Natural Dairy NZ & Chinese neo-mercantilism

Written By: - Date published: 10:23 am, September 13th, 2010 - 56 comments
Categories: Economy, farming, food, International, overseas investment - Tags: ,

To have power and independence, any country needs a solid economic base. That’s even more true of superpowers/empires. To secure their economic sovereignty they need the raw materials and markets of less powerful countries. They reinforce their economic sovereignty by taking others’. The British did it through colonialism. The US, USSR, and Germany through expansionism. During the Cold War, the Superpowers used ideology and proxies to gain political control and access to markets. China’s approach is different. It is less concerned with political control. It just wants to buy up supply chains.

China gets that we are living in an increasingly resource-constrained world and it’s getting in to buy up what it can while it can.

This is an extension of the ‘neo-mercantilist’ approach to trade. Neo-mercantilism is an economic strategy whereby countries attempt to maintain and improve their economic power by running high current account balances – exporting more than they import. It emphasises central control and currency control, while discouraging domestic consumption to build the State’s economic power on the world stage.

With its current account surplus and the need to keep its currency down, a neo-mercantilist country needs to spend its surplus overseas. China does it, in part, by buying up the foreign resources it needs to import. In doing so, China is able to re-coup the profits from its own imports and further builds its economic independence. Of course, some element of political control is usually necessary.

We see this in Africa, where China’s oil investment Sudan, for example, helps prop up a government that the West wants to isolate but that is more of a side-effect. The objective is control of the oil. In the Pacific, China buys the favour of rulers with mana-enhancing white elephant projects like the Samoan Aquatic Centre. Built by Chinese workers with Chinese funds for the South Pacific Games, even the expense of maintaining this glory project is beyond Samoa, so its rulers are dependent on Chinese money to keep it running. In return, China is allowed to buy up fishing licences.

And we also see it in New Zealand. Natural Dairy New Zealand, which is aiming to buy the Crafar farms as a first foothold into owning the base of New Zealand’s dairy supply, is really China Jin Hui Mining Corporation Limited. This is a state-owned company. By buying Crafar farms, the Chinese government would be starting to gain control of the supply of one of its fastest growing imports. The farms would be in New Zealand but the product and the profits would flow to China.

Some switched on people asked ‘what’s in it for China?’ when they agreed to negotiate a free trade deal with a small country that already had nearly no tariffs on its imports. Well, this is the answer – control over the source of most of its dairy imports.

In light of this, and the growing concerns in New Zealand about regaining a measure of our economic sovereignty, the formation of the ‘New Citizens’ Party and the new ‘United’ newspaper are very interesting. Both seem to be about pushing Chinese government interests, keeping New Zealand open for Chinese investment. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that the people behind both rather shadowy organisations are Party members.

New Zealanders shouldn’t have any problem with immigration, it’s a central feature of our history. Immigrants enrich our culture. We shouldn’t necessarily be anti-foreign investment. While we continue to fail to save to build our own capital base, we need others’ money. But letting a foreign government – it doesn’t matter which government – buy up our primary export industry is a strategic mistake.

56 comments on “Natural Dairy NZ & Chinese neo-mercantilism”

  1. B 1

    You don’t have to look as far as China: (Aussie Treasurer) Costello to Bollard:

    “Remember, you sold your banks to us: you don’t own your financial system any more. Leave the regulation to us.”

    • Mr Magoo 1.1

      I am glad you brought that up.

      China will have to compete fiercely with Australian in this. We already sold most of everything else to them already…

      And when we use that fact to flesh out this issue it avoids cries of “racism”. It is an issue for any tiny economy with something worth selling. And it is VERY hard to stop.

      For examples of what happens when a country tries to stop the wholesaling of their natural resources one only needs to look at South America…

  2. Bill 2

    From my perspective it doesn’t make any difference whether the private entity owning the land is the Crafars or China Jin Hui Mining Corporation Limited.

    Private ownership is private ownership and is not in my or anyone elses interest.

    Shareholders might make some financial gain. And ‘New Zealand’ might have better or worse financial indicators depending on how and where the profit flows.

    But that which is good for private investment and the NZ economy is usually detrimental or at best, of no consequence for us citizens living out here in society.

  3. prism 3

    Fancy that – the Crafar farms’ Chinese investor (presented as a business woman with many interests and who has already had financial failures, so one wonders where is her backing money coming from) is a paper tiger.

    The Chinese have opened up to NZ which had already abandoned home and hearth to join the diaspora looking for a living in the new world markets. Why? Was it warm fuzzies from our apologies for past indignities, or from relationships with idealistic and individualistic NZs like Rewi Alley and Kathleen Hall and other NZs working in China and who were far ahead of their biased, incurious contemporaries (still numerous)?

    Now the Chinese are looking for the opportunity to own and profit from our major industry, agriculture. (We have sold our banks to Australia, also our supermarkets so another country is already creaming both our financial profits and from our food industry.) It makes good sense for China to do so. But are we going to see the colonisation of Maori repeated, this time the recipients being Maori/Pakeha. How ironic that would be.

    Food is not in short supply in theory. There is always some happy chappy to tell us that the world can produce more than required by growing populations, the problem is just distribution. B..it. Lies and statistics can be interchangeable descriptions. The reply to positive theories on food supply adequacy is the common-sense cliche “There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip”.

  4. Loota 4

    The Chinese Govt is flush with US treasury bonds, foreign cash and equivalents. I’m not sure on the latest stock pile of monies they are sitting on but it is roughly 1.5 trillion USD (or close to it).

    But here is something the Chinese know very well: that money is essentially useless. You can’t eat it, drink it, or shelter from the cold with it.

    So it makes sense to trade in that useless stuff (often just numbers on an electronic record) for things which are real and which are actually useful. Food generating facilities, raw materials, productive assets, technology.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    The export led recovery of which our politicians speak is also merchantilist. Capitalism is always merchantilist and empiricist as it requires growth to survive and it can only get that growth from import of raw products and exporting completed products. The end result is that the countries exporting raw products (i.e. NZ) goes backwards as it produces less and less and the country producing the completed products becomes better off at the others expense.

    While we continue to fail to save to build our own capital base, we need others’ money.

    No we don’t – money is not a resource.

    • Richard 5.1

      No we don’t – money is not a resource.

      Tell that to someone with no money.

      In a similar vein, land ownership rights are just a bit of paper.

      Landownership and money are both abstract resources. They are resources nonetheless; what matters in both cases is what you do with those resources.

      • Loota 5.1.1

        Land ownership may be abstract, but the land itself is very definitely a resource.

        As for capital – the NZ Govt could just print notes if it wanted to, without going into debt to foreign banks.

        • Richard 5.1.1.1

          So, if we want the land back we can just print money and buy it back? Somehow I don’t think that “printing a whole lot of cash” is quite as simple as you think.

          Anyway, because landownership is only abstract, if we want the land back, we can always nationalize it.

          • KJT 5.1.1.1.1

            I suspect in future the Chinese may follow the example so amply provided by the UK in the past and the US now.
            Not saying they will do it. But there are plenty of examples to follow. See: Boxer revolution, Opium wars, Boer war, Iran and the Shah, Indonesia, Chile, Afganistan, Honduras, Panama, Iraq, Venezuala, Granada et al.

            In future, if China follows the UK and US examples of imperialism, any attempt to nationalise land for the benefit of the local inhabitants or to expell or limit Chinese business may be met with a forced change of Government or invasion.

            Especially as many Chinese have memories of being the victims in the past of imperialism.

            • Richard 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I doubt they’ll invade us over some spilled milk. It’s not quite the same as oil, and we’re not ever going to be talking about the same value of product.

              If (once sold) the farms are subsequently nationalized by some future local NZ government, the Chinese might kick up a fuss, but ultimately, they’ll either just buy the same milk from the newly nationalized company, or they’ll buy their milk from somewhere else.

              If in the future, the Chinese are a really powerful nation, then nationalizing their NZ assets only hurts us. If in the future the Chinese are a really weak nation, then we can nationalize their NZ assets with impunity.

  6. Bill 6

    So does the concern about the foreign ownership scenario extend to NZ companies buying up dairy farms in S. America?

    Or is it only a matter worthy of consideration when it’s NZ being bought and sold?

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Of course it does Bill. If it’s bad for us then it’s bad for them as well and for the same reasons.

      It’s more a question of how many and who will actually admit that.

      • insider 6.1.1

        What if it were a 999 year lease?

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          It would still be bad for us as our resources would then be used to benefit someone else.

          • insider 6.1.1.1.1

            So similarly your house/property is ‘ours’ I assume. do I get a cut when you rent/sell it? because I wouldn’t want “our” house benefitting someone else, such as you or the family who buys it.

            • Bill 6.1.1.1.1.1

              “do I get a cut when you rent/sell it? because I wouldn’t want “our” house benefitting someone else, such as you or the family who buys it.”

              And there is the signposting of a number of problems inherent to private ownership. Resources aren’t utilised efficiently or with an eye to what is best for society, but only what is best for the owner(s) and then usually only on a financial level. And whereas ownership confers decision making capacity, it sets up an inevitable conflict with genuine democratic concerns. And benefits flow to a minority while the majority get nothing beyond picking up externalised costs such as environmental downsides etc.

          • Richard 6.1.1.1.2

            Regardless of whether a Chinese company or a NZ company owns the land, roughly the same customers will receive the benefit of the land; i.e. some relatively wealthy subset of consumers (probably in China) who buy the milk products.

            Likewise regardless of whether a Chinese or NZ company owns the land, roughly the same number of people will be employed working the land, and they will likely be the same people in either situation; barring a few executives, perhaps.

            Regardless of whether a Chinese or NZ company owns the land, roughly the same amount will be spent in NZ on farming the land (on fertilizer, farm machinery, etc).

            The only difference is where any profit flows (which you say is not a resource). And it doesn’t really seem to make much difference whether the profit goes to a group of wealthy people in NZ or a wealthy group in China; in either case the benefit of the wealth is not seen by the majority of NZers.

            • prism 6.1.1.1.2.1

              Thanks for spelling it out Richard. It is a fine thing to be able to indulge in terse dialectic while the rest of the country has to manage the realities that you spell out.

              The NZ wealthy can feel part of the country and wish to live and invest here, foreigners may also, or just want to profit with as little benefit to the country and its people as possible.

              • ZB

                You are in error. If ‘owners’ all live overseas and little money cycled through the economy you would expect low wages, youth being attracted overseas, highly wealthy retirers….

                What stops the government writing more money, creating jobs, and so diluting the value to the external economy? Also what happens when people here cannot buy NZ carpet so they have to import carpet?
                Someone taking profits out will find they are harmed by a lack of local manufacturing exporters, and a government having to increase spending to placate its voters, with a higher risk premium on their investment.

                With trustworthy journalism, who don’t peddle the foreign investment interest, one could see the voters electing a party that made their government more like the N.European model.
                Its as easy as NOT importing big country economic policies, and implement small country
                success stories – ask ACT for their policies and ignore all of them.

                It looks like we’ve gone too far, already owned by too many foriegners. The way out is
                too vote Green, start taking your economic activity away from foriegn owner banks,
                finance, fast food, etc, etc. Rebuild the economy without the infectious agents.
                The foriegn owners will then demand, too cut their losses, that government build
                a viable local economy and stop shortchanging them, something like an edict
                in the unwritten constitution against hiring currency speculators and their ilk.

                Saddam was on able to stay in power because he had a army of yes men who
                made money off Saddam Inc and shorthchanging Saddam the most!

                • Richard

                  You are in error. If ‘owners’ all live overseas and little money cycled through the economy you would expect low wages, youth being attracted overseas, highly wealthy retirers….

                  Most of the money that passes through a dairy company is not profit though.

                  Most of the money is spent in the local economy on supporting manufacture or production. It doesn’t matter who the owners are, if the company is in NZ most of the money will be spent in country.

                  Also, if the commie Chinese owners are really not especially interested in profit (because they have access to interest free money), but instead interested in security, quantity and quality of supply, then they would logically be less likely to cream off lots of profit, and would rather invest in ensuring supply. Which means lots of local expenditure.

    • RedLogix 6.2

      No all foreign investment is bad ipso facto.

      In the case where it creates new greenfield infrastructure and broadens the local enconomy then it is worthwhile. That may well be the case for our private sector involvement in Sth American dairying.

      But the CCP directly buying up NZ’s largest, most strategic and mature dairying assets definitely fails such a test.

      • insider 6.2.1

        LEt’s get this in perspective – the Crafar farm business was a failure. It’s scale did not make it a quality or sustainable business. I believe part of the reason it was a failure was that much of it was marginal dairying land. If true, it was neither strategic nor mature

        • rosy 6.2.1.1

          They were mortgaged to the tune of $200million – I’d guess poor lending decsions by banks played a big part in the failure

  7. Richard 7

    But letting a foreign government – it doesn’t matter which government – buy up our primary export industry is a strategic mistake.

    Not necessarily. If we jump the right way it could be a tremendous strategic triumph.

    Although it certainly wasn’t a voluntary decision, NZ when all is said and done benefited tremendously from being a British colony. Sure, there were costs, but there were also benefits. Likewise, we benefited tremendously from being part of the US sphere; particularly because being on the periphery we have some “independence”.

    The same thing will likely be true of China. Think ahead fifty or hundred years from now. Will we be better off as an peripheral economic colony of China or not? The answer, of course, depends on how the international scene plays out. However, if things play out how China wants, then there will be tremendous benefit in being part of their sphere.

    • insider 7.1

      ah yes, like the good old mutual co-prosperity sphere… 🙂

      • Richard 7.1.1

        Well exactly. And (like the rest of the Asia-Pacific region) we chose to not be in Japan’s Mutual Co-Prosperity Sphere.

        However, we chose instead to be a part of the Anglo-American sphere. Or in the case of China, they chose, to kind of uneasily sit alongside it. We have subsequently benefited heaps from being part of the Anglo-American sphere…and ironically Japan has also eventually benefited heaps from being a powerful regional player in the Anglo-American sphere.

        The question is what will the situation be like in 50-100 years time.

        • insider 7.1.1.1

          And my answer is – ‘Dunno’.

          Go back 50 or 100 years and see if any of the predictions then were remotely close to what the world is like. That will tell you whether it is worthwhile making decisions today on trying to second guess the future. (No doubt one would have got it right, a la monkeys with typewriters, but is that the one that you’d have chosen?)

          • Richard 7.1.1.1.1

            Look back 50-100 years ago, and you’ll find people deliberately planning for and setting out to make NZ an exporter of agricultural products.

            Whether that was a good strategy or not is perhaps a matter for debate. However, how our economy works is not an accident.

            Of course people made right and wrong bets on various specific technologies and products, but the general thrust that “we will grow stuff” and “we will get it in as good a quality as possible to an overseas market” has been deliberate.

    • Loota 7.2

      It would be an interesting play, this one. We would have to be very smart about it as decisions made and frameworks set up must be in our long term national interests.

  8. rich 8

    Whoever owns the farms, they’ll want to produce as much milk as possible and sell it for as much as possible. If milk gets expensive and they sell it into China at under market price, then they’re losing money just as much as if they bought it at auction.

    *All* businesses are evil given the chance. They need to be taxed and regulated to mitigate this. That goes whether its a Chinese multinational or a good old boy from Eketahuna.

    If anything, a foreign owner is better because they can’t wrap themselves in the flag and tug the heartstrings (with the avid assistance of our 100% foreign owned media, of course)

  9. Cactus Kate 9

    “China’s approach is different. It is less concerned with political control. It just wants to buy up supply chains”.

    What would you rather they do? Let a billion+ people starve and run amok. China is looking after its people, unlike Africa where they take aid, steal it or buy weapons. Food for the people and supply chains for it is the last thing on their minds in Africa.

    You lefties are never happy.

    • nzfp 9.1

      I don’t support China buying up New Zealand but consider this:
      Chinese at our door with fists full of cash wanting to negotiate deals to buy stuff
      The USA at our door with fists full of guns wanting to blow us away and steal our natural resources (Iraq/Afghanistan)

      I don’t want either but I know which one looks more appealing.

      B.T.W. what’s a leftie?

      • rosy 9.1.1

        I have no problem with China’s approach to supporting its people, but I do have a problem with us taking the cash and possibly reducing the ability of New Zealand to support its people

        • nzfp 9.1.1.1

          Same and I applaud the Chinese for looking after their people – I wonder if our own government could take a leaf out of their book and look after us 😉

    • Blighty 9.2

      No-one’s saying China’s being evil, cactus. They’re looking after their interests. We should look after ours.

      • Richard 9.2.1

        Why do you think that our interests are incompatible with Chinese ownership?

        Regardless of who owns the farms, the milk production (assuming they remain dairy) is ultimately going to be consumed off-shore. Even if the farms switch to some other kind of agriculture, the consumers will be based overseas.

        As long as the farms are located in NZ they will be subject to the same employment laws, environmental laws, etc as any other farm. What’s the problem with foreign ownership?

        • The Chairman 9.2.1.1

          Ponder this:

          With large productive ownership comes political influence, and there’s already a political aspiration.

          What affect will this political influence have on the laws they will be subject too?

          • Richard 9.2.1.1.1

            And how is this different to the current situation?

            What will make Chinese dairy owners “worse” (or better depending on your perspective) at manipulating local laws in their favour, than (say) Fonterra.

            • The Chairman 9.2.1.1.1.1

              The Chinese abuse human rights and are known for corruption. Do you really wish to allow their political influence to take growth here?

              • Richard

                I see, that’s an excellent point.

                Further to that I’ll add that: Americans are “obese, gunslinging morons”, and Italians are “corrupt and lazy, but well-dressed”, the French are “chain-smoking sexpots that smell of garlic”, and New Zealanders are “ignorant, racist, rugby players who have a noble sense of fair play and a love of extreme sports”.

    • mouse 9.3

      “Cheng Siwei, head of China’s green energy drive, told me last week that eco-damage of 13.5pc of GDP each year outstrips China’s growth rate of 10pc. National wealth is contracting. “We have an intangible environmental debt that we are leaving to our children,” he said. So does India. Much of the globe is stealing food from the future”

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/7997910/The-backlash-begins-against-the-world-landgrab.html

      So where is this going Kate?… can you think beyond Left vs Right Dogma.

      • Cactus Kate 9.3.1

        http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/harvard-endowment-fund-keen-natural-resources-129908

        How come no one is questioning the Harvard Endowment Fund in the same way as they look to “gobble up” natural resources with their large economic power?

        Left v Right? Well I can see through that. There are plenty on the supposed “right” that cannot view the argument outside of Nationalist concerns. The difference I guess is that the right don’t go around hugging trees and chanting “Feed the world”, then getting upset when China uses its own money to secure food supply lines for its own people.

  10. Adrian 10

    China or the Chinese Govt disguised as private enterprise owns and controls the whole chain so that it can transfer price, i.e, lose money on NZ production = tax credit in NZ , collect tax on end sale in China. Money for jam (milk) and us stupid bastards are paying for it. How do you lose money on milk in NZ? Easy, charge big interest, payable in China, downgrade milk or milk product quality leaving factory, cheat anyway you can, perfectly legitimate capitalist behaviour. Wake up, we are in the middle of a soft war and we are fucking losing. The only thing I find amusing is why their front person, May Jang, is seemingly so incompetent and compromised.

    • prism 10.1

      Hey Adrian that’s a scary scenario and I recognise it. The oil companies played around with value as they transferred product from the originating country to their final market. The Australians were complaining about it in the early 70’s. We’d be gutted if it happened to our dairy industry.

      • nzfp 10.1.1

        Fascinating what cartels can do when they control the entire production chain. They can even offset costs so that the majority of costs “occur” in productions centers in countries that have zero or near zero corporate tax meaning they pay near zero taxes across the entire production chain.

        For eample NZ may have a 20% corporate tax but Kiribati has 1% corporate tax then the transnational could claim that purchase costs in Kiribati resulted in a net loss when components were transported from NZ to Kiribati making taxes on profits zero in NZ.

        Yeah it is scary alright.

        • insider 10.1.1.1

          It’s only scary if you don’t understand what the consequences are. Transfer pricing is something the IRD keep a very, very close eye on, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

          Trying to charge an artificially low/high price will soon be obvious, particularly as it will be happening in a number of places (if a multinational) and it only takes one country to find it for every other country to start asking for a close look at the books. Just not worth the hassle.

          • The Chairman 10.1.1.1.1

            The multibillion-dollar web search giant Google paid less income tax in New Zealand last year than the average construction worker or teacher
            http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/3832727/Sales-set-up-makes-wealthy-Google-a-Kiwi-tax-lightweight

          • Loota 10.1.1.1.2

            These people have better lawyers and accountants than the IRD can afford.

          • Adrian 10.1.1.1.3

            Bullshit about the IRD keeping an eye on it, Google paid 7K tax in NZ last year because all NZ ads have to be booked and paid for in Ireland, the international rest homes owners are doing it , probably by charging themselves big interest and management fees paid offshore, (btw , this is an election winner for Winston as hes already fired the first shot) and the big wine companies are doing it with Marlborough Sav Blanc, not all of bulk surplus is “low quality juice”, ( theres really no such thing with MSB) it’s top quality exported at $1.50 a litre when it should be $5-6 , run thru a couple of company owned shell companies in say Ireland (12% tax) while in transit where it’s value trebles, bottled in GB or US and flogged off for the top dollar, currently $8.50-$9 a litre. IT IS FUCKING THEFT. The Chinese are going to do it with milk, they want to do it with our coal and don’t forget it was Rudds downfall, trying to get 40 billion a year that the mining companies had been scamming

    • Richard 10.2

      Security of supply is solely what China is after.

      They have a big population, insufficient local resources, and (ironically) a deficit of manpower. Profit is the last of their concerns.

  11. Carol 11

    How much is the issue to do with China alone, and how much is it to do with the whole neoliberal enterprise, with NACT more than happy to deliver NZ economic enterprises to powerful overseas interests from a range of countries?

    As I understand it, Chinese companies are not the only overseas interests buying into NZ farms. And, also, if you like at the line-up of companies that have recently been added as contenders for producing new Auckland rail stock (probably due to NZ government interference?), it includes, Chinese, Japanese and Aussie companies:

    http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2010/09/13/just-what-deals-are-being-done-to-build-trains-for-auckland/

    Although, the problem with Chinese companies is that they are government controled in ways that the Aussie & Japanese comanies are not.

  12. prism 12

    Tuesday a.m. A piece on Green Monkey NZ food enterprise company. It cannot sell successfully in USA as there are too many interests wanting ‘to clip the ticket’
    and trying to get volume and force the price down because they want to make 2 for 1 offers etc.

    But there is good demand in China,because all the ingredients and production are from New Zealand. The consumer in China does not have the faith in their own manufacturers that they feel for NZ product. Would be a shame to have foreign companies introduce fraudulent approaches and besmirch our clean, green and ‘with integrity’ standing.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 hours 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 ...
    12 hours 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
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three 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. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Another constitutional outrage
    Another day, another constitutional outrage in the UK. This time, the government is saying that if parliament passes a law to stop Brexit before being prorogued, they may just ignore it:A senior cabinet minister has suggested Boris Johnson could defy legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending dairy in Canterbury
    Environment Canterbury has finally proposed nitrogen limits to stop dairy farmers from poisoning Christchurch's water supply. And naturally, farmers are whining about it:A proposed move by Environment Canterbury (ECan) to protect Christchurch's drinking water by setting tough – some would say, draconian – nitrate reductions in the decades ahead and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is National the party of climate arson?
    The Zero Carbon Bill is currently before select committee. While its targets are weak, its a generally sensible bill that promises to establish a long-term framework to guide emissions reductions. But National hasn't made up its mind on whether it will support it - and according to Andrea Vance in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Experts warn Harold the Giraffe “well past” typical giraffe life expectancy, may not have long
    Dum-de-doo. Children across New Zealand have known him for generations as the lovable giraffe who tells them to exercise, hydrate and not to shove lit cigarettes up their nostrils. But a world renowned giraffe expert says we shouldn’t be getting attached to Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe, as he is ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: 22 BLOGGERS WITH ADVICE FOR RESEARCHERS AND EVALUATORS, ILLUSTRATED I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bye, bye to the collusion lie
    Sums it up, really. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Opinion: Treat your car by buying extra petrol to snack on while you aren’t driving
    By Mike Hosking. Yesterday morning, I waltzed into work, and as I walked past the drones aggressively typing out news on the computers I’ve repeatedly asked to be moved further away from, I caught a glimpse of the words “climate change”, and noticed that suspiciously they weren’t in condescending quotation ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago

No feed items found.