On “keeping your powder dry”

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, November 20th, 2009 - 41 comments
Categories: monetary policy, phil goff - Tags:


Reproduced with permission from No Right Turn for a viewpoint on the process of policy formation.

This morning, Labour leader Phil Goff announced that he was abandoning the NeoLiberal consensus on monetary policy, with the aim of getting a monetary policy that works for the many rather than the rich few. But specifics were few and far between – and Labour’s Finance Spokesperson David Cunliffe has said that there won’t be any, at least not until “nearer the election”.

Its a particularly irritating example of the politician’s meme of “keeping their powder dry”. The common wisdom among politicians and beltway “journalists” is that oppositions should do this, to prevent criticism and to avoid having good ideas stolen by the government. But the former amounts to lying to the public (and doesn’t work anyway, as well as making you look like you are full of waffle), while the latter is actively counterproductive. After all, if the goal is to implement your policies, isn’t having them stolen and implemented by the government a good thing?

But I forget: the goal isn’t policy change, but power. And to politicians, policy – the stuff that affects our lives for better or worse – is simply a means to an end, a rhetorical prop in pursuit of that goal.

Update: OK, so that last bit was a bit harsh. I have a deep vein of cynicism about politicians which I should keep under better control. But as someone who loves detail, thinks the merits of policy actually matter, and that people can decide on complex matters of policy for themselves, this “keep your powder dry” approach followed by politicians and excused incessantly by their beltway stenographers frustrates me intensely. Moreso when I see how different things could be.

Look at the Greens. They don’t keep their powder dry. They release their policy details. And they’ve won their arguments by doing so. Even National, who just a few short years ago were deep in denial about climate change, now realise they have to look “credible” on those issues (they don’t, but they realise they have to try).

“Keeping your powder dry” is refusing to have the argument. Which means in turn that you don’t win it. That might not matter to politicians – after all, does winning arguments with the public win votes? If not, do they need to care about the views of anyone outside parliament? – but as someone who believes in an active democratic citizenry, it matters to me.

Update: Also see NRT’s On “keeping your powder dry” II

lprent: My comments overleaf.

This was requested by rocky as a guest post. But I thought I’d attach my opinion about why this approach to policy formation is being used.  Personally I find this a welcome approach – signaling an area of policy change in advance.

There has been a broad agreement inside the party for a long time even from the economic drys (like me) that we’d hit the end of the usefulness of the strong single focus of the Reserve Bank Act. Its effect on carry money increasing the volatility of the exchange rate has been hurting the export based industries that I work in.

However there hasn’t been a broad agreement about what needs to change. It has been decades since we have seen the debilitating double digit inflation figures that plagued my early life, but people of my age still vividly remember it.

Whatever we do it will not be simple to make it work effectively, and that will require considerable political support from inside the party. The debate inside the party is likely to be pretty robust between now and the detail. That takes time because Labour is a broad party in the range of views inside it – probably more so than any other party in NZ.

Announcing a change in direction like this frees up that debate inside the party for the next year about what is important and reasonable to do. Similarly it does the same across the left (and right if they stop being stupidly reflexive). It also signals to the world markets that the rules will change – so there are no surprises. NRT is looking for something that isn’t agreed yet. Phil is signalling that Labour is starting to review what it intends.

Update: I read Phil Goff’s comments hidden in the business pages of Granny this morning. I have no idea how he keeps using my arguments. I can assure readers that it is just a confluence of opinion.

Opposition Leader Phil Goff said the monetary policy regime adopted 20 years ago had worked reasonably well for a decade.

“But increasingly over the the past decade and most particularly in my role as Minister of Trade, I saw the huge difficulties being caused both by the level of the exchange rate and its volatility.”

Goff acknowledged the importance of keeping inflation and inflation expectations down.

“I’m part of the generation that remembers double-digit inflation under Muldoon,” he said. “We won’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Price stability is important.”

But he questioned whether it should be the sole objective of monetary policy and whether the tools at the bank’s disposal were adequate.

But Goff said: “You can’t say we can’t put up alternative ideas [in opposition]. That is what our role is and the rating agencies know that when in government Labour has pursued responsible economic policies. But they would equally say what worries them about NZ is that it has run a current account deficit for as long as it has, and it would be stupid for us, or the Government, not to consider what alternatives might allow better performance.”

41 comments on “On “keeping your powder dry””

  1. Duncan 1

    Good comments Lynn. This is a thoroughly misinformed post from No Right Turn. Goff is just saying that the old way isn’t working and that Labour’s going to look at alternatives, it’s about opening up a debate, not hiding policy from the public. For god’s sake, they’ve only been in opposition a year.

    NRT should be welcoming this and contributing to the discussion, not showing of his political ignorance and running down his allies.

    • NRT should be welcoming this and contributing to the discussion, not showing of his political ignorance and running down his allies.

      Oh fuck off. I didn’t accept this sort of vacuity from National before the election (neither did the writers here, BTW), and I’m not going to apply a different standard to Labour simply because we’re “on the same side”.

  2. rocky 2

    Thanks for posting this Lynn. No Right Turn’s post resonated with me as I too get annoyed with this whole “no detailed policy” thing. I want to make up my mind based on an actual policy, not a sound byte or two. I do happen to agree that if the plan this time is to signal that we should be having a debate and the lack of detail is for that reason, that is acceptable. In general though, I love that when I want to know more about a Green Party policy, I can go to their website and download the full policy document. Why can’t Labour do the same?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      When you will never be the principal party in government this approach is easy.

      • rocky 2.1.1

        Could you please explain for me why being a “principal party” makes any difference?

        • fizzleplug 2.1.1.1

          I would assume it is to do with the fact that a party such as the the Greens know they will never be in a position of true power, so they want their policies out there and able to be used by those in power. Which makes sense, they are making a difference as best they can in their circumstances. Whereas a party like Labour or National will want to keep their specific policies close to their chest, as they expect to be back in power at some point.

          • Idiot/Savant 2.1.1.1.1

            And this is something I don’t understand. If the goal is to change the world for the better by doing X, does it really matter who does it?

            To give some random but concrete examples:
            I don’t give a damn who reduces emissions, I just want it done.
            I don’t give a damn who extends paid parental leave, I just want it done.
            I don’t give a damn who repeals provocation, I just want it done.

            Labour may be more likely to do some of those things than National. Labour may give us more and be more trustworthy at managing the implementation. But at the end of the day, if by some miracle National does them, I’m not going to turn my nose up at it; I’m going to thank them for implementing left-wing policy.

            • fizzleplug 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes, but you are thinking about things from your perspective (and I guess the perspective of the world at large). But they all want their legacies, Right, Left, Centre, and Peter Dunne.

              Which is why who implements it is almost as important as what gets implemented.

            • Idiot/Savant 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Yes, but you are thinking about things from your perspective (and I guess the perspective of the world at large).

              Yes, as a citizen, rather than a politician or a party hack. And if their desire for a “legacy” or to showboat gets in the way of doing things, then fuck them, I’m going to call them on it.

            • Jenny 2.1.1.1.1.3

              I agree. By raising these things now, you are throwing down the challenge to the National Government.

              The voters can then ask the Nats; “Well why aren’t you following these policies?”

              Keeping ‘your powder dry’ seems counterproductive to me.

        • Lew 2.1.1.2

          Rocky, minor parties rarely, if ever, have to put up. They can talk cheap, usually without the responsibility of ever being held to their statements.

          Policy, for a minor party like the Greens or ACT, is polemic. In the rare cases when a minor party has to actually deliver on their promises rather than just talking about them, we tend to get the sort of debacle we’re now seeing with local government.

          L

        • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.1.3

          Ask the Bikoi riders about ‘details’.
          And to think the Greens can have actual put in place details is absurd, even their flagship stuff is broadbrush. But if you think thats enough detail to set in place, fine you just have a lot ‘faith’

        • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.1.4

          Heres the greens policy on ‘ Economics’ and Monetary policy

          Monetary Policy
          Inflation is now being driven by new factors such as the world prices of oil and food, a carbon price to address climate change, and shortages of key resources. These cannot easily be controlled by changing interest rates, the one tool available to the Reserve Bank. The Green Party proposes:
          Better coordination of monetary and fiscal policy.
          Economic policies to minimise the effects of resource shortage driven price shocks.
          Measures to limit future asset (especially house) price inflation.
          Consideration of a more actively managed exchange rate through measures designed to reduce the attractiveness and profitability of currency speculation.
          http://www.greens.org.nz/policy/economic

          This is a ‘detail’ policy??

          You must be dreaming . But at least the Greens are honest here just a few bullet points to make the right noises.
          Wheres NRT to moan about this

          • rocky 2.1.1.4.1

            I didn’t say the Greens have a detailed monetary policy. On policies they are vocal and active on they tend to have very detailed policy documents. That page on their website you linked to is their economic policy, and it’s great that it is bullet points so you can get a straightforward idea of their economic policies. You’ll notice that some parts of their economic policy refer you to more detailed policies on those specific areas – and those are the areas where the Greens are most active.

  3. Herodotus 3

    It does for me expose Phil to a potential power struggle. What happens if there is little/no change in the monetary policy, this could be seen as a non supportive caucus. He could isolate himself in a very public way. I hope Annette & himself have done the work behind the scenes getting on board the movers & shakers within caucus.

    • lprent 3.1

      I’d say the issue has been the other way around. Goff (and Annette) would have been arguing about why it was needed.

      From discussions I’ve had around Labour for the last couple of decades, getting agreement to change the Reserve Bank Act would be easy. I’ve spent considerable time arguing the dismal viewpoint that for all of its known flaws, we had to support the RBA to stomp out the expectation of inflation. Almost everyone else was arguing that it should be changed to reduce its vice-like grip on the economy.

      The expectation of inflation has massively diminished to the point where businesses and people do not factor it in as a major issue – therefore it doesn’t distort the economy in the manner of the 70’s and 80’s.

      Of course opening the question up will cause some interesting discussion. Damn near everyone has a different view about HOW the targets should be changed.

  4. ghostwhowalksnz 4

    Since when is NRT such an expert on everything he needs the details

    Look at the Super city. Even now only are a a few of the ‘details’ being revealed. Its the way to get things done. The old Roger Douglas steamroller is no longer valid

    • Since when is NRT such an expert on everything he needs the details

      While Plato and hisauthoritarian successors may beg to differ, there is no techne of government. As a citizen in a democracy I am capable of judging between policy alternatives and deciding what I want. But in order to effectively judge between those alternatives, I need to know what they actually are.

  5. I think it is harsh. There are plenty of clues about which direction the policy is likely to head including here.

    The party needs to go through a process to get agreement on any proposals. This is not something that you can finalise in a press release,

  6. gingercrush 6

    I too disagree with NRT’s viewpoint and would agree more with Iprents. But I don’t see how one can conclude that Idiot/Savant is politically ignorant or running down the left simply because of an opinion he has.

    • lprent 6.1

      Nope. I suspect it is because he hasn’t had to actively work in the often uncomfortable partnership that constitutes a party to the degree that I have had to. And I seldom get involved in being bothered with actually hammering out policy – I just generally make my views known for consideration.

      Pretty frequently I read comments by some of the more simple, including in the media, that attribute a mind to the ‘party’. It is like trying to say that ‘The Standard’ has a collective mind – it just displays a rather inexperienced and simplistic view on the world. It is more like that every organization (including this site’s authors) I’ve worked in or with has a characteristic. The ones that work have an acceptance of the importance of agreeing to disagree.

      Labour lost those who were unable to live with that to either Act or the Alliance long ago. However it still means a lot of work to get to the point of finding out what we can agree on and making that the core of policy, learning what we disagree on, and making a decision on what will be actually done

  7. tc 7

    But aren’t these good reasons to get the ducks in a row then go to the pulpit with some agreed detail that the party backs and understands ? Rather than have a public announcement that amounts to ” we’re going to have a rethink….again ” which JK siezed on.

    I just think this kind of process gives NACT another stick to beat Phil with and why the rush ? This could have been produced mid 2010 with all angles covered off as a done deal so I agree with the comment that he’s inviting a power struggle here…..an open one.

    Phil needs to be personable and keep it simple over the obvious smoking holes in this government…….I feel he’s added a sideshow, as it has no bearing on anything till 2011 and beyond IF they get back in, when he should be focused on the main stage of this do nothing gov’t.

    • lprent 7.1

      It would be worse if someone had just written a policy and then tried to foist it on the party membership.

      Rodger Douglas did that in the 80’s with the inevitable consequences.

      It doesn’t work anywhere. If you do it in any organisation I’ve been in, the skills will walk.

    • Geek 7.2

      Have to agree with tc here. There is so much that Labour can attack the government on at the moment. They can use real numbers to discredit National on both ACC and the ETS. Even my slow brain has picked up on the fact that what they are coming out with is crap.

      As much a Phil needs to be setting down a direction for the party and an image of himself as leader it has to be a firm one. Something that he can answer to and engage the media and public on. By coming out and saying “We will do this” and not being able to say how he has left himself open for attack.

      If Labour want to win the next election they will have to switch the focus so that it is what they will do right as well as what National have done wrong. This is switching the focus away from what they are doing wrong without giving a strong “this is what we are going to do right” counter. I bet Key is rubbing his hands together in glee over this.

  8. The Voice of Reason 8

    “I love that when I want to know more about a Green Party policy, I can go to their website and download the full policy document. Why can’t Labour do the same?”

    D’oh! Does nobody use Google anymore?

    http://www.labour.org.nz/content/labour-policy

    When you go to the link, you’ll find it is the policy Labour took into the election. It needs changing. Best way to do that is to join the party and be part of the new breed that is going to help win the next election. Goff is right to raise the debate without dictating the answers. It’s over to us to contribute our ideas for renewal.

    • rocky 8.1

      Yep the Election Manifesto is great for having all election policies in one place. Less great is that there doesn’t seem to be version created for the web – ie, structured so you can find content easily. The Election Manifesto is also irrelevant in times like this when new policy is announced.

      Best way to do that is to join the party and be part of the new breed that is going to help win the next election.

      I’m already a member of the Labour Party.

      Goff is right to raise the debate without dictating the answers.

      In this case I agree – it’s such a huge debate and one that hasn’t really occurred in mainstream politics in the past 20 years. Not releasing too much policy is good as you leave it all open to ideas. At some point they should form a detailed policy from the feedback they get.

      There are other scenarios where I get extremely frustrated at Labour’s lack of policy. For example at least 4 MPs have spoken out publicly against factory farming, but there is still no policy, or confirmation from the leadership that this is Labour’s view.

    • The Voice of Reason 8.2

      Cheers, Rocky.

      I wasn’t specifically asking for you to join Labour, though it’s great to read that you’re a member. The party needs more folk like yourself if we are going to be able to win back political leadership in NZ and I hope more and more Standard readers actually do join. It costs bugger all, about the price of a couple of beers in your average inner city bar, and members get to actually make a difference, rather than just talk about the need for change.

      Can’t really comment on the web content at labour.org.nz. It’s beyond my technical abilities to even put in a smiley face at the end of this sentence, but if you know anyone willing to help with an upgrade, I bet they’d be welcome with open arms. 🙂 (IrishBill: there you go ;))

      • rocky 8.2.1

        I’d happily help Labour with their website, but I suspect the problems are more to do with content than the technical issues. When there’s good content, a better structure can be formed to make finding the right content easy.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Labour seems to be opening the monetary policy for discussion which is what is needed before any policy details can be determined. It’s unfortunate that they seem to be having the discussion behind closed doors but I think that is more poor wording on DC’s part than anything. I would expect this to be up on Labour’s blog quite a bit over the next year or so and probably some polling as well.

    • prism 9.1

      It is really bold of Labour to announce this change. They have indicated that they are going to do something important, that they will have to study it over the next months/year, and then announce it. Better not be premature when it is a big policy change that affects everything we do in this country, and underlays everything we say.

  10. Geek 10

    It does need to be open to debate but this wasn’t the time to do it. Come up with some ideas and direction on the matter. By making this statment he is switching emdia focus to himself and away from nationals failings.

    This would be a good thing if he had something to engage the media on, but instead he can only say “We are talking about it but have no idea’s”. Hate to say it but this is exactly what he has been attacking Key for.

  11. NRT is looking for something that isn’t agreed yet.

    And by way of a response, I think its all in that sentence. Rereading the speech, Goff does suggest that he doesn’t actually have anything yet – “Labour believes they are vital questions and New Zealand needs new answers. We will be studying the options closely.” But it was overshadowed by the big news that he was explicitly abandoning monetarism.

    More importantly, the natural response to any announcement like this is “how, exactly”, and on policy this important, you’d better have at least some answers. If the party hasn’t agreed those answers, or even the options, then its better to wait until they have. Otherwise, you just look either shifty, or a dick.

    • lprent 11.1

      Yeah, but this has been a policy that has been on the immovable stack for so long, that there are cobwebs on everyones ideas. We also didn’t agree in the first place, it was more a need to do something to keep inflation under control and keep it under control. It was pretty much a crisis response both when instituted and subsequently.

      Now it isn’t – so it can get done the usual way.

      This will get debated at next years conference and the earlier regionals. Between then and now there is sufficent time for it to get blatted around the LEC’s and branch meetings as well as media and here.

    • The Voice of Reason 11.2

      Dunno about ‘shifty or a dick’, but perhaps a little under prepared for an obvious question about what the alternatives are. It’s been a great week for Phil Goff, anyway.

      I think the open question styleis is consistant with how Labour is trying to rebuild trust in the electorate; by asking people what they want. Its a good start to say the old way isn’t working and even better to take it the people for solutions.

      The relentless focus on inflation must be modified. Low inflation has not saved 28 bakery jobs in Manaia, but sure as hell, the high dollar took them away. So let’s start the debate about what targets are really needed. Well done, Phil.

  12. felix 12

    I have to agree with I/S on this.

    You have to have something to discuss or you lose the ability to set the agenda.

    Also Goff doesn’t need to be using Key’s tired old “we’re having a bit of a look at it” lines.

  13. Geek 13

    Exactly what I was thinking Felix.

  14. Galeandra 14

    Me too Felix.
    It’s interesting to see the reponse to Goff’s comments to date.
    It’s important that he begins to define issues for discussion both within and without the Labour brand, and is proactive in placing this agenda on the table. The lack of enthusiasm from Nact/business so far is IMO to do with the electoral impact of the cost inflation that would eventuate if our currency was operating in a band that reflected its true worth. The lazy cynicism won’t go unnoticed electorally , and the debate will do much to revalidate labour as a genuine opposition. A timely speech.

  15. Macro 15

    Have just finished reading Bryan Gould’s book “The Democracy Sham” (How Globalisation devalues your vote). He pulls no punches in showing consistently how neo-liberal monetary policies have persistently lead to poorer under-performing economies. In the past 25 years NZ has moved from one of the most equitable countries in the world to the most unequal economy second only in discrepancy of the distribution of wealth to USA. The only ones to have benefited from the implementation of the neo-liberal policies have been the top 5 to 10 % of income earners.
    There is a way out of this mess – its great to hear that Labour have finally decided to cast off the yoke of Neo-liberalism. I await the the release of more detail though!

  16. Macro 16

    The very same! The book was published last year and is well worth the read!

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    The last decade has seen a trend of increasing weapons availability to police. Assault rifles. Tasers on every hip. Guns in cars. And following the march 15 massacre, pistols on every hip, all over the country. At the same time, its also seen an increase in the abuse of force: ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • If you can’t measure it, does it exist?
    In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been busy preparing for our summer paper on Science Communication. Looking for something amusing about ‘risk’ in science, I came across this neat xkcd.com cartoon about why so many people come knocking on my door (or phoning me, or emailing me) desperately wanting ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    5 days ago
  • Swinson’s swithering
    Jo Swinson is doing even worse at this Being Sensible lark that I'd thought.  I've just become aware of the following utterance
    .@KayBurley presses Lib Dem leader @joswinson on whether she would agree to a #Brexit deal 'no matter how bad a deal it is' as long as it had ...
    6 days ago
  • Women’s rights, trans ideology and Gramsci’s morbid symptoms
    by John Edmundson The International Socialist Organisation (ISO) have recently reposted a February article, by Romany Tasker-Poland, explaining ISO’s position in the “trans rights” debate.  It is available on their website and on their Facebook Page.  The article sets out to explain why “socialists support trans rights”.  It reads more ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • We need to take guns off police
    Today's IPCA report of police criminality: a police officer unalwfully tasered a fleeing suspect who posed no threat to anyone:The police watchdog has found an officer unlawfully tasered an Auckland man who broke his ankle jumping off a balcony to escape arrest. [...] To avoid arrest, the man jumped over ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • “Bringing kindness back”
    "Auckland City Mission: 10% of Kiwis experiencing food insecurity", RNZ, 16 October 2019:About half a million people are experiencing food insecurity, according to new research from the Auckland City Mission. Food insecurity, or food poverty, is defined as not having enough appropriate food. The City Mission said over the last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Press Release: “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance b...
    Media Statement for Immediate Release 16th October 2019 “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers Despite comments from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers—Herald Newspaper Tuesday Oct 15th–there is very little evidence ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Ever-So-Slightly Bonkers: Simon Bridges Plays To His Base.
    Would You Buy A Used Propaganda Video From This Man? Bridges and the National Party’s strategists have discovered that the ideas and attitudes considered acceptable by today’s editors and journalists are no longer enforceable. The rise and rise of the Internet and the social media platforms it spawned means that ...
    6 days ago
  • Asking for food
    There is plenty of evidence of the way the business mentality has permeated every level of society since the recrudescence of market liberalism 35 years ago. You only need to think of how citizens in need of help from their government, their state, their country, are now routinely described as ...
    Opposable ThumbBy Unknown
    6 days ago
  • Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwi do and the places they call home
    John MacCormick Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big changes in the jobs they do and where they live and work. These changes include: a decline in manufacturing jobs an increase in jobs in ‘information-intensive’ industries (which are better paid ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Protecting Fresh Waterways in Aotearoa/NZ: The Strong Public Health Case
    Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    7 days ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    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 There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    7 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
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    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    1 week ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    1 week ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
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    1 week ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    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 Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • Government announces next steps as part of a comprehensive plan to fix skills gap
    A new education-to-employment brokerage service to strengthen connections between local employers and schools. Funding for more trades focused ‘speed-dating’ events to connect schools with employers. Promotional campaign to raise profile of vocational education. The Government is taking action to increase the number of young people taking up vocational education and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    51 mins ago
  • Corrections Amendment Bill passes third reading
    A Bill to improve prison security and ensure the fair, safe, and humane treatment of people in prison while upholding public safety has passed its third reading. Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the Corrections Amendment Bill makes a number of changes to ensure the Corrections Act 2004 is fit for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Ngāi Tahu CEO appointed to NZ-China Council
    Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, has selected Arihia Bennett MNZM, Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, as the Te Puni Kōkiri appointed representative on the New Zealand-China Council. The New Zealand-China Council (the Council) was established in 2012 as a New Zealand led and funded organisation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Southern Response claims move to EQC
    Responsibility for processing the small number of Southern Response claims still to be settled will be transferred to EQC by the end of the year. “As claim numbers reduce, it no longer makes sense for the Crown to have two organisations processing the remaining Canterbury claims,” Grant Robertson says. “Since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Bowel screening starts in Whanganui
    Health Minister David Clark is encouraging Whanganui residents to take up the opportunity for free bowel screening, which can detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat.   Over the next two years 12,000 Whanganui locals, aged 60 to 74 will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Screening ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, heads to Oslo today to represent New Zealand at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which is being hosted by the Norwegian Government from the 23-24 October. “The Our Ocean Conference mobilises real action on issues like marine plastic pollution and the impacts of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures Conference: Connection...
    Session 4: Pacific Connectivity – Youth, Media and New Opportunities   Kia ora tatou katoa and Warm Pacific greetings to one and all. Representatives of Tainui, the local people of the land, or manawhenua – the indigenous peoples of this area – have welcomed you this morning in accordance with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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