Open debate

Written By: - Date published: 5:49 pm, August 2nd, 2011 - 129 comments
Categories: accountability, election 2011, john key, phil goff - Tags: ,

This development is going to generate a fair bit of discussion in the media! Duncan Garner reports:

Key, Goff refuse debate with minor parties

The public will once again be denied the opportunity to see John Key and Phil Goff debate all the minor party leaders during the election campaign. Key and Goff have teamed up to turn down TV3’s approach and desire for a 90 minute prime time television debate featuring all the party leaders.


Key says the election is about “who is Prime Minister”, not about who can work together.

Pure arrogance. PMs come and go at the whim of their parties. The election is about which parties form a government. Maybe the electorate will choose to remind Key of that fact.

And because Key won’t do it, Goff has fallen in behind saying he will debate Key anywhere Key wants to front. That means Goff won’t do it either. This is the same cosy backroom deal Helen Clark and John Key did in 2008 – ignore the minor party leaders on the big stage – and debate amongst themselves.

But Goff could and should have taken a different approach. He could have accepted our offer and forced the Prime Minister’s hand. Key would have been the only leader not there. He would have been forced to the table. He would have been subject to taunts of “chicken” had he not fronted. Goff has lost a prime opportunity. He should have taken the risk.

I agree. These “one on one” debates further build the mindset of “presidential” style politics in NZ, and it’s a mindset I think we could well do without. Let’s hear from everyone, and let it be about policies, not politicians.

I can see I think where Goff is coming from. He looks forward to debating Key personally, and expects to come off best in the encounters. It’s good to display that kind of confidence. But bigger picture I think it’s still a mistake. I’d like to see the leaders of major parties sharing the stage, and debating ideas with all comers.

129 comments on “Open debate”

  1. Afewknowthetruth 1

    All so-called debates are circuses in which all the issues that actually matter are avoided like the plague and the participants churn out platitudes in answer to rigged questions.

    I won’t be wasting any of my time watching any of them.

  2. Kevin Welsh 2

    I wonder if it has occurred to Duncan Garner that maybe this is what happens when his barely disguised political sympathies rule over balance in his reporting?

    Maybe this is just Phil Goff giving a not so subtle kick to the nuts to the Pie Boy.

  3. fabregas4 3

    Goff should have said no.

  4. just saying 5

    And Labour is keeping Goff on because?

    Quite apart from being out of touch with reality if he imagines he will best Key one-on-one, it is yet another anti-democratic action from Goff, and yet another of the political blunders for which he has become famous.

    • Um Key made the decision and Goff went along with it.  I understand why Goff would prefer the ability to debate properly with Key without the others there, but I think that all leaders should take part.

      But good attempted transfer of blame though. 

      • AAMC 5.1.1

        I’d call it a lost opportunity.

      • just saying 5.1.2

        You don’t think “going along” with someone else’s decision without the sightest protest qualifies as a decision?

        Phew, thank God Goff isn’t responsible for all those pathetic and embarrassing ‘me too’ actions. The poor guy had no choice. Exactly what the nation is looking for in a PM.

      • Richard 5.1.3

        Yes, Key is behaving like his usual facile, anti-democratic self. But Goff is *supporting* Key. You can’t blame Key for Goff’s actions.

        It is issues exactly like this, that mean I am not voting for Labour.

        I’m voting for Mana.

  5. Rich 6

    Is this even legal? Aren’t the broadcasters obliged to give each party equal access – if Key won’t play, they should have a Lab/Green/ACT/MaoriNat/Mana debate.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      Broadcasters can’t force people to participate.

      • Rich 6.1.1

        No, but they can be required to invite everyone or not have a debate. If parties don’t turn up, then it’s their call.

      • mickysavage 6.1.2

        Jim Anderton succeeded in 2005 in an application to review.  He applied to the High Court for review of a decision to exclude him from a leader’s debate and succeeded.  Some details are at

        Sorry will look tomorrow for more information but the decision may be capable of review. 

    • Blighty 6.2

      except Goff wouldn’t be there

  6. vto 7

    The solution is easy…

    Goff should say he will take part in an all-party debate only. Then Key can wank.,. I mean debate,, himself alone. Perhaps with a picture of Liz Hurley on hand.

    If you lefty labourites let this happen then you deserve to lose. You’re getting outsmarted, you need to be quicker on your feet.

    • AAMC 7.1

      Agree, Goff could have looked like he actually wants to participate in our proportional democracy, leaving Key to look like the elitist he is.

      He should have said, sure, I’ll go toe to toe with Key, but I’d rather we were all there together, so why don’t we do both. Even if it didn’t happen, he would have looked inclusive.

      Looks to me like they’ve been paying too close attention to the Debt Ceiling debacle.

      This is what Krugman had to say about that;
      “Many pundits view taking a position in the middle of the political spectrum as a virtue in itself. I don’t. Wisdom doesn’t necessarily reside in the middle of the road, and I want leaders who do the right thing, not the centrist thing.”

      • just saying 7.1.1

        Maybe we could slip that link into Pete Squirrel’s suggestion box.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.2

        The democrats in the States have lost it, Obama gained nothing, no extra revenue, no taxes on the rich, and the Republicans got a deal around the spending cuts they wanted.

        Its The Bankers Party on one side and The Other Bankers Party on the other.

        It’s “free choice” as long as its out of the 2 choices they want you to have.

        • AAMC

          Obama has just finally acknowledged that he is after all a Republican. You just need to look at his increased use of drones, extension of his wars into Pakistan and Yemen, Guantanamo still open and now this Austerity move with no change in their dismal tax rate.

          Off topic sorry, but all of our leaders do seem to mimic America’s style of politics. To come back to an NZ context, here Juan Cole has an interesting graph outlining tax’s in the OECD in 2009; look at that, we didn’t have high tax’s after all, appreciate you’re all conscious of this already.

          • Colonial Viper

            NZ needs to recreate its own way of doing things, and come up with leaders willing to do it Aoeteroa style.

            Not in the style of the bloody US Republicrats or the olde world UK system.

  7. Mac1 8

    I think some questions need to be asked here? What is a minor party? Will Goff and Key have to stand on the same platform as the Wacky Baccy party and the Empire Royalists and anybody else who manages to form themselves a party?

    What other debates will be scheduled? Will there be minor party leaders’ debates as I seem to remember from last time? What TV time will be granted to other spokespeople from the parties so that we can judge the calibre of those lesser but still important luminaries such as potential finance, Social Welfare, Education, Health ministers etc etc.

    Finally, does anybody remember the strange anomaly of the Worm which gave Peter Dunne extraordinary publicity and votes which he has not repeated since those days, not having had that opportunity since?

    The two main party leaders should debate head to head in my view. They are after all the ones who stand best to be PM after November 26, and who will, importantly, form the next government. However, I do agree that NZ politics has become too focussed on the leaders. I would like to see good national exposure to other party leaders and also to the politicians who stand a good chance of being important members of the new government.

    I would also like to see debates conducted in a useful way for voters to decide, and not just be a vehicle for ‘personalities’ to show off a la Holmes et al.

    • AAMC 8.1

      “I would also like to see debates conducted in a useful way for voters”

      We might need to import a real journalist to host the debates then, cause there is currently a massive fail from all practitioners in the MSM.

      • Pascal's bookie 8.1.1

        Julian Wilcox from MaoriTV is the goods. Other than that yeah, we could be served better.

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      Determining who is a valid minor party is easy – anyone with an MP in Parliament today.

      And those registered parties without MPs – should get some TV time for a debate of their own as well.

      • Pete George 8.2.1

        I think that’s the best way to differentiate – but if you wanted to be provocative you could make it “any party leader in Parliament today”.

    • freedom 8.3

      If you qualify for the Electoral Ballot you qualify for the debate. It’s called Democracy not Popularity. Excluding a party for not being in Parliament is a self fulfilling and elitist restriction on participation in a functioning Parliamentary Democracy

  8. chris73 9

    I agree with John Key doing this (if its good enough for Helen…) and I think Goff did the right thing in agreeing to this

    Why should they debate with the minor parties, the minor parties can debate amongst themselves but having more time for the two that could be PM is much more worthwhile

    Also where could it end? Aotearoa Legalise Canabis Party, Communist Party (or whatever name they’re under) Bill and Ben party (well maybe not ;))

    • Bored 9.1

      Rubbish C73, its actually that Winston would slay Key on a TV debate, and Keys far too frightened of losing face that he wont show for that appointment. Goffs easy meat by comparison. Last thing Key wants is Ma and Pa seeing the ugly truth and running off Gold Card in hand back to Winnie.

      • AAMC 9.1.1

        They should do both. We don’t have – and hopefully won’t have – a FPP system, and so the smaller parties should have the opportunity to debate with the main leaders.

      • chris73 9.1.2

        You don’t get to make a 50 million dollar fortune and become PM of a country by being stupid

        Winston is a very good speaker, why would you give him a platform…

        • Pete George

          It doesn’t matter who might do what in a debate.

          We should have an open democracy. Elections are one of the few opportunities for people to have a say, we mustn’t allow politicians to dictate what sort of campaign suits them.

        • Ianupnorth

          FFS he was a money trader = professional gambler – luck, not skill!

          • Colonial Viper

            I’d say that some people playing pokies have a lot of skill at playing pokies. I’ve seen them in action.

            However, at the end of the day trying to make out that this makes them “good business people” etc. is just ludicrous. And people who wear suits and ties should frequently be doubted. They are more likely to be faux experts then real ones.

            There was good reason why the bankers and moneylenders of old were treated with high suspicion.

          • chris73

            So his education was luck, his working his way up the ladder was luck, everything hes done is luck?

            You do know the old adage of the harder you work the luckier you get…

            • McFlock

              Luck, shifting the blame onto subordinates, and a vacant smile. Judging by his prime ministership, of course.

              Edit: oh, and his education was taxpayer funded. Now part-timers can’t even get a fucking loan for course costs. So “stamping on the fingers of other people on the ladder” should probably be included.

              • chris73

                Wow you make it sound so easy

                • McFlock

                  It is if you’re not inhibited by conscience.
                  But most of it’s luck. And a good start from the welfare state he’s dismantling behind him.

            • lefty

              Once you put the suit on and join the bankers club you don’t need luck. The pack is automatically stacked in your favour.

            • Vicky32

              You do know the old adage of the harder you work the luckier you get…

              That adage isn’t worth the breath it takes to say it. and it’s only the smug, and yes, the unreasonably lucky I have ever heard say it! F’r instance, there are 100s of us out here, who would be lucky to get the chance to work at all!

    • felix 9.2

      Why shouldn’t small parties be involved in debates, chris73?

      Why are you so scared of democracy?

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        He’s Tory, only the born to rule should have airtime.

        Of course Key would look pretty stupid preening for an hour on stage by himself so now he has Goff to keep him company.

      • chris73 9.2.2

        I’d rather hear more from the two who are likely to be PM than the support partners

        • Colonial Viper

          Gotta get out of that FPP mindset mate, the small parties can make and break the deals in an MMP environment.

        • felix

          Understandable I suppose, but that’s not really what you said earlier.

          Why shouldn’t Key debate the leaders of smaller parties? Why shouldn’t Goff?

          Why shouldn’t their ideas be put to the test on a level footing with other parties?

          Shit, why don’t we do away with debate and just interview the leader of the largest party? They’re most likely to be PM, aren’t they?

          • chris73

            I wasn’t on this site in 2008, if you were can you remind me what people thought of only Helen Clark and John Key debating each other

  9. davidc 10

    Key knows that Goff cant decline to oppose him, Goff needs to try to gain some traction with the punters so is forced to play by whatever rules Key offers.
    Key also knows one on one he will utterly smash Goff in the eyes of the public.

    On a lighter note tho…seeing the (6?) minors go at it would be a laugh! Team tactics will win out!

    Self edit… Would Winston even be invited? I mean he isnt showing on ipredict now!

    Re edit: I refreshed and WinstonFirst was back on ipredict. Volatile much!

  10. Colonial Viper 11


    The Left is a Broad Church. Labour should be supporting multi-party democracy 100%, with ACTION not WORDS.

    Agreeing to this Presidential style debate plays right into Key’s strengths and National’s framing.

    Fraking Labour in the UK couldn’t bring themselves to wholeheartedly support moves to a more proportional voting system there either, because it would encourage a plurality of political parties.


    • RobC 11.1

      100% agree. I’d add that Goff needs some serious independent advice if he believes he can out-debate Key, based on what I have seen from question time over the past few months

  11. Pascal's bookie 12

    Personally I think most debates are garbage, not helped by crapulistic hosting.

    Glowing exception to that rule is Julian Wilcox who was a legend moderating Don Brash V Pita Sharples.

    So if I can’t have Wilcox moderating the poo flinging, I want half hour interviews of each leader by someone trained in getting answers. Like a QC say. And I’ll have my pony with laser beams plz, and the pricks under oath.

    K thx bai

  12. gobsmacked 13

    Yet again, Russel Norman comes out looking better than Phil Goff.

    And it’s all so predictable and avoidable. Is there nobody at Labour with any grasp of strategy? Nobody who actually spends five minutes thinking about this stuff? Week in, week out, same old “Politics For Beginners” – fail.

    How hard is it to understand the following …

    1. There are TV debates in every election campaign.
    2. So, before that, there are debates about those TV debates, in every campaign.
    3. Therefore Goff had to be prepared for this.
    4. Therefore, Goff had to anticipate Key’s approach – which was entirely predictable.
    (i.e. what anyone would do in his position)
    5. Therefore, Goff had an opportunity to take the initiative.

    “Inititative” could have been many things … announcing his plans in advance, calling on TV networks to commit to the public, saying “the people are our employers, we should show up for the interview”, labelling it a Democracy Pledge or some such, getting other parties to sign it, or challenging Key to a specific kind of debate – take your pick – e.g. Helensville and Roskill town hall meetings, a Christchurch special, anything outside the box, anything with an ounce of originality and energy and incisiveness and aggression and …

    oh fuck, what’s the point. It’s Goff’s Labour. It’s a Risk-Free, Idea-Free Zone. Sit back, wait for Key to move, then feebly say “Me too!”. Yes, that’s working so well, isn’t it?

    Another day, another missed opportunity. No change there.

    • vto 13.1

      Agreed. Goff looks like he is being simply dragged along for the ride. Which he is.

      But it is not too late.

      Change course on this tonight Goff. Bring a headline in the new morning. Leave Key a-swingin’.

      After all, for the vast 99% of people this is way off the radar so any about change-face will simply pass by like that last breezy thing …

    • Yet again, Russel Norman comes out looking better than Phil Goff.

      Sad but strikingly true.

      The leaders should be dictating nothing regarding the campaign. Elections are for people. We shouldn’t hope for one leader or the other to “do the decent thing”, we should be telling them what is acceptable to us.

  13. Mike 14

    When was the last time there was a TV debate with the leaders of National, Labour and the minor parties – 1999?

    • gobsmacked 14.1

      Mike – 2005. And 2002 before that (Dunne’s worm).

      You might remember Dunne and Anderton going to court to be included in 2005.

  14. Mainstream media and this government’s ability to manipulate it for their own ends will dictate the results of this election. We need our Fourth Estate to become more assertive and do their job!

  15. Terry 16

    The very thought of Goff imagining he can square up to Key makes me squirm (again). Key will use the usual tactic of abuse, rudeness, insult, and screeching over top. Afterwards, what will Goff do? As usual, shrug his shoulders. Pitiful. I am apolitical. Which politician deserves my vote? Possibly Winston, believe it or not!!

  16. Erentz 17

    Simple solution surely: do both. Goff can still turn around now and ask for an all leaders debate as well can’t he? Force Key to step up, and he will have to show.

  17. Matthew Hooton 18

    Let’s just bring this back to one very simple point: If you were John Key or Phil Goff why on earth would you want to appear in a TV circus with Russel Norman, Don Brash, Peter Dunne, Pita Sharples, Hone Harawira and Winston Peters (have I left anyone out?)? And maybe with a worm that rewards “I will increase education spending” and “I will cut taxes” but mocks “we have difficult choices to make”. It is not like Key and Goff can be made to appear in a TV format that is not in their interests.

    • vto 18.1

      If you were Goff why would you want to appear with Key?

      It’s not as if anything important will be discussed with any credibility.

    • Colonial Viper 18.2

      And as voters interested in democratic debate we should acquiesce in this top down farce?

      Why let our freedom of choice be whittled away to the extent that it is any flavour you want as long as its vanilla or hokey pokey?

    • Carol 18.3

      Russel Norman, Don Brash, Peter Dunne, Pita Sharples, Hone Harawira and Winston Peters (have I left anyone out?)?

      Maybe a woman or 2?

      • R 18.3.1

        good point, Carol, and one which worries me too. Co-leadership is all women seem to have access to in this iteration of the system. Perhaps we have a long time to wait, swallowing the taste of our betrayal of a certain Ms K Sheppard?

        • Carol

          Indeed R. But I also find it curious that Matthew, with a couple of pairs of co-leaders to choose from, chose the male in each pair – especially as I think the females are the more capable of the pairs.

    • gobsmacked 18.4


      Key is acting in his interests. Goff isn’t acting in his interests.

      You’re right, they can’t be made to appear. But they can be made to look bad by not appearing. Goff had a chance to put pressure on Key, and blew it.

    • Let’s just bring this back to one very simple point:

      Let’s just bring this back to one simpler point – an election is one part of democracy in particular that the people should not accept any party leader trying to dictate anything, let alone accepting them picking and choosing how they should appear and in what debates they should appear.

      I can’t believe that media should accept this, if they do they are betraying their customers.

      We need to let the media know and we need to let the politicians know that democracy is ours, elections are ours, and they’re not for their manipulation and convenience.

    • AAMC 18.6

      If you were Goff you should see the opportunity to call Key out, whether you’d rather debate him alone or not.

      We have a proportional system, we should see all that is on offer.

    • Puddleglum 18.7

      If you were John Key or Phil Goff why on earth would you want to appear in a TV circus with Russel Norman, Don Brash, Peter Dunne, Pita Sharples, Hone Harawira and Winston Peters?

      Well, let’s start with the obvious: (1) By appearing with all and sundry you get to demonstrate conclusively why your party (and yourself) is head and shoulders above the minnows – assuming of course that you and your party are. That is, it helps to emphasise why your party is a ‘major’ rather than ‘minor’ party through direct comparison.

      (2) Another reason might involve backing yourself to project a certain humility and respect for democracy that might warm the cockles of the voters’ hearts. 

      (3) A further reason might be that you actually do believe that the policies, vision, etc. that you hold to is the best for New Zealand of any on offer and you want the chance to show that to New Zealanders by direct comparison.

      (4) Finally, you don’t simply want to win by exploiting the psychological benefit of seeming to be ‘above the fray’ of the ‘circus’ by excluding yourself from political debate.

      Of course, if (1) you know you and your party aren’t ‘head and shoulders’ above the others and it’s actually all about smoke and mirrors, the backing of powerful interest groups and money; and, (2) you don’t back yourself to project humility and respect for democracy; and, (3) you actually don’t believe that your policies, vision, etc. are the best (or you actually don’t have any vision); and, (4) you would like to win by exploiting the psychological benefit of appearing ‘above the fray’ because you don’t think you can win on any other grounds or ‘level playing field’ then, ‘yes’ you probably wouldn’t want to appear with the other leaders. 

    • R 18.8

      Because every party leader in this country owes their party, their constituents and their potential voters the capacity and ability to represent and argue/defend their policies, in any medium they can possibly access in an election year.

      Shock, horror, Matthew. Perhaps you’d prefer a ‘Woman’s Day’ -run ‘NZ’s Top PM contest’ as opposed to the proportionally representative system that was democratically awarded by the nation to their elected representatives.

      Much as JK despises Aotearoa, we are not America. Yet.

      ETA: Ugh. You may as well have said ‘let them eat brioche’. That’s how relevant you are.

  18. Reality Bytes 19

    TV is a joke.

    Any savvy politcal party should shun it and embrace Internet broadcast of debates with the same level of production values/quality as made for TV.

    Goff should boycott the debate if Key is too pussy to go toe to toe with Winston and Norman.

    Seriously, Key would look like an utter knob if he went ahead with it debating by himself, he would be an absolute laughing stock and utter joke that could only play out well for Goff.

    Meantime all the other parties could have a proper debate embracing the modern forums of Internet broadcast etc, whilst we all laugh at key talking to himself.

    Shame Goff doesn’t cotton on to this strategy. He’s not going to win this by himself, he needs the Greens and NZF to combat key too if it’s going to be mainstream TV, and if ACT was on too, they’d only embaress the Nats even further. Agreeing for a 1 v 1 with Key on prime time telly is fail strategy imo, when you consider all the other angles that could have been played here.

  19. ChrisH 20

    A most baffling tactical blunder IMHO, everyone knows that Key’s National’s strength, anything that frames the issue in presidential terms is obviously no good for Labour and makes Goff look like Jimmy Carter to Key’s Ronald Reagan, or Rowling to Muldoon, but without the benefit of incombency (!!!). And that’s quite apart from the democratic damage (and lack of logic) involved in excluding the minor MMP parties including future coalition partners required if Labour is to have any hope whatsoever of getting over the line. Key could have been made to look bad if he would not have debated the minor parties and Goff could have emerged as the inclusive leader of a broad popular front. Oh well, I guess when the present generation of political strategists are finally put out to pasture, we will get ones that can think in MMP terms.

    • Colonial Viper 20.1

      There is still time for LAB to reconsider and pull back out of the trap before they are fully encircled.

    • McFlock 20.2

      If Key and Goff had the other leaders to debate against, several of the smaller parties would be getting easy points off Key – who doesn’t deal well with hard questions.
      If Goff and Key go head to head, Goff could pull it off, but would need to be challenging Key every inch of the way. If he fails even by a little bit, Garner et al will proceed to fellate Key on air. However, the other smaller parties would probably eat Brash alive in their debate (if it doesn’t become a Mana/MaoriP slanging fest).
      If Goff only debated with the smaller parties, he’d be the prime target for the others.
      What Goff could do is offer a few times to do the wider debate if Key is willing. If Key backtracks then all is good. If Key doesn’t (and he won’t) then during the “presidential debate” a fallback position is to point out that Key can’t really make plans without input from coalition partners – and pop in some choice Brashisms (better yet, paraphrasing Brashisms in the best possible way for the Left). Things like “cutting funding to healthcare, leaving sick babies untreated” would be good paraphrasing and extrapolations of Act policy. And gifting electorates to the junketing party, that sort of thing.

  20. Reality Bytes 21

    I appreciate substance over style, so I appreciate what Goff has to say over what Key has to say a lot of the time. But unfortunately there are also a lot of voters out there that have the opposite attitude and give priority to style over substance.

    I wonder if Goff is in Lester Burnham mode, i.e. “I’m just an ordinary guy, with nothing to lose”… He ain’t been PM yet, this is probably his last punt, the odds are stacked against him, he has nothing to lose. I wonder if that gives a him a “zen-like Lester Burnham, fuck em all, it’s all or nothing time” attitude.

    He’s a smart guy, I just hope if he does end up going one to one with Key he focusses simply on slaying him and calling him out, forget educating us, just annihalte Key and call him out… There is SOOO much to work with. It would be truly awesome and election changing if done correctly, whilst even being hilarious and entertaining at the same time.

    • just saying 21.1

      I appreciate substance over style..

      So do I, unfortunately Goff has (publicly) shown no sign of either quality.

      he has nothing to lose

      He may have nothing to lose, but the nation has a lot to lose. As for zen-like you must be joking, he is the antithesis of calm, open and realistic. The chaos on the other hand, he has down pat.
      Key is an empty talking head ( a David Brent, to quote Felix), and I agree that a decent debater would be spoiled for material to take him down.

      I ask again why is Goff still leader?

      • Reality Bytes 21.1.1

        Haha, yeah fair point… I’m just trying to make sense of it. I mean he must be rationalizing his non-challant response to himself somehow, and from what I’ve seen he’s not getting very emotional about the whole poli’ palava. That’s why I’m saying he seems almost zen-like, perhaps a little too chilled? But who know’s. If he’s going to go toe-to-toe with Key and have any hope he will need to come across as cool, maybe he’s psyching himself up for that. I’m just trying to make sense of his strategy because it seems over/super-confident to me.

        • billy fish

          Musings on the debate – it would be an interesting model to have an independent fact checking team. Pause every 15 minutes for a FC team to question dubious information.
          This gets around the “last word” problem of the last lie is the truth issue of a question rebuttal format

          Of course I simply fantasise.

  21. alex 22

    What is going on? Are we on the verge of going back to a 2 party system? That can only be bad news. I am genuinely frightened of the possibility of a National dictatorship after the election. Someone needs to tell people, theres a lot more to National than just benign friendly John.

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      Listened to Bryan Edwards this afternoon. Reckon he is correct – people still aren’t feeling or behaving like it is an election year. Chances are that they are really only going to start paying attention to politics at the start of November.

      The danger is of course that the country sleepwalks into an increased National majority and we are truly sold down the river.

      • AAMC 22.1.1

        “The danger is of course that the country sleepwalks into an increased National majority and we are truly sold down the river.”

        Which plays to the point that’s been made a few times in this thread. The MSM doesn’t have a monopoly on information anymore. If all of those who are so dedicated to commenting on this blog spent a quarter of their energy engaging their not so politically focused friends and family and really went to town disseminating the graphs and you tube links and links to posts on this and other blogs via their facebook and via twitter and calling and txting radio stations we could start a diologue. Shit, you just need to txt bfm in regards to anything political and they read it out, to their entire listenership. Which other radio stations do that? Find out, exploit it.

        Time to learn from the Arab Spring, stop relying on antiquated and vested interests.


      • Deadly_NZ 22.1.2

        You know what would spark up the Labour party ? A David Cunliffe vs Blinglish No holds barred, death match debate.

        • Colonial Viper

          With one or two of the hot MPs from each side walking around the ring holding up the signs inbetween rounds!!!

  22. fatty 23

    I can understand Goff being stupid, but surely someone else could point him in the right direction…
    Winston needs to debate Key on TV, its Goff’s only chance.

    Are Labour trying to lose this… is Ashton Kutcher going to reveal himself soon as the Labour Party strategist?

    At least in a few months Goff will be gone and the reds can think about being useful again

  23. burt 24


    I had a quick scan over some of the threads on political debates from 2008. I’m not seeing much consistency in your position on presidential style debates. Seems it was just fine and dandy. On The Standard: Clark Takes Round 2 you are jovial and supportive of the format.

    What’s changed rOb ?

    Oh, and boy they tore you a new one after tying you in knots in ‘The King Maker Debate’.

    • felix 24.1

      I don’t see the format being discussed. Can you point it out?

      • burt 24.1.1

        Well, no I don’t claim to have an example where rOb defended the format, but he certainly cheers his team loud and clear. Would you do that if your party leader was the PM and you were totally unimpressed with the format?

        • McFlock


          Edit: So if someone doesn’t like the 5% threshhold, they’re not allowed to give credit to any politician who performs competently?

          • felix

            If someone says or thinks anything, they’re not to say or think anything else.

            See burt for examples.

        • felix

          “Well, no I don’t claim to have an example where rOb defended the format”

          Yeah you did claim that, burt. It was right here: (To r0b)

          On The Standard: Clark Takes Round 2 you are jovial and supportive of the format.

          You remember writing that, don’t you burt? What did you think it meant?

  24. freedom 25

    this is a slightly edited repost from earlier in the day on another thread

    I propose a radical restructuring of the concept of a Leaders’ Debate. The Leaders’ Debate should be a full engagement on set issues with all balloted parties being represented in a 5 evening series of debates. Three debaters per debate all drawn from a hat a week before in a nationally televised draw, using the ‘lotto rules’ would be good. They are fair, tried and true and the symbolism is not without its mirth.

    here is how the draw works:
    All parties are put in the hat. The first draw of three is done, those three are left out, next draw, those three are left out, etc,. When the hat has one name left, irrespective of how many empty slots remain in the debate being drawn, all parties so far removed are put back in. The process continues until the debate roster is complete. Five nights, three debaters, fifteen slots, all will get representation and none should be favoured over any other. The Parties deceide who they send to speak. Simple, fair and doable.

    The series of debates are using questions from wherever. It does not really matter, what matters is the draw of the participants. Until we see the ballot we will not know final numbers obviously, but a rotating roster of debates where the Greens may be on stage with just ACT and United would be a good debate. National up against Mana with Progessive along for conscience would have its moments. Labour and Greens and Maori Party would be a riot and i suspect a hasty unforseen event would cause transmission to be interrupted soon into the broadcast.

    Give it some consideration. The media driven Election campaigns warrant an event of this scale. More and more influence is attributed to Tv Media so it makes sense for the Public to find a way to ask that the media become a constructive particpant and not just a manipulative tool.

    • R 25.1

      that would be awesome, but how would we make it freely available via mainstream media? Donations? I’d donate to a decent political channel if it was available online… However, anything which cost money would automatically skew the results/effect… Oh, wait…

      • Colonial Viper 25.1.1

        I’d donate to a decent political channel if it was available online…

        Would only need $500K pa to run.

        I’d put in 0.5% of that myself. Only 199 more volunteers to go.

        • burt

          You could run a political channel for $500K pa ? Good luck finding quality staff, paying depreciation on equipment, lease on premises and insurance for that. An HD video cam and a bit of space in the garage won’t really cut it CV.

          It would probably cost $500K to stage the debate. Would you been keen to fund 0.5% of that for a big round of debates once every 3 years ?

          • Colonial Viper

            You could learn a thing or two about assymetric campaigning…

            PS we wouldn’t be paying the kinds of rates that Garner, Espiner, Holmes etc would be interested in

            THATS THE POINT 🙂

          • felix

            “It would probably cost $500K to stage the debate.”

            Are you high? Do you know how simple it is to film people standing still and talking to each other?

            It’s 2011 burt. Your grandkids could sort it out for you after school.

        • R

          seriously, I’d defo want to be part of it. I’m not sure how to obtain an independent domain, organise things legally, etc., does anyone have any advice to share?

          • Colonial Viper

            Best done off line, you know *hush hush*. Plenty of people who visit this site have all the technical and legal knowledge required.

            The whole thing would need to be run by about 3.0-3.5 FTEs max and gain leverage by finding freelance commentors, writers and journalists willing to work for reduced rates. Content would be clearly partisan in nature, leaning towards social democratic and democratic socialist values, while disassembling RWNJ propoganda.

            There is a long list of notable people who never get interview time on the MSM who could be interviewed to generate original content. There are many blacklisted economists and commentators whom the MSM will never touch, preferring instead to go with some aparatchik from one of the big banks.

            Content sharing agreements with the likes of RNZ, Aljazeera, RTV, local TV stations and documentary providers/aggregators would be useful in bringing a broad local and international perspective, and add a scientific and historical perspective to current day happenings.

            There should be fun social segments on Thu Fri and Sat nights with solid revolutionary music videos.

            Finding synergies with The Standard would clearly be important 🙂

            • freedom

              If I had the resources i would be pushing this idea through every gimmicky PR co/booking agent, Magazine/ full page ads in Newspaper. I would be challenging the parties, all of them, to face up to the debate or explain in plain english why they choose not to. Then using that answer in as many creative ways as possible to name and shame. I so wish i had the resources to do this for this election.

              What i am striving for here is a re-engagement with the general public for our Democracy. A single debate between two fluffed up spinmeisters does nothing. A week of having a Party’s policies under the spotlight and the associated media games would do more for the information war of politicking than any number of pledge cards or flashy fold-ins.

              The whole thing can probably be funded from existing Election funds anyway, or perhaps additional funds can be attributed to the party funds or even better a small take from the MP’s endless payraises? Most people i know in the media arts would gladly donate their time to support a civic event of this magnitude. Many who work in TV would probably feel the same . There is a difference between a one off debate and a week of getting to the heart of a matter.

              A nationwide week of soap-box bravado that gets intstitutionalised as part of the Election Campaign process might begin to introduce a wider audience to the realitiy that policy really does affect your country more than who you end up with as PM.

              So that is my 2c , wish it could be more, maybe by next Election i can do something more definitive about it, this Election I will be doing whatever i can to engage people that this Election matters. That this Election is not a fait-accompli.

              I will use whatever i have available. Mostly it will be information drops in public spaces, emails, the almost useful FaceBook, generally just walking that fine line where you try not to piss off a few friends with facts and figures they do not want to hear and continuing until they begin to listen. You can do the same. Our future as a free country really does rely on removing National this year.

              • I thought that was an excellent comment until I got to the last sentence, that negates your expressed ideals substantially.

                You said: “What i am striving for here is a re-engagement with the general public for our Democracy.”

                You seem to be confusing “our Democracy” with your narrow aim.

                • freedom

                  your comment was pointed out to me so i hope you do not think i am being a hypocrite considering i said awhile ago i stopped reading your contributions. which itself is pretty stupid but it was a rough day. So figure that will make two retractions in one comment. ouch. good thing i do humble well 🙂

                  here is the second one, Pete, you are completely correct.. The last line is unnecessary and definitely steers the point of the issue away from my chosen port. Chocolate fish to PeteGeorge.

                  I ask a mod out there to remove the last sentence of this linked post

                  Open debate


                  [lprent: It got referred to so I don’t delete it. I have struck it out. ]

                  • freedom

                    much appreciated, and i see the sense in the strikeout.

                  • terryg

                    Freedom, nicely done. There’s nothing wrong with mistakes, only with denial thereof. Hell, mistakes are how we learn……

                    Pete George: I’ve read a number of really good comments from you over the last couple of days, in this thread and others; enough to revise my opinion of you (FWIW).

                    Maori TV might be a good place for these debates – they have some really good programming….


      • freedom 25.1.2

        doesn’t New Zealand still own a Television station? I believe it is called TVOne.

    • burt 25.2

      I think it would be like ice cream to political junkies but way to much for most partially (or not at all) interested viewers. The problem is we the few will want the majority to pay for our indulgence – because that’s how socialism works.

      Perhaps we could make the cost of political campaigns like ACC levies, most people have no idea how much they are actually paying overall.

      How about equal funding for all registered parties for a grand debate – Actually freedom you could register a political party with that as it’s only policy and all of who like the idea can give you our party vote. We could put you into the house to make it happen! It only takes 5% to have a crack at getting the other 95% to share the cost.

      • felix 25.2.1

        Let it all out burt.

      • Colonial Viper 25.2.2

        The problem is we the few will want the majority to pay for our indulgence – because that’s how socialism works.

        Amen for socialism, said the millionaire investors in Southern Canterbury Finance.

      • AAMC 25.2.3

        The privatization of profit an the socialization of risk.

        Anyway, I clearly read CV suggesting another 199 donators. Sounded like community action rather than socialism to me Burt.

      • freedom 25.2.4

        ‘I think it would be like ice cream to political junkies but way to much for most partially (or not at all) interested viewers. ”

        Burt why do you declare that most people would not engage with the debates. Are you nuts? This is a whole different beastie than a one off show-down. A week of nightly battles would easily be the highest rating show on TV by the third night. Simply because of how the media machine works and the animal it is. They would smell a fresh ratings pack and the blood would flow. Advertisers would be hammering down doors to get their slots. You have to break from your ‘it has always been and always thus will be’ Burt. It stunts your growth.

        Media changes, it is in its nature to adapt and advent ideas, look at reality Tv the last ten years. If I had told you a decade ago that a bunch of people cooking cakes would be one of the highest regular rated shows in TV history, you would have handed me medication.

        I would bet the futures of undiscovered rare metals that the only people not wanting this idea to progress would be the majority of politicians themselves, irrespective of their public statements.

  25. felix 26

    I found this thread where burt says he loves to spank himself with cucumbers: It’s here.

    Bit embarrassing burtie boy, considering your well documented hatred of cucumber fetishes.

    What? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I never claimed that burt said anything about cucumbers at all, but he definitely said some other shit about something else, right?

  26. terryg 27

    It pains me to say this, as I am well aware of the ramifications, but:

    Fuck me, Labour DESERVE to lose this election. FFS Burts posts contain more sense than I am seeing from Labour (hint: none). Labour are utterly fucking clueless, in so many regards – like, say, repeatedly violating the election advertising act (or whatever its called).

    I had hoped getting rid of that craven media advisor John wots-his-face would help, but Goff et al seem to have gotten worse, not better. un-fucking-believable, and entirely self-inflicted. Thank fuck I’m not poor, because we’re in for a shit of a time when NACT win, right when we need it least – and AFAICT the damage will be irreperable. Aaaaaaaaarghfuck, I dont think I can take any more of this – time to bury myself in physics for a few years while my beautiful country shits itself into oblivion. Somebody wake me when its over…..

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      time to bury myself in physics for a few years while my beautiful country shits itself into oblivion. Somebody wake me when its over…..

      You got one of those neat frozen carbonite hibernation systems? Might come in handy.

      Seriously, LAB is full of good people working very hard. The polls need only move from 32% in the BS MSM polls to 40% in the Poll Which Matters and Key is out.

      Seriously, thats all it will take. Thats why Key English Joyce are still sweating bullets every minute of every day, despite the MSM declaring hourly that “National will Govern Alone!!!! (So There!)”

      • terryg 27.1.1

        Hi CV,

        alas no, but I do have a sizeable pile of highly technical work within which I can subsume my consciousness for a year or three.

        I think you’re right about LAB having plenty of good people – but I dont think that Phil Goff is a capable leader. One might blame the advisors, but Goff is (allegedly) in charge…..

        You are of course dead right re. the only poll that counts (the election). Had I imaginary friends I would pray that happens; alas I dont, and frankly I cant see your +8% happening. The frustrating thing is that its clear it COULD – if only oh, I dunno, say LAB read this bloody website, and actually acted on some of the more erudite suggestions.

        I forget who remarked that LAB seem to see themselves as “the good guys” (not far from correct IMO) and interpret that as meaning they are always right by definition, but I reckon that was spot on.

        this debate twaddle perfectly illustrates my reasons for despair. How ignorant do Goff et al need to be to not notice that DonKey will win the personality contest if they allow it to become (remain, more like) one? do they even watch the MSM? if so, is there any comprehension whatsoever, let alone at a strategic level?

        This from someone who has voted party Green, constituent LAB at every election I’ve been here for. The bit that really irks is I’d like to slap LAB by not giving them my vote, but that will only make it worse…..


  27. Tangled up in blue 28

    The bottom line is that you can’t force parties to participate into a debate and understandably Labour and National don’t want a 90min group debate as this format doesn’t strategically suit them atm.

    Maybe MSM needs to have more frequent prime-time minor party debates right up to the election so the amount of exposure might mean the big parties start taking an interest.

    • freedom 28.1

      quick question, have you even read this thread?

      There are a dozen statements above that explain how the focus is on having the debate. Who turns up is entirely at the whim of the party and so would be their need to deal with the fallout from the public’s response to that decision.

      It is kind of a classic ‘If you build it they will come’ moment.

      It is up to us, the people, to build this idea. The MSM won’t do it. Why should they, they have all they want, vegetables locked into cooking shows. The cannibalistic nature of media is astonishing.

      • Tangled up in blue 28.1.1

        Afaik MSM haven’t said “no minor parties, no broadcast” so I assume that National & Labour will still be turning up for their debates like last election. All the other parties still get coverage just at different times. What makes you think that there will be a significant public response this time?

        • freedom

          if all they get is the status quo then the apportioned response will be apt

          if ‘they’ rose to the challenge ‘we’ should be willing to support it

          I still suspect you have not read the thread

          • Tangled up in blue

            I’ve skimmed it. Nothing really convinced me why it’s in the interest of JK & Goff to participate when the context is eight participants in a small time frame and it’s unlikely it would provide any kind of helpful debate.

            • freedom

              what eight participants in a small time frame are you referring to?
              Speaking for myself i proposed a fifteen member event in a series of three person debates over five nights. Hardly insubstantial in comparison to recent years’ efforts.

              if you are referring to the format we have had the last few years then you have not read or even skimmed this thread. There is an entirely different focus in the dialogue occuring here and you may have something useful to contribute, but if like many naysayers it is more about just adding to a list of veto remarks then i see why you would not bother

  28. Tangled up in blue 29

    Hey I’d like a different format too.

    My judgement about National & Labours refusal to debate is made in the context of which they’re actually facing, not an imaginary scenario that I would prefer.

  29. chris73 30

    I wasn’t on this site in 2008, if you were can you remind me what people thought of only Helen Clark and John Key debating each other

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    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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
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    1 week ago
  • An odious bill
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
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    1 week 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
    1 week 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).
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    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
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    An average kiwiBy
    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
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    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • More disappointment
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
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    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
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    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 Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago

  • Minister of Finance and Sport and Recreation to visit Japan and Vietnam
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson departs tomorrow for events and meetings in Japan and Vietnam.  While in Japan, he will discuss economic and fiscal issues including meeting with the Minister of Finance, Taro Aso, and Minister of Economic and Fiscal Policy, Yasutoshi Nishimura. He will meet with the Minister of Education, ...
    7 hours ago
  • Dashboard tracks housing progress
    The Government’s Housing Dashboard released today confirms record numbers of state houses are under construction and shows the Government build programme is gaining momentum.  “After nine years of inaction, and a hands-off attitude from the previous government we’re starting to see things move in the right direction for housing,” says ...
    8 hours ago
  • Ministerial Statement on the International Convention Centre fire
    Mr Speaker, I wish to make a ministerial statement relating to the Auckland fire. The Government is closely monitoring the situation with the fire at the NZ International Convention Centre and is thankful that everyone is now safe. Firefighters are doing an incredible job managing the fire and bringing it ...
    10 hours ago
  • Government invests in Te Reo, environmental data research
    The Government is investing in ambitious research that will digitise Te Reo, grow the low-carbon protein efficient aquaculture industry, help interpret environmental trends, and large data sets says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The four projects range from teaching Siri to speak Te Reo to crunching large environmental ...
    15 hours 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 ...
    16 hours 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 ...
    1 day 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 ...
    1 day 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 ...
    1 day 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 ...
    2 days 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 ...
    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 ...
    3 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 ...
    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 ...
    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 ...
    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. ...
    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 ...
    6 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, ...
    6 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 ...
    6 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 ...
    6 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 ...
    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 ...
    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 ...
    7 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 ...
    7 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 ...
    7 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 ...
    7 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 ...
    7 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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. ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    1 week ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    1 week ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    1 week ago