Newsflash: Nation not a Business

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, September 2nd, 2010 - 48 comments
Categories: business, Economy, same old national - Tags:

Despite how (and for whom) National Ltd govern, the nation state is still not a business; nor will it ever be.

Bryan Gould has a good article on the difference between government and business – and why businessmen often make bad politicians (take note Steven Joyce).  Concepts that work well in business often don’t flow through to a government managing an entire economy.

For a start the economy requires government spending to be counter-cyclical.  You balance the books in the good times (thanks Michael Cullen), and spend in recession to keep money flowing – so it’s not harder for workers and businesses than needs be.  Labour understood and introduced a spending program just before the election.  They didn’t get to ramp it up properly, so we have far more unemployment than we need to have.  National’s program instead consists of cuts, an increase in GST to depress sales and the economy further, and tax cuts for the rich who have the ability to ride out a recession anyway.

National also fall for the “lump of labour” fallacy – the belief that there is a fixed amount of work available and that the task is to decide how that is to be shared out.  But by investing during a recession you create jobs.  And those jobs create incomes, which allows spending, which creates jobs, which…

Instead National cut.  Operating like a business that needs to batten down the hatches in difficult times they throw men overboard and cut the lifeblood of the country.  We all suffer.

Connected to this is that measurements of success are vastly different in business and government.  The businessman (& National Ltd) see only the famous “bottom line”.  It is all about the mighty dollar.  Governments are representatives of their citizens (all too often figuratively rather than literally); as such they should represent their best interests.  Much like CEOs forgetting the shareholders they’re meant to be enriching when they give themselves another hefty pay-rise, National fail to care about the citizens they’re supposed to be representing.

The measurements of success for a society is the health and happiness of its citizens, not the fiscal deficit.  Whilst we need to live within our means, no citizen is better off without a job.  They don’t do better when your policies and pay stinginess mean that teachers and health professionals are striking.  People aren’t happier the more you spend on prisons, their mental health is not improved by you cutting their access to ready education in their community.  They don’t lead fuller lives when you reduce the ability to get a good start in life with quality early childhood education.

National need to realise that a society is its citizens, not a set of numbers.  An economy is made of people, more than it is made up of dollars.  And government is for the people, not for the accounts ledger.

48 comments on “Newsflash: Nation not a Business”

  1. Carol 1

    Thank-you, Bunji. I woke up thinking along the lines of your post this morning, especially these bits:

    The measurements of success for a society is the health and happiness of its citizens, not the fiscal deficit….

    National need to realise that a society is its citizens, not a set of numbers. An economy is made of people, more than it is made up of dollars. And government is for the people, not for the accounts ledger.

    And I was thinking we desperately need a government that shifts the focus back to the well-being of the whole society. I think that the first priority should be to articulate the kind of society the country wants, then to develop a range of policies that aim to deliver that. Within those policies should be economic & financial policies aimed at delivering that kind of society.

    But, instead, we have government run by accountants, business people, economists and financial advisors, who prioritise the economic/financial policies, then organise all the other policies around it.

  2. Bored 2

    I read the Gould article with interest earlier, and note that one of the first feedbacks stated this was pure Keynes and likely to draw the opposition of market economists. True, so I switched back to reading Tony Judt “Ill Fares the Land” in which his analysis basically states that the line between private delivery and public goods needed to be pragmatic. Neither has a monopoly of truth.

    From where any informed or critical observer sits neither a “Keynesian” Gould nor his “dry” critics are proposing anything realistic. If they were truly pragmatic they would recognise that both their economic paradigms rely upon a cornucopian abundance model on a finite planet. This is clearly a nonsense. Compound growth makes mathematically certain that limits will be reached, my critique is that neither models allow a flat line sustainable approach.

  3. Rob 3

    Very true Bunji. There is also an issue with it which I have been thinking about recently in the way money spent on staff returns to a government. When the government hires staff it actually gains back a third of the wages it pays them straight away through income tax, it will then proceed to accrue ever more when they spend that money and they get GST, the tax on the wages of the workers who sold it to them and the business tax on profits. It means that they are often losing a far lower amount of revenue than they budget for because it will return to the government as tax within a few months. Businesses on the other hand have only a very small amount of money spent on staff returned to them.

  4. david civil servant 4

    Whereas Labour just persecute those who disagree with them

    http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/blogcoms-unbellyfeel-labpar/

    • bbfloyd 4.1

      davi…. got any more irrelevant or obnoxious comment? you seem to have got lost on the way to kiwiblog.. turn right, and look for a likely rubbish tip. there you go…

      • david civil servant 4.1.1

        Don’t be a cunt bbfloyd.

        • The Voice of Reason 4.1.1.1

          Idiot.

        • Vicky32 4.1.1.2

          david uncivil servant, your language is completely unacceptable. If you must be insulting, vary it a bit, ease up on your feelings against women and perhaps say “don’t be a dick”… 😀
          Deb

          • david civil servant 4.1.1.2.1

            Don’t be a cock Vicky.

            • Loota 4.1.1.2.1.1

              Takes one to know one obviously, eh mate? After all

              “Vulgar language is the last resort of the inarticulate with nothing to say”

            • The Voice of Reason 4.1.1.2.1.2

              The teenage years are full of self doubt and disappointment, David. But don’t worry, one handed typists have their own support group now, so you don’t have to suffer in silence.

  5. Jenny 5

    Bailout ‘may’ boost the economy

    I am underwhelmed;

    So market cheerleaders for the South Canterbury Finance bailout, can only give, at best, a qualified prediction for any positive effects of the bail out, saying it “may” boost the economy. Gee whiz, what a crazy guy that John Key is, gambling all that public money on a “maybe”.

    In my opinion this is at best wishful thinking and at worst spin to cover up, the fact, that the pain of the recession is being unloaded from the well off onto the rest of us.

    Using the examples of how bailouts have panned out overseas should be the ground used for making predictions, for any benefits, if any, for the economy.

    Taking these overseas examples as my template, I would like to make a different prediction.

    #1The bail out will not make the slightest bit of difference to the economic indicators that count for most people.

    #2. Unemployment will continue to grow unaffected.

    #3. Finance companies receiving massive tax payer largesse, will not show any such mercy to their own defaulters, and will continue to wreak their vengeance on grass roots home owners, dumping more families on the street.

    #4 Rather than re-negotiate mortgages to more affordable levels for families and businesses, Finance companies will accelerate foreclosures.

    #5 To celebrate their good fortune from this tax payer funded windfall, managers and directors at Finance Companies linked to SCF will reward themselves, with golden handshakes, golden parachutes, above the rate of inflation salary increases with generous stock options as garnish on top, etc. etc.

    #6 By re-inflating the SCF bubble the bailout will prolong the nation wide recession.
    The effects being noticably marked in the South Island.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Fallacy of Breaking Windows

      I’m not really surprised that our MSM resorted to such fallacy. They’re completely incompetent after all.

      And, yeah, your predictions are probably very close to the mark. The GFC is being used to enrich the already rich at everybody else’s expense.

  6. Their approach to Government is reflected in the prejudices of their supporters.

    These people generally believe that the state is bad, private is good, and they should be allowed to retain as much of their wealth as is possible. The concept of “common good” is poorly understood by them. They seem incapable of seeing that a strong state can achieve good things, such as schools, hospitals, infrastructure, superannuation and a safety net for the poor.

    Their cost approach continuously sees expenditure in these areas as being something that should be minimised.

    They think it makes for a better economy. They fail to understand the significant role of the state in ensuring that an economy is strong.

    They think they are better handlers of the economy but paradoxically they always seem to do worse for the ordinary person.

    You are right to mention Michael Cullen. Boy is he being missed right now.

    • Jenny 6.1

      .
      $1.3 billion of government money paid out to the speculators for Hubbard’s worthless South Canterbury Finance shares and bonds. Break out the $900 bottles of bubbly! Great news for the parasites, too bad for everybody else who happens to need a pay rise such as those pesky radiographers and teachers. This will also be paid for by all those unemployed people having their entitlements chiseled away and disabled people being hammered by the ACC and WINZ. Maier’s smug smile says it all…

      From the New Zealand Herald:

      Speculators reap fat reward as finance firm fails

      If indeed the government is running the company as a private business then they like many other managers of private businesses can easily see ‘their’ business as a cash cow with lots of perks to be distributed amongst themselves and their “speculator” mates.

      • Jenny 6.1.1

        How the architects of the recession made sure to insulate themselves, against the consequences of their own actions.

        Vernon Small reports that in 2008, the veiled threat of an investment strike by New Zealand’s financiers was what forced Helen Clark’s hand in setting up what Small calls this morally hazardous scheme.

        Vernon Small:

        Scheme’s moral hazards snare Government – and taxpayers

        Such is the way the corporates get their way against the best instincts of liberal leaders and left wing governments.

        capcha – “updating”

  7. rich 7

    I find that a bit amusing. Bryan Gould’s achievement as a politician was summed up in this quote: “He didn’t take losing the [Uk labour] leadership election badly. Apart from resigning his seat and moving to new Zealand”

    • Uroskin 7.1

      Just imagine what a better world we would have lived in if Tony Blair had lost the leadership race against Bryan Gould. We would have at least been spared TB’s autobiography.

      • Carol 7.1.1

        Yes, I think Gould came back to NZ because he was PO’ed with the direction the UK Labour Party (and thence UK politics generally), was going… ie rightwards.

        • TightyRighty 7.1.1.1

          but it got more venal and corrupt as the major players resorted to any desperate measure to remain in power. that means it was heading leftwards. still use velcro on your shoes too?

          • Vicky32 7.1.1.1.1

            Er, TR, whatever do you mean by “that means it was heading leftwards”?
            “. still use velcro on your shoes too?”
            Yup, I do…
            Deb 🙂

  8. Olwyn 8

    @Mickey Savage: National supporters claim to think that the state is bad. In fact they think it is bad only insofar as it fails to privilege them, and a startling number of their cheerleaders have been paid by the state for their entire working lives – Dr Brash springs to mind.

    Once upon a time a large number of National supporters would have accepted this sentence; “The measurements of success for a society is the health and happiness of its citizens,” but would have disagreed with the left over how these objectives are best achieved. Having abandoned such objectives, they seem to be left with no vision whatsoever, juggling the desires of their financial backers against the PR initiatives necessary to implementing them. The poor Wellington man who rang the police on the night they got elected looks more insightful with each passing day, even if the action he took was less than practical.

    • Bored 8.1

      Of course National supporters think the state is bad, but they do go down the law’n order path when they get frightened, insisting that the full force of the state be brought to bear…its a sort of applied schizophrenia.

      • Jenny 8.1.1

        This seemingly schizophrenic approach to the state, as expounded by right wing champions of the rich like ACT can be explained easily.

        The Right only want less state control and interference in the affairs of wealthy people like themselves.

        But when it comes to dealing harshly with the consequences of the social decay caused by their uncontrolled financial dealings, they are in the front ranks of those calling for harsher and more oppressive powers to be handed to the police, the army and the secret security agencies.

        This ‘reactionary’ impulse from the right to build up the repressive side of the state can sometimes even build the state into an independent unacountable power in itself, that even they and their sponsors can become frightened of.

        In Nazi Germany the rise of the racist ideology of Fascism was funded by financiers, as an opposition to leftists and trade unionists. Eventually like Frankenstein’s monster, the power of the state became so ubiquitous that even these sorts of people at the very top of society dared not speak any criticism of the state.

        • Bored 8.1.1.1

          Jenny, I would urge some minor caution when describing the “seemingly schizophrenic approach to the state “ as the being exclusive to the Right. We ignore any privileged group running a polity (and their consequent sense of entitlement) at our peril. For example the same behavior was common to the “nomenclature” of the authoritarian Left.

          In our “social democratic” construct of a state the extreme Right has moved the whole debate around the role of the state from the post Great Depression / WW2 centrist consensus to an extreme, which is now branded the “centre”. Highly unhealthy, and the Labour Party have been co-opted to this viewpoint. They need to stop talking the language of business and concentrate on the language of civil society.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Actually, they don’t understand economics at all. Neither do Labour. This is because they believe it all revolves around money. The neoliberal pie-in-the-sky BS works with money as more money can always be printed. It doesn’t work in the real world as the resources have limits to them. How much we have, how much can be reused, how much is available at any one time and how much of the natural environment is needed to maintain life on Earth. Without taking any of those into account, which most economists and politicians don’t, the economy will always collapse and the final collapse will catastrophic.

    • Olwyn 9.1

      I am not sure whether the neo-liberals themselves believe this, or whether they just convince everyone else, so as to grab actual resources in exchange for high numbers on a screen, rather as previous colonists dazzled people with beads, blankets and whiskey in exchange for land. Look at NZ at the moment, where the land is worth more numbers than can be matched by what NZ can produce. And what do these numbers translate into materially but consumer items; the modern equivalents of beads, blankets and whiskey.

      • Bored 9.1.1

        Olwyn and Draco, the neo Libs dont really care about resources or the planet, only the transaction at hand. Its selective blindness for short term gain. And they dont care that their families and children will become extinct because that might interfere with current privelege / status. Its the “Hey live once live well and fuck you” mentality.

  10. Its convenient for NACT to blame the state as big brother, but the NACTS are actually the committee of the ruling class, converting the state into the Board of NZ Inc.
    The ruling class is driven by profit maximisation, it uses the national interest, and indiviudal freedom, arguments to divert attention from its class rule. That class rule dictates that only those policies that increase profits by screwing more value out of the working class need apply. This is especially true in a global crisis of capitalism when the ruling class is into a survival of the fittest struggle. SCF clients are losers in this fight, the infratils and banksters are the winners.
    Those who object are losers, whingers and scroungers by definition.
    It doesnt even need to pretend anymore that its ruling for all kiwis. It can get away with it because enough of them aspire to join the ruling class.
    Gould doesnt have any answers, the party he abandoned turned to the right and adopted Blairite market policies. There is no social democratic option because the ruling class doesnt want it or need it having captured the centre ground and divided the working class against itself. When workers unite and revolt against class rule, social democracy will be wheeled out again to keep the lid on with a few minor reforms.
    Such is capitalism.

  11. randal 11

    everyone knows that national is a dumping ground for dumb rich people who rely on slogans to do their thinking for them.
    their insistence on treating the whole economy as a business is stupidity in the hihgest extreme and the lack of percipience is dangerous when it is allowed to flourish as a policy that affects us all.
    drop the dumbos immediately.

  12. outofbed 12

    Mint Asset Management’s Shane Solly said it was outrageous that some investors had been able to buy the bonds at a discount last week only to have them paid out yesterday.

    “Those bonds were trading at quite deep discounts. Those people that paid 70c are [now getting a] dollar-something return.

    Denmark.> State > Rotten

  13. ZB 14

    http://emigratetonewzealand.wordpress.com/migrant-stories/
    Many of their accounts have a lot in common, the same issues crop up time and time again:
    * Low salaries
    * Problems finding work
    * Expensive, poor quality accommodation
    * Problems with the education standards
    * Feeling that NZ is actively mis-sold
    * Isolation
    * Crime
    * High cost of living
    * Lack of culture
    * Dangerous roads and drivers
    * No future for their kids
    * Missing family, friends, old lifestyles etc.
    * The ‘Kiwi way’, ‘WWINZ’ (won’t work in NZ) small mindedness, #8 wire mentallity,xenophobia, etc.

    Now look at the major parties claims…
    ACT – claims to protect consumers and taxpayers – that’ll explain the high cost of living, poor quality goods…etc.
    National – claims to protect business – that’ll explain the crime, no future for the kids.
    Labour – brought in rogernomics.
    Green promise great ecology and environment – nothing to deliver!

    The problem is simple, what NZ is doing doesn’t work. Sure the immigrant who don’t do well
    talk, exaggerate, but a lot of their concerns are now mainstream concerns – the canary in the mine.

    NZ youth have a highest suicide rate than older people! Unlike any other western nation
    where the old commit suicide more.

    National, Labour, ACT, UF, Maori, Greens, and all failing NZ. Why?
    Because the media has one voice, pro-right neo-liberal economics is all there is, profit profit profit.

    • Vicky32 14.1

      Sure, Labour brought in the Rogergnomes, but all of them, at their earliest opportunity became ACT…
      Therefore, I believe they simply hijacked Labout, who should not be blamed for them. That’s the way I see it anyway,
      Deb

      • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1

        No, Labour are definitely still following at least some of the failed policies brought in by the 4th Labour Government.

        Free-capital movement
        Ownership of NZ by foreign owners
        Cutting government back rather than using it as the driver of the economy as it should be

  14. I can’t read this shit without feeling angry, frustrated and powerless cos theres nothing i can do to stop it or influence it in any immediate or meaningful way.

    The whole culture of corporate capitalist greed and finance is so alien to, not just me, but i would hazard to say, Pasifikans in general, that short of selling our souls completely to be part of that culture, there seems no way to gain from it, exploit it to our advantage and still remain essentially Pasifikan.

    Not that i want to. So i guess the choice then, is to stop reading the shit and live in blissful ignorance like the rest of the silent, invisible underclass.

    If theres another choice i’d be glad to hear it ?

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      I can’t read this shit without feeling angry, frustrated and powerless cos theres nothing i can do to stop it or influence it in any immediate or meaningful way.

      I think you’ll find yourself in agreement with the majority there.

      The whole culture of corporate capitalist greed and finance is so alien to, not just me, but i would hazard to say, Pasifikans in general,…

      And most of the Pakeha as well. After all, the psychopaths that designed the system make up only a small part of the population.

    • Descendant Of Smith 15.2

      It’s not only pasifikans that don’t get this, there’s plenty of us of European descent that don’t get it as well.

      Part of the trick it seems to me is finding the communality that exists between New Zealanders who share some sort of view about a fairer more decent society.

      In my terms it is about an egalitarian society. Those are principles and precepts that I grew up with. One that still allows achievement and excellence and accomplishment but in recognising that while people have different skills and abilities there remains a commitment to the whole.

      A party founded on those sorts of principles would have my support.

      Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning “equal”), is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort. Its general premise is that people should be treated as equals on certain dimensions such as religiously, politically, economically, socially, or culturally. Egalitarian doctrines maintain that all human persons are equal in fundamental worth or moral status.[1] In large part, it is a response to the abuses of statist development and has two distinct definitions in modern English.[2] It is defined either as a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights[3] or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people.

      I also liked the notion of co-operatives and in particular the UK one highlighted in a post a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure of all the practical aspects but it has motivated me to doing a bit more research around this and talk to others about it, including some growers of produce. This has also enlightened me of the terrible waste of corporates paying for crops ahead of time and compelling the growers to let them perish if not needed. There’s people in these communities that need food – including the poor, particularly Maori and Polynesian, people who harvest their crops for them for pretty crappy pay.

      From small acorns oak trees grow.

      • Descendant Of Smith 15.2.1

        Hmm I see a little synchronicity in thought occurring at the same time.

        The more I think about it the more ” The Egalitarian Party” sounds like a good name that clearly espouses what that party would/should stand for.

        Certainly Labour no longer stands for those that labour.

        • outofbed 15.2.1.1

          The Egalitarian Party/
          Greens are the closest we have got

          Ecological Wisdom:
          The basis of ecological wisdom is that human beings are part of the natural world. This world is finite, therefore unlimited material growth is impossible. Ecological sustainability is paramount.
          Social Responsibility:
          Unlimited material growth is impossible. Therefore the key to social responsibility is the just distribution of social and natural resources, both locally and globally.
          Appropriate Decision-making:
          For the implementation of ecological wisdom and social responsibility, decisions will be made directly at the appropriate level by those affected.
          Non-Violence:
          Non-violent conflict resolution is the process by which ecological wisdom, social responsibility and appropriate decision making will be implemented. This principle applies at all levels.

          • mcflock 15.2.1.1.1

            personally, my vote goes to the Alliance (official name: “Alliance yes it still exists and no JA hasn’t been a member for years”).

            Of the parliamentary parties, yes the Greens are definitely the nicest folk and probably the most socially-minded, but a few elections ago I had to make a choice between voting according to my beliefs and voting for a diluted set of my beliefs on the grounds that it’s “in with a chance”.

            I chose to vote according to my beliefs on the grounds that I couldn’t trust the Greens to act for NZ workers if they were given a choice between that and the lesser spotted West Coast rock slug, but I could be pretty sure that the Alliance would call foul on both issues. And I also felt it important that *somebody* in NZ be seen to stand up for democratic socialist values and solid controls on capital, other wise the concepts could well disappear in a sea of neoliberal pragmatism.

            I’m not suggesting that the Alliance will be kingmakers in parliament in 2011. I just think that if people voted genuinely for what they believed in (rather than viewing elections as a horse race where you get a prize if you back the winner), then NZ would be a much better place.

    • Puddleglum 15.3

      I know just what you mean Pollywog.

      Sometimes I wonder which is worse: That the elite are just a bunch of greed-obsessed soulless and corrupt people who feel fully justified in protecting and increasing their advantage; or, ‘the economy’ as currently structured actually DOES require the rest of us to ply the already wealthy and powerful with even more wealth and power for fear that we’ll lose our menial jobs, our sub-standard housing, our remaining health and our children’s already minimal prospects.

      I look out my window at the other houses in my street – crap rental accommodation, transient people living the lives of transients, broken footpaths, men in their late 50s riding rusty bikes back home from grubby jobs at 7 o’clock at night without any of those decorations of nifty flashing bike lights strapped to designer bike helmets. I think of the kids I see when I walk the dog – the younger ones with clothes that a rag doll would be ashamed to wear, the older ones (boys) skinny, hooded, swaggering and trying to look like their not shit scared by F-ing and blinding their way through a vocabulary you could fit on the back of a postage stamp.

      Then I think about how SCF investors are ‘cushioned’ from the horrors of losing their ‘investments’ because the people in my street – courtesy of a magnanimous government always concerned about us ‘little Kiwi battlers’ – are paying out or losing what little support they have from government to make life less risky for these investors because it’s supposedly in all ‘our’ best interests!

      Then again, I have this utterly irrational optimistic streak: Salvation sometimes does come – but usually not from the direction you expect.

  15. That the elite are just a bunch of greed-obsessed soulless and corrupt people who feel fully justified in protecting and increasing their advantage

    High Net Worth Individuals

    The message from on high is, that’s who we’re supposed to aspire to be like cos thats who the system is being geared towards.

    It’s what Key and English see themselves as, who they’re trying to attract to NZ, and who they’ve just proven they are willing to protect, no questions asked, when the chips are down.

  16. Kleefer 17

    “Concepts that work well in business often don’t flow through to a government managing an entire economy.”

    Governments can’t “manage an economy”. The less involvement the government has in an economy the better. Whenever the government intervenes in the economy it shafts one group of people and leaves them worse off. The current financial mess is a classic example of the failure of central planning, in this case of the money supply and interest rate through central banks.

    • Bunji 17.1

      Whilst the US reserve did keep interest rates too low and helped inflate a housing bubble, most of the current GFC was a result of a lack of regulation of the financial industry – ie a lack of government intervention.
      Perhaps you’d prefer a world where there was no government intervention and businesses could say your food, drink and medicine contained whatever they wanted to say, whilst it was laced with whatever was easiest for them. That’s pretty much the world the finance industry was operating in – you have an AAA+ investment that actually consists of NINJA (No Income No Job) loans.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.2

      Reality has proven otherwise. Remove the power of the people from the economy and watch as a few become incredibly wealthy and everyone else starves.

  17. ZB 18

    Government can’t manage the economy. Well no! Governments get in the way of
    economy! Well yes. Governments need to get in the way of those parts of the
    economy leading us down the wrong track.

    We need to get out of the way of citizens so they can start businesses.
    – do away with welfare and give everyone $10,000 tax credit (taken as a income
    support if the indivudal wants it.

    We need to get in the way of business friendly government.
    – do away with National and ACT parties.

    We need broadband.
    – do away with Telcom.

    Then watch the country turn around.

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    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    2 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    2 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    2 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    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
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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 ...
    3 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    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
    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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