NZ falls in world prosperity rankings

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, January 25th, 2011 - 46 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags: , ,

The Legatum Prosperity Index looks beyond GDP, a failed measure that counts rebuilding after an earthquake and building prisons as gains. The Index is a broad measure of nations’ prosperity comprising 88 components. It shows that New Zealand is a relatively prosperous nation. It also shows that relative prosperity is falling under National.

In 2009, New Zealand was ranked the third-most prosperous nation in the world, behind only Norway and Denmark. In 2010, using the same methodology, we’ve fallen behind Finland and Australia as well.

It’s notable, as you look at the 2009 vs 2010 scores, that the all declines among the top 10 are countries led by right-wing governments. We’re down from 3 to 5, Canada from 6 to 7, Ireland from 9 to 11 – vastly different experiences of the recession but all mismanaged.

I dug into the sub-components of the Index to see what makes the more properous countries better off than us:

  • The more prosperous countries have more even economic development than us – ie. fewer people are left behind, there isn’t such a gap between rich and poor
  • They have a more positive expectation of the economy in the future.
  • We have a much lower perception that working hard gets you ahead (a sign that many people are locked out of wealth eg. home ownership and wealth is concentrated in a small elite that isn’t accessible merely by merit)
  • We have higher incidents of theft (again a reflection that people don’t see work as a route to obtaining wealth, so resort to another)
  • More people are satisfied with their standard of living (93% in Norway and Denmark) compared to here (79%)
  • Fewer of them work (75% of Kiwis said they had a paid or unpaid job, compared to 56% of Finns).
  • We also report low job availability
  • They have better national savings
  • We have by far the lowest capital per worker (the flip-side of not saving enough)
  • We have the most foreign investment/foreign ownership of our economy (also a factor of not saving enough ourselves)
  • We are way down in high-tech exports
  • Our internet bandwidth is a fifth of theirs

There’s heaps of measures where we’re tops though:

  • We come first in education overall (this is pre-National Standards data)
  • We have low health problems
  • We rank highly in volunteering and helping strangers
  • We have the lowest political constraints
  • We have the lowest undernourishment rate
  • We have the highest tolerance for ethnic minorities

Interestingly, we’re also the most religious of the top five with 27% of people attending church weekly vs 12% in Finland. I’m not putting that as good or bad, just interesting 🙂

For me, the message is clear: if we want to be a more prosperous country we need a fairer distribution of wealth which improves the economy but also encourages people on lower incomes to believe in the system and discourages crimes; we need to control our economic destiny by saving ourselves and not borrowing from abroad; we need to invest more, especially in high-tech R&D.

46 comments on “NZ falls in world prosperity rankings”

  1. You mean we arn’t catching up with Australia?

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    # We have by far the lowest capital per worker (the flip-side of not saving enough)
    # We have the most foreign investment/foreign ownership of our economy (also a factor of not saving enough ourselves)

    The first is also caused by the second as foreign ownership “exports” the surplus wealth out of NZ.

    • ZeeBop 2.1

      We have less savings, and absent landlords, and the local elites rig the system to short change the economy.
      A capital gains tax would mean that capital gains farming would not be so easy, this is where you get
      your hands on other peoples savings, earnings, property, and speculate up the price and then pocket
      the profit without paying tax. NZ is rigged to lessen saving and pay foreign landlords profits.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Property transaction stamp duty please. If a property is sold after being owned for less than 24m, a 5% stamp duty applies. Less than 12m, a 7.5% stamp duty applies. Less than 6m, a 10% stamp duty applies. Less than 3m, a 15% stamp duty applies.

        One stamp duty free trade every 5 years, to compensate for unexpected personal circumstances.

        This should push the hard core speculation and asset flippers out of the market.

        • M 2.1.1.1

          Glad you qualified the stamp duty for property CV as I had to sell and buy houses twice in a six year period, one of the sales downsizing to lower the mortgage.

          I think that no sweet deals should be allowed for landlords either in the form of deductions because they are getting someone else to pay off a house for them and capital gains should be imposed on all dwellings apart from the family home.

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1

            You’re welcome, M. To me, Govt should be about helping ordinary people live easier not harder just so the few can get even further ahead more easily.

            And I agree with you, although Goff made some moves to refocus the tax system on assets, much more needs to be done.

            However LAB desperately need to keep communicating a vision for the future that people can believe in, not just present boring old managerialism around the tax system.

          • Robert Atack 2.1.1.1.2

            2 words that will not be going together again ‘capital’ and ‘gains’. Peak home prices are in the past.
            There are lots of ‘mums and dads’ who are just trying to survive and have some form of ‘life’ when they retire, or have to send their kids to Uni, Wainuiomata is a suburb that has lots of M & Ds who own a second home/mortgage, and I bet most are heading for negative equity (as will everyone), Saying labor is going to tax capital gain would be like saying they are going to tax swimming in the Manawatu river.
            When things finally go tits up, finding people on 100,000k may be a stretch. This is the year we may see the rubber hit The Road. 😀

  3. ak 3

    27% attending church weekly was a clue….the US no.1 for health confirmed it.

    Garbage in, pretentious garbage out.

    • Blighty 3.1

      um. you think the entire Index is flawed? Or you think the Gallup poll on weekly church attendence is wrong?

      You should have a look at the sub-components of the health index to see why the US rates highly – they spend the most in the world for one.

      And you obviously don’t live in south auckland if you think no-one goes to church anymore.

      • SHG 3.1.1

        you obviously don’t live in south auckland if you think no-one goes to church anymore.

        And how’s that working out for South Auckland?

        • Bunji 3.1.1.1

          Pretty well. There’s a lot of cheerful folk enjoying their lives there, even if they don’t always have as much monetarily.

          Of course, life could be better with a government on their side, but don’t believe everything you see on TV.

    • Lanthanide 3.2

      The US gets a high score on health outcomes because they’re only looking at health outcomes from hospital. If you go to hospital in the US, generally you will come out the other side having had the best treatment in the world. It also cost you a hell of a lot, and evidently they aren’t counting people who can’t afford to go to hospital. But if you do get treatment, it is very very good.

      • clandestino 3.2.1

        So how does that make them no.1 when it doesn’t take into account all of the population??

        Utterly discrediting.

        • Blighty 3.2.1.1

          that’s one sub-element that may not work well for one country.

          How about addressing the points Marty has raised, rather than this desperate attempt at distraction?

        • Ari 3.2.1.2

          Uh, no, it’s a small gap in a measure that has a lot of other factors in it. I agree that this biases the health measure in favour of the USA and other countries with low access to hospitals, but it doesn’t make the whole thing completely flawed.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2

        Go watch Sicko and you won’t be quite as enamoured of the US health system.

    • JayMal 3.3

      US number one for health… wtf?! They have, without a shadow of a doubt, the most inefficient health system in the world, absolutely terrible results when compared to the amount of money spent (that is they spend crap loads of money to get pretty ordinary returns).

      • Lanthanide 3.3.1

        Actually they spend ludicrous amounts to get very good returns on actual hospital admissions. The problem with their health system in general is that it is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff – very little is done in preventative health care. But that ambulance has all the latest bells and whistles!

        • Colonial Viper 3.3.1.1

          The healthcare that those on the most expensive top tier health insurance plans get is no doubt the absolute best in the world.

          Everyone else, meh.

          Those not covered by insurance – you’ll get a few hours in ED then be put back out on the street.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.3.1.1.1

            And those few hours in ED will bankrupt you.

            • Colonial Viper 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Well yeah, but we are talking about a country which respects military service above just about all else in society and politics, but still lets a homeless veterans problem persist.

        • JayMal 3.3.1.2

          Perhaps you are correct, but my point is that their return on actual dollars spent is crappy – not that their success rate on hospital admissions is poor.

          If you get into hospital your chances are probably the best in the world… if you have the right insurance – largely because they will throw ridiculous amounts of money at you…

          But if you boil it all down to how “efficient” it is – that is what is the return for each dollar spent on each patient – I think you’ll find it falls well behind most “public” systems.

          Because of their insurance system, coupled with the litigious culture, the US health system is incredibly risk adverse. Removing risk costs money and once you’re in hospital, with the right insurance, they will spend copious amounts of money removing all risk – even past the point where the return on the dollars spent is no longer reasonably justifiable.

          This might sound great but it is horribly inefficient and why most well run public systems are much better value.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.3.1.2.1

            Never mind the fact that the US insurance companies spend a huge amount each year trying not to pay out on the insurance claims that they do get.

            • JayMal 3.3.1.2.1.1

              Oh but you overlook the good they generate in doing this. If they didn’t fight then not only would the US have a homeless veterans problem but also a homeless lawyers problem. The last thing anyone needs is hordes of hungry lawyers roaming the streets…

            • Colonial Viper 3.3.1.2.1.2

              Yep. Spending $50K or more on lawyers, medical opinions etc to get out of paying for a $100K procedure for a patient is a great return on investment. Uh, for the insurance company that is, not for the patient.

              Other tactic is that even if you know that you will probably be forced to pay for the procedure in the end, you can try and stall proceedings until the patient dies. Woooo-hoooo watch the performance bonus pool grow.

              • JayMal

                Haha… $50K?! Me thinks you have been living in wonderland too long…

                Spending $200K to get out of paying for a $100K procedure is actually a good investment as it generates more jobs (lawyers, doctors, other leeches.. I mean professionals) and generates more wealth for the shareholders, it is also economically more efficient.

                How does it generate more wealth? Simple. I pay out more than I receive, I then complain that we must raise premiums to cover the rising cost of healthcare. As our profit is derived as a percentage of premiums received the higher the premium the more profit we make in absolute dollar terms. The more pressure that goes on hospitals to reduce costs the more money we need to spend in order to justify raising premiums.

                Why is it economically efficient? Simple. To be efficient you simply have to ensure that the majority of the product goes to those who value it most, ergo, those who are willing to pay the most for it. As we have limited health services we have to keep the price at a point that ensures those who value it most are able to get it, if it becomes too cheap the system will get flooded with people who don’t value it and those who want it wont be able to get it. All this is underpinned by the maxims that all men are created equal and America is the land of opportunity – which means that the only reason you can’t afford it is because you are lazy and the country is better off if you are dead… or join the marines.

  4. JayMal 4

    Investing more in R&D alone is not going to increase high-tech exports, this just the easy cop out that successive governments roll out. I’m not saying we shouldn’t invest in R&D but where NZ is lacking is in our ability to take the ideas we have and actually create an export business from them. We need to develop a culture where we celebrate success and are not afraid to learn from our mistakes.

    If we want more high-tech exports we need more high-tech exporters. We need to keep our high-tech companies in NZ and create an environment which helps them grow while staying here. Unfortunately successive governments have focussed on short term gains and belief that agriculture is where the future is at.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Yeah, +1.

      Same with educating and training our young people up to be the best that they can be. Great political pitch, but no good if they all decide to then move to Australia to help the Australian economy.

      Mind you Goff also said that Government is going to be much more active in the economy in general so lets hope LAB have something good in mind to address your concerns.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Every country wants high-tech exports (they bring in huge amounts of cash after all) but if every country did this (and every country should because it helps develop and improve their society) then, due to the massive over production, exports would decline.

      The big problem with the “free-market” is that it exports all the jobs overseas. A viable society, on the other hand, needs to keep all the jobs but also set production so that it only produces what needed for that society. This means reducing working hours as productivity increases, dropping hourly rates for a salary type regime and a change from the consumerist led market while still encouraging people to do R&D.

      • JayMal 4.2.1

        Not that I want to disagree with your underlying message but a free market does not technically export all jobs overseas.

        Those jobs must go somewhere so somewhere in the world jobs are imported. In a theoretical world, the long term effect of this is wealth is redistributed to the poorest (cheapest) nations who then become wealthy, at which point their jobs are exported to the new poorest nations, and so on. Over time the richer nations lose their wealth (after all they have no productive jobs to support their higher industries and underlying consumption) and they become poor and cheap, so can import jobs again.

        The problem is the greatest proponents of a free market pay little more than lip service to it. What they really mean by free is a lack of responsibility and culpability for their actions, with a desire for short term gratification.

        If we define our society as a global one then the theoretical “free-market” isn’t such a bad thing and with a little tweaking probably the best for everyone. To make it work we’d probably need a global, democratically elected and fully representative government to ensure no-one is abusing the system and that it remains fair to all.

        The other option is we accept the notion of a global village is bullcrap and embrace our nationalistic roots. Its us or them comrade whether we like it or not!

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          Yeah, it’s a money go round for the rich.

          A global government won’t work as it’s too big. What could be done is some broad based universal rules/standards that every country must meet (Labour, environment, etc). This would make labour and externalities approximately the same price everywhere then the “free-market” might actually work in equally dispersing the jobs. Massive productivity would still leave a massive amount of unemployment though and so you’d still end up with poverty which is where reducing working hours and going to a salary system comes in. Then we’d just have the problem of capitalist ownership to confront

          • JayMal 4.2.1.1.1

            Your suggestion, although elegant, wouldn’t work unless the underlying cost of that labour was the same… and thats a complex equation (tax rates, compliance costs, social services, etc…). I’m also not convinced capitalist ownership is that much worse than any other form of ownership. I guess the USSR proved you could make a system work without capitalist ownership, but even that didnt solve the problem of ending up with corruption and a class system.

            I am however sure there is a solution, its just the current underlying solution relies on exploitation of one for the gain of another. We might not like it but even in non-capitalist countries you still see the same pattern (USSR, North Korea, China) – an elite that benefit from the exploitation of the masses.

            To me the solution is to stop measuring ourselves on meaningless comparative scales. The whole notion of this just invites discontent and a feeling of “I want what they’ve got”. We need to learn how to enjoy and value our lives with whatever we’ve got. Measure success on overall happiness and values.

            I must now return to my dream world with the nice soft walls and lovely huggy PJs!

            • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1.1.1

              You don’t necessarily need to have capitalist ownership or central ownership as your only options. You could have what a lot of high tech start ups have – a small group of founders who each have an ownership stake and each have an ownership say in the company. Look back at HP, Apple, Google, it always looks like this.

              In other words, communally or co-op owned enterprises. Often in these enterprises the first 50-100 workers will have meaningful ownership stakes and say in the business.

              The trick is to increase the scope of this concept, but we know through various privately held co-ops which have been successful in NZ that it can certainly be done and done well.

              • JayMal

                Yeah I like the idea and worked for a company like that once. My only concern is that at what point do those foundation members stop becoming “one of the team” and they themselves become the elite owners? What if you join a company after it has made it big, can you still have a say? Or are you just another proletariat? How do you break into the ownership-circle without having to take the risk of working for a bunch of start-ups? How do you distribute the wealth the company generates? Does the CEO get the same share as the line working?

                Although if you made it as simple as equal profit sharing with all employees having an equal share in the company with an open book on salaries then I think you could create something quite exciting! 🙂

                • Draco T Bastard

                  My only concern is that at what point do those foundation members stop becoming “one of the team” and they themselves become the elite owners?

                  Set up the rules so that they can’t.

                  What if you join a company after it has made it big, can you still have a say?

                  Of course.

                  How do you break into the ownership-circle without having to take the risk of working for a bunch of start-ups?

                  What ownership circle?

                  How do you distribute the wealth the company generates?

                  Democratically.

                  Does the CEO get the same share as the line working?

                  Pretty much. In Mike Moores Capitalism: A Love Story there’s a cooperative bakery in there and they all vote on how the profit will be spent. Everyone gets about $60k/year – only about double the average wage. Sure, the CEO could get more by working in a “traditional” capitalist business but then everyone else would get less.

                  Although if you made it as simple as equal profit sharing with all employees having an equal share in the company with an open book on salaries then I think you could create something quite exciting!

                  The business would have to be “ownerless” or, possibly, self-owned with the workers giving direction. If anyone had ownership of the business then you’re right back with the problems that capitalist ownership causes – mostly poverty and an economy that doesn’t benefit the society in the long run making it unsustainable.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1.1.2

              Your suggestion, although elegant, wouldn’t work unless the underlying cost of that labour was the same… and thats a complex equation (tax rates, compliance costs, social services, etc…).

              And what makes you think that they should be different? An average person will require, throughout their lives, the same amount of food as every other average person, they’ll require the same amount of medical care etc etc. The environment will also also require the same amount of safe guards around the world and workers need the same protections and safety rules. These really aren’t optional although I’m sure that the RWNJs will say that they are (plenty have been on here saying that environmental protections will cost us but the reality is that countries without those protections are costing us more).

              This would all seem to indicate that tax rates, compliance costs and social services should all be about the same.

              To me the solution is to stop measuring ourselves on meaningless comparative scales.

              Comparatively we need to have an equivalent lifestyle globally as it best for everyone if we do.

      • lprent 4.2.2

        I’ve worked in high-tech for most of the last few decades. It depends on what you’re looking at.

        Sure there are ‘products’ – ie physical goods in some of what I write (about half). Sometimes that is manufactured locally from imported components and sometimes manufactured offshore. The BOM for those is not that high a proportion of the cost.

        The largest component is always in the intellectual property that the engineers and programmers put into the ‘product’. Reason – there are no tech companies that I know of here who produce millions of units. With hardware the max I’ve ever had my code in is a few 10’s of thousands of units going to a very niche global market at a high price per unit (USD1000+). With pure software the best has been a few 100’s of thousands of units shipped over the net at a low price (USD40) with no physical objects made by us.

        But in both cases the biggest single cost has been intellectual R&D input and that has been completely done in NZ. Even the sales and marketing cost has been bloody low. That also applies to friends in biotech and other tech areas.

        That is what you’re looking for in an high tech economy. It is constrained by the people you can hire and the capital to do the development.

        The problem is that you have to have the people capable of doing it. But across almost every high-tech area I’m aware of, the usual ration of kiwi born to immigrant/resident in the programming and engineering has always been well less than half. In a couple of cases it has been less than a 10%.

        Similarly, less than half have raised their capital locally. Those that have raised it locally have been severely constrained many times by what money could be raised to the point that it affects their business. That is also why they frequently sell their businesses to offshore interests and why the businesses often migrate offshore to better capital markets.

        Those two factors diminish what could be done here. I don’t see much sign of it changing now that National dumped pretty much all of the required backing (a decades long process) over the last two years.

        Labour made a good start on the decade level changes required to R&D tax, development grants, getting more and better tech grads, and just simply providing a better environment to build tech businesses in. But it was only a start….

        • JayMal 4.2.2.1

          Gawd… now you’ve got me started… I’m also in my third decade in the high-tech industry so hopefully I can comment on this with some authority.

          The point I was weakly making earlier is that its more complex than just throwing money (or people) at the problem. Giving more money to R&D and increasing skilled immigration by itself can’t lift high-tech exports. But thats what governments seem to think will ‘fix the problem’.

          In order to export you need a product, you create and use intellectual property to generate a product. By itself IP has no inherent value.

          All those things (skilled people doing R&D creating good ideas) need to be fed by and feed into successful businesses with solid business models who understand their underlying global markets. No point researching a product no one will buy, or making a great product but getting no where because you had crappy sales people. You also need top notch sales and marketing people in there too. The example I use is Apple, they are not successful because they have the best engineers or best technology, they simply have a marketing genius at the head and execute on their plans very well.

          Where the funding for all this comes from is also important, whether its private equity, public equity, venture capital, state funding, debt funded or self funded. For me foreign venture capital is the worst for kiwi high-tech exporters, although arguably its the only one they can get. A VC will always have an exit strategy and deadline. You have to run your business to deliver on your VC expectations, which are usually based on some unrealistic sales pitch you gave the guy two years earlier in order to get your business off the ground. Anyway up shot is you have to make money fast, that usually means selling up, selling out or doing as much offshore as you can where its frankly easier.

          When you get the mix right you create the opportunity for high-tech exports. It then takes a mix of luck and support to turn opportunities into success. The question then turns to how do you generate maximum long term return for NZ. Is it in intangible products, like licensing, or in tangible products, like cell phones. The current assumption is that you can’t do tangible competitively from NZ, I’m not convinced of this or of the sustainability of a intangible economy. But that’s a different problem.

          Its all damn complicated and the mistake the government makes is looking at each element in isolation. It needs a cohesive approach, not simply tax credits or immigration policies. Business in NZ often says it wants less regulation but in my experience what exporters are saying is they need expert help, funding and lower costs.

          BTW, there is one NZ company making in the millions, I recall the crystal guys Rakon saying something about doing 5 or 10 million units a month. Put that aside though as there are very few companies anywhere in the world doing that outside of Asia.

  5. SHG 5

    LEGATUM is a privately owned, international investment organisation or hedge fund, headquartered in Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates. The Legatum Institute is an independent policy, advisory and advocacy organisation within the Legatum group of companies.

  6. Bill 6

    Neither Labour nor National led governments have any interest in having domestic wealth or prosperity measures increasing in comparison to the wealth or prosperity measures of other countries. Such a focus would be ‘bad for business’ and would ensure ‘our’ corporate controlled media buried them.

    Both Labour and National led governments are primarily and or ‘pragmatically’ interested in promoting the competitiveness of NZ elites (as expressed through business) in relation to the foreign elites they are in competition with.

    One way to procure an advantage for ‘our’ elites is by having a more exploited or exploitable domestic population. So both Labour and National drag the chain, after their respective fashions on policies that would tend to increase general levels of prosperity across society. As such, both amount to being no more than business managers presiding over an inexorable and deliberately engineered drift towards ever increasing levels of societal poverty. Their main job will become (increasingly) to ‘keep a lid on things’ as we wake up and smell the coffee.

    Right now, internationally orientated business elites are the modern day pipers and governments, of whatever professed persuasion it seems, can’t help but dance to their tune.

    NZ falling in world prosperity rankings is good news. It’s only bad news for you and me, but that’s okay, because we don’t matter in the current scheme of things.

    • JayMal 6.1

      As long as we continue to measure our success in terms of financial wealth (or things dependent on financial wealth) those who have the most wealth will continue to pull the strings. Given our size this means we will always be beholden to overseas interests.

      • Bill 6.1.1

        It’s not overseas interests that constitute NZ’s business elites. They are New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. And it is they (not overseas interests) who benefit from dampened wage demands and lower tax rates in NZ.

        The only trick, from what I can ascertain, is to move downwards at a fast enough rate to satisfy those elites, but not so fast as to outpace the possibility for increasing poverty to continue allowing for the comparable purchasing of cheaper and shoddier import consumables such as shoes, clothes etc, that used to be produced here.

        Food prices, in case you haven’t noticed, are becoming problematic in NZ. Not only do many people not buy cheese any more because it’s too expensive, but butter is now being packaged in smaller blocks, presumably to maintain the illusion of affordability.

        This shrinking of packaging or portions is a sure mark of decreasing wealth. At an extreme, it exhibits in the ability of a person to buy 5l of veg oil and sell it off in 100ml or 50ml portions as happens in many of the world’s poorer communities.

        • JayMal 6.1.1.1

          “This shrinking of packaging or portions is a sure mark of decreasing wealth.”
          Perhaps it could be part of a global philanthropical movement to fight obesity!

    • Ari 6.2

      I’m not sure Labour is quite as concerned with the elites as you seem to think it is, but it’s definitely very concerned with business when it ties both elites and their base (which is increasingly middle-class workers with families) together.

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    South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat. In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign. In a press conference that went ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 days ago
  • An increasingly shoddy coverup
    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    3 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    3 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    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
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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 ...
    6 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks ago

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