Open mike 03/01/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 3rd, 2016 - 177 comments
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177 comments on “Open mike 03/01/2016”

  1. Ad 1

    If global oil prices stay this low over 2016, can we expect a local gdp bump?

    • alwyn 1.1

      You are just being conned by these reports.
      Oil prices are nothing like the ones given in the paper. As the Green Party predicted back in 2011 oil prices went to $200/barrel in 2013 and never came down.
      https://blog.greens.org.nz/2011/03/09/where%E2%80%99s-the-plan/
      https://blog.greens.org.nz/2008/05/07/oil-touches-us122-per-barrel/
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10723973
      Oil went to $4/litre because there wasn’t any more oil available
      It must have happened. Great minds like Gareth Hughes and Julie Ann Genter said so.

      More seriously, ie ignoring the Green Party, it may have two effects. It will probably help hold down the inflation rate and make some local businesses more viable so they may employ more people. On the other hand we won’t see any amount of oil exploration for a while as costs of production would exceed the cost of the oil from Saudi and fracking production. Whether one likes it or not expenditure on oil exploration in New Zealand does raise GDP.

      • weka 1.1.1

        Telling lies about the GP again alwyn, what a surprise.

        Nice link to Hughes though, it is odd that NZ doesn’t have a plan for oil shocks.

        • alwyn 1.1.1.1

          “odd that NZ doesn’t have a plan for oil shocks”
          What “plans” do you think are most urgent Weka?
          Plans for the $200 oil your friends used to talk about?
          Plans for $35 dollar oil which are much closer to reality?
          Some other “oil shock”?. If so what price did you have in mind?

          Just what “lies” are you accusing me of, by the way. You aren’t going to deny the Green Party did predict increasing oil prices, which never actually happened are you?

          • mickysavage 1.1.1.1.1

            I thought that oil prices would spike. The rationale behind this was very well presented.

            The fact that oil prices have plummeted is not a cause for right wing celebration of the market. It is a reason to rethink things.

            • alwyn 1.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m not saying it is a celebration of the market

              I personally think the reason that prices have gone down as far as they have is because OPEC has lost the ability to control production and that Saudi Arabia, whose marginal cost of production of oil is essentially zero, is going to try and drive out of the business the producers of “fracked” oil or other countries in the Gulf who they don’t get on with.
              Saudi is willing to sell oil for less than fracked oil, or deep water oil, or oil sand oil or whatever, costs to produce. I don’t think it is going to work because fracking can very quickly be restarted but the Saudi Government seems to.

              I never thought of you as a Green supporter of course so your belief that there was going to be a spike in oil prices doesn’t really persuade me that the Green members like Hughes and Genter didn’t think the rise would go on forever.

          • Paul 1.1.1.1.2

            Are you aware of the causes behind the collapse of the oil price?
            It is due to a geopolitical battle between Saudi and the US and declining use by China as its economy contracts.
            Oil is not going to be the solution.

            • alwyn 1.1.1.1.2.1

              While I was typing my epistle, just above, you posted this.
              I don’t agree that it is entirely Saudi/US but I think what I posted is essentially the same as you have said.

            • Macro 1.1.1.1.2.2

              It’s also an attempt by oil producers (notably Saudi) to lock in for a few more years the wests dependence upon oil. By not controlling the market in response to the decline in demand from China, and allowing the price to decline to decade lows, Saudi see that it’s prime consumers – Americans (and car drivers in particular) will rediscover their love of the road and drive more cementing in their addiction to fossil fuels. Just like the tobacco companies will not give up on supplying their addicts neither will the oil companies. Apparently this strategy is working well – as petroleum consumption in the US has risen by around 3,4% in recent months.
              http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2015/12/30/not-even-opec-can-fix-oil-glut-energy-journal/

          • weka 1.1.1.1.3

            Not sure what you are ranting on about there Alwyn, but you do seem to be implying that there will be no oil shocks in the future. Is that true?

            The lies are in how you present things. Pretty much everytime you open your mouth about the GP misleading spin or outright lies come out. Just naming it as it happens.

            • alwyn 1.1.1.1.3.1

              I am quite sure there will be oil shocks in the future. I am equally sure that they won’t have the same cause every time. On the other hand I think our best way of avoiding the worst consequences would be to have our own oil production and that we should encourage oil and gas exploration and production within our exclusive economic zone. ie crudely put “drill baby, drill”. I am just as certain that the price of oil will be a cyclical one, not a simple escalating price rise as your friends in the Green Party were proposing 4 years ago.

              Ah remember how we had reached “Peak Oil”? Production was going to drop inexorably. That didn’t happen either did it?
              The views of many people in the ranks of Green MPs seems to go from one view of disaster to another. When one idea collapses they just propose another. They follow the approach best expressed by Lewis Carroll’s Queen
              “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

              As you say I’m “Just naming it as it happens”

              • weka

                citation needed then, for this,

                “The views of many people in the ranks of Green MPs seems to go from one view of disaster to another.”

                Shouldn’t be too hard to provide seeing as how you claim to have been paying attention. To me it looks like you just made some more shit up about them.

                Peak Oil is a real thing that existed as a theory before the GP even came into existence. The reasons for the failures in predictions are well documented and nothing to be ashamed of or shamed for.

                • BM

                  Does make you think that a lot of the end time climate change predictions may not be so cut and dried.

                  After all, who can really predict the future with any great accuracy.

                  • weka

                    Both climate change and peak oil are incredibly complex phenomena, so pinning down dates was always going to be fraught. I saw a lot of peak oil theorists early on come out with predictions. They don’t any more. But the actual theory is still sound. We just don’t know how to place it in time very well.

                    Likewise AGW, although for different reasons. I don’t see people making predictions about specific years so much, but the consequences of inaction are pretty clearly understood. The only thing you could quibble about is whether it’s going to affect you personally in your lifetime or not. Most people I know who give a shit don’t consider that to be at the forefront of concerns (and most now believe that it will affect them personally but we don’t know to what extent).

                    • Sacha

                      Peak Oil theory always predicted huge market volatility in the endtimes.

                      The Saudis cannot keep up their current overproduction for long.

                    • alwyn

                      @Sacha.
                      That depends upon what you mean by “long”
                      Proved reserves are about 268 billion barrels. Production is about 11.5 million bbl/day.
                      That works out, assuming that no further oil is found, and that recovery techniques do not improve, to being able to continue for about 65 years. I wouldn’t hold my breath, and I certainly wouldn’t bet against them finding more oil or getting better recovery levels.

                    • maui

                      If there’s over 50 years of oil left, why did oil get to 100 dollars a barrel, and why are inefficient practices like fracking and oil shale becoming viable even though they’re in large part unprofitable. Accessing cheap oil is gone, we’ve used it all.

                • alwyn

                  “Peak Oil is a real thing that existed as a theory before the GP even came into existence. The reasons for the failures in predictions are well documented ”
                  Of course the predictions were wrong. There have been about 30 years worth of oil reserves for the last hundred years. That is mostly because people don’t bother going looking or develop new technology if it isn’t required. It was true in the 1920s and it is true today. When you make a statement like the one above you clearly haven’t the faintest idea about what science is. Peak Oil was not a real thing that existed as a hypothesis. It was simply WRONG.

                  I would refer you to the definition of a theory and its reality from one of the smartest men from the 20th century.
                  ““It does not matter who you are, or how smart you are, or what title you have, or how many of you there are, and certainly not how many papers your side has published, if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period.”
                  If the predictions from “Peak Oil” were wrong it is because the hypothesis was wrong.

                  Ps. If you don’t recognise the quote I’ll give you a hint. It was a man named Richard Feynman. Look him up.

                  • Sacha

                    Do explain which aspects of peak oil theory have turned out to be wrong. Links welcomed.

                    • alwyn

                      Why don’t you ask Weka. He/she says that ” The reasons for the failures in predictions are well documented”. I really can’t be bothered documenting them all for you.
                      If you are a scientist you would understand that the only reason for predictions being wrong is that the hypothesis is wrong.
                      Also you should note that your use of the word “theory” for peak oil is a misuse of the way a scientist uses “theory”. It wasn’t a theory. It was only ever a hypothesis. That may seem like pin pricking but it really isn’t. There is an enormous difference between a theory and a hypothesis.

                    • weka

                      I’m not a scientist. This isn’t a science forum. I’m using language as most people understand it. If you can’t follow that, that’s on you.

                      You assert that if the predictions are wrong then the hypothesis is wrong but you don’t provide any evidence other than someone else’s assertion.

                      Like Sacha I’d like to know what speficially it is about Peak Oil that you think is wrong. Do you believe that there isn’t a finite amount of oil in the ground?

                    • >blockquote>a great teachable moment about the common themes you often see in Peak Oil criticism, and I’d like to identify some of them here:

                      Misdefining Peak Oil
                      Forgetting The Numbers
                      Looking Back Instead of Forward

                      http://raylong.co/blog/2015/10/4/the-crux-of-peak-oil-criticism

                      maybe that will help alwyn

                    • Pat

                      my unscientific understanding of peak oil was it was a simple equation based on “known” reserves divided by projected consumption….both of which were variable so therefore could only ever be ballpark, but the point is moot as if the science is to be believed we can’t use what we know we’ve got anyway ….and the Saudis are probably flogging off what they’ve got while they still can

                    • alwyn

                      @weka 10.03pm
                      (1) “I’m not a scientist” OK
                      (2) ” This isn’t a science forum”. But it is. If you want to discuss a scientific topic it must be a scientific forum.
                      (3) ” I’m using language as most people understand it”. But if you are going to try and discuss SCIENCE, and you are, then you really do have to use the language the way a scientist would.
                      (4) “other than someone else’s assertion”. I don’t believe you will find any scientist, of anyone who understands the scientific method who would disagree with this. You aren’t doing science if you don’t accept this.
                      (5) “Do you believe that there isn’t a finite amount of oil in the ground?”. Of course there is a finite amount of oil. That is obvious from the fact that the earth has a finite size. So what? The question is how much there is, and a valid, related, question as to whether we can use it all.
                      Your question, implying that agreeing with it is to accept that the “Peak Oil” hypothesis is valid is about as silly as asking whether there is anything such as renewable energy, and meaning that we will never run out, given that life on earth is almost certainly going to come to an end. Why not worry about that now is a question I could ask?
                      After all, we only have a billion years to go anyway.
                      http://theconversation.com/the-sun-wont-die-for-5-billion-years-so-why-do-humans-have-only-1-billion-years-left-on-earth-37379
                      Again, so what? Let the far distant future worry about it, just as, at least as far as oil running out is a question for the distant future.

                    • Incognito

                      @ alwyn at 12:06 pm.

                      ”If you want to discuss a scientific topic it must be a scientific forum.”

                      So, if I write a cooking recipe and discuss this TS must be a cooking forum!?

                      If commenters discuss batteries TS must be an electrochemistry forum!?

                      ”But if you are going to try and discuss SCIENCE, and you are, then you really do have to use the language the way a scientist would.”

                      What language might that be? Latin? As if scientists only use one (professional) language; they’re human, you know?

                      This is actually a big issue for scientists all over the world: how to communicate science effectively to the (general) public. Go to Science Media Centre and browse the website. Their aim is:

                      ”Our aim is to promote accurate, evidence-based reporting on science and technology by helping the media work more closely with the scientific community.”

                      Science communication is becoming an independent discipline per se and so it should.

                      ”I don’t believe you will find any scientist, of anyone who understands the scientific method who would disagree with this. You aren’t doing science if you don’t accept this.”

                      I don’t get what you mean here but I hope someone else does.

                  • Incognito

                    Your Feynman quote is a nice one but, as with so many quotes, it is missing the appropriate context. To make a long story short, I say that the quote cannot be generalised in the way you did. Naomi Oreskes has written some excellent stuff on this topic and I highly recommend the transcript of her TED Talk Why we should trust scientists (or listen to the talk itself). She has argued, repeatedly, that complex models should never be used for long-term extrapolations (i.e. predictions) because they’re often wrong. She has explained the reasons for this. Check it out as I think you’ll like it.

                    • weka

                      very interesting link, thanks!

                    • alwyn

                      Feynman was saying that if a prediction from the hypothesis is wrong then the hypothesis is wrong.
                      Surely she was talking about the opposite? If the prediction is right it doesn’t mean that the hypothesis is right?

                    • Incognito

                      @ alwyn at 1:53 pm.

                      Not quite. Oreskes indeed said that. But the problem is with generalisation of the Feynman quote. I just realised that there may be another reason for the confusion because of the word “predict”.

                      Roughly, whether it means “fitting past or present observations” or “forecasting future observations” – it is a gross oversimplification of what “predict” can mean in science but it will have to do for this comment. These are big differences that put very different demands on the testing of hypotheses, as you can imagine. I wrote that Oreskes has warned against making long-term forecasts because they tend to turn out wrong.

                      However, there is another reason why the “prediction” may turn out ‘wrong’ and that is because of the underlying assumptions, or “auxiliary hypotheses”, that all need to be correct at the same time when making the (experimental) observation. Bundle up your hypotheses explains it quite nicely (with illustrations!) including the famous example of Copernicus that was also used by Oreskes in her TED Talk.

                      I hope this helps.

              • Oil is now more expensive and dangerous to extract.

                It seems reasonable to think that oil would become more expensive.

                However peak oil is pretty irrelevant these days. We only have to burn 1/4 of current known oil deposits to ensure the world continues on without us.

              • RedBaronCV

                FWIW I understand that we are pretty close to self sufficent in oil as it stands. We do have to trade for type – as we produce mostly light fractions not heavy bunker fuel. The best way to stay that way and avoid the “drill baby drill” is to convert where we can onto electric say for transport use, use the most efficent – trains instead of multiples of trucks etc. etc – its all been said before.

                However, I see you are more interested in sledging the Green Party who regardless of their or anybody else’s ability to forecast the rate at which producers turn the tap on and the relation of that to price and oil shocks , want to move us out of the fossil fuel economy which is the appropriate end point.

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                We produce oil now which goes overseas 2.2 billion worth.

                Whatever makes you think our own oil production will be utilised by ourselves.

                Any more than our best meat is sold in our shops or our best fruit etc.

                So presumably you’re in favour of government intervention to prevent our oil going off shore – after all you posit that our oil production is the best way of protecting ourselves.

                • maui

                  Marsden Point (our only refinery) cannot refine the light sweet crude oil we produce off Taranaki. So we have screwed ourselves there, we have no resiliency apart from what we can import and keep in storage.

                • alwyn

                  I’ll take your word for the numbers. They sound about right.

                  The majority of the oil we produce is a light, sweet product, albeit waxy, that is ideal and highly valued for making motor spirit. It doesn’t lend itself to making Diesel or Avtur which comprise about 50% of our demand. It makes more sense to export it and import the crude that most closely matches our needs. And yes, I am in favour of foreign trade of this type.
                  The Government already has the ability, as far as I am aware, to insist that the oil we produce here shall remain here. It the absence of a war somewhere I can see no reason to enforce it, do you?
                  We can’t of course leave it in the ground, at least not as long as we want the natural gas. If we want lower carbon electricity we are better burning the gas than coal.
                  The refinery could be modified to process all our own production but why should we bother?
                  In terms of protecting ourselves we get some cover by both importing and having some to export. If the price of imported crude shoots up the price of our exports is likely to do the same and it is the difference that matters.

                • Descendant Of Sssmith

                  Some data may be useful and also some of the points made above might be useful in looking at the view in 2009 to the view today.

                  2009

                  http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5576

                  2015

                  http://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/pdf/energy-economics/statistical-review-2015/bp-statistical-review-of-world-energy-2015-full-report.pdf

                  Interestingly NZ doesn’t register on the production tables but does on the consumption.

  2. Detrie 2

    Wonderful replay on Radiolive this morning. An extract of the 6th Dec interview with Helen Kelly. Full interview is here http://bit.ly/helenkellysoundtrack

  3. Tautoko Mangō Mata 3

    Why is our Govt trying to get a free trade agreement with the Saudis?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/03/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-executes-47-sheikh-nimr-shiite-cleric.html?_r=0

    http://gawker.com/saudi-arabia-sparks-international-protests-with-executi-1750673488

    benjaminallover

    “Saudi Arabia was able to commit the crime of executing Nimr because it felt the international community its silent on its gross human rights violations.”

  4. savenz 4

    Neoliberalism in action – Key in Hawaii to hone how to bring the USA style neoliberalism to NZ…

    “The shocking, unacceptable levels of hunger and homelessness in American cities”

    http://www.salon.com/2016/01/02/the_shocking_unacceptable_levels_of_hunger_and_homelessness_in_american_cities_partner/

    Where the money is going…. from social welfare to corporate welfare…

    “Economic apartheid: Explosive report shows how rich Americans have their own “private tax system that saves them billions”
    The U.S. tax system is essentially regressive, and rich elites use the money they save to buy political influence”

    http://www.salon.com/2015/12/31/economic_apartheid_explosive_report_shows_how_rich_americans_have_their_own_private_tax_system_that_saves_them_billions/

  5. Wayne 5

    There is a pretty big difference between the political economies of New Zealand and the US. We resemble Australia or Canada much more than we do the US. Just look at the different styles of health system, education system and welfare systems for a sense of this. As a starting point New Zealand, Australia and Canada all pretty much have universal public health unlike the US system which is essentially insurance based.

    On 1 Jan, some commencers asked why I would suggest a positive electoral strategy for Labour as opposed to just dissing them. The reason is that I know New Zealand politics works in cycles and that a weak Opposition for more than 4 terms is probably unhealthy for our society. At the moment it does not look likely that Labour can form a government in 2017, unless Mr Peters allows it. And if National stays above 45% for the next two years, I reckon Winston would go right. Even the Greens might want some sort of arrangement with National (as they did in 2008).

    Now a four term National government is fine with me, but I am not so sure about a five term government.

    A lot of the commenters on this site appear to want Labour to emulate Corbyn and go hard left. That will make it impossible for Labour to win. Even if they did win following a Corbyn prescription (which they won’t) that would be bad for New Zealand, at least in my view.

    It seems to me that democracies work best by having reasonably predictable parameters to the range of policies offered by the main parties. Go much outside them and the economy and people’s opportunities will suffer. From either high inflation, or low growth, and in New Zealand’s particular case, an exodus of people to Australia and elsewhere.

    In the contemporary era (post 1984) National tends to prefer the size of govt (excluding local govt) as a percentage of GDP to be in the low thirties, and for Labour it seems to be in the mid thirties. And their respective policy choices effect that. As a general point both are basically fine with me.

    But if Labour had a series of policies that pushed the size of govt to 40 to 45% of GDP, that would result in fundamentally different style of govt. To put it in perspective that is around a 35% increase in the size of govt than is currently the case. It means the tax take has to be increased by the same proportion.

    It would mean not just increasing the two top income tax rates of 30% and 33% to probably 40% and 50%, the standard rate of 17.5% would need to go to at least 25%. I guess corporate taxes would go to between 35 and 40%. For people on typical incomes of say $50,000 to $60,000, they would be paying at least $100 extra per week in tax.

    Of course you could get a whole lot of new things from government such as minimal university fees, much greater direct grants to universities, increasing all welfare benefits by $100 per week, dramatically expanding the Pharmac budget, doubling DOC expenditure. You can think of a whole host of things that an extra $30 billion of annual government expenditure can produce.

    But I would suggest overall New Zealand would be worse off. Average New Zealand families would be paying substantially more tax, they make not be receiving direct benefits. There would be little if any difference between welfare and work. Investment into businesses would dry up.

    For many New Zealanders, both for families and businesses, Australia might become very much more attractive.

    • Sacha 5.1

      That is how things might look if climate change were not looming and requiring a total rethink of how our economies work. That will include shifting the tax base away from taxing mainly personal incomes.

      I agree about a weak opposition being harmful regardless of which governing coalition is facing less scrutiny as a result. Combined with declining media professionalism, it’s not healthy for democracy and harnessing everyone’s efforts to meet the substantial challenges ahead.

      • BM 5.1.1

        Climate change isn’t the major issue, it’s automation and the continuing disappearance of low to medium skilled work.

        Unemployment of 20%+ will be the new reality over the next decade or so ,how we deal with that will be the main issue.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 5.1.1.1

          Aye a 30 hour working week to both spread work around and to up-skill more people would be useful.

          Currently we have distributed the work through employing people for lots of hours or not employing them at all.

          When we do employ people for shorter hours we make it irregular eg zero hour contracts or at such a low rate the employer is subsidised through the benefit system.

          The other work distribution problem is that the jobs are conglomerated to large cities – Auckland in particular.

          Duplication of services in the guise of competition is another issue – adding untold cost to consumers – money that could be better utilised elsewhere. While at one level this duplication creates extra jobs many of these are at a highly paid managerial level.

          It seems to me that a significant problem that has also occurred is the ratio of the managerial group ( EA,s, PR advisors, HR staff) to staff who actually build, design, create, cut-up, kill, clean, etc has grown significantly over the years.

          This group tends to be highly paid so also suck up quite a lot of money out of an organisation.

          Take the fake power competition where we have several SOE’s with their own structure in this way.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            +1

            Exactly. Competition has raised costs considerably while reducing benefits.

          • BM 5.1.1.1.2

            Yeah, the only options really are either people work less and job share or we try and create new industries.

            I do see quite a lot of growth potential in the organic produce sector, especially with all the issues surrounding the toxicity and health risks of Chinese produce.

            People world wide want to eat healthy food.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.2.1

              And people worldwide can also produce they’re own healthy food.

              • Paul

                So signing the TPPA and giving greater rights to big food corporates like Nestle and Monsanto was a wise mood, wasn’t it? You do wonder if folk like Wayne are out of their depth on all this stuff.

        • Sacha 5.1.1.2

          Having to rework all our energy and production systems to be zero-carbon strikes me as a bigger challenge. But the changing nature of work and income is a biggie, for sure. Roll on UBI.

        • Macro 5.1.1.3

          Climate change isn’t the major issue,

          You’ve got to be joking!
          http://personal.lse.ac.uk/dietzs/Why%20economic%20analysis%20supports%20strong%20action%20on%20climate%20change.pdf
          Right now the world is showing signs of extreme stress from Global Warming that is the direct result of human action.
          California is in extreme drought – and the forests there are unlikely to survive.
          http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/12/californias-drought-could-spell-death-58-million-trees
          Inland Australia has been reduced to to a waste land in the past decade. Northern South Australia now has regularly days of 40+ degrees and the farmers are walking off their land.
          http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-02/goyders-line-climate-change-wheat-wine-grapes/6919276
          The Sahel has been a region suffering from increasing drought and is becoming uninhabitable.
          http://www.humanosphere.org/world-politics/2015/06/sahel-drought-displacement-and-conflict-leave-20-million-food-insecure/
          The Middle East has been in drought for a decade, and there is strong evidence that the effect of drought and increased food prices were a prime cause for the civil unrest that resulted in the Civil wars there.
          http://www.irinnews.org/report/90442/syria-drought-pushing-millions-into-poverty
          The flooding in Britain is also exacerbated by increased world wide temperatures. The atmosphere now carries about 5% more moisture than pre-industrial levels resulting in increased precipitation events (including snowfalls). The cost of the flooding is predicted to be in the order of 1.5 billion Pounds. This is the 2nd flooding event in recent years and the UK can expect more.
          http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35189179
          The increasing number of heat waves world wide is resulting in increased death rates.
          http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/health-society/heat-deaths.html
          And I haven’t even begun on the cost of world wide inundation – Bangladesh, http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2013/06/19/warming-climate-to-hit-bangladesh-hard-with-sea-level-rise-more-floods-and-cyclones-world-bank-report-saysChina, http://www.carbonbrief.org/china-tops-new-list-of-countries-most-at-risk-from-coastal-floodingare particularly vulnerable involving millions of people, and not to mention major Cities such as – NY, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, to name a few.
          All of NZs main cities will also be subject to change from sea level rise apart from Hamilton.

          • Naturesong 5.1.1.3.1

            There’s a story in the Herald today covering the discovery of a mans body at Mawson Glacier.
            My initial reaction was “that poor man”.

            Attached to the story is a picture of Franz Josef.
            My reaction to that was: “where the fuck has the glacier gone?!!”

            I know it’s summer, and I havent been there in 20 odd years. But I’m pretty sure it used to be big, and awesome, and amazing.
            Now it looks like a half frozen puddle.

          • marty mars 5.1.1.3.2

            + 1 so true Macro – for anyone to say it isn’t the major issue shows woeful ignorance.

          • One Two 5.1.1.3.3

            Climate Change is not a cause in and of itself. It is a symptom

            Many here don’t or can’t seem to grasp that simple concept

            Addressing the casue, requires action and activity, orders of magnitude beyond anything I have read proposed or written about on this site.

            Addressing the ’causes’ of CC is the much bigger more significant issue, than CC itself

            • Macro 5.1.1.3.3.1

              You are so correct – I much prefer the use of AGW, as it highlights the now undeniable fact that it is human influence that has resulted in the unprecedented warming we have been witnessing over the past few decades.
              However, I was replying to a quote by BM who used the term “Climate Change” so I addressed my reply in those terms.
              I believe that many on this site are well aware of :
              1. the urgent need for action to address the continual accumulation GHG in the atmosphere,
              2. what actions need to be taken and now,
              3. the consequences of inaction.
              and I have not even addressed the matter of acidification of the oceans.

              • One Two

                I don’t believe most have the faintest understanding of what is required to get #1 & 2 progressed in any meaningful way

                Broadly, it would require total and systematic change to the very core structural frameworks which have been built up over the past few hundred years. Structures and frameworks which most here, and elsewhere debate and discuss as if they are living , breathing entities

                Those same core structures and frameworks are deeply entrenched and staunchly defended, by those who designed ,own and control them

                Until the owners of the core structures are removed, so the core structures and frameworks can be re-engineered, there will be no meanginful change of direction or outcomes

                Listing weather events, commenting on COP XX and beliving in the root cause of CC, serves only to support the status quo

                Such a deep understanding is required of the structures which entrap humanity, while at the same time the thinking remains inside parameters that are narrowed, defined and controlled (defended) by components of the establishment which must be replaced

          • BM 5.1.1.3.4

            Sure it’s an issue, but it’s completely out of our hands.
            All we can do is deal with the effects, as they happen.

            In the mean time other more pressing issues will need to be sorted.

            • Macro 5.1.1.3.4.1

              Of course it is not out of our hands! That is a stupid response.
              Yes we are now seeing the effects of just 1 degree of warming – are you ready for 2 degrees? The world governments have long recognised that such warming would be catastrophic. That is why in Paris they set a target of 2 degrees as the absolute max and 1.5 as the aspirational target.
              What the world must do and must do urgently is to rapidly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels the main source of energy. No its not going to be easy, but unless we do it, our descendants will face a world trashed by us.
              If we are to stay within the 2 degree limit of warming that the world in Paris set itself then the total mass of GHG emissions from human activity must be less than 840 GtC. By 2011 humans had used up 531 GtC of that 840 GtC total. With business as usual we are adding to the atmosphere around 10 GtC per year and that rate is growing at about 2% per year. If we continue to throw our hands up and say we can do nothing about it we will hit the 840 GtC limit around 2035. If we keep emissions at 2011 levels we would hit the 840 GtC limit around 7 years later. We have around 300 GtC left to “play with” – less if we really want to give ourselves a fighting chance to stay below 2 degrees.
              There are ways and means to reduce our carbon emissions and people world wide are doing that – but it will take the concerted effort from everyone to take the matter seriously if we are to make substantial reductions. It will not be easy – but if it was treated with the same urgency that countries address war – it could be done.

          • Sacha 5.1.1.3.5

            “All of NZs main cities will also be subject to change from sea level rise apart from Hamilton.”

            Who knew the Tron would eventually become our capital?

    • Sacha 5.2

      “Investment into businesses would dry up.”

      So long as we refuse to fix the current systemic bias towards residential propertry investment, that will continue – major problem already.

      • Paul 5.3.1

        He won’t.

        • Pat 5.3.1.1

          it would appear not…..curious considering he would have been in Cabinet when the EU announced the bogus nature of the credits…. I wonder if the new Environment Minister will be any more forthcoming?

          • Sacha 5.3.1.1.1

            I would not expect a current Law Commissioner to criticise the govt unless authorised, even if she felt so inclined.

            • Pat 5.3.1.1.1.1

              I asked for comment , not criticism…..if party to decision is it unreasonable to expect justification for your (collective) position?

              • Sacha

                Oh I’m not justifying silence. Given Law Commission has not been asked to address that matter, I just don’t expect a comment without Eagleson or similar telling Mr Mapp he’s covered.

                After all, this climate credit dodginess may end up being actionable at some stage depending how well progressives can get our shit together. Probably not, then. As you were, Wayne.

                • Pat

                  I note however Wayne has his PhD in International Law (though they do say a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client) and further note this administration appears completely unrepentant about acting unlawfully….perhaps Paula will be having a quiet chat with a legal mind or two over the xmas break.

    • scotty 5.4

      ‘Now a four term National government is fine with me, but I am not so sure about a five term government’

      Could you be more specific as to why you’d not favour a 5th term National government.?
      What specific concerns do you have for National gaining power in 2020 – that don’t apply in 2017 or didn’t in 2014?

      • Wayne 5.4.1

        Fair question Scotty,

        In my lifetime even the third term looks pretty rough, though John Key is doing much better with his third term than Muldoon, Bolger/Shipley and Clark did with theirs.

        So on that basis it looks like Key will be OK for a fourth.

        But since WW2 we have not had a fifth term govt (excluding labour elected in 1935). And at least going by Labour in 1946 to 1949 and Holyoake/Marshall inform 1969 to 1972, the fifth and fourth terms respectively really exhausted the potential of those governments.

        So history would certainly indicate a fifth term will be too much.

        If National does get a fourth term, who leads Labour into 2020? It is only just over four years away before the 2020 election.

        • alwyn 5.4.1.1

          “we have not had a fifth term govt (excluding labour elected in 1935”
          The first Labour Government, elected in 1935 was only a 4 term one.
          It was elected in 1935 and re-elected in 1938, 1943 and 1946. They were then defeated in 1949. That is 4, not 5, terms.

        • Ad 5.4.1.2

          Commenters may disagree with his views on the size of government, but this is a core National supporter and ex Miniater worried about party dominance in our democracy.

          That’s significant.

          No ex-Labour MP did that in the third term of Clark.

          • alwyn 5.4.1.2.1

            I am sure I can remember both Bassett and Prebble expressing concerns.
            Or are we like Orwell’s world and they have become non-persons?

            • Ad 5.4.1.2.1.1

              Almost all on here would deny they were ever Labour. So yes. Non persons.

              • Anne

                I knew both of them reasonably well in the 1970s and they were definitely Labour at that time. I remember visiting Michael Bassett’s home on a few occasions and MJ Savage’s famous photo figured prominently on the wall. I never did figure out what happened, but the scene soured in the early 1980s and never recovered. By the end of that decade they were all gone. Quite sad really.

            • Paul 5.4.1.2.1.2

              Bassett and Prebble represent the ACT branch of the 1980s Labour Party.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 5.5

      Broaden the tax base by taxing at gross business income (before expenses) so every business in NZ pays tax all at the same low rate.

      Net off the wages when you do this so that the current situation where businesses that actually employ someone don’t pay more tax (basically unavoidable) than businesses that don’t. No tax would then be paid on wages and salaries.

      Increase the minimum wage substantially.

      Don’t allow any deduction of expenses – leave that between the owners/shareholders and those managing the company.

      Ensure tax is collected at point of sale – the majority of transactions now are through electronic means – and that each business pays tax monthly on their cash sales.

      Ensure stamp duty, at the same tax rate as business tax, is paid on capital gains in selling property.

      Tax all trusts and religious groups as well. It’s becoming more and more evident that both these areas are rorts for not paying tax.

      In effect a very easy to understand, easy to administer, difficult to rort, even handed tax system that gives a steady daily revenue stream to government that also means that businesses can’t really disappear not having met their tax obligations as they are taken out mainly at point of sale.

      The improved collection of tax would make a substantial difference – even by virtue of reducing the amount of non-collected tax to date which runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

      • mikesh 5.5.1

        “Broaden the tax base by taxing at gross business income (before expenses) so every business in NZ pays tax all at the same low rate.”

        I think I would reduce company tax to zero, but require companies to pay out all income as dividends; then of course shareholders would have to pay the tax at their own tax rates. If a company wished to retain all or part of its earnings dividends would have to take the form of new shares in lieu of cash.

        “Don’t allow any deduction of expenses – leave that between the owners/shareholders and those managing the company.”

        I think I would allow deductions for all expenses except interest and wages/salaries. Wage and salary earners would then not be required to pay tax. To compensate themselves for this employers would probably pay their workers a little bit less, and perhaps be less willing to borrow.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 5.5.1.1

          Your logic loses me at zero based company tax and allowing for expenses.

          If there’s no tax there’s no expenses to allow.

          The problem I see with allowing expenses for tax purposes are several fold:

          1. Someone has to determine what is allowable and not and set rules around that.
          2. The rules require people to check and enforce.
          3. Businesses can create their own expenses structure to layer costs to reduce tax eg Australian banks charging their NZ branches a fee to use the Westpac name to move the profit to another country. This means no tax gets paid on that expenses.
          4. It’s essentially bureaucratic and inefficient.
          5. Tax minimization becomes a business strategy in order to be competitive with other businesses – the business should be concentrating on building the business and making it profitable.

          • mikesh 5.5.1.1.1

            “Your logic loses me at zero based company tax and allowing for expenses.

            If there’s no tax there’s no expenses to allow.”

            But there is tax to pay. It’s just that in the system I suggested that tax would be paid by the shareholders individually rather than by the company.

          • mikesh 5.5.1.1.2

            A better system might be one in which all income was taxed at a
            flat rate. A company would then pay tax at that rate on its profits and all dividends would then be tax free. However a flat tax system would probably require an “unconditional basic income” to be introduced alongside it to offset its lack of progressiveness. Another disadvantage might be that a company might not be able to compete effectively overseas if the rate was set too high.

    • Andre 5.6

      Wayne, thanks for the thoughtful explanation of your conservative view. It really does provoke thought, rather than just going for a wind-up in response to a partisan promotional puff-piece.

      Whenever I’ve been bored enough to go looking for actual studies on the relationship between growth, taxes, and size of government, the overall conclusion I’ve come to is the on average, low taxes on top income, small government actually lead to low growth and low incomes. Whereas higher top taxes, and bigger government with programmes to get more income in the hands of poorer people actually, surprisingly, do lead to more economic activity and higher overall incomes. Not a conclusion I expected, or being generally in a top tax bracket, one I wanted to reach. So to me, it seems the choice is, to make up crude numbers, an average income of $50k with an average tax take of 15% in the small government low tax scenario, or an average income of $75k with an average tax rate of 25% in the big government/high top rate scenario. Or in my case, $100k/25% vs $150k/35%. And I also get the impression that many on the right treat small government/low top taxes as worthy goals of almost religious significance regardless of evidence about actual outcomes.

      All of the things you’ve listed, increasing DOC budget, increasing welfare, and so on, they are not just an expense on existing taxpayers. They increase economic activity, thereby increasing incomes making working more attractive than welfare, and creating new jobs, thereby increasing the tax take. The evidence seems pretty clear, Keynesianism is a much closer description of what actually happens than trickledown.

      Another apparent axiom of the right is that higher taxes discourage people from trying to make money. Growing up, my best mates dad was in the habit of buying new Jaguars and Range Rovers (in the 70s and 80s), as a small business owner. At one point, there was a change in policy that amounted to an effective substantial tax hike. His response was, well, I’d better figure how to increase my income if I want to keep up the toys. And he did, expanding his business. Then when taxes dropped in the 80’s, he seemed to go, well I don’t need the extra work and aggro to get what I want, and allowed to business to scale back. The exact opposite of what conventional economics as subscribed by conservatives (and apparently Treasury) predicts.

      I’d really like to go on, but other commitments intrude and that’s probably enough of my pompous assery for now…

      • Naturesong 5.6.1

        Every cent my great grandfather earnt that was above the top marginal tax rate* was donated to charity.

        But then, he didn’t have to work at all if he didn’t want to. He liked his work, and the social status and power it brought.

        Personally, $80k a year gets me everything I need. No stress, no worries, can plan long term, pay my mortgage, go out when I want and eat quality food every day.
        I’m happy to pay 35% on anything over 80K, and 50% on anything over 200k.

        Why not, the extra money doesn’t make my life any better. And improved social services, housing, health and education reduce the long term chances of me being stabbed to death for a watch or pair of shoes.

        *90% at the time.

      • Expat 5.6.2

        Andre, +1

        The smartest economists in the world would agree with you (as I do), as the evidence is overwhelming.

        2017 brings the opportunity to vote out a corporation and vote in a democratic government.

        In 2005 to 20011 I ran a small business, my business, like most was dependent on customers, customers with a disposable income, during that era, there was declining unemployment, where in 2009, it was a historical low. I had so much work I couldn’t keep up.

        In 2011, the six months work in front of me evaporated to nothing as the then and now govt introduced wide sweeping tax changes, unemployment went from 3% to over 10% in just six months.

        The rest we know, which is where we are today, any govt that treats it’s citizens like sheep to be herded where ever they like will never reap the benefits of a truly prosperous economy.

        • Nic the NZer 5.6.2.1

          Sorry Expat, that might be what you thought you observed happen at the time, but its not a ‘valid’ economic theory.

          What actually happened is that in 2008 most of the country threatened to leave and go to Australia. Fortunately Bill English made an announcement, that national would cut back spending and run a budget surplus (eventually) if elected. The results are plain as day, and New Zealand was saved (from becoming a state of Australia). Everyone lived happily ever after, at least until the end of Nationals 4th term in office, the end.

    • As a starting point New Zealand, Australia and Canada all pretty much have universal public health unlike the US system which is essentially insurance based.
      National would like to move to the broken US system. It’s pretty clear to anyone watching the creeping privatisation, outsourcing, underfunding combined with Nationals worship of financial markets as the source of wealth.

      Even the Greens might want some sort of arrangement with National (as they did in 2008).
      The Greens have always been willing to work with all parties where there is overlapping interest. This has been true since the beginning of the party – it’s not a new thing, its part of the party’s DNA.
      A formal coalition agreement however, while technically possible, is unlikely to happen while National continue to implement policies which encourage exploitation of NZ resources and people. Not to mention the current undemocratic behaviour, corruption and incompetence.

      A lot of the commenters on this site appear to want Labour to emulate Corbyn and go hard left
      For me, I don’t care about such labels. It’s whether the policies are efficient: the best outcome for the most people while disadvantaging the fewest the least.

      Contemporary era (post 1984) National tends to prefer the size of govt (excluding local govt) as a percentage of GDP to be in the low thirties, and for Labour it seems to be in the mid thirties. And their respective policy choices effect that. As a general point both are basically fine with me.
      Any party that uses this goal as a driver for the creation of policy to my mind is not fit to govern – period. It’s the wrong metric.
      Government is there to enact the collective will of the people. I tend to restrict it to core functions;

      1. Is it a service needed by the majority of the population (Health, education, justice et al.)?
      2. Is it infrastructure critical to the people of NZ (Local Loop, Southern Cross cable, Power grid and hydro power stations)?
      3. Is it a natural monopoly (Power grid, credit creation, local loop)?
      4. Is it a natural resource that is prone to exploitation (forestry, fisheries, mineral and carbon deposits)?
      5. Regulation of activities which present a threat to the lives and health of NZ citizens (health and safety, pollution et al.)
      6. Providing a safety net for those among us who may experience difficulties in life, be it health or other issues.
      7. Core research. Private companies by design simply cannot embark on wide ranging and world changing research in the way Govt’s are able. Internet, WWW are a couple of recent examples.
      8. Ensure that private individuals do not become so powerful that are able to kill and main people with impunity. I’m looking at you Peter Goodfellow and Peter Talley.

      Basically it comes down to ensuring that all citizens have a chance of being the best that they can be.

      … if Labour had a series of policies that pushed the size of govt to 40 to 45% of GDP, that would result in fundamentally different style of govt. To put it in perspective that is around a 35% increase in the size of govt than is currently the case. It means the tax take has to be increased by the same proportion.
      Not really. It’s pretty clear that you don’t understand how economies work.
      For a start, governments tend to provide services much cheaper than the private sector for a few reasons.

      1. Economies of scale. Govt’s provide services for the entire population across multiple services. Private companies for the most part are unable to reach this level of agglomeration. And when they are, the benefits go to the private company, not the NZ people who pay.
      2. Profit. This is dead weight. Govt services should only ever make a profit accidentally, never by design.
      3. Purpose; a private company’s raison d’etre is profit. Any service or product provided is simply a method realise profit. Government are there to provide services, and are required to do it as efficiently as possible.
      4. Democratic oversight. We have very little in NZ and it’s a problem.
        If we had, Simon Upton would have been jailed, and Helen Clark would never have been PM (HIV and HepC respectively)
        Private companies have none. The limit is whatever they can get away with.
      5. Information; govts gather information and stats from many different areas. A private company will not have the range of data and information available to it and has to either repeat the data generation or get it from the govt at a cost or as a subsidy.
      • Draco T Bastard 5.7.1

        Any party that uses this goal as a driver for the creation of policy to my mind is not fit to govern – period. It’s the wrong metric.

        QFT

        1. Demand monopoly
        2. Factories to produce everything that we need can easily fit in here
        3. Natural monopolies do need to be state owned
        4. All natural resources in NZ are legally owned by the government. The problem is that we licence the private sector to extract them and sell them off to the highest bidder which encourages both unsustainable extraction, poor health and safety and other socially damaging practices. We should be either doing the extraction by a state department or hiring a private sector company with full controls in place. Either way, the government should be keeping ownership of the resource and either stockpiling or selling as needed.
        5.
        6. The economy is there to ensure that we a) live within the resources we have and b) to ensure that everyone has a reasonable living standard. It’s not there to make a few people rich.
        7. The Entrepreneurial state proves that innovation is led by government research and not by the private sector (5 minutes with Mazzucato).
        8. Yep, nobody should be above the law

    • Nic the NZer 5.8

      That’s an un-mitigated pile of steaming fantasy drivel, Wayne.

      “But if Labour had a series of policies that pushed the size of govt to 40 to 45% of GDP, that would result in fundamentally different style of govt. To put it in perspective that is around a 35% increase in the size of govt than is currently the case. It means the tax take has to be increased by the same proportion.”

      Evidence against, while the National party has run substantially larger deficits and government spending than Labour this didn’t increase the ‘size of government’ as a percentage of the economy and it didn’t require increased taxation either actually taxation has been lowered at the same time (with frequent Labour party complaints). In fact there is simply no significant correlation between the size of govt and the tax rates applied.

      and there goes your entire argument against left wing governments.

      Your support for a right wing/centrist Labour party in relation to National is rather easier to understand “As a general point both are basically fine with me.”

      • Wayne 5.8.1

        Nic the NZer

        Yes you can run large deficits for a while. And National did initially due the recessionary effects of the GFC and then the Christchurch earthquake. And they have sustained economic activity, especially during 2009 to 2012. The earthquake alone has added around $25 billion extra debt to pay for the repairs to public infrastructure and to cover EQC.

        But as a result, debt as a percentage of GDP has gone from around 10% to 30%. Due the nature of our economy going above 45 to 50% leads to serious problems for New Zealand on international debt markets.

        So long run deficits are not a practical solution. As National from 1997 to 1999 and Labour through to 2008 showed, you need surpluses in good times in order to be able to comfortably borrow in less good times.

        By the way I disagree with your view that there is no co-relation between the size of govt and growth. All the fast growing Asian economies have the state around 20% of GDP, whereas slow growing Europe is typically over 40%. In more mature economies, the faster growth economies have the state around 30 to 35%.

        In the US they spend 5% of GDP on defence, whereas for most other western economies it is around 1%. This is a key reason why the US has such a deficient social infrastructure. They have prioritized defence over social spending since they see this as a necessary requirement to be the leading power in the western world (not that I would expect Standardnista’s to see much value in that).

        • Nic the NZer 5.8.1.1

          Some progress, but must try harder to peel back the layers of your ideological Onion, Wayne.

          So far then, there is in fact no direct correlation between the size of government and the tax rate (which was your original, but false, assertion).

          Now we have another one,
          “But as a result, debt as a percentage of GDP has gone from around 10% to 30%. Due the nature of our economy going above 45 to 50% leads to serious problems for New Zealand on international debt markets.”

          Can you name one such government? I can name several like NZ (e.g a country which issues its own currency, so excluding the Eurozone, for obvious reasons if you understand the mechanism) but none have serious problems on international debt markets. A brief list, United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada all well over 50%.

          That is not to say that NZ could not use alternatives anyway. The only reason that the deficit is borrowed is to allow the RBNZ to control the OCR (above ZIRP), not because the Govt can’t issue money.

          Its hardly interesting that you “disagree with your view that there is no co-relation between the size of govt and growth.” because I never expressed this view at all.

          I in fact expressed the view that tax rates are not correlated with the ‘size of government’, though to comment on this there is a direct component of GDP which is government spending and taxation so you would expect to see a positive correlation between the deficit and GDP growth rates in general. In fact its pretty much irrefutable that this happens, as its based on an accounting identity. On the other hand as I already said there is not such a strong correlation there with the ‘size of government’ anyway.

          And in reference to your earlier statement that, ” Investment into businesses would dry up.”, you presumably claim this will happen if NZ runs a large budget deficit. You may want to look closely at Japan, which has run both a large budget deficits and has high private savings rates. Again its hardly surprising when you understand the mechanism that private savings (and investment) rates are positively correlated with the govt budget deficit, again its true by accounting.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.8.1.2

          As National from 1997 to 1999 and Labour through to 2008 showed, you need surpluses in good times in order to be able to comfortably borrow in less good times.

          And yet, throughout 2000 through to 2008 National were screaming that taxes needed to be cut because of the surplus.

          All the fast growing Asian economies have the state around 20% of GDP, whereas slow growing Europe is typically over 40%.

          And an economy that’s nowhere near as mature as that of the Western nations which means, as you well know, that their growth will be faster due to diminishing returns effects upon the more mature economies.

          In the US they spend 5% of GDP on defence, whereas for most other western economies it is around 1%. This is a key reason why the US has such a deficient social infrastructure.

          I’d say that the higher spend on health produces a far more deleterious effect than the high spend on defence. Especially considering how much of that spend goes on useless BS such as advertising, duplicated administration and profits.

        • Pat 5.8.1.3

          FFS…Treasury’s own figures give a PROJECTED cost of 15.4 billion as the cost to the government of the CHCH quakes….and a goodly portion of that is yet to be incurred….this constant misuse of the quakes as a cover for economic mismanagement is wearing very thin…..especially when 80% of the estimated cost of 40 billion was covered by insurance/reinsurance…most of which was new money to the economy that the government collected revenue on in various forms.

          http://www.interest.co.nz/business/73898/overdue-eqc-review-sparks-uncertainty-among-re-insurers

          “Swiss Re managing director, Mike Mitchell, says while insurers paid for 80% of the economic loss of the quakes in New Zealand, they only covered 25% of the loss of the 2010 quake in Chile.”

    • Draco T Bastard 5.9

      It seems to me that democracies work best by having reasonably predictable parameters to the range of policies offered by the main parties.

      Translation: Political parties should all have the same policies and they should all agree with National.

      Go much outside them and the economy and people’s opportunities will suffer.

      The economy and people’s lives are suffering now because we have the wrong policies in place and National are making it worse.

      Average New Zealand families would be paying substantially more tax, they make not be receiving direct benefits.

      That would depend upon your definition of average and, just going on your short list, everyone would be getting direct benefits. Of course, it’s the indirect benefits that are where the real benefits come from so I’m not surprised that you’ve tried to make them seem unimportant.

      There would be little if any difference between welfare and work.

      No, there’d be a real difference between them.

      Investment into businesses would dry up.

      Doubt it as there’d actually be more money flowing through the economy.

    • Wainwright 5.10

      Lost any credibility once you described Corbyn as “hard left”. Typical rightwing dogwhistle. Corbyn’s policies are widely supported and the only reason people like you and the UK media are desperate to smear him is because he presents a real challenge to the status quo. Of course you want NZ Labour to carry on being sad-sack yes-men to your favourite government.

      It’s sad because if you really meant that stuff about government needing proper opposition I’d agree with you.

    • Incognito 5.11

      Thanks Wayne for an inside in your thinking. Although you don’t hide that this is your opinion for me it contains too much speculation and innuendo.

      Some examples:

      ”a weak Opposition for more than 4 terms is probably unhealthy for our society.”

      Sure, but don’t you think a weak opposition per se is unhealthy? How many times in history have we experienced such a situation for more than 4 terms? Is it better to have weak Opposition than a weak Government? This is rhetorical BTW.

      ”A lot of the commenters on this site appear to want Labour to emulate Corbyn and go hard left. That will make it impossible for Labour to win. Even if they did win following a Corbyn prescription (which they won’t) that would be bad for New Zealand, at least in my view.”

      I was going to point out the unsubstantiated assumptions here but there are too many; the only kernel of truth is that it is your view.

      ”Go much outside them and the economy and people’s opportunities will suffer.”

      This is just scaremongering and avoiding risks and (relatively) unchartered territory, i.e. clinging to the status quo.

      ”But if Labour had a series of policies that pushed the size of govt to 40 to 45% of GDP, that would result in fundamentally different style of govt.”

      The key word here is if; the numbers are made up, of course. In any case, more of the same does not necessarily equal a fundamentally different style, just more of the same.

      ”It would mean not just increasing the two top income tax rates of 30% and 33% to probably 40% and 50%, the standard rate of 17.5% would need to go to at least 25%. I guess corporate taxes would go to between 35 and 40%. For people on typical incomes of say $50,000 to $60,000, they would be paying at least $100 extra per week in tax.”

      Did you get these numbers from Treasury or did you make them up yourself?

      ”But I would suggest overall New Zealand would be worse off.”

      Speculation masquerading as ‘opinion’ as is the rest of that paragraph; the Ctrl-, C-, and V-buttons on my keyboard are starting to show signs of OOS.

      ”Australia might become very much more attractive.”

      Could you have made your point with less emphasis? As it stands it is as compelling and emotive as a bragging school kid.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 5.11.1

        ”Australia might become very much more attractive.”

        Could you have made your point with less emphasis? As it stands it is as compelling and emotive as a bragging school kid.

        Wayne’s thinking is superlative is it not? lol.

      • RedBaronCV 5.11.2

        To me Wayne just looks like he’s trying to spread a “big Lie” rather than engaging in real economic discussion. Looks like this is the 2016 RW themes.

        Otherwise why is he suggesting that:
        Taxes on incomes up to $100k are going to increase sharply
        That government will take over an extra 10-15% of the economy. (half as much again – get real)

        Well the massive debts run up by the Nact government will need to be payed down at some stage – but I’ll be quite happy with massive taxes on the over $200k crowd, capital gains on large asset pools and tossing all the foreign bludgers off our economy with some solid taxes.

        As to government activity – we’ll get a lot more bang for our tax buck if we throw the corporate bludger off the taxpayer life support (think Serco)

        • Incognito 5.11.2.1

          For a serious discussion on a serious subject by serious people with serious (as in “positive”) intentions I think it seriously matters what language is used and how. The language is always key. I just cannot tell whether this was a serious attempt by Wayne to bridge the left-right divide or something more sinister perhaps. Since we all know who Wayne is in real-life we ought to put our bias to one side maybe, or maybe not …

          • Naturesong 5.11.2.1.1

            Wayne is a leader who’s intelligent, knowledgeable and respected. He also knows intimately how power structures work in NZ in and out of Govt.

            I was pleased to see that he commented here sometimes.

            But the content he posts here always* contain some logical fallacies, error in reasoning and political memes.

            I’ve come to the conclusion that either he’s not as bright as his CV suggests, or he thinks the readers on the standard are stupid.

            I’m leaning toward the latter as when he responds it’s always to discuss irrelevancies (and in this case petitio principii logical fallacy – Govt % of GDP is one observed result of economic behaviour not it’s cause – he also seems to believe that a quantitative measurement is a qualitative one).

            So I read his magical thinking tied together with reckons, and it just makes me sad.

            *every post of his that I have read

            • RedBaronCV 5.11.2.1.1.1

              Or he has an ulterior motive – looking for the gaps in the RW spin perhaps before it’s launched on the MSM at large??

              • weka

                I was wondering that too, having noticed the nice little push about the GP and National.

                • Sacha

                  research is research. the ultimate was the Herald and RNZ *paying* Farrar to run Nat lines to test em out. #usefultools

            • Incognito 5.11.2.1.1.2

              Thanks Naturesong for sharing your views on Wayne.

              In that case he’s not as bright because he thinks TS readers are stupid. Still, you don’t have to be bright to be right.

            • Ad 5.11.2.1.1.3

              Unless you’re an ex Crown Minister and longstanding National supporter, plus PhD, you’re talking out your ass.

              Listen more and pontificate less.

              • Huh?

                Unless I’m “… an ex Crown Minister and longstanding National supporter, plus PhD* …” I’m unable to present any criticism of Dr Mapp?

                Or I must be ” … an ex Crown Minister and longstanding National supporter, plus PhD …” in order to recognise sophistry?

                *this describes Dr Mapp

                • some give undue respect to ex MP’s and ministers – class system? probably – certainly a lot to do with imported notions from the old country in my experience and a bit of the double headed coin showing for gnats and labs

          • RedBaronCV 5.11.2.1.2

            I’d go with the “maybe not”. We know that high end tax cuts have contributed substantially to the amounts borrowed but the the rest of Wayne’s assertations about higher taxes at the lower end are simply assertations without any substantial backup and actually are more likely to be NAct policy rather than that of any left wing party. Maybe he is floating the Nact policy to pay off Nact borrowings.

            But he wants the myth out there so that NAct can do threequarters of those amounts and then praise themselves for being restrained.

      • Naturesong 5.11.3

        ”Australia might become very much more attractive.”

        So, go to Australia and pay higher taxes while having zero or limited access to the social services that said taxes fund?

        Sounds legit.

        • Expat 5.11.3.1

          Taxes are actually much lower in Aus, First $18,200 is tax free for everyone, GST is 10% , and only on 47% of all goods and services, and yes there are limits to access to some social services, but healthcare is still free.

          • greywarshark 5.11.3.1.1

            I thought there were state and federal taxes too in Oz. I don’t see why everyone shouldn’t pay some tax on income, just that it should go up progressively on an afford to pay basis. Makes sense except for the affluenza crippling of the heart and arm paralyses the necessary nerve impulse.

            • Expat 5.11.3.1.1.1

              It means that people earning less than $18200 don’t pay any tax, that is a very low income, the govt also use to subsidize their super contributions.
              The ideology is to ensure a minimum base living standard for those on low incomes, note that the minimum gross income for an adult for 38 hours is around 33k, so any one working full time is paying tax.

              Tax on wages goes to the Feds and GST from consumption goes to the state govts.

              Simple evaluation on 50k, payg (pay as you go) tax is $8500 or around 17%, on 80k payg $22500 around 28% and then 10% GST on around half of the goods and services, 0% on food and 10% on power or fuel.

          • Naturesong 5.11.3.1.2

            But tax rates for the lowest stripe aren’t too relevant in this case.
            People generally don’t move to Australia for the opportunity to work on the minimum wage.
            We’re talking about the higher marginal rates.

            Federal Taxes:
            $80,001–$180,000 37%
            $180,001+ 45%

            Plus:
            State taxes: around 5% to 6.5% flat rate depending on the state

            Plus:
            Medicare Levy: varies on circumstance, but 2% is at the higher end.
            This is a single payer health care system. It’s not free.

            So, I’d be paying 44% marginal on anything I earnt over 80K (which is the very low end of what I would earn in Sydney as an experienced IT engineer – bring on those change meetings!!)
            And, if managed to get to $180,000 (not anytime soon) marginal rates would effectively be around 50% ish.

            Want to guess what the top marginal rate is for an IT engineer here?
            hint: Salary range of $75K to $130K ish

            • Pat 5.11.3.1.2.1

              the % rates and graduations are secondary in importance to avoidance/evasion

              http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2013/03/06/gordon-campbell-on-yesterdays-ird-victory-against-tax-avoidance/

              • Expat

                Pertinent point, last week the Au fed govt released some of the names of corporations earning over $100m who did not pay one cent in tax, of 1580 corporations making over $100m, 350 did not pay any tax, 300 odd who paid only a percentage of tax (at 33%) and another one third who paid the full amount, any idea who the ones they named are.

                The last time I was in NZ (Auckland) recently, I was told that the city was “awash” with cash, why pay GST if you don’t have to.

                They don’t like to call it tax avoidance/evasion, it’s termed “tax minimisation”, sounds better, but still the same thing.

                • Pat

                  unfortunately although the end result is the same they are not quite the same thing …avoidance is facilitated and legal,evasion is poorly policed due to under resourcing though illegal…the cost of both is well understood and deliberately not attended to (by those tasked with writing the law) but consider the impact on personal tax rates, be they PAYE or company (perhaps even GST) if the ability to avoid/evade was severely curtailed

            • Expat 5.11.3.1.2.2

              Yeah, but the average wage in NZ is much lower than you expect to be remunerated for, how many NZers are on the minimum wage, the last time I looked at the NZ dept of stats it was over 40%.

              Yes, you pay 2% for Medicare, but you can go to the doctor for free and that’s every one.

              The higher tax structures for above 80k are an incentive for people to add to their super contributions as the tax rate for an individual is only 15%, ie contribute to your super an extra amount to get your income below $80k and only pay 28%, not to mention the employers mandatory contribution of 9.5% of gross income into your super each month, on 80k that’s $7600, sorry, what do they give you in NZ.

              The max tax rate in NZ is only 33%, but you pay 15% on every thing you purchase, that’s everything, but the deficit in NZ has ballooned out to a massive $105b to pay for the unrealistically low top tax rate, the evidence is overwhelming.

              Sooner or later someone will have to pay that money($105b) back, but in the meantime, keep up the interest payments of $15b p/a, the sort of money that keeps schools and hospitals running properly.

      • Wayne 5.11.4

        Incognito,

        I have a pretty good base of knowledge about the level of tax increases required to fund an increase in the size of govt as a percentage of GDP from the low thirties to the low forties. It was not specifically researched for this item.

        As noted Labour during 1999 to 2008 kept the size of govt to around 35%, and its tax policies broadly reflected that. Michael Cullen made much of the virtue of doing so. National’s criticism of Labour’s economic policy was a bit muted because we realized it was not too bad. We did focus on a few aspects of it, including tax cuts – this was after all a core National Party election policy promise in 2008.

        I suspect an incoming Labour govt would do much the same as the Clark government, as opposed to much more left wing platform which would lift the size of govt above 40%. An increase in the size of govt to 35% does allow $12 billion new spending each year. You can do a lot with that. It would mean top taxes of around 40%.

        But if Labour is taken over by the New Zealand equivalent of the Corbyn revolution then I guess a more radical alternative would be proposed, but I would ask, how much appeal would it have to swinging voters?

        • Naturesong 5.11.4.1

          But if Labour is taken over by the New Zealand equivalent of the Corbyn revolution then I guess a more radical alternative would be proposed, but I would ask, how much appeal would it have to swinging voters?

          With 5% of the population on $100K or over, all you have to do is convince a significant percentage of the population to vote against their interests.

          It’s not difficult, all you need is money. Lots of money.

        • Incognito 5.11.4.2

          Fair comment Wayne.

          Taken your numbers prima facie why do you suspect that the next-elected Labour government would copy the Clark government, that a much more (!) left wing platform would lift government expenditure above 40%, and what on Earth is a ”Corbyn revolution”? As far as I know Corbyn is yet to be elected to lead a government and get his hands on the till so this is a ‘straw man’, isn’t it?

          None of what you have written thus far would have much appeal to swinging voters IMO.

          One question though, if you don’t mind: should politicians and political parties focus on appealing to swinging voters and/or centre vote or also advocate programmes and policies that might be unpopular but that could be ‘just what the doctor ordered’? In other words, where do you sit on the ideology-popularity continuum?

          • Wayne 5.11.4.2.1

            I regard myself in economic terms as relatively centrist, which I consider that the Key govt is. Obviously centre right as opposed to centre left.

            By most perspectives (though not that of most Standardnistas) the Key government would not be considered right wing. It is, in my view, centre right.

            Winning is not everything, but a effective political platform has to appeal to centre voters. In very difficult times (Greece) that will be more left wing. But given that New Zealand does not have Greece’s problems centre voters will not want a radical platform.

            • Paul 5.11.4.2.1.1

              If you put alongside Key’s government’s policies alongside those of Muldoon and Holyoake’s, you would find that Key is much more right wing and slavishly neo-liberal. And you would not call Key’s government ‘conservative’ by any code. It is revolutionary …in favour of global corporations.

              Centre right..I know that’s the spin, but what a joke!
              You might want to look up Overton’s window.

            • Ad 5.11.4.2.1.2

              For a National government, this one is exceedingly moist.

              Not saying I like them.

            • Incognito 5.11.4.2.1.3

              Thanks Wayne for engaging and answering my question(s).

              I can tell that you used to be a politician (once a politician, always a politician?) by the roundabout way you answer questions 😉

              The major public perception is that the Key Government is centre-right and the centre voters are obviously relaxed and comfortable with this and we wouldn’t want to spook them, would we now?

              I have no idea what you mean by ”a radical platform” though. Is going nuclear-free radical, for example? It is all in the framing, isn’t it? Similarly, create a perception of the Opposition going to radicalize our beloved society and upset the status quo and people start running for the hills. Is this now acceptable behaviour in NZ politics and do you consider this to be “probably unhealthy for our society”, to use your own words? After all, winning is not everything, as you said, so where do you draw the line?

        • Ad 5.11.4.3

          That’s the political point which people need to take to heart here.

          No-one says political romance was dead until you encourage the deep left to invent their version of a tax system. Off they go into ‘happy never happen land’ again.

        • Pat 5.11.4.4

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP

          I note those well known economic basket cases Germany,Sweden and Norway have tax to GDP ratios of 40.6,45.8 and 43.6 respectively

          • Ad 5.11.4.4.1

            Wayne’s point is their electability here.
            Not Sweden.

            • Pat 5.11.4.4.1.1

              was it?

              “I suspect an incoming Labour govt would do much the same as the Clark government, as opposed to much more left wing platform which would lift the size of govt above 40%. An increase in the size of govt to 35% does allow $12 billion new spending each year. You can do a lot with that. It would mean top taxes of around 40%.

              But if Labour is taken over by the New Zealand equivalent of the Corbyn revolution then I guess a more radical alternative would be proposed, but I would ask, how much appeal would it have to swinging voters?”

              I think you misunderstood his thrust….tax in excess of 40% of GDP is the preserve of radical lefties that would be unpalatable to centrist NZ voters….I doubt most NZers would complain about Swedens,Norways or Germanys standard of living nor consider them radical lefties( though Im sure some would consider anything to the left of Genghis Khan a radical leftie)

    • Ad 5.12

      I see Wayne’s point.

      Size of government and overall tax burden won’t necessarily get us a better country.

      It might get you elected.

      But by itself doesn’t answer whether it fundamentally alters the country or long term improve its people’s prospects.

      The onus of ‘the vision thing’ rests upon the Opposition. Clearly, not with National.

      • millsy 5.12.1

        Whilst I support more government spending, I think we need to hand more power to local bodies, etc.

    • b waghorn 5.13

      “New Zealand politics works in cycles and that a weak Opposition for more than 4 terms is probably unhealthy for our society”
      You do realise that part of the reason the opposition is in a weakened state is that the filthy underhanded shit your mates get up to have caused it.
      But you couldn’t give a fuck could you as long as your future is secure?

  6. Sacha 6

    @lprent, comment user name had two quote marks prepended before I removed them manually – code change?

  7. Molly 7

    Flooding in Ireland at the moment across many counties.

    Hard to see how insurance companies will continue with increasing numbers of homes and businesses continuing to be affected by these kinds of disasters.

  8. millsy 8

    Wayne — probably worth pointing out that the larger the state is, the less people there are in poverty.

    There was no poverty in NZ before 1984.

    • Sorry to burst your bubble, but neither of those things are true.

      There was poverty in NZ prior to 1984, just less of it. However if you were born poor you had every chance to get out of poverty*.

      And the size of the state does not determine the amount of poverty. It depends on the quality of the governance.

      * unless you were Māori or Pacific Islander

      • millsy 8.1.1

        “* unless you were Māori or Pacific Islander”

        They were better off economically, though they got a crap deal culturally. My father used run a car dealership in Taupo — appearently a lot of Maori came in with their “Maori Affairs cheques”, gave them to him, and then asked him what car they were buying again…you couldnt do that if you were in poverty.

        Now the ‘Maori Affairs cheques’ are captured by the iwi elite…

        If anyone could kindly detail what these cheques are for, it would be great.

        • Naturesong 8.1.1.1

          Without getting into detail, my point was that while Māori or Pacific Islanders certainly had opportunities, they didn’t (and still don’t) have as many as say, me; middle class white guy.

          New Zealand’s history of institutional racism and bigotry within the colonial population can be observed by opening up a history book.

          Then there was the overt policy of assimilation. Sounds benign doesn’t it?
          Until you realise that the end result is the destruction of Māori as a culture.
          Which unfortunately for us, neatly fits the definition of genocide.

          Embarrassing eh?

          So yeah. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

          • Descendant Of Sssmith 8.1.1.1.1

            Which unfortunately for us, neatly fits the definition of genocide.

            Nope genocide is actual killing – while assimilative policies might result in other negative impacts (and some positive ones) they didn’t actually involve going out and killing Maori.

            • Naturesong 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Raphael Lemkin:

              Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.

              Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization by the oppressor’s own nationals.

              • Incognito

                If you do a Google search on these three words: forced migration genocide, you’ll be in for a shock. I was going to mention a few examples here but I don’t really want to wake any dogs, least of all Cerberus.

                  • Incognito

                    No sorry, look a little further abroad, including our largest trade partner and a small peaceful mountain nation, for example. Or the Dark Continent. More than I wanted to mention but your comment made me reconsider. I always thought genocide involved the slaughtering and decimating of a certain people but Lemkin was right. This is one of the problems with ‘definitions’ that lead to certain ‘rules’ and justify certain behaviour. A bit like: “it’s legal so I’m relaxed and comfortable with it”. It always is a fine line, drawn by one human for another human, isn’t it?

                    • Descendant Of Sssmith

                      Well can’t argue with the person who coined the term.

                      I did do a couple of dictionary checks before posting – obviously should have cast the (inter)net a little further.

                      The various events weren’t a surprise but the extension of genocide to describe events beyond mass killing was a little.

                      Thanks for that.

                    • To Descendant Of Sssmith

                      Sorry for being so blunt about it. But I do get annoyed with the stories and myths that NZers (hey, thats me, I’m one of those) tell themselves about the founding of modern NZ.

                      And I don’t think we can properly address some of the current problems (incarceration rates, health) unless we can talk plainly about how we got here.

                      The oft repeated theme in NZ is that we treated our natives better than the Americans and Australians.
                      Which, if you ignore the arrogance and superiority implicit in the statement, is kinda true.
                      Our genocide was to be a long term project, a kinder gentler way of destroying a people.

                      History is not static events, it is a continuum. Attitudes today are not born from nothing, made from whole cloth. The foundations were laid over generations.

                      How many people remember the “Maori” jokes. Where the punchline casts Maori into the role of thief, or unskilled, thick or stupid?
                      These are constructs, created specifically to stereotype Maori. After all, it’s easier dismiss someone who you believe to be inherently dishonest or lazy.
                      The template is straight from the “Irish” jokes that originated under British occupation there.

                      There was a comment on TS a few days (week?) ago with Cenk Uygur (Young Turks) went through parts of a Gallup poll conducted for the OECD on attitudes toward violence.
                      In it 50% of New Zealanders thought that “military attacks on civilians as sometimes justified”.
                      This stands out like dogs balls and seems too terrible to be true.
                      But it makes perfect sense when you view it in context with NZ history of organised violence against Maori, be it land courts, police or militia.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 8.1.1.2

          It was for their share of the revenue generated off their land.

          It was administered by Department Of Maori Affairs who would allocate based on maintaining the records of communal ownership.

          Basically it’s their own money.

          Same with the many scholarships that Maori Affairs used to manage – came out of iwi funds not the tax payer as many believed – no different to the scholarships Catholic organisations gave to Catholic children – apart from the European whinging about the former.

  9. millsy 9

    Wayne, I would like to know what your opinion is on the US health care system, and if you think it is OK that people should die because they have no insurance.

    Probably must also point out that there are a lot of homeless people in the US, but you dont really give a shit.

  10. Whispering Kate 10

    I watched a fascinating documentary this morning on Aljazeera, about a radio station which began 20 years ago broadcasting from inside Argentina’s largest mental institution. La Colifata Radio was started by a medical student who was researching inside the hospital. It apparently has made quite big inroads in the treatment of mental illness. Patients in the hospital and former patients make up the programme and its broadcast to many thousands of listeners throughout Latin America. Its easy to read about it on the net. What a wonderful way to make a meaningful contribution to mental illness, helping these people to help themselves. They are now broadcasting outside the hospital and people were interviewed throughout the local population about what they thought of it and apparently all types of people tune in and just love it.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a radio station here to help the many mentally unwell to cope with their lives. There was a quote on the programme and it went something like this …. “mental illness is just intelligence spilled over”. They are a forgotten people, its so easy to accept physical illness but oh so difficult to accept mental illness , this radio station is just marvellous if you ask me.

    • Macro 10.1

      What a great idea Kate. There are so many radio stations just pumping out music and mindless nonsense. Community involvement is such a valuable way of helping people develop their personal worth.

  11. RedBaronCV 11

    Lets look at policy changes in the micro -as it appears that our current government throws money at the overpaid to achieve hits in kiwiblog. I really couldn’t believe this one.

    We could downsize some parts of government – perhaps we could start with the Law Commission.
    The President & Commissioners ( currently 4 but soon to be inflated to 5) takes a third of the revenue of $3.3m. Some zero hours contracts could help this figure.

    The Commission investigates what the Minister tells it too – looks like there are 4 issues on the table at the moment. It doesn’t really investigate areas causing grief to large numbers of ordinary NZer’s. Otherwise I think we’d see a lot more around retirement and body corps plus costs of accessing the law.

    One measure of it’s success is the mentions in largely RW media (page 22 of the 2014/2015 Report) and I quote:

    “Strategy
    -Promoting informed debate on the Commission’s law reform reference

    The Commission’s papers being referenced in a wide range of
    media.

    The quantitative trend of Law Commission ‘hits’ in the media does not decrease for:
    •Law Talk and NZ Lawyer
    (being the professional media of the legal profession);
    •NZ Herald (being print media);
    •NZ Law Journal (being an academic journal); and
    •Kiwiblog (being social media)

    Achieved
    Partially achieved – Measure was achieved for Law Talk, New Zealand
    Lawyer and the New Zealand Law Journal, but not for the New Zealand Herald or Kiwiblog.”

    It wouldn’t be hard for any opposition party to do better than this.

    • greywarshark 11.1

      I enjoyed that RedBaronCV. Good as a play – a French farce for instance.

      • RedBaronCV 11.1.1

        Yep when you measure the success of a supposedly serious law commenting body by the number of mentions on kiwiblog -hahaha. And Wayne (above) signs these reports off.

  12. greywarshark 13

    Perhaps Wayne would like to become an author and regularly run a post called Waynes World? It would be a graaand tussle between Goliath and David. But he was a good little stone thrower and size and grumpiness aren’t everything. David will soon have a good supply of bricks too. So quite a cocky little feller he could be, compared to the behemoth, if he just gets his act together.

    • Naturesong 13.1

      Could repost (with permission of course) from Pundit.

      But I’d rather have Prof Geddis considered opinion than Dr Mapps to argue over.
      His arguments are well reasoned and his humour nice and dry.

  13. Descendant Of Sssmith 14

    How poverty changes kids brains.

    http://nautil.us/blog/how-poverty-changes-kids-brains

    Have you found that the greater brain-surface area of kids from more affluent backgrounds correspond to differences in their performance on tests?

    We did, we found that families’ socioeconomic differences were associated with differences in reading, vocabulary, memory, and executive function. (Executive function is a cognitive system that governs planning and problem-solving.) These associations have been shown before. But we showed that differences in performance on executive-function tasks in particular could be explained by the brain surface-area differences.

  14. Iraq: Staff charged with protecting NZ ambassador ‘walk off the job’
    Private military contracting continues to work as expected.

    excerpt:

    The private security staff are paid by the Australian Government to protect Australia’s embassy, which is shared with New Zealand and base to ambassador James Munro.

    The Australian reported this week that up to 40 protection specialists of the 67 who had guarded the embassy were to be flown out of Iraq as a result of the dispute.

    It came as the company hired to provide security began a new contract at a substantially lower rate than it had previously received for the same task. Unity Resources Group will be paid $51 million to provide protection for the embassy for the next five years after picking up $101 million for the work for the four previous years.

  15. greywarshark 16

    There is a pretty big difference between the political economies of New Zealand and the US. We resemble Australia or Canada much more than we do the US. Just look at the different styles of health system, education system and welfare systems for a sense of this. As a starting point New Zealand, Australia and Canada all pretty much have universal public health unlike the US system which is essentially insurance based.
    That’s from Wayne at No.5. It’s an ingenuous remark. NZ has social policies still that were installed in the past but the plug can be pulled. If the Natsies could get away with it they would hold an emergency parliament under urgency, theirs, and radically change these things.

    One important thing is the time to be together. We have lost our opportunities to meet on weekends because the shops have to stay open and we have to keep buying. We have had a little success at limiting the hours that hotels and bars can keep open. It was 24 hours in Britain, and there have been some open here till 4 a.m. But there is anxiety to keep a semblance of an economy showing when tourists arrive. The consumerism of retail that has replaced manufacturing semi-skilled jobs has to run on credit, so the banks lend billions through credit cards, make a profit on every borrowing, then hold it to their chests or note it as gains to their Oz owners, while they pay out 2.5% interest on savings.

    Many don’t know what their hours will be each day, and over a week, and so on. But the bills arrive on a set day and state when they are to be paid. There is an attempt at jokey, bawdy fun and humour that seems forced and can be spiteful, there is glitter and tinsel to match the jollity, and demonstrate the good times being enjoyed. But the real everyday happiness, hope and opportunity have been pared away from NZs and it seems that every attempt has been made to set this situation as the ongoing norm, no way back to where we were.

    We have a target based economy which has to try and manage higher demands with less money, lower staff numbers, lack of skills or experience, or some other entity will get the contract. It’s like surrogate motherhood on a large scale. We don’t try to do anything for ourselves any more, and often because we can’t. The country’s business plans and commitment to staff are so short term, that if there is a need, there are no skilled people to do the job available immediately, and the country doesn’t have time to defrost those from the deep freeze. It just sends for some hot bodies from overseas.

    I’m not impressed with fat-necked tomcats telling us how well ‘the country’ is doing.
    It’s like the proverbial shirking maid sweeping the doings under the carpet out of sight.
    What you don’t see, won’t harm you. But indeed we are harmed.

    Have a look at Chris Trotter’s first essay for the year. On NZ Labour, its centenary,
    and whether it’s a funerary celebration – ‘For whom the bell tolls.’
    http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2016/01/orbiting-dying-sun.html
    … In 1916, Labour was led by heroes. One hundred years on, perhaps predictably, it is led by colourless political careerists: men and women lacking the character, courage and creative intelligence to be genuine revolutionaries – or even effective reformers….
    …about the only thing 2016 has in common with 1916 is the growing sense among progressive voters – the democratic public – that the hitherto all-conquering Labour Party has lost its way.

    International trends in progressive politics provide considerable encouragement for this point of view. In Europe and the United States there is growing evidence of the emergence of a new progressive paradigm: one which takes as its starting point the necessity of challenging and defeating the dominant neoliberal worldview.
    edited

  16. greywarshark 17

    lprent
    It seems that there is some particularly heavy discussion that’s gone on in today’s Open Mike and which deserves more consideration. Is there any way that Open Mike’s can be preserved for archives rather than just held for a short time. It could be tagged political discussion or cut and thrust? A lot of thoughtful rumination has gone on that seems worth preserving.

  17. linda 18

    did anyone pick up on the Bearnard hickey article on mortgage debt
    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/mortgages/news/article.cfm?c_id=516&objectid=11545650
    fools have borrowed 5 to 7 times there income total fukwits
    the new film the big short should be compulsory viewing along with the inside job

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    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 hours ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    8 hours ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    24 hours ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    1 day ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    1 day ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    2 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    2 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    3 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    5 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    6 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    7 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    7 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago

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