sure about that.

  26. insider 26


    these elements in operational grants are affected by a school’s decile

    Targeted Funding for Educational Achievement (TFEA) (Deciles 1-9)
    Special Education Grant (SEG) (Deciles 1-10)
    Careers Information Grant (CIG) (Deciles 1-10)
    Kura Kaupapa Maori Transport (Deciles 1-10)
    Priority Teacher Supply Allowance (PTSA) (Deciles 1-2)
    National Relocation Grant (NRG) (Deciles 1-4)
    Decile Discretionary Funding for Principals (Deciles 1-4)
    Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour (RTLBs) Learning Support Funding (Deciles 1-10)
    RTLBs for years 11-13 (Deciles 1-10)
    School Property Financial Assistance scheme (Deciles 1-10)
    Study Support Centres (Deciles 1-3)
    Social Workers in Schools (Deciles 1-5)
    District Truancy Service (Deciles 1-10)

    QUite a lot relates to additional staffing services.

    “The decile system exists to address equity issues for schools with less well resourced school communities, and there’s room for it to go much further.”

    So what you are saying is that the education system knowingly does not actually fund education, it expectes parents to? Is that a good thing?

    As for competition, it is one way of allowing a community to send a signal that they are not happy with the operation and management of a school by voting with their feet. Why is parent choice a bad thing?

  27. Pablo 27

    “Just to clarify, the solution I support in education is not an extreme market solution.”

    Mike, therein lies our disagreement. To my way of thinking, the mixture of collectivism and market forces is (not perfect but) about right. Your para earlier does sound extreme to me:

    “You posit that some schools will fall by the wayside in a competitive model. I concede this is a possibility but do not think this is a necessarily bad thing. After all if they do fail, they have failed because they are failing our kids. The alternative(s) would have been more attractive to the parents and caregivers. A competitive model will allow for innovation and franchising of successful processes and ideas. Competition is certainly nothing to be scared of.”

    If you think of the emotional capital tied up in a local school then letting schools fail (I don’t mean “letting”, but I think you know what I’m getting at) *is* a big deal. Compare to, say, the angst caused when Maharey closed schools down the line a few years ago, or the despair when a school gets vandalised.

    If one of my local schools gets closed down due to lack of support from the community, all of a sudden my choices are restricted. There are a number of reasons for picking a particular school, using the market system it is just a popularity contest.

  28. Mike Collins 28


    I am inclinded to disagree with you based on a premise I know you won’t agree with as we have differing outlooks. You are concerned about things such as emotional capital and losing a local school. I believe education should be about delivering educational outcomes not acting as a pacifier for local communities’ emotions.

    Quite clearly in my above example that you quote I say that schools will only fail if the alternative(s) are better. This means that parents are willing and able to send their kids to another school as that would be delivering a better quality education for their kids.

    I don’t see anything extreme in enabling choice for everyone in society rather than just the few who can afford it.

  29. Pablo 29

    Cheers Mike, I won’t go on cos I think we’re just dancing around a fundamental disagreement. I know that we both have the best interests of the country at heart, we just want to achieve the best in different ways and we would probably disagree on what “best” looks like.

    Have a good one.

    Captcha: “to expressing” I’d drink to that.

  30. insider 30


    Schools are already falling by the wayside -there are a number that have been closed or are already under administration. That is under the public system so don’t assume it is a private only outcome.

    Perhaps with competition they may have seen the warning signs earlier.

    Wealthier parents have the option of moving to be close to a better school, poor ones don’t and essentially are stuck with what they are given.

  31. Matthew Pilott 31

    With Respect To competition, or state funding, or whatever management system you wish to use, the crux of the problem is show to remedy a problem – how to asssist a school that is deficient and struggling.

    In a truly competitive system, the school would go out of business, so to speak. That’s not an option here and I don’t imagine those advocating competiton are saying this.

    So what do we do?

    Where the ‘competitive’ model falls down is the treatment of the loser schools – since they must be kept, and preferably brought up to the standard of schools that are performing well, struggling schools would therefore reqiure assistance. In essence, this is a free pass, and a disincentive to perform.

    This isn’t competitive, of course – quite the opposite. I don’t see how this dichotomy can be reconciled by those who advocate competition in our education model.

    Anyone? How can this deliver educational outcomes better than a cooperative model?

  32. Mike Collins 32


    For a market system to work failures must be allowed to fail. That may well mean schools need to close. As I have said on this thread twice already if a school does close it is because the other options were better for the parents of those children. However I think a much likelier outcome is for successful school systems to be “franchised” out. This could include the possibility of being taken over by other schools with proven track records.

    I realise this is a radical concept when compared with our current system. However this doesn’t make it unfeasible.

    Thanks guys for contributing to the debate. As Pablo says we each want to achieve what’s best for the kids in this country but we have different mindsets. These will inevitably lead us to differing conclusions. The positive thing is we are able to air our arguments fairly and with respect for each others opinion. Not all that common online.

  33. Matthew Pilott 33

    Well all, for a novel idea, wouldn’t it be great for both sides of the spectrum have this debate in the house – without resorting to isolated stories of schools failing students, and accusations of bulk funding or ‘McSchools’.

    There’s certainly ground for improvement and innovation, but a distinct lack of rational discourse…

    A zero-sum attitude to politics serves no one.

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    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    3 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    4 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    7 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago

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