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Of witch hunts and solo mums

Written By: - Date published: 11:42 am, August 8th, 2009 - 59 comments
Categories: welfare - Tags: ,

Frank Macskasy

The recent witch-hunt against solo-mums would have done the old Salem village-elders proud. The fires, though, could have been stoked just a bit harder and higher. But as a first attempt at demonising a minority in our community, it wasn’t a bad effort for Minister of Social Services, Paula Bennett.

When Bennett ordered her staff to look up the details of Jennifer Johnston and Natasha Fuller, to release to the media, she had at her fingertips the full power of the State as well as the personal details of Ms Johnston and Ms Fuller. It is the sort of power enjoyed by authoritarian regimes the world over, from Burma to Iran to Zimbabwe.

Of course, Bennett and her advisors knew precisely what they were doing. She was fully aware that her fellow New Zealanders generally have an almost schizophrenic attitude toward the underdog.

On the one hand, we sympathise and support the underdog. We try to understand their plight; not everyone was born in to a decent family; and not everyone has the good fortune never to lose their job or spouse through circumstances beyond their control.

But, on the other hand, we abhor the stereotypical welfare “bludger”. The caricatures made famous in movies like “Once Were Warriors”, highlighted in sensational media stories, or spread by word-of-mouth. We all know someone who has a friend who knows someone who’s cousin has a mate…

But New Zealand is no third World country and if push-came-to-shove, the majority of rational (note that word again: rational) New Zealanders would be unable to stomach the sight of women and children living rough in alleyways, cardboard cartons under bridges, or in parks.

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59 comments on “Of witch hunts and solo mums”

  1. Tigger 1

    Fantastic piece. The third to last para says it all for me. I suspect that Key will suffer the same ‘outing’. And soon.

  2. Tom Semmens 2

    The malice of Paula Bennett’s actions against two relatively minor critics seems to me to illuminate an important component of of the ministers character, and by extension of this National government’s culture in general. These women got under Bennett’s skin so easily because Bennett is ashamed of her DPB past.

    From the “state house boy made good” John Key all the way down to Christine Rankin, the culture of this government is now clear: It is a government made up of and for the Rogernomics nouveau riche. Like all such people of newly found airs and graces, the likes of Key and Bennett are driven by an acute inferiority complex, and a heightened sense of class conciousness, which they have combined with a near divine sense of their (to their minds) individual success and self-earnt status.

    Such a toxic and combustible combination only needs the match of being reminded of where they came from to ignite in vengeful anger.

    From the TIA to Adult Education to comments on Keisha Castle-Hughs, then, here is the first government that has unselfconciously absorbed the values of neo-liberal barbarism.

    • Rex Widerstrom 2.1

      Bennett is ashamed of her DPB past

      I’m glad someone else went first in proffering that theory, because I’m always wary of long-distance psychoanalysis. But in this particular case – and in Rankin’s – it seems obvious (though I’d argue not so in Key’s, but let’s not get too far off topic).

      It seems to me these women internalised the bigotry that was directed at them while beneficiaries. Rather than hardening their resolve – as it would have done in a person with more character – it simply made them determined to try to win the approval of their detractors by ill-treating those who follow them.

      Their mindset is akin to the prison trustee of old who, brutalised for years, is an enthusiastic flogger of his fellow inmates and then even stays beyond his release date, so desperate is he to lick the hand that beats him.

      Of course the corollary to seeing yourself as solely responsible for your “failure” (and thus need for assistance) is, you’ve pointed out, to ascribe your rise above these circumstances purely to your own hard work, intelligence and moral superiority, failing to acknowledge that circumstance, and the actions of others, inevitably played a role in both your fall and rise.

      The irony is that the praise in which Bennett basks is exactly like that enjoyed by the trustee in my allegory. The people cheering her on will always hold her in contempt, because she was once like those whose backs she is now striping. And no matter how hard she wields the flogger, their disdain will never entirely abate.

      • Bill 2.1.1

        Worst master? Ex-slave.

      • BLiP 2.1.2

        Brilliant! Never thought of it like that but, yes, you’re right. There is definitely a streak of the obsequiously insidious about her. It flashed before us in her stunned-mullet faux surprise at the public lashing she wrought upon those two women. I would have thought previously that an ex-beneficiary might have made an ideal minister, but not so in this case. She is, in fact, the worst sort of person to hold the portfolio.

  3. Zorr 3

    Very well written and of the type of construction one rarely sees these days. After reading it I can only really add one extra little thing in agreement. The benefits and allowances (Unemployment, Sickness, Student, etc.) are all there for all of us if we ever find ourselves in such a situation that we need their assistance to pull ourselves up from/through our troubles.

    But once again, truly inspired writing. Congratulations.

  4. lprent 4

    Great post…

    We need to look at the privacy laws. Breaking them should be a criminal offense. I think that there should be a prison sentence attached to it.

    It should also contain a duty of care clause with ministers of the crown explicitly featured.

    Basically Paula Bennett should be tossed into prison for a substantial period because of her abuse of power.

    • Ruth 4.1

      Come on – we have enough people in prison as it is.

      The welfare issue can be debated – what amazed me was the fact that people who call themselves libertarians not only said this breach of privacy was ok, but that beneficiaries had NO rights at all, including the right to vote. A libertarian also said that there should be a database – complete with photos – of all beneficiaries that we all can access.

      That’s not libertarianism, and they should be ashamed.

      • lprent 4.1.1

        We sure do have too many people pointlessly in prisons. And I agree with your other comments albeit probably from a different basis.

        However this appears to be a crime without a penalty. Paula has already confessed that if she is found by the privacy commissioner to have breached the act, that she, Paula, would apologize.

        I’m afraid that isn’t sufficient. It requires a penalty that is more than a slap over the wrist with a damp dishrag. That simply encourages Ministers to do the same again.

        If Paula Bennett was a doctor or a liar then their professional bodies would be likely to remove their practicing certificates for such a breach of confidentiality.

        As politicians and especially ministers may have access to a far wider range of information, using it for purposes that were not what it was given for should have harsher penalties. It isn’t as if I trust John Key to do anything more than say he is ‘comfortable’ in crushing political opponents using the information of the state.

  5. brownsbayboy 5

    they should have told the full truth in the first place. how much money do people need from the state in order to live. try getting a real job you lazy socialist parasites.

  6. Tom Semmens 6

    So if everyone on a benefit is a lazy socialist parasite, are we to conclude everyone from Brown’s Bay is a racist, chicken run Jaapie?

  7. Herbert 7

    “how much money do people need from the state in order to live.” Perhaps the boy from Dipton could give us an answer to this attempt at a question.

  8. Zepher 8

    Awesome post filled with logic and reason. Well done.

  9. Mac1 9

    The book “The Meaning of Liff” used the names of Great Britain’s villages to express ideas which had no word in the English language. For example, an ‘aberystwyth’ was that wistful feeling you get when you see a former girlfriend and ‘haversage’ the leavings in the bottom of the hand basin after shaving.

    I wonder what a “dipton” could be?

    My take is a person who dips into the tin to take money rather than one who donates when the fundraiser calls.

    And to stay on thread, a “Bennett’s Corner” could be the place where mysogynist, beneficiary-bashing, witch hunters meet (to replace the Sewer).

  10. the pinkpostman 10

    Paula Bennett is the worst type of working class traitor .
    A working class women who used the benefit under a Labour Government to better herself .Congatulations!This is just what people of the Left have fought for over many years .However what does this traitor do ,when she moves up ? She not only forgets her past but becomes venomous towards her own people.
    All my life I have observed these creepy slimballs.She is in the same class as the anti -unionist who blags the unions but is first in line to gather the benifits his fellow worker in the union has gained. She’s in the same class as the Scab who works when his
    fellow workers are on strike . “Working class Tories “,unfortunatly there are a number around ,they are the curse decent working people have to bear.

  11. Ianmac 11

    Yes. Great post joining all the dots together or were they blots?
    Interesting as Zorr says that while the angry ones write about THEY but tomorrow it might be ME.
    ” They are bluddy bludger!” Oh hang on.
    ” I am a deserving soul and deserve.”

  12. QoT 12

    Great post. One teensy-weensy issue, though: not all solo parents are such because the other parent is a deadbeat wankstain. But the persistent lack of attention going on the number of parents who ARE deadbeats is still interesting.

    • RedLogix 12.1

      not all solo parents are such because the other parent is a deadbeat wankstain.

      Agreed. This was the only jarring note in an otherwise excellent post. Couples split up for all manner of different reasons, and it’s quite wrong to assume that all non-custodial parents are necessarily either at fault, or delinquent in their responsibilities.

      In fact lots of couples (probably a majority) manage their seperation and divorce quite reasonably, and continue shared parenting of their children.

      But not all families are so fortunate. It’s still true that many ex-partners find themselves so embroiled in conflict that they simply give up trying to obtain reasonable access to their children. In the end it’s easier and less stressful for all concerned to simply fade away until the kids are old enough to make their own choices.

      At that point of alienation from your children, where your ex-partner may well be making a life of his or her own, with a new partner in their lives, perhaps a new one in your own… the whole question of continuing to shell out cash to support children you never or rarely see becomes a difficult one to answer.

      The old ‘dead-beat dad’ stereotype is not a helpful one.

    • Akldnut 12.2

      Yeah great post – but a little too much emphasis on the male being an absolute dork.

      There are a number of ways their situation could have come about, IMHO the majority would be a clash of personalities and just not being able to live with each other anymore.
      Remembering that our custodial system almost always leans toward mother first, father second.

      • Pascal's bookie 12.2.1

        Can’t remember where i saw it, but a family court judge pointed out that the reason for appearance of this:

        our custodial system almost always leans toward mother first, father second.

        …is that mothers overwhelmingly seek custody. Fathers, not so much.

        • QoT 12.2.1.1

          Come on, PB. Let’s never let the facts get in the way of a good feminist lesbian witchcraft conspiracy theory.

  13. mike 13

    Not much of witch hunt when the witches are selling their stories to the media and skiting on chat sites about how much they have rorted the system by is though is it… more a cull than a hunt I’d say

  14. BLiP 14

    The slums of Mumbai, Manila, Soweto, and many other places around the world should serve as stark reminder that our streets are (nearly) free of homeless only because we, as a society, have taken the collective decision that we do not want our poorest and most disadvantaged to live like animals.

    Amen.

  15. Sting 15

    The solo mum next door has drop out twin boys called greenflee and roger nome. They play all day on the computer ,’cause mum grabs a cool grand a week on the benefit.Her name is Smellon Clap and her run down house is named Idiot Inn.

    [lprent: I presume there is a point to this comment? Read the policy. If you want to attack people then I expect to at least see a point to the comment – otherwise you get classed as a troll.
    (with vast self-control I refrained from renaming your handle (‘Sting’) on all of your comments on this site to ‘Thoughtless Troll’.) ]

  16. Coaster 16

    Hi Dad.

    (capcha + catch. lol)

  17. Swampy 17

    Macskasy is a well known letter writer to newspapers, what he writes here is a load of rubbish and very very unbalanced.

    The simple fact of the DPB scenario is that this feelgood benefit was introduced in New Zealand only in the mid 1970s. Consider that many women work and have their children in childcare, they are not claiming the DPB just because they have children. The DPB is a soft option for women who don’t want to work or are unemployable, in any other circumstance we would be paying the unemployment benefit.

    • lprent 17.1

      Don’t be a dork. You know absolutely nothing of which you speak.

      My sister was on the DPB when her marriage broke up with two children under the age of 5. This was in the middle of another recession. There were bugger all part-time jobs for mothers. She’d also been out of the workforce just long enough that employers put her last on the list. So she went on the DPB, used the TIA (like Paula) to get a current useful qualification (you know – the type that Paula has just removed), and was off the DPB a few years later. Her profession wound up as running factories with hundreds of employees.

      A friend went on the DPB when she accidentally got pregnant through contraception failure in her 30’s and decided to keep and raise the kid. Went off work as a nurse and on the DPB. Also used the TIA to train as a lawyer because shift work with a young kid is almost impossible, whereas courses are short. Moved off the DPB at the end of her course and moved into law.

      I’ve run across many woman who have had these short stints on the DPB, usually retrained during it, and then moved off onto a different career path when the kids were old enough. No-one in their right mind wants to spend time interacting with WINZ, even when we don’t have a vindictive petty minded government like the current one or Shipley’s one in full swing.

      The simple fact of the DPB in NZ is that when you have very young kids that it is bloody impossible to hold down a job when your feeding schedule is in hours. Part-time work, if it is available, doesn’t allow enough money to do day-care or nannies or whatever. The money spent on the DPB is relatively peanuts and has a very high upside for the country in terms of kids getting a good start, and mothers not getting burnt by their circumstances changing. That is what I prefer paying taxes for rather than some of the other damn subsidies for useless things.

      Tell you want – lets get rid of the private school subsidies – now those are useless (like you)

      • Craig Glen Eden 17.1.1

        Well said Iprent, the vast majority have a genuine need, while there will always be a few that abuse the system that trait is not limited to people on the DPB. Is it not exactly what English has done, abused a system that is meant to even out a disadvantage. Funny how the right are not decrying English’s actions.

    • Bill 17.2

      Before the DPB came in, women did not get UB. They got zip. Why? ‘Cause the man was the head of the house and the breadwinner ( no need for a dependent to obtain money from another source); an attitude bolstered by some patriarchal Christian hangover thing about the sanctity of marriage and a woman’s place within it.

      anyway, nothing ‘soft’ about the DPB ‘option’. Maybe the DPB indirectly reflects the declining income of the working classes, Swampy, insofar as one income used to provide for a household ( ie the husband and master would provide) whereas now all adults need to be employed to earn enough to sustain a household.

      • Sting 17.2.1

        “Before the DPB came in” we had traditional Family Values, now we are the child abuse gold medalists.Fly away Helen, fly away Chris.Fly away Peter.
        Poor kiwi kids!

        • Bill 17.2.1.1

          twat

          Before the DPB there was child abuse and abused partners with the victims trapped inside the structure of the ‘traditional family’ while the husband/father exercised ‘traditional values’ with impunity.

          • Sting 17.2.1.1.1

            twot

            The lefty control freaks have destroyed the kiwi family.Take another chill pill Bill.

            • QoT 17.2.1.1.1.1

              The lefty control freaks have destroyed the kiwi family.

              Not entirely sure it’s Bill who’s being un-chill in this comment thread, Sting.

          • Andrei 17.2.1.1.2

            Before the DPB came in, women did not get UB. They got zip. Why? ‘Cause the man was the head of the house and the breadwinner ( no need for a dependent to obtain money from another source); an attitude bolstered by some patriarchal Christian hangover thing about the sanctity of marriage and a woman’s place within it.

            Goodness me have you ever been indoctrinated – Marriage sir is a concept where two people are joined together in order to cooperate in perpetuatingf the species – it is patriarchal if you like and it is also matriarchal because you see a mother and a father are required to conceive a child

            And you foolish fellow; children who are raised by a MOTHER and a FATHER actually tend to do a lot better in life than those who do not have one of each in their life on a daily basis.

            Now I understand that you Labour types are a little confused as to gender as evidenced by a thread the other day about an ex-cabinet minister with a penchant for flying all over the world with his special “friend” on the taxpayers dime.

            On this thread this particular thread this Gentleman’s special “friend” was referred to as his husband and this caused some consternation. Of course in this context the special “friend” could also be referred to as the ex-cabinet ministers wife. Both of course are equally absurd as is the concept of a man actually marrying another man or a woman another woman for that matter.

            But you lefties with your underlying hatred of traditional marriage and the purpose for which it was given to us are only too happy to celebrate such unions whilst making snide comments about patriarchy and traditional. unions.

            You are utterly oblivious to how stupid you actually are.

            • Pascal's bookie 17.2.1.1.2.1

              Awesome. You sure do sound all clever.

              You should stick around and tell us about evilution, and how it didn’t never get proved nohow that the earth ain’t the centre of gods universe, no sir it didn’t.

            • BLiP 17.2.1.1.2.2

              You are utterly oblivious to how stupid you actually are.

              Transference, obviously.

            • Pascal's bookie 17.2.1.1.2.3

              @ BLiP:

              Clearly so,

              Marriage sir is a concept where two people are joined together in order to cooperate in perpetuatingf the species

              and he spelt fucking wrong.

            • Craig Glen Eden 17.2.1.1.2.4

              Andre sadly you have shown your ignorance about the Labour Party and its members. Labour party members are not God haters for a start nor do they hate or set about destroying the family unit or the sanctity of marriage.

              Probably the single greatest driving principle of the Party is a strong belief in social justice. A belief that every human is equal on this earth regardless of wealth, religious belief, sexual orientation. The party is not anti the nuclear family but recognizes that for many reasons families take differing constructs.
              The party does what it can for the poor because we understand that poverty is a trap that limits human potential. When a child is born on this earth its families financial status or moral code is not of its making.
              If you ever went to a Labour Party conference you would see how the Parties membership is a true reflection of all sectors of NZ society. The people are varying from the very rich to the very poor, highly educated to the not so educated, bosses and employees, Christians to non believers.
              While the party and its members are not perfect because they are human they do their best to care for others, they don’t despise the poor or the rich.
              Lastly their once was some famous bloke that use to go around doing all sorts of things( healing the sick, feeding the poor, defending prostitutes, turning water to wine at parties) for some strange reason it all use to really irritate the religious leaders of the day, eventually they convinced some leader that this bloke was a threat to their religious teachings and that he should die for his wrong doing.

              I just wonder Andre if that bloke was around to day and he nocked at your door would you welcome him in or turn him away.

              Just a few thoughts from a Christian Labour Party Member
              Andre seems as its Sunday !

            • Andrei 17.2.1.1.2.5

              Craig Glen Eden;

              thank you for you reasoned response.

              I don’t think though that Labour party members have a monopoly on having a strong desire for social justice.

              If I may I’ll point you at something I posted a week or so ago,
              A tale of two little girls, which may give you some sense of where I sit on the matter the marginalized.

              Consider if you will Psalm 145 (146 in Western bibles)

              1 Praise the LORD!

              Praise the LORD, O my soul!
              2 While I live I will praise the LORD;
              I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

              3 Do not put your trust in princes,
              Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
              4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
              In that very day his plans perish.

              5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
              Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
              6 Who made heaven and earth,
              The sea, and all that is in them;
              Who keeps truth forever,
              7 Who executes justice for the oppressed,
              Who gives food to the hungry.
              The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.

              8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
              The LORD raises those who are bowed down;
              The LORD loves the righteous.
              9 The LORD watches over the strangers;
              He relieves the fatherless and widow;
              But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

              10 The LORD shall reign forever—
              Your God, O Zion, to all generations.

              Praise the LORD!

              I have no faith in any political party to deliver social justice and I know they wont. Virtually any political policy will deliver advantage to some and disadvantage to others, its the nature of the beast. There are exceptions of course but not usually.

              Not so long ago I was dining with my brother and his in laws who live in another town. And they told a sad story of a woman in they knew at the in difficult circimstances who lost the plot and resorted to violence. And they said something like “why couldn’t the Government do something before it came to this”

              And I thought but didn’t say “Why didn’t you?”

    • Philonz 17.3

      Do you have any idea how much childcare costs? I’m sure many women on the DPB would love to work but would struggle to cover the cost of childcare with their earnings.

  18. GNZ 18

    “The benefits and allowances (Unemployment, Sickness, Student, etc.) are all there for all of us if we ever find ourselves in such a situation that we need their assistance”

    As far as I can tell the system works on the assumption that most people won’t know exactly what they are “entitled to”.
    People have not recieved business grants or have not maximised their income by getting any of the many benefits they could be recieving if only they had rearanged their finances or filled out a form, or begged WINZ in the right way feel a bit annoyed. A little annoyance at themselves for not being as cheaky but also annoyed at those that are.

    It doesn’t help to just put that aside as beneficiary bashing and it highlights a real issue with the system.

  19. graham 19

    look this subject is so yesterday. if this is all the mighty standed can come up with(yawn) national has nothing to fear roll on 2017

  20. Deciduous 20

    anti-spam word : tanks

    As in, Labour tanks in opinion polls again.

    Seriously though, if I summarise:

    1) Kiwis love an underdog but have a chip on their shoulder/s (bonding with misplaced patriotic emotions)
    2) Kiwis hate bludgers (and tall poppies, ah, mediocraty)
    3) Kiwis have a social conscience (unlike those dirty foreigners)
    4) This is classic NACT misogyny ensuring women remain endentured to the state (insert some twisted take on Marxist philosophy)
    5) National are creating a police state (ID’s cards and bar code tattoos next)
    6) Paula Bennet is a class traitor (obviously)

    So the moral of the story is vote Labour.

    1)

    • BLiP 20.1

      Comment summary:

      anti-spam word: twot.

      seriously though,

      (1) Decidious either didn’t read or failed to understand or was seeking to disrupt the post.

      So the moral of the story is: Section 59 should be rewritten to specifically include Decidious only. And regularly.

  21. Frank Macskasy 21

    Thankyou folks, for the comments…

    I take on board the remarks that not all absent partners (generally husband/boyfriends) are deadbeats or loathsome charachters.

    When I re-write this article to submit elsewhere, I’ll re-write that part.

    It is interesting that the media attention has now shifted to the rorting of the accomodation and travel allowances by certain MPs and Ministers. Now what’s that old saying about people in glass houses biffing stones…?

  22. Darel 22

    The Destitute Persons Act 1910 and the Domestic Proceedings Act 1968 created a statutory means by which a woman could seek a maintenance order against the father of her children. The court could, at its discretion, set the rate that it thought appropriate for the father to pay the mother in respect of the child. This maintenance continued until the child reached the age of sixteen; maintenance would continue to be payable in respect of a child over the age of sixteen if the child was engaged in full-time education.

    These statutes provided a means by which women could seek maintenance from the putative father but where there were difficulties women had to resort to the court in order to enforce the maintenance agreement or order. There were further difficulties; an unmarried mother had to obtain an acknowledgement of paternity from the father or a declaration of paternity from the court in order to be entitled to seek maintenance. The Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB), introduced in statutory form in 1973, mitigated these difficulties. The Act provided State financial support for single mothers, irrespective of whether the father was contributing to maintenance payments.

    The introduction of the DPB was blamed for “creating a shortage of babies for adoption’. However, the extent to which the DPB contributed to the shortage of babies available for adoption is unclear. The number of births outside of marriage fell between 1971 and 1976. The numbers of ex nuptial children being adopted had started to fall in 1962, before the introduction of State financial support. Else notes that a number of other factors were at work, such as a “softening’ of attitudes towards illegitimate children and their mothers, the removal of the stigma of illegitimacy by the Status of Children Act 1969, the increasing availability of contraception and delays in the placement of babies.

     Source: Adoption and Its Alternatives (September 2000) Law Commission
    http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/UploadFiles/Publications/Publication_72_144_R65.pdf

  23. Craig Glen Eden 23

    Andre I never said the Labour Party has a monopoly on social justice, but it is a driving principle and Labour members do put their principles into practice in the form of Party Policy such as working for families. Sadly I see and hear many Christians mouthing off about topics which they are very badly informed about and much of the information comes from sources such as Radio Rhema and Church Ministers.
    The biggest attack on the family unit Andre was the Employment contract act. National Party policy, Why, it lowered wages and forced the second parent into the work force just to make ends meet.
    The act extended hours of work therefore decreasing rest and family time. Sundays became just another work day. The unions fought against the Act but the Church didn’t! So Andre next time you rant about Lefties and Labour Party members destroying the nuclear family and marriages, spear me the right wing Church crap.
    Sorry other Standard posters for the rant, but I am sick of these right wingers hiding behind their so called Christian faith, it makes me sick!

  24. Andrei 24

    Andre I never said the Labour Party has a monopoly on social justice, but it is a driving principle and Labour members do put their principles into practice in the form of Party Policy such as working for families

    Well Labour held the reins of power for the past nine years – did they deliver social justice in that time?

    I still see the marginal in the streets, kids still go to bed hungry, major injustices still take place on a daily basis.

    Still at least one new prison was built and commissioned to warehouse the antisocial who are still with us because of course there are more locked up than there were when Labour first took charge – prisons are a growth industry.

    Its Nationals turn at the helm now and they will do no better, they will pander to their base the way Labour panders to its and then it will be Labour’s turn again and perhaps you’ll feel less grumpy about things then.

  25. Wow! great read, in fact amongst the best I’ve read on the topic in the past 2 weeks.

    Some interesting theories in the replies too, particularly in relation to Ms Bennetts attitude to the “clients” under her Ministry umbrella.

    Funny just tonight I was reading an article from November 2008 where Ms Bennett stated “You’re not going to have me bagging the solo mums.”

    Isn’t that what she’s just done? Not only herself, but encouraged half the country to do it too.

    • Frank Macskasy 25.1

      Indeed, ‘just another student’.

      Bennet’s ill-considered response basically gave free rein and permission to bigots up and down the country to let rip with a tirade of hate.

      The most unfortunate aspect though were people like Paul Holmes, who supported Bennett’s actions. Paul should have known better as he himself was the recipient of vindictive comments when criticisms were levelled at his high salary.

      It’s interesting to note that the benefits being paid to Ms Fuller and Ms Johnston are quite legal, and quite within WINZ policies. Bennet has not changed any aspect of their benefits (as far as I am aware).

      The same cannot be said for the Ministerial/MPs rorting of Allowances which have been splashed across our media recently.

      Key has indicated a “full review” of allowances.

      This kind of indicates – to me at least – who the true “bludgers” really are. And it ain’t the solo-mums (and dads!) who – generally – are true legends at raising the Next Generation on their own backs…

      • Pascal's bookie 25.1.1

        “Paul should have known better as he himself was the recipient of vindictive comments when criticisms were levelled at his high salary.”

        But Frank, Paul was saying just the other day that he has never taken a red cent from the taxpayer. That teeny tinesty salary he got from an SOE for, lo, those many years was not in any way shape or form paid with money that belonged to the state.

        And, what is more, the size of that miserly stipend was determined by a rigorous scientific analysis that proved, proved I say, that whatever he took from TVNZ in the way of cash, wardrobe, airfares, VISA bills, booze bills, lunches, dinners, hotels, motels and cars, was more than made up for by the advertising that he alone could pull in.

        Just ask Prime.

        • Frank Macskasy 25.1.1.1

          Yes, well, *ahem*…

          It’s interesting that recently Rosemary McLeod (a cheerleader for conservatives and bene-bashers) herself has recieved hate emails, regarding her comments on the solo-mums.

          Also, Judith Ablett-Kerr had her car vandalised and recieved hate-mail for defending a rather unpleasant gentleman in a Trial just recently.

          It seems that there is something about having a National Government in power that brings out the wost in some people.

          Or just brings out the bigots, full-stop.

          Ironically, the Nats are copping it themselves with revelations about their rorts of the Allowances system…

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  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 hours ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    3 hours ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 hours ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 hours ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    7 hours ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    8 hours ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    11 hours ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 day ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 day ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 day ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 days ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    2 days ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    2 days ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    2 days ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    3 days ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    3 days ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    4 days ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    4 days ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    5 days ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    5 days ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
    This is the third of the synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016). The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Unlike the humble cup of coffee and t-shirt that we looked at in ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • The freshwater mussel housing crisis: eviction by invasive weeds?
    Tom Moore Traditionally a food source and cutting tool, freshwater mussels/kākahi are now widely valued as water filters that help clean our waterbodies and maintain ecosystem health throughout Aotearoa. The improvement they provide in water quality can make it easier for other animals to live in streams and rivers, as ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Back it up Luxon: endorsing the destructive past is not actually the way forward
    And to think he gave all the potential goodwill away with that moronic, cult-like statement (repeated ad nauseam by many National hardliners) that Key is quite simply “the greatest PM we ever had”… Installation complete: this was nothing ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Good riddance
    National MP and former Conservation Minister Maggie Barry will not seek re-election next year. Good riddance. Because in case anyone has forgotten, barry is a bullying thug who terrorised both public servants and fellow MPs. She is one of the people who makes Parliament a toxic workplace, and our country ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: D-Day
    The Zero Carbon Bill is back in the House today for its second reading. While this isn't the final stage, its still effectively D-Day for the bill. Because today, at around 5pm, is when we're going to find out if it has a majority, whether National will support it or ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Winston is right
    Winston Peters is in court today, suing a bunch of former Minister and civil servants over their pre-election leak of his superannuation repayment. He's characterised the leak as malicious, and said that it is repugnant that his information was passed on to Ministers to use for political advantage. And he's ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Media impartiality
    Sky's economics editor, Ed Conway has posted a Twitter thread responding to a claim that - as far as I can see - Labour never made:
    Are NHS operation cancellations at an all-time high? That's the impression you might have been left with if you read this story from the ...
    1 week ago
  • Finish what’s on your plate
    Murray Cox Do I have to finish my favourite genome? That’s an often-asked question. Geneticists generally strive to produce high-quality genomes that sequence every last gene, making full use of the state-of-the-art technologies coming on stream. Sequencing DNA means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks – called ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Gainful Employment: A Cautionary Tale.
    Transformative Politics: The idea is to turn each recipient into an unwitting accomplice in their own transformation. From interested observer to hyped-up activist, sharing our messages promiscuously with ‘friends’. You’ll be part of an ever-expanding circulatory system, Jennifer, for the ideas that will win us the election.”JENNIFER SKITTERED her chair ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand should not fund bigotry
    Two years ago, the Cook Islands government announced that it was planning to join the civilised world and decriminalise consensual homosexual sex between men. Now, they've reversed their position, and decided to criminalise lesbians into the bargain:Two years ago, in a step welcomed by many people including the gay and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More tyranny in Australia
    The boycott is a fundamental tool of protest. By choosing who we buy from, we can send a message, and hopefully change corporate behaviour. Historically, boycotts have been effective, for example over apartheid in South Africa and Israel, in forcing divestment from Myanmar, and in ending bus segregation in the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Submission for rationality and science against the assaults of pre-modernism and post-modernism
    Jan Rivers spoke at the Abortion Legislation Select Committee in favour of the bill, but in opposition to calls from other submitters to exchange the word ‘woman’ for ‘person’ throughout the bill. Jan is a supporter of the feminist group Speak Up For Women and has recently written an excellent ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • My loyal readership of … Cam girls and Pornbots?
    I checked my traffic stats:I was intrigued by 'monica29' - who was this very dedicated individual?  I clicked on the link, to be greeted with ...Ho, hum.Spreadin' the word, spreadin' the word.  Doesn't matter who hears it, as long as it gets out there. ...
    1 week ago
  • Worth repeating forever
    There have been three polls since the election was announced, and I will shamelessly steal YouGov / UK Polling Report's Anthony Wells' summary of them:Survation – CON 34%, LAB 26%, LDEM 19%, BREX 12%, GRN 1% Ipsos MORI – CON 41%, LAB 24%, LDEM 20%, BREX 7%, GRN 3% YouGov ...
    1 week ago
  • Lutte Ouvriere on the explosion in Chile
    The following article is translated from Lutte Ouvrière, the weekly newspaper of the organisation usually known by the same name in France. When, for the second time this year, Chilean President Piñera announced an increase in the price of Metro tickets from 800 to 830 pesos, students in the high ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Wage theft – I’m fucking over it.
    Today, a worker contacted me asking if she could go to the police over her employer stealing thousands of dollars from her in unpaid wages. The employer also did not pay this worker’s taxes or student loan which amounts to tax fraud. As a workers rights activist, who founded the ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • On The Rebound.
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered, They're Yours: Is there any person more vulnerable than a jilted lover on the rebound? Or, anything more certain than that the charmer, the predator, the glib spinner of lies and promises will seek such broken people out? Yes, of course, he will love every one of ...
    1 week ago
  • Rabbi urges congregation to vote against Corbyn
    Though Jonathan Romain is a fairly high profile Rabbi, writing in several papers and popping up on TV and the radio, this story doesn't seem to have made it to the Guardian yet, so I'll take the unusual step of linking the Stephen Pollard edited Jewish Chronicle:Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • My absurdly optimistic prediction
    There's an election afoot, and that is when noted opinion formers such as myself get to make wild fools of ourselves by pretending we have the faintest idea what will happen.So, here is my absurdly optimistic prediction:Labour - 285Conservative - 262SNP - 53Lib Dems - 20PC - 5Ireland - 18 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • October ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image Credit: Increase Social Media Traffic & Website Traffic I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A mountain of a challenge in banning glyphosate
    Belinda Cridge I was reading my son a story last night. A great tale of derring-do of five mountaineers scaling the Matterhorn for the first time. One in the party had tried six times previously and failed, this was the last attempt before winter closed another season. They tried a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • This government has a problem with secrecy
    As introduced, the Zero Carbon Bill included an expansive secrecy clause, which would have covered virtually all decisions by the Climate Change Commission over our most important policy area. The Ministry for the Environment admitted this was a mistake (or as they put it, an "oversight"), and the select committee ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A small New Zealand songbird that hides food for later use provides insights into cognitive evolutio...
    Rachael Shaw, Victoria University of Wellington When we think about animals storing food, the image that usually comes to mind is a squirrel busily hiding nuts for the winter. We don’t usually think of a small songbird taking down an enormous invertebrate, tearing it into pieces and hiding these titbits ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Referenda on Euthanasia – NZ First’s Victory – or a Major Miscalculation?
    . . NZ First’s success in putting the euthenasia bill to a public referenda may not be the victory they believe it to be. They may even have sounded the death-knell for a second Labour-NZ First-Green coalition. On 23 July this year, NZ First MP, Jenny Marcroft, submitted a Supplementary ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn the Mighty vs BoJo the Clown
    Interesting contrasting pictures in the Guardian:Corbyn gets the classic positive shot - low angle and a clear background, making him look authoritative (of course, being Corbyn, he doesn't do authoritative very well).Where as Johnson gets pictured with children at some sort of mad-hatters' tea party:Begging the question, who is the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Public health, externality, and vaccination
    Paternalism is contentious. Arguments for state action to protect us from ourselves are fraught. I come down pretty heavily on the anti-paternalism side of the argument, but I’ve heard respectable defences of paternalism. But policy around vaccination is hardly paternalistic. There’s a clear market failure that could be pointed to ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Happy Halloween
    Its Halloween, so its time for annual pumpkin trepanning and chocolate eating ritual. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Twenty thousand leagues under the sea
    I’ve been reading Jules Verne’s novel Twenty thousand leagues under the sea, considered as one of the very earliest science fiction stories. In brief, Monsieur Aronnax and a couple of sidekicks are taken prisoner by Captain Nemo and his mysterious crew and treated to an underwater voyage around the world ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Disclosing the risks
    The climate crisis is going to mean some pretty big changes in our country, both from its impacts and the policies required to address them. Most obviously, whole suburbs are going to be underwater by 2100, meaning people and businesses are going to have to relocate to higher ground. But ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • MPI fails again
    Yesterday a dairy company was fined $483,000 for repeatedly failing to report listeria in its facility. Its a serious fine for a serious crime: listeria is a serious disease, and they were effectively trying to kill people with it. But there's another story hidden in there, and its not a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Gay Men Address Gender Identity
    Gay men see the excesses of trans activism and are increasingly speaking out.  A new Facebook group addressing ‘gender identity’ and contemporary trans activism has been set up for gay men, by gay men. The following is the group’s Statement of Intent, Group Rules, and link to the group for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s Going Gangbusters.
    Criminal Enterprises: Gangs are not welfare institutions. Nor are they a substitute for the family their members never had. They are ruthless, violent, criminal money-making machines. That is all.OKAY, first-things-first. Gangs exist for one purpose – and only one. They are a sure-fired, time-tested institution for making crime pay – ...
    2 weeks ago
  • “Action for Healthy Waterways”: Some big ticket actions that the Government has neglected
    Prof Nick Wilson, A/Prof George Thomson, A/Prof Simon Hales, Prof Michael Baker The NZ Ministry for the Environment has produced a valuable discussion document with many good ideas for improving the health of waterways in New Zealand. But there are important gaps. In this blog we consider three big-ticket items ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • ADHD and fluoride – wishful thinking supported by statistical manipulation?
    Finding reality needs more than wishful thinking. The problem is that statistical arguments often provide a jargon to confirm biases. Image credit: Accurate Thinking Versus Wishful Thinking in Gambling I worry at the way some ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    4 days ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    4 days ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    5 days ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Closer cooperation with Korean horse racing industry
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters met with Korea Racing Authority Chairperson Nak Soon Kim in Seoul today to discuss closer cooperation between the New Zealand and Korean horse racing industries. As part of the visit to the Seoul Racecourse, Mr Peters witnessed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Otago to lead digital creativity
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10 million to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “The initiative will bring us closer to the vision of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF backing Dunedin’s waterfront ambitions
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support local plans to revitalise and stimulate economic development opportunities in Otago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The four Regional Economic Development Ministers have approved an in-principle investment of $19.9 million towards the region’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • M. Bovis eradication progress welcomed
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is pleased to have received the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) report on the Coalition Government’s Mycoplasma bovis eradication efforts, which shows significant progress in the fight against the disease. New Zealand First Spokesperson for Primary Industries, Mark Patterson, says the report’s findings ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF boosts Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sector
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