People of the Year

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, December 7th, 2017 - 135 comments
Categories: feminism, news - Tags: , , , , ,

Time has named “The Silence Breakers,” their term for members of the #MeToo campaign and other people breaking the silence about sexual abuse and assault, as its people of the year. This is an incredibly welcome change from last year’s neo-nazi of the year, President Trump1, and a fitting tribute to the dozens of people who came out against Harvey Weinstein, the most high-profile female participants and the seeds of the social phenomenon, and also to people like Anthony Rapp, who braved the stigma against men talking about surviving sexual assault, and confirmed what has long been known in the industry about Kevin Spacey.

This isn’t some thing we’re looking back on, either. It’s still going, just a couple of days ago, John Oliver confronted Dustin Hoffman about his own sexual assault allegations at what was supposed to be a fluff press event, making it obvious to everyone that Hoffman had no real excuse for the allegations, and also making it quite clear that he’s sincere when he talks frequently about women’s rights on his show, because this could seriously impact his opportunities to do similar events in the future. And this campaign has only been talking about the really big stuff, not the small things that add up over time. New women and men are breaking the silence regularly, and old allegations are coming to a head in the US in a way that’s honestly refreshing.

But here in New Zealand, the initial social media campaign landed, with people sharing their stories, but didn’t seem to gain any particular traction or momentum. Despite having a fierce advocate as Minister for Women, and a female Prime Minister, all of a sudden we’re lagging behind the USA, a country whose President is a thoroughly-accused sexual predator, in our progress for women’s right to confront their abusers and actually expect some sort of consequences. Instead, we have empty whataboutisms with no examples of the problems they decry (in this case, overreach in allegations) from lightweight commentators. If you want an example of what it’s like to come out about these sorts of things in New Zealand right now, Angela Cumings is dutifully chronicling the worst of the replies to her experiences on twitter. (You may remember her story from certain ridiculous road sign pictures, and the facts of the case are not in debate anymore, just people’s various interpretations of it) Here is just a taste:

The success of #MeToo in the USA is likely a convergence of factors we simply don’t have in New Zealand: A collective frustration at a leader who is an all-but-proven sexual predator, a powerful abuser whose career and politics are arguably out of favour with those in institutional power at the time the publicity boils over, the ease of sharing stories on social media and the ability for men to actually find out just how many women (and sometimes, men or others) they know have dealt with this nonsense, (okay, we have that one, but it needed mentioning to explain how it happened in the US) and probably most critically, a finally receptive audience of men willing to become allies and join the pressure against this behaviour as unacceptable.

The culture for New Zealand men is deeply embedded in this kind of toxic masculinity- we’re expected to have only two types of visible feelings: anger, or a kind of stoic friendship generally expressed in the terms of “ah, he’s a great bloke, isn’t he?” Anything else is to be dealt with by going out as soon as practically possible and drinking yourself comatose. We defend guys who seem like ‘good blokes’ in public because most abusers never show the same face to everyone else as they do to their victims. If someone like me can accept that Kevin Spacey is absolutely guilty of what he’s been accused of and needs to get help and spend some time in career jail as a consequence of his actions, then rugby-heads, police fan-boys, and But He’s A Good Guy apologists are absolutely capable of accepting that the people they thought were their heroes might actually have some really deep issues, without actually compromising how they see themselves or their interests.

And maybe we might accept that as men we really, really need to have more socially acceptable ways to talk about our feelings that don’t involve alcohol. It’s not enough to say that hitting women, or unwanted sexual advances, are inappropriate. We need to look at the feelings and beliefs that lead to that behaviour and give people healthy outlets for those that don’t result in sexual assault, and hold accountable those individuals that have. It shouldn’t be up to women to take this further than they already have in New Zealand- they’ve been brave, they’ve shared their stories and come to court often enough. The change has to come from us men.

If you want to get involved in fighting this kind of violence or want more information, Women’s Refuge is an excellent starting place for activism, but for those of us who identify as men, probably the first thing we’ll need to accept is that there will be uncomfortable revelations as part of the journey of ending this type of behaviour, and being able to push through that discomfort, and look at allegations from a starting point of giving women the benefit of the doubt, is absolutely the first step we need to take.

If you’re unsure about what is reasonable conduct towards women, there are some excellent resources on the web that will give people confidence about things that are definitely unacceptable. Be aware that frequently people don’t complain about unwanted behaviour directly to the person doing it, because they have learned much earlier in life that doing so often leads to reprisals, so you can’t always expect someone to tell you themselves that your behaviour made them uncomfortable, in fact feedback will usually either be written or passed on by a third party warning you, and you should take those warnings seriously.

Caveats for people who absolutely require them:

Believing women doesn’t mean turning off our skepticism about allegations, it means that we don’t do things like assuming women are making allegations for fame, (something that’s literally never eventuated) that we don’t engage in behaviour that assumes that allegations are false until proven in court. It means we look at factors like plausibility, corroboration of accusers’ stories at the time, and the number of accusers and whether the allegations form a coherent pattern that’s consistent with the facts. You’re all adults, I believe you’re capable of simultaneously giving credibility to someone’s story until it’s proven to be wrong while also not jumping off half-cocked assuming that someone is guilty until you’ve heard their side. The reason so many of these cases have been piled on so effectively is because the other side has been full of absolute rubbish- Harvey had a non-defense defense, as did Hoffman, and Spacey actually invented the first bad way to come out as gay.

While there is absolutely an extrajudicial pile-on going on, this is because factors like non-disclosure agreements in settling sexual assault allegations, systemic failure in the jury trial system, unfair statutes of limitation, and other obstacles are preventing allegations from being determined seriously in a legal setting. If these obstacles aren’t taken down, trial by media will have to continue for high-profile sexual abusers and harassers, because it is the only way to end this sort of behaviour. If the justice system is effectively reformed to make these sorts of trials easier to bring while still giving fairness to the accused, then maybe we can start moving cases back there, but people need to realize that a lot of survivors of this behaviour have no confidence in the justice system right now. That confidence needs to be restored before we ask them to go to the justice system as a first resort.

Not everyone who experienced this kind of behaviour can come forward publicly. Some of the aggressive allies you see of these survivors will in fact be survivors themselves, and others not. This is actually why there’s a woman out of the frame in Time’s cover: she’s supposed to represent those who can’t come forward. Not everyone who can’t come forward is scared- as I alluded to earlier, there are NDAs, family situations, and employment situations that make being public about this sort of thing a practical impossibility. We should still support such people as best we can and according to their wishes. That means not outing them against their will at the very least.


1 Trump has, of course, been awarded second place this year, which is likely more to do with his influence on the political conversation than any actual achievement. Time also failed to make any substantive mention of the myriad allegations of sexual assault against President Trump, an omission that is an absolutely stunning lapse in light of its People of the Year.

135 comments on “People of the Year”

  1. Matthew Whitehead 1

    Hello everyone!

    Just pointing out that I will be holding people to a relatively high standard on this thread, seeking to avoid misogynistic language and any direct personal attacks on women, especially women commenting in this thread.

    I am hoping we can have a discussion that allows for a range of views without having to resort to moderation, but we’ll see how this goes. I do intend to allow plenty of license to constructive points from skeptics of women’s rights and men’s rights activists, but it would be helpful if those people afforded women dignity during the discussion.

    Kia ora.

    • Lara 1.1

      Thank you. For giving us some space. Usually our voices are silenced with hatred.

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.1

        You’re quite welcome. I’m keen that TS becomes a place where women feel safe both commenting and writing.

        I think we’re a little bit lucky that traffic is slow today and the trolls are focusing their attention elsewhere. 😉

        • lprent

          I think we’re a little bit lucky that traffic is slow today and the trolls are focusing their attention elsewhere.

          I wouldn’t rely on it. That can change in a heart beat. But that said, December is always the month that tends to slowly die a very long and protracted death as we swelter our way to xmas.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    I have yet to see a serious act of violence that was not provoked by the experience of feeling shamed James Gilligan.

    Where does this shame arise?

    To put it another way, what is so fragile about our precious ‘masculinity’?

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.1

      Well, one of the things I’ve noted is that sometimes it rests on an assumption of entitlement, such as entitlements to women’s labour, bodies, affection, etc…

      Naturally, under that framing, women’s independence can feel like it shames their partner, especially if there are other underlying causes to those feelings of needing control, or entitlement, such as unhealthy relationships with our parents, or even those partners being victims of abuse themselves (it is a sad reality that on the violence side of the equation, victims of violent abuse will often turn around and abuse their own kids.

      In terms of sexual harassment, it seems to be about never having those boundaries enforced upon us by authority figures in our youth. “Boys will be boys” is a really unhealthy attitude. The best thing any parent of sons can do is to raise them as feminists, or at least men who respect the independence of women.

  3. Matthew Whitehead 3


    Senator Al Franken is likely to be forced to resign as most of his progressive and female colleagues call on him to leave the Senate as additional survivors have broken their silence, although he’s holding on ’till tomorrow before he makes a decision.

    • Matthew Whitehead 3.1

      Update: Franken has now resigned, and has drawn attention to the allegations against President Trump, and the lack of will within his own party to hold him responsible, when he did so.

  4. weka 4


    Charlotte Alter‏Verified account @CharlotteAlter

    Charlotte Alter Retweeted TIME

    This was conceived, reported and written by women. It was fact-checked by women. The video was shot and edited by women. The layout and photo spread were designed by women. It’s one of the reasons I’m proud to work at @time

  5. timeforacupoftea 5

    New Zealand has moved on dramatically since the 1960’s when women who were getting married were tied up to parking meters or lamppost some only in underwear.

    I remember the capping processions where women would be picked up and lifted into a cattle truck and be touched all over.
    The year I was lifted into the cattle truck a parking meter girl had her pantyhose removed and nearly her pants.

    God those were the days.
    Men at my work thought nothing of putting a hand up your dress and grab a breast at the same time when the fashion was a mini length tent dress.

    I don’t hear of it anymore where I work with over 1000 staff these days.
    Not to say it doesn’t happen I suppose.

    • Lara 5.1

      I don’t think so.

      I was a victim of pedophiles at Centrepoint in the ’80’s. I see it’s happening again right now in a commune in the south island.

      I’ve had instances of sexual harassment as recently as a year ago (I live in a very small town and don’t interact with people much).

      I remember being thrown over a flatmates shoulder in 1991 to be used as an exercise weight. Another flatmate ran his hand up and down my leg just before I left for a date noticing how I’d shaved.

      So many more instances.. this could be a VERY long post.

      I don’t think it’s changed that much actually. Either you’re male or you’re getting older?

      And then there’s the online hostility to women. Try discussing perpetrators of sexual violence or the gender pay gap… see how well that goes down.

      This hostility has the effect of silencing our voices. It’s well and truly silenced mine in most forums on those issues. If it wasn’t for Matthews comment here about moderation I’d not be making this comment.

      • weka 5.1.1

        I also think it’s still prevalent. I think what’s changed is that there are now a sizeable number of men who are pushing back against it too and making an effort to change the culture. That’s a shift in my lifetime (I’m early 50s), and one that gives me hope.

        “If it wasn’t for Matthews comment here about moderation I’d not be making this comment.”

        That’s a very useful thing to know, thanks.

      • Matthew Whitehead 5.1.2

        Thanks for sharing. If I’ve made even one person feel confident to talk in even this one arena I feel like I’ve done something worthwhile today. 🙂

    • Matthew Whitehead 5.2

      It happens, it’s just gone underground. Odds are you know multiple people who have gone through it, whether they can be public about it or not. =/

  6. Ad 6

    Tweet from Lorde, January 30th this year:

    “These old men in power have a storm coming, the likes of which they cannot comprehend.”

    She caught it.

    • Matthew Whitehead 6.1

      Did she though?

      I mean, obviously in hindsight the sentiment is right, but I feel like this must have been something lots of talented young women have said through the ages, that surely eventually there’ll be a reckoning they don’t understand, and afterwards maybe things will be better. But I think we’ve had to keep moving on to new reckonings each time, because we’re taking things in chunks.

      I hope this is the last one they need. I hope it’s enough for the US and even NZ to make some serious progress on sexual harassment, abuse, assault, and domestic violence. But I think maybe there’ll be more storms to come in the future before we get there, and Lorde just happened to be really lucky in her timing.

      That’s not to say I don’t think she was smart and reading some very real undercurrents that women were mad as hell and didn’t want to take this anymore, just that I feel like she isn’t the first woman to say those words and may not be the last.

  7. adam 7

    The way our society dealt with the roast busters sums it up for me.

    When donkey came out and said “boys will be boys” – that was it, story ended and they went on with the next news cycle. That the pm could just uttered a turn of phrase, and people just walked away – summed up how much we don’t want to think, or indeed talk about the issue.

    I’d argue our misogyny in nz is embedded in our bloke culture, and that it can’t be challenged until we address the power differentials that goes with that bloke culture.

    • mary_a 7.1

      adam (7) … Yes I agree. Some relevant points raised in your post.

      Interestingly that very same PM you mention, was also exposed as being a predator himself. One case in particular, he kept ignoring his victim’s plea to stop touching her, despite the assault taking place over a period of several months and under the watch of members of the PM’s police protection squad!

      Yet, nothing became of the case. Perhaps that was because the young woman involved, by the nature of her work in the service industry was considered to be subservient to her powerful high profile assailant! The status issue would undoubtedly be one major reason victims are reluctant to speak out.

      Then there was the well known sportsman identified as sexually assaulting a woman. Because of his high profile position, he had name suppression in NZ.

      I’ve never supported NZ following the US in anything. However in regards to this issue, I absolutely do. I have no doubt there are plenty of silent victims, prey of high profile personalities in NZ, who through possible threat and fear, are hesitant to say anything of what they have been forced to endure. They must be encouraged to speak out. Put the spotlight on the deviants. Name and shame their assailants!

      • Matthew Whitehead 7.1.1

        Yeah, it’s worth remembering that John Key wasn’t just a spectator to this, he engaged in the harassment himself. He thought he wasn’t doing anything much wrong, (and how loudly does THAT statement speak?) but in theory, if he had been her boss in a corporate environment, his behaviour would have been fireable had she gone to HR.

        The problem is in practice, as always. People shrug things off if the person is in power, and they’re convenient to them ideologically, or financially, because they don’t want to rock the boat. That was National voters and John Key after ponytailgate.

        This is the most galling part of him being knighted, to be quite honest. We shouldn’t have harassers walking around with honourifics before their names. He should be a name that scores free points any time Labour can reasonably bring him up, in any sort of just society, and makes the National Party feel embarrassed that he was ever their leader, even though the harassment he did at least wasn’t sexually explicit, there were still very creepy power dynamics to it.

        • adam

          Two things the whole knighthood thing is always about thuggery at some level. Whether it’s explicit and open, or subversive and economic. The whole class system and titles is about rewards for holding working people in check.

          As for the hair pulling not being sexual, I don’t think we can rule that out. It sure looked like the behaviour of a fetishist to me.

          • mary_a

            adam ( … and there’s also evidence of the same creepy behaviour with girls as well from Key. Like you I’d say it was a sexual fetish, something he was unable to control, needing to touch women’s/girls’ hair, ponytails in particular. Quite abnormal.

            As for knighthoods … award for crooks and deviants!

        • Draco T Bastard

          He should be a name that scores free points any time Labour can reasonably bring him up, in any sort of just society, and makes the National Party feel embarrassed that he was ever their leader, even though the harassment he did at least wasn’t sexually explicit, there were still very creepy power dynamics to it.

          Best way to do that is to have that honorific removed. And there’s so many reasons to do so.

          The only thing I don’t know is if we can petition the queen to remove it. If we can’t then it’s another reason to remove those honours – again – as they’re obviously not honourable.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            This is yet another reason to go full republic and have our own national honours, so we can take them back if people are found out as dodgy creeps. 🙁

            • greywarshark

              The Honourable Kiwi David Farrar and Slater Cameron and Matthew Hosking or whatever for services to the republic. Give us a break Matthew, the only thing that holds this country of actors, conmen and tricksters together with some gravitas to look up to is the connection to Royalty, take that away at the top and the inflated rise, and the deflated will fall further down the pecking order.

              • solkta

                Yes, we should keep the queen ’cause her shit don’t stink.

                • greywarshark

                  Oh thank you, I am so grateful that you have deigned to convey your sentiments from your lofty intellect here in words that you can understand. I suppose you consider your remark heavily sarcastic.

                  • solkta

                    Well then perhaps you could explain why you think the British royals are better people than the rest of us? It seems a strange thing to make classist assertions on a left wing site.

                    Perhaps you could answer Matt’s question below?

              • Matthew Whitehead

                Yeah let’s never mind she never actually does anything specific to New Zealand, her son had an enormous and unconstitutional influence on British policy, and there’s all sorts of racism coming out of that family, apparently they’re the ones that’ll save us.

                Give me a break. Name one thing the monarchy has done for New Zealand in the last twenty years that wasn’t a symbol, or wasn’t actually the New Zealand Government doing it “in their name.” (That means even the Governor General doesn’t count, btw, as they’re a government appointee) I’ll wait.

                • solkta

                  Why just twenty years? She has been ‘our’ queen for 55 years.

                  At 91 years old she doesn’t have the good sense to retire.

                  edit *65 years

                  • Matthew Whitehead

                    Because “twenty years” is more than enough time for one significant thing to have happened if she was our Queen in anything but name. I thought I was being quite generous giving twenty, arguably if there’s merit to a monarchy they should be doing something for the population every year.

                    • solkta

                      But why leave any doubt that she has done absolutely nothing, ever?

                    • Matthew Whitehead

                      I’m pretty certain the monarchy has done nothing significant in the modern history of New Zealand, and that the closest we’ve come to it doing anything useful was the UK government telling off NZ settlers for not being sufficiently lawful.

                • I do hear that she does a lot for NZ but I can’t think of a damn thing off the top of my head.

                  It’s probably about time that we actually had it listed somewhere as to what she does and why.

                  After all, we will need that information when we move to become a republic and discuss just what we want out head of state doing.

                  And we need Māori word for the position as well.

        • Lucy

          In the corporate environment in NZ if she had gone to HR he would have been fired only in a small number of preset circumstances. If he was someone that had offended some guy with more power he would be gone if not HR would minimize and make it so uncomfortable for her she would need to leave and trails of her actions would follow her to her next job at reference time! Most NZ women wont complain as we know the consequences which continue way beyond the current job. Also if you’re stuck with a creep the next workplace may have a creep four times as bad.

          • BM

            HR’s role is to protect the company not help the employee damage the company.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Except the employee damaging the company is the one doing the harassment, abuse, or assault, not the one making the accusation, BM. Dealing with it fairly, promptly, and without consequences for any demonstrably innocent parties should enhance the reputation of a company, not damage it.

              (I accept this is just the theory, in practice there are people who enable this behaviour who won’t see things that way, but the safety and productivity of their female employees should be worth losing face with apologists for sexual harassment IMO)

              • BM

                I don’t think it’s a good thing, it’s just the way HR operates and employees have to consider that before they take their issues to HR.

                If the person you’re complaining about is higher up the ranks there’s a fair chance the company will consider that individual of higher value to the company and it may end up as you who has to leave or gets managed out.

                Especially if you’ve got no proof and it’s a he said she said situation.

                • Matthew Whitehead

                  Even if there’s no photographs or eyewitnesses and it is a matter of hearsay or competing stories, that’s not the same thing as there being “no proof.” There is comfirmation that both people were at the same place alone, the potential for other people to come forward with matching or similar allegations, and whether someone can confirm that the accuser told them about the incident before the complaint was made, and corroborate the story independently. There’s also the potential that if the allegation really is false, that there will be proof that they weren’t alone together and eyewitness counter-testimony, or simply proof that the accused person wasn’t in the place the accuser claimed they were. These things can be sorted out, even without hard evidence, as HR doesn’t need to behave exactly like a court.

                  I do agree that if allegations can’t be sufficiently proven that HR has to let it go in isolated cases, but they should be taken seriously, and shouldn’t necessarily require eyewitness evidence or some similar standard when they’re not going through a formal legal process. Cheers for your thoughts.

                • Sabine

                  and the company ends up supporting a toxic person who will over the next few years of employment abuse many others simply because they can and thus the company will loose many many more people who will simply up and leave taking their knowlege, their skills etc to other places.

                  In the meantime the company pays the wage for a toxic employee, pays over and over again to advertise the same positions, hire staff to fill the positions, train the newbies for these positions just to loose them again in a few month/years time.

                  Yeah, sounds like good fiscal decisions.

                  this reminds me of a complaint i made and the HR person telling me that she will treat this as an un-official complaint. To which i responded : I took a day off to come here and make this complaint, this is an official complaint and i want it treated as such. Her face? Priceless. Never the less she did not ‘make it official’ until i send an email to the boss of my misbehaving manager and the HR Manager. When i finally got my meeting i showed up with a lawyer.
                  T’was very funny to watch. And yeah, this guy was feared in the office. Literally feared, he caused a lot of tears, a lot of stress, a lot of hate, and a lot of resignations.

                  Then one day – just before all of his key accounts came due for renewal – he left, two weeks notice. And his boss, was suddenly discovering that he was not quite as valuable as he pretended he was. He had lost over half of his business portfolio. Ouch, Ouch, Ouch.

            • Bill

              HR’s role is to protect the company not help the employee damage the company.

              That’s true. Unfortunately, manys the employee who’re under the impression HR will act as neutral arbitrators should any issue crop up. They get disavowed of that notion quickly enough.

              HR is essentially the enforcement arm of the company/org that also acts as a buffer zone between worker and boss.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Yes, I agree, this is why I gave the proviso “in theory.” In theory this all should have stopped in the workplace once we had sexual harassment policies, but “in practice” is always harder. I’m sorry we haven’t done better. 🙁

            And you’re absolutely right that lots of people don’t submit complaints because they know there will be consequences for them if they do, even if they do actually manage to hold their abuser/harasser/assaulter accountable. One of my friends admitted to being in that situation when this hashtag started, and I totally understand her position and support her in making the best decision for her.

      • adam 7.1.2

        mary_a the amount of high profile types who get name suppression in relation to sexually assaulting women is a rather long list. From tv personalities to musicians, sportsmen to pastors there is a culture of name suppression.

        I’m with you, we should name and shame them if they get convicted in a court of law.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Actually I think we should name them and shame them if they don’t get convicted but are clearly guilty, to force extra-judicial accountability. If someone gets convicted, serves their time, and genuinely learns their lesson, I’m personally okay with letting it go.

          • solkta

            “they don’t get convicted but are clearly guilty”

            Say what? Who gets to decide that? Would we appoint you to decide who of those found not guilty are actually guilty?

            • Matthew Whitehead

              I’m a citizen, and like every other citizen I get to judge if our justice system is being effective.

              • solkta

                Right, from ya armchair you judge guilt and destroy lives.

                • Matthew Whitehead

                  If people are deliberately going to dodge and stack the legitimate avenues to hold them accountable, then yes, we’re going to need to do it “from our armchairs,” if that’s how you want to interpret social movements. (in reality, it involves a TON more work than that, and even the stuff that can be done from inside a building is much more exhausting than “from your armchair” implies)

                  I would be happy for these cases to be decided in court, (or corporate HR, or so on) if we had a fair system, where women and other survivors felt comfortable and supported coming forward for the ordeal that trials represent, and were confident that there was a strong relationship between the accused being guilty and being found guilty. But we demonstrably do not have such a system, where sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment are concerned. We withhold relevant information from jurors. We allow irrelevant targetting of the plaintiff. We have a culture of structural sexism. We need to fix these things before people will be able to go through the court process.

                  And if you want to accuse me of enabling the “destroying of lives,” firstly, I would like to ask you how you think people who actually lived through these sorts of experiences actually feel? Do you think that frequently they don’t feel like their life has been destroyed? Because that’s a relatively common reaction to rape and sexual assault, for instance. Secondly, have we actually had any cases where allegations have had consequences and been demonstrated as false after the fact? Because none seem to have eventuated yet, and many of the people who were accused as part of the #MeToo campaign have actually admitted to the facts of their abuse. They’ve got a pretty good accuracy record. As we’re not talking about legal rights but instead a social movement, the harm of its approach should be determined by looking at evidence for action vs inaction rather than the potential for people to be falsely accused, and right now, action has all the positives on its side here.

                  If people want to have legal protections against false accusation, they need to make participating in the justice system for these sorts of things a reasonable option again.

    • Matthew Whitehead 7.2

      Yes, that was basically the central thesis of the post, so glad you’re on board. What parts do you believe we need to think about, though? Obviously “boys will be boys” is willful ignorance, but that doesn’t tell us what we need to think about.

      My general starting point is that we need to realize that women are people in their own right. So much of the language around respecting women has to be sold to men as “but she’s someone’s sister, or someone’s wife, or someone’s girlfriend, or someone’s mother, and what if that happened to your sister/wife/mother/etc…” No she’s not, she’s someone, and that alone is enough to respect her.

      From there, I reckon we can probably sort the rest out on our own, but it’s sadly such a difficult idea to drill into certain heads, eh?

  8. Fred H 8

    It’s all about a long unchallenged history of male entitlement and ownership, nothing else, not shame, not victims becoming offenders. I’ve been around men and male dominated workplaces my whole life and heard all the bullshit conquests, stories, and justification of sexual assault and belittlement, and it always disgusted me, and was contrasted with all the women I knew from various backgrounds who had all experienced sexual assault and harassment. Left me with an inherent distrust for men, and a hatred and suspicion of especially powerful and entitled men. It’s a great credit to these women as no one ever exposes themselves to such ridicule and critique for any other reason but to see justice done. To the privileged and entitled, equality is oppression.

    • Matthew Whitehead 8.1

      I think at the core of things you’re right, but that entitlement and sense of ownership gets snarled up with other feelings in ways that are a bit more complex, especially when they start being passed on intergenerationally and being interwoven into our structures of male bonding, our schools, our sports, our politics, our scientific community, our everything.

      Unwinding that attitude from each part is really complex. I think if we could pick the two most important, it would be our workplace culture and our family lives. From there we would have the space to get the others sorted, because boy is it energy-sapping trying to deal with extra stigmas on top of actually adulting.

  9. vto 9

    “The culture for New Zealand men is…” something I don’t think you have a full understanding of

    • Matthew Whitehead 9.1

      Of course I don’t. It’s really dozens of slightly different interrelated cultures in different places with different guys that’s changing ever so slightly as people leave and enter it. Nobody can understand all of that.

      But I’m a man, I have participated in the drinking culture when I have felt ready to increase my tolerance for bullshit, (aka. when I was feeling sad about being single and was willing to experiment with bars to try and meet someone- wasn’t a good idea) and there are definitely guys out there who think that way. If that isn’t you, or the people you know, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong about the specific cultures I’m talking about, it just means you’re not one of the people I was generalizing about.

      If so, well done, I am glad for every guy I’m mistaken about. But like all “not all x” statements, have some self-confidence and realize that if it doesn’t actually apply to you, you don’t need to tell me. Besides, I won’t invade people’s privacy by being more specific than that about who I was specifically thinking about, because I’m the only one who signed up to have his life in any way examined by strangers, and no matter how much emotional damage I think people who live this way are inflicting on themselves and other men who buy into their weird BS ideas about not expressing themselves on anything but sports, who they’d like to sleep with, and what they’re drinking next, I’m not going to invade their privacy. But, I’d be surprised if any women here at TS don’t know the sorts of guys I’m talking about and know exactly how problematic they are to these sorts of discussions.


      • timeforacupoftea 9.1.1

        True words Matthew W.
        Well done.

      • vto 9.1.2

        If you were referring to only small parts of male culture then that should have been made clear. Instead your post states it is all of male culture. Such generalisations are very unhelpful to put it mildly.

        “The culture for New Zealand men is deeply embedded in this kind of toxic masculinity- we’re expected to have only two types of visible feelings: anger, or a kind of stoic friendship generally expressed in the terms of “ah, he’s a great bloke, isn’t he?” Anything else is to be dealt with by going out as soon as practically possible and drinking yourself comatose. ”


        If people like you wipe, or sharpen, these sorts of statements to actual reality and stop generalising in the manner you have then your legitimate issue will gain more traction.

        Good luck and keep at it.

        • solkta

          He is not referring to a “small part of male culture” but rather to a dominant feature. I think he could have been clearer by saying “the DOMINANT culture for New Zealand men”, but that is obviously implied for anybody who thinks about it.

          • tracey


          • vto

            Disagree wholly.

            And the culture you refer to is not limited to men. It is spread evenly through our society.

            • solkta

              You disagree with my understanding of what Matt wrote or what Matt wrote?

              • tracey

                My understanding is vto is saying women harrass men in equal “even” numbers and women also behave in the way Matthew describes in the same numbers as men. I might have misunderstood.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              It absolutely is mostly men who do this and a majority of men. I apologize if my exaggeration in referring to it as “male culture” implied more than it should, but I don’t accept that it is “evenly spread.” I’ve met two kiwi women in my entire life who participate in this sort of emotional repression.

            • greywarshark

              Good if you could find something to be positive about vto and build on that.
              The critical punitive approach is very authoritarian, and I don’t like that as a first approach whether male or female.

        • Draco T Bastard

          If you were referring to only small parts of male culture then that should have been made clear.

          That’s the problem – it’s not small parts of male culture.

          When 1 in 3/4 of women are abused by male friends/family and it’s excused as ‘boys will be boys’ by the rest of the male dominated society then it’s a fairly major part of it.

        • Sabine

          To an extend you are correct.

          Rapists are probably only a small segment of the population. But then they also don’t come with a warning. So the women who were and are still educated to the fact that they have to negotiate life in order to ‘not get themselves raped’ will treat everyone as a potential rapist.

          When we don’t take rape accusations serious, society supports the rapists.
          When we find excuses for a rapist, she wore a miniskirt, her cleavage, she is pretty and does not look like a kid, he was only giving her a foot massage, where was the mother society supports the rapists.
          When we talk up the humanity of the rapist, he was a good man, i raised my son well, he is a volunteer, he is a cop, a nurse, a teacher, a priest, a good father etc, but vilify the victim, i.e. why was she there, she must’ave done something, she is a little liar, a temptress, a lolita, does not look like a kid, dresses certain ways to attract male attention, than society supports the rapist.
          When we tell girls that the boy that hit her in the sand box does so becuase he ‘must like her’ then society supports the abuser.

          and at he end of the day all the non raping non abusing non catcalling non harassing male suffer because us Girls/Women have been conditioned to see all men as potential rapists.

          Thus the onus is on the good man of society to say that they don’t condone that
          stuff. It is on them to call out those that would yell after a women that that ‘ ass is fuckable’, ‘smile bitch’, ‘wanna check out ma sausage’ and so on.
          It is on them to call out those that would explain physical violence as a way of saying ‘i love you’ and tell them that no, you don’t love, you just wanna beat the shit outta her.

          and just to be clear, this is a mindset that allows many men not only to abuse girls but also boys. The only difference is that violence against women seems to be sanctioned (by the bible, even codified in law – duty of the wife vs privilege of the husband) and against boys/men it is against nature. While at the end of the day, its simply just some violent dipshits that get off on hurting other people and they do so because society (and people like you) let it happen for any reason you may want to insert here ………

  10. Sabine 10

    I posted this today on a different thread, but then it relates to this.

    As long as we accept that ‘boys will be boys’ is a get out of jail card for men (of all ages) nothing will change and thus it will be easier for women to say nothing, get on with it, grow harder and only rage when in company of friends who will not hold it against her that she ‘can’t make nice’.

    boys will always be boys no matter how old and how famous, and how rich and how connected and any of the bullshit.

    for the women it is

    when it bleeds it breeds
    beauty must suffer
    if you can’t escape it, try to enjoy it
    close your eyes and do it for England (insert any other country)
    martial duty of the women vs martial right for the man
    they are ‘jailbait’
    what did she wear
    why did she go there
    why did she not speak earlier
    where was the mother
    why did she drink
    to the victor go the spoils
    she must’ave enticed him

    etc etc etc

    btw, the ‘me too’ movement is over ten years old, and was started by Tarana Burke, a women of colour from the US.

    SNL did this sketch the other day …….

    Why do women in NZ not speak up? Because this is a small country, everyone knows everyone, everyone is somehow related to everyone, and everyone went to school, Uni with everyone.
    Why risk your career, your well being, your safety in your community by coming out and saying that one has been assaulted, raped, abused, harassed. What is to be gained. And yes, this question should be asked especially in the light of what happened with the “Roastbusters” and the Executive Ponytail Puller from the National Party. Ahh, yeah, that is true, nothing happened, boys will be boys, and women and girls and boys and men will just learn to behave right to make sure they don’t get themselves raped.

    • tracey 10.1

      John Keys conduct, Trumps conduct with no consequence sends a powerful message. We still have a culture where if there are no witnesses her version of events is not enough to usurp his.

    • Matthew Whitehead 10.2

      Thank you for the additional context, Sabine. I was certain there would have been forerunners to the current movement, and it’s good to have that confirmed. Cheers.

  11. David Mac 11

    I’d be horrified to think that I was viewed by the females I work with as a lecherous, ‘wandering hands’ creep. It would become top of mind over any professional tasks we might be undertaking.

    A pending meeting with Harvey W wouldn’t be met with thoughts of landing a role, it would be the anticipation of him reeling out his grubby smut. Trump wears it like a medal on his chest when yakking with the guys… ‘When you’re famous you can just grab them on the ….’

    I’m surprised it makes them feel strong and accomplished, it’s a reputation that would make me feel like a worm.

    I thought this was an interesting quote of Fred’s….

    “To the privileged and entitled, equality is oppression.”

    It’s not like it’s hard to behave: ‘Keep your hands to yourself and try not to hurt others’ feelings.’

    • tracey 11.1

      “To the privileged and entitled, equality is oppression.”
      It is a great quote and one which fits some folk very well. Brash is the most recent to put himself at that altar.

    • Matthew Whitehead 11.2

      I think also, there’s a big difference between people who misbehave but will apologize and accept feedback and change their behaviour and those who misbehave but will dodge, engage in victim-blaming, and become actively hostile at anyone who questions their behaviour.

      Being raised in a culture that had different ideas about where the acceptable boundaries are doesn’t make you a problem on its own. It’s the refusal to accept responsibility for the way a man’s conduct might make women feel unsafe that is the real problem, and the refusal of some men to back women up when they come forward. If we can change the minds of enough of the men currently refusing to actively back women up, then we’ll win in the short term. I expect we’ll win in the long term regardless, because most millenials accept women’s rights as a given.

  12. Cinny 12

    It’s a shame that some men behave in such a fashion, not only is it inappropriate, it also makes them appear desperate and weak (lack of self control).

    Me to… yesterday exiting a shop, a 50yr old (approx) male stranger standing outside, suddenly straightened himself up, did the wolf whistle and said “hello gorgeous”. Ignored him and hopped in my vehicle, then watched as a lady who appeared to be his wife, exited her vehicle and walked over to meet him.

    It’s about women speaking up, but it’s also about ALL of us educating others on what is appropriate behaviour and what could be considered as warning signs of possible future abuse. We are all guilty of turning a blind eye in one way or another.

    Can we please have a free education channel on TV, social/gender issues like this could then be discussed and covered.

    • Matthew Whitehead 12.1

      Thank you for sharing, Cinny.

      • Cinny 12.1.1

        Lolz, I’ve so many stories to share on said subject, isntead am really enjoying reading all the dialogue on this thread/post.

        Here’s a pearler… I’ve even gone to the extent of lying that I was married to avoid the ongoing sexual harrasment and advances of one boss. The bogus marriage technique only works with men of certain cultures.

        I love men so much, I just wish that some would have better self control. Maybe all of this talk/discussion re Me too, across the globe will help.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          For sure. And I think as more men join the discussion and say “actually, these are skills we all need to have in a modern environment, and it really is our responsibility not to harass/abuse/assault people, not the other way around,” the debate will shift. I really hope that it’ll make a difference in New Zealand soon enough.

    • Brigid 12.2

      “I don’t whistle at females much these days, but the other day i saw this gorgeous thing and just couldn’t help myself”
      This is from a person who says he sometimes feels guilty being a man because some men behave like pigs.
      When challenged he claimed when he was young, he and his work mates whistled at girls, (they are often described as girls) to see if they might be interested in a relationship. That is, whistling from a 3 story construction site.

      In no way would he accept he and his mates objectify women even though they are described as gorgeous ‘things’.

      He was taken aback a little when I suggested that the women who were subjected to his attentions may consider him an old ugly creep and feel revolted by his attentions. It didn’t seem to occur to him that said women may have an opinion about his actions.

      I just don’t know how to explain to people like this one just how insulting their approaches are, because his defense is always “women dress to attract attention”.

      I don’t know a woman who likes being whistled at.
      I agree with my daughter who says it makes one feel threatened.

      • Matthew Whitehead 12.2.1

        Did you mean to reply to David Mac above? I don’t think Cinny made those comments. I can delete this reply cleanly for you if you want to copy and paste it as a reply to (11). (Now I’ve replied some awkward things happen if we just delete your reply first through the user interface) Let me know. 🙂

        • Brigid

          I was affirming Cinny’s comment, confirming the objectification of women by whistling and the typical unsolicited “hello gorgeous” comments.

          • Cinny

            and it knows no age either, been wolf whistled by teens just as often, learned behaviour, visual media and marketing has much to answer for, time for them to change the narrative, are they brave enough too?

            Men are visual creatures, a non revealing dress gets attention, but painting/gardening overalls, not so much. Difficult for women working in sectors where they are required to dress up for work. Burkas on please, some men are unable to handle the visual jandal.

            Meanwhile women often give a man a second glance if he is carrying out physical work, my brain is wired thus, little voice says.. don’t stare it’s just your default circuits in your head.

            Primal humans we are

            Excellent communication going on here, moderation is fantastic btw

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Ah, cheers.

  13. One Two 13

    TIME are not the custodians of ‘people of the year’ it is a bandwagon corporate machine with an agenda

    Arab Spring

    Where are those ‘movements’ now..

    The digital world front foots and re-directs energy to a channel of preference, and is a vehicle of abuse and censorahip

    Genuine change will not come through a hash tag..

    More a continuation of divide and conquer!

    • David Mac 13.1

      Is there a website where you can make up a mock ‘Time Person of the Year’ front page and print it off? I think your comment has merit and I’d like to appoint my own. I’ll print it on semi glossy paper and attach to the front of an old Time mag. Just leave it lying around. She’ll get a kick out of it.

      • Sabine 13.1.1

        you should ask the current occupant of the white house, it appears he has several fake Times covers with his face on.

    • Tracey 13.2


      The hashtag seems to have provided a means for some women and fewer men to speak out and name their treatment.

      BUT having financial independence is also key to speaking out. A Boss who sexually harasses has great cover in the power of the paycheck. They no longer need to overtly threaten people with its withdrawal, people assume that consequence as a barrier to objecting so Bosses no longer have to.

      • One Two 13.2.1

        Hi Tracey,

        Sure, twitter is an outlet of sorts, similar to this blog

        Abuse of almost unlimited variety is part of daily life for close to, if not 100% of human beings walking in this life

        Some forms of abuse attract higher profile and greater visibility, while other receive little to none

        Some forms of abuse are so intertwined with daily life that most people wouldn’t consider it to be abuse or abusive

        The list of industry from which abuse is rampant, is long and all encompassing

        The entertainment (media arm) would sit towards the top of the list

        TIME is part of that industry as is Twitter

        Both entities are rife with abusive format, and will have cultures of abuse, outwardly obvious, and internally less so

        It starts with the individual becoming aware and making change within themselves..

        First and foremost, by identifying and changing the self abusive tendencies which most are totally oblivious too..

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Yes, and this is why I made clear that Time isn’t exactly an uncomplicated actor- they named Trump their #2 after all, and didn’t mention his victims when they did it. The story here is that even Time Magazine gets the importance of this moment, not that Time Magazine is some arbiter of who is actually the best person or movement of the year. 🙂

    • Siobhan 13.3

      And now its owned by the Koch brothers…their involvement in Time magazine is very pertinent to the conversation…be very very aware and cautious of their ‘support’ of any female/gender/equality related issues..I really recommend this read regarding the “Independent Women’s Forum” .
      It highlights the problem of Conservative and regressive groups and individuals like the Kochs latching on to popular movements to eventually give credibility to their own regressive agendas.

  14. David Mac 14

    Gifts for the people that have everything they want: My Mum.

  15. corodale 15

    “…welcome change from last year’s neo-nazi of the year, President Trump…” After that light weight statement, I skipped to the last paragraph, only to read a second assault. But in Matt’s defense; I was the foul, to be reading an article associated with the Time rag.

    • Tracey 15.1

      Person of the Year NOT Admirable person of the year hence Hitler made it…

      • +111

        Beat me too it.

        Time Person of the Year

        Person of the Year (called Man of the Year or Woman of the Year until 1999)[1] is an annual issue of the United States news magazine Time that features and profiles a person, a group, an idea, or an object that “for better or for worse… has done the most to influence the events of the year”

    • Matthew Whitehead 15.2

      Are you seriously arguing that Trump isn’t a white supremacist authoritarian?

      How else would you define a neo-nazi?

      He defended a white supremacist running over an innocent women with his car by claiming there was both violence and “good people” “on both sides.” He thinks Black Lives Matter is a terrorist movement, he doesn’t realize that Puerto Rico is a US territory and its citizens are Americans, and he seems to think that all African-Americans live in the inner cities. He’s even proposed having a personal intelligence service, which is a hard policy to analyze without comparisons to Nazi Germany.

      I have several ambitions with my writing, none of which is to be a light-weight. You’re welcome to disagree with my stance on Trump, but as this story isn’t primarily about him, (I literally only mention him in the opening paragraph) I did not go into justifying my stance on him.

      Trump is an unmitigated disaster for the USA, especially now that it’s likely he’s passed his disastrous tax cuts, his first actual legislative accomplishment.

  16. Et Tu Brute 16

    I was ‘that guy’ and I think we as a society can’t address this until men can acknowledge their own demons. How often is dismissive behaviour the result of inner defensiveness (realized or unrealized)? As discussion unfolds, how often do men see themselves in the examples? I never touched a woman without consent, and am not one for lewd jokes, but I did not understand power relationships, and how differences in social standing can prohibit the existence of consent. She said no and that was the end of it. As the saying goes: “There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.” So much to learn. So much listening to do.

    *full disclosure: this has nothing to do with the drug addict story a week ago.

    • Cinny 16.1

      Et Tu Brute, have come to conclusion for some it’s a game, for example a powerful person not used to being told ‘no’ is told ‘no’, then takes it as a ‘challenge’ to win the game.

      Also re power, it’s sometimes easier for woman to laugh it off and find somewhere else to work instead of losing their job and never working in this town again, especially when others are dependent on her income.

    • Lucy 17.1

      No NZ has a history of shaming and humiliating women who speak out about serial pests! In both instances the women were named and stalked by the media and the stories went on until both shut down and refused to say anything more. Abusers know how to win in NZ they use shame and secrets and when that doesn’t work they use publicity and fear of exposure via the compliant media or bloggers to ensure that they can continue to abuse the next woman

    • Matthew Whitehead 17.2

      You’ll note I actually linked one of those stories in the arcticle.

      Neither of those stories had acceptable outcomes. The point of the post is that the sharing of stories has arrived in New Zealand this time, but we haven’t had the success holding people accountable that the US has. Previous cases of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment claims largely fit into the same trend, and we need to fix it.

      • NZFemme 17.2.1

        Our justice system is beyond brutal for sexual assault survivors. And many of us (survivors and spectators alike) in NZ have been watching and hearing the peanut gallery’s messages loud and clear. For years.

        Some of us,myself included, watched warily as this last volcano – the 2017 rendition of #Me Too – erupted across our social media, our news-feeds, and our lunch rooms. And we remained silent. Because it takes an awful amount of energy to engage with another round of Breaking The Silence. And it takes an awful amount of energy to hope. Hope that maybe this time, it won’t just be a “few bad apples” plucked of the tree, but the recognition that the whole tree is infected from the roots up, and needs to be pulled up, surrounding soil dug out, and a new orchard planted.

        I’m 47 years old. I was 15 years old in 1985, when the NZ justice system finally made it illegal to rape your spouse. I was born into a culture – grew up with the knowledge – that if I married, even my own body would not be mine; that I had no say, no autonomy, and no voice. I’m relating this primarily to give temporal context. New Zealand is only 32 years on from that moment in which the law finally agreed that my body was mine. 32 years is a blip – a nothing really, in changing a culture.

        I’m not sure I’m in complete agreement with you on male culture. I would be more inclined to say it is our hetero-normative/hetero-patriarchal culture. And all of us are crushed under the weight of it, though we are implicated and affected in different ways by it. Rebecca Solnit talks about this in her most recent book, “The Mother of All Questions”, and points out that the silencing of women has its counterpoint in the silencing of men – specifically, about the silencing of the inner/psychic spaces of young boys that shames them for wandering outside the prescriptive gender rules of boyhood/manhood. It’s no surprise that pussy and girl are used as taunts against boys/men that won’t conform. And it’s no surprise that if you are taught to hate and expel anything coded feminine in yourself, you are going to devalue those coded feminine in the world. It’s no difficult leap from there to understand why boys and men who are sexually assaulted remain silent in so many cases as well. We’re all shamed and harmed by the cultural and systemic structures that hem us in.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Oh, as a queer man, I agree that it’s about hetero-normativity, too. That’s probably relevant, in fact, to cases where the abuse is same-sex in nature, but I accept that the largest problem is between straight men and straight women as well, so that’s where I focused my attention. I have been trying to be less verbose, so I decided not to delve too deeply into that aspect, but it’s very clear for instance in Spacey’s case, that his father’s violent abuse, his inability to be open with his own same-sex-leaning bisexuality, and other issues were all complicating factors. Had he recieved help for them, he may not have become an abuser of a different flavour himself.

          I don’t begrudge anyone their cynicism on the effectiveness of speaking up, I think it is sadly well-founded.

          Thanks for the well thought-out post.

          • Bill

            Matthew. What do you think is being referred to by (the hope that) it won’t just be a “few bad apples” plucked of the tree, but the recognition that the whole tree is infected from the roots up, and needs to be pulled up, surrounding soil dug out, and a new orchard planted.?

            Because to me that speaks to ripping up or out all structures of power – ie, not limiting any reaction to a focus on individual people and/or whether they be gay, queer, straight or whatever…or whether gays, straights, queers or whatever are the principle perpetrators of a particular type of abuse.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              I think structures of hierarchical power should definitely be minimized. I’m not sure it’s practical to entirely get rid of them, so I’d possibly accept them if they came a lot closer to be meritocratic than they are now, but I’d much prefer to run most decisions by a consensus-first model. Hence why I’m a Green.

              I certainly think that structures of power based on irrelevant factors, like gender identity, sexuality, race, and so on, absolutely need to go no questions asked. 🙂

              • Bill

                Structural power codifies and can definitely reinforce discriminations that revolve around notions of identity etc. But none are based on those factors.

                If you’re resigned to “structures of hierarchical power” existing in one form or another, then you also have to accept that abuse too, will exist in one form or another.

                • weka

                  depends on what you mean by hierarchical. I think we’ve had this argument before. If I’m having surgery, I want there to be a hierarchy within the operating theatre. Not all hierarchy is bad. Nor all authority or control. What I’d hope is that in the wider context of that surgery (e.g. a health system) there would be much more reliance on power sharing. But in specific instances, the structure that gives more institutional power to one person than another can be useful. For me it’s more about how the people in those are inclined to use that power that is the issue.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Robot surgeons don’t sample the medicine cabinet; their authority is built on competence and cannot leak out of the operating theatre.

                    Human surgeons, on the other hand…

                    Goes for any field of expertise.

                    …and has me musing that that at least armed drones can’t get elected as war heroes.

                    • weka

                      are you suggesting that we outsource all things hierarchical that can’t be de-heirarchised, to robots?

                    • Matthew Whitehead

                      Sure, but they also can’t squeeze your hand when you’re going under anaesthetic and reassure you, either, so there’s plusses and minuses to having a human surgeon involved. 🙂

                    • weka

                      isn’t that the nurse’s job? 😛

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @Weka just a thought experiment. A positive outcome of robotics? Who knows?

                    • Incognito

                      Seen this? I think it is too realistic for comfort.

                  • Incognito

                    Structures of hierarchical power mean, to me, artificial imbalance of power. Your example of the operating theatre is quite interesting for a number of reasons. I’m sure you know that hospitals are notorious for power imbalances and bullying cultures, which is a form of abuse. The operating team has got clearly defined tasks & responsibilities so that they perform well as a team. This requires trust. When a member of the team ‘goes down’, so to speak, the whole team should go down with them; this is what shared power & responsibility should mean, not trying to finger point and single out a scapegoat or fall guy. In the Western world, particularly since the Enlightenment, the focus has fallen on the individual. Over time, and certain in more recent times, the community (team) spirit and the idea of shared and collective responsibility have been eroded away. This is not the same in all cultures.

                    What has this got to do with the OP you might ask. In the Western-European culture we have become a collection of separated individuals who are vulnerable and fearful. To counter this we try to gain power, as individuals, over other individuals. Instead of looking at others as our equals, as our brothers & sisters, we look at their differences, their otherness and we use this to gain power over them. We constructed structures and institutionalised these to compensate for our loss of belonging and to counter our fears.

                    I do believe that if we can overcome this much (but not all) of the sexual abuse that is inextricably linked with these human constructs will disappear.

                    I do not believe that burning down everything so that a Phoenix will arise from the ashes (i.e. a “new orchard”) is possible; we can and must evolve from who and where we are here & now to …

                    • Bill

                      We constructed structures and institutionalised these to compensate for our loss of belonging and to counter our fears.

                      No. Those constructs – that institutonalisation of power – that is was what robbed us (and robs us) of our individual and collective sense of power.

                • NZFemme

                  Yes, I would agree with this take Bill. Capitalism (for example) from its inception relied and benefited from the codifying, enforcing, and policing of hetero-normative, hetero-patriarchal and racist ideologies whether the unpaid labour of slavery; via women in the home producing the next generation of wage-slaves; via the introduction of lower-paid women to the workforce resulting in lower production costs and higher profits (with the added bonus of divisiveness between the men and women working for them). And capitalism has always been deeply entwined with the State.

                  • Matthew Whitehead

                    Yeah, there is a very definite interweaving of economic elites, male privilege, hetero/cis-normativity, and all sorts of nasty and irrelevant power heirarchies, and even with necessary and relevant ones like simply having a team manager. It’s a lot of work to unpick them but I think we have to try, because we’re never going to avoid all the heirarchies altogether, but we might successfully flatten them a lot and put in protections in the short-to-medium term to undo a lot of the nasty consequences. (Having a Ministry for Women is supposed to be one of those things, but we don’t really have a political consensus that it should keep doing its job when we have a right-wing government. 🙁 )

                    • Bill

                      The difference between institutionalised power and incidental power is pretty easy to pick Matthew.

                      The surgeon, the glazier or the co-ordinator of, or for, a particular task is empowered (and that’s fine) but when it leaks out (as OAB puts it) from the operating room, then it’s institutional and cultural.

                      And that’s the tree that is infected from the roots up, [that] needs to be pulled up, surrounding soil dug out, and a new orchard planted. (as NZ Femme puts it)

                    • Matthew Whitehead

                      I wasn’t talking about telling the difference, Bill, I was talking about eliminating the parts you don’t want.

                      There is a valid argument that eliminating certain drivers of hierarchy, such as capitalism, will help, but there’s no guarantee that for instance eliminating capitalism won’t still leave sexism, racism, hetero- and cis-normative heirarchies, etc… still in place to a significant degree and simply clear out the economic elitism. We need to address both problems at once IMO, and you can’t “throw out sexism” and start again like you can with capitalism.

                      This is why people who espouse intersectionality of social and economic issues take issue with a purely economic analysis of social problems. Cheers.

                • Incognito

                  @ Bill @ 8 December 2017 at 7:46 pm:

                  Agreed. It has led us further away from what we’re seeking so badly, which is heart-breaking, because it is/was all an illusion.

                  We’ve put our trust in these institutionalised structures and given our power away only to be taken advantage of and to feel less empowered and in control of our lives; it is a Faustian pact, which is so perfectly human and understandable.

                  We are slowly coming to the realisation that it is/was a bad deal and we have lost trust in authority; the patriarchy has forever lost its powerful glow. The result is that we are aimlessly wandering around like lost souls, which in a way we are, while the Earth is burning around us.

                  We do not rely on anything or anybody but our own ‘truth’ and ‘reality’. We fill the emptiness that is burning inside with drugs, entertainment, and consumption to name a few, but these are poor surrogates and only briefly numb the pain or make us forget our fears. We read about how to achieve happiness and listen word-for-word to mindfulness tapes but we fail to get the message. It is no wonder that mental illness is on the rise.

                  That came out a wee bit like a black hole but I don’t actually feel as pessimistic and dark & heavy as it may sound; the darkest hour is just before the dawn 😉

                  • Bill

                    We’ve put our trust in these institutionalised structures and given our power away only to be taken advantage of and to feel less empowered and in control of our lives; it is a Faustian pact, which is so perfectly human and understandable.


                    So no recognition of the brutality and violence that were the principle mechanisms whereby land and wealth was ripped from us and …okay, here’s Tony Benn.

                    “I don’t think people realise how the establishment became established. It simply stole the land and property off the poor, surrounded themselves with weak minded sycophants for protection, gave themselves titles and have been wielding power ever since.”

                    • Incognito

                      My comment wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive historical treatise of status quo but only my personal perspective on one facet. That said, in history the land and wealth was owned or held by the few with military power and made available to be worked on, at a cost (e.g. tax) of course. The people were promised protection in return. After the land & wealth were taken, and rate of urbanisation sped up, the system had to adapt to continue and it did so by institutionalising power structures that ensured our dependence on them. The best way to oppress the people is not by force but by manipulation and persuasion so that we entrust them with our lives (literally) and bow to their authority – parallels with Stockholm syndrome can be drawn*. Fast-forward to modern times where we now have the State/Government and corporates making all kinds of promises of protection and what have you, which are necessary to keep the deception going and to keep the plebs passive & pliant/pliable. I don’t know about you but I can see so-called Faustian pacts everywhere …

                      * [I recommend this, not so much for the details, but for highlighting (the) similarities; performance-based pay & promotions could easily be drawn into this too – there are too many parallels. People have also drawn parallels between Stockholm Syndrome and victims & sufferers of sexual abuse, e.g. ]

  17. AB 18

    This is good to see – let’s hope it rolls on for a while.
    However it is still redress (of a sort) after the fact. To do anything preventative we need a critique not only of socially-constructed maleness, but of power itself.
    We need to eliminate the social and economic power of one person over another, not only because the sense of entitlement it breeds enables sexual predation, but because it is inherently illegitimate.

  18. Sabine 19

    From Shakespears Sister, this post dates to 2009

    “It is not a definition for which they’re looking; not really. It’s a description. It’s something substantive enough to reach out and touch, in all its ugly, heaving, menacing grotesquery.

    Rape culture is encouraging male sexual aggression. Rape culture is regarding violence as sexy and sexuality as violent. Rape culture is treating rape as a compliment, as the unbridled passion stirred in a healthy man by a beautiful woman, making irresistible the urge to rip open her bodice or slam her against a wall, or a wrought-iron fence, or a car hood, or pull her by her hair, or shove her onto a bed, or any one of a million other images of fight-fucking in movies and television shows and on the covers of romance novels that convey violent urges are inextricably linked with (straight) sexuality.

    Rape culture is treating straight sexuality as the norm. Rape culture is lumping queer sexuality into nonconsensual sexual practices like pedophilia and bestiality. Rape culture is privileging heterosexuality because ubiquitous imagery of two adults of the same-sex engaging in egalitarian partnerships without gender-based dominance and submission undermines (erroneous) biological rationales for the rape culture’s existence.

    Rape culture is rape being used as a weapon, a tool of war and genocide and oppression. Rape culture is rape being used as a corrective to “cure” queer women. Rape culture is a militarized culture and “the natural product of all wars, everywhere, at all times, in all forms.”

    Rape culture is 1 in 33 men being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is encouraging men to use the language of rape to establish dominance over one another (“I’ll make you my bitch”). Rape culture is making rape a ubiquitous part of male-exclusive bonding. Rape culture is ignoring the cavernous need for men’s prison reform in part because the threat of being raped in prison is considered an acceptable deterrent to committing crime, and the threat only works if actual men are actually being raped.

    Rape culture is 1 in 6 women being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is not even talking about the reality that many women are sexually assaulted multiple times in their lives. Rape culture is the way in which the constant threat of sexual assault affects women’s daily movements. Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.

    Rape culture is victim-blaming. Rape culture is a judge blaming a child for her own rape. Rape culture is a minister blaming his child victims. Rape culture is accusing a child of enjoying being held hostage, raped, and tortured. Rape culture is spending enormous amounts of time finding any reason at all that a victim can be blamed for hir own rape.

    Rape culture is judges banning the use of the word rape in the courtroom. Rape culture is the media using euphemisms for sexual assault. Rape culture is stories about rape being featured in the Odd News.

    Rape culture is tasking victims with the burden of rape prevention. Rape culture is encouraging women to take self-defense as though that is the only solution required to preventing rape. Rape culture is admonishing women to “learn common sense” or “be more responsible” or “be aware of barroom risks” or “avoid these places” or “don’t dress this way,” and failing to admonish men to not rape.

    Rape culture is “nothing” being the most frequent answer to a question about what people have been formally taught about rape.

    Rape culture is boys under 10 years old knowing how to rape.

    Rape culture is the idea that only certain people rape—and only certain people get raped. Rape culture is ignoring that the thing about rapists is that they rape people. They rape people who are strong and people who are weak, people who are smart and people who are dumb, people who fight back and people who submit just to get it over with, people who are sluts and people who are prudes, people who rich and people who are poor, people who are tall and people who are short, people who are fat and people who are thin, people who are blind and people who are sighted, people who are deaf and people who can hear, people of every race and shape and size and ability and circumstance.

    Rape culture is the narrative that sex workers can’t be raped. Rape culture is the assertion that wives can’t be raped. Rape culture is the contention that only nice girls can be raped.”

    go read the whole thing as this is the best description ever of this culture that allows some to abuse so many while society stands there and says nothing much can be done cause it was always like this.

    • Sabine 19.1

      sorry not from shakespears sister but from Shakesville.

      • Matthew Whitehead 19.1.1

        Fun trivia: I’m actually a former commenter (ie. I’m in historical comment threads, not a contributor) on Shakeville. 🙂

        I don’t visit it much anymore, partially because I don’t need the 200-level discussions they engage in anymore to inform my feminism, and partially because it’s gone full-out corporate democrat as of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, when I would have expected more of them. 🙂

        • Sabine

          considering the current mess with the Armageddon, bring the US back to the 1840 – removal of the right to vote for women and hey was slavery ain’t quaint, i don’t think corporate Hillary would have been worse then corporate Trump.

          I have no use for any such bullshit anymore, especially not from men that will never ever have skin in the game of ‘how to remove the few rights women have to their bodies and the use of these bodies.’.

          This is why we are in this mess in the first place, the one woman who had a shot must have been worse then any man at its place, more corporate, more hawkish, more a liar, more a deceiver more more more then any other bloke.
          go fucking figure, and see where it got the world.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Oh, I don’t think she’d be worse, she’d measurably be better. I don’t mind people who said that voters should consider their options and swallow Clinton like a bad taste. What Shakesville was doing, however, was saying she was better than Bernie Sanders, and criticising his quite feminist campaign as sexist, which is a rhetorical hill I’m willing to die on, lol.

            • Sabine

              RIP then.

              • Matthew Whitehead

                I can understand not wanting to discuss it, the US election engenders strong feelings, and there was DEFINITELY a lot of sexism against Hillary overall. (especially in the general election)

                I just don’t buy the line it came officially from his campaign or that he in any way enabled it. 🙂


                • Sabine

                  It really must be nice to be a man and to never ever really have any skin in this game.

                  Just think about that for a moment before you go re-legislate what for many women in the US was probably the last chance for a bit of sanity and maybe some buying of time. Cause for did not bring that shit up.

                  Just think about that before you go lecture some women about what is, what could have been and what will be, knowing that you will never be refused birth control on the grounds of religion, that you will never be too poor to afford prenatal, post natal care, that you will never die in child birth, that you will never wonder if have enough money to pay child care so that you can go to work, that you will not have less money in retirement due to lost income spend child rearing, that no one ever will deny you education cause you are just a girl etc etc etc .

                  Think about your male privilege before you lecture me about old men and the economic anxiety of the white male working class as obviously women, of colour or white, men of colour don’t have economic anxiety and if they do it is not as important as the one of the white working class male.
                  Point to think about, if a man of colour can make it, if a single mother can make it, if a single mother of colour can make it, what excuse does a white man have for not making it? Oh, it must be society not pandering enough to them.

                  I have no time to for this what would have been had the old man won, he did not win, the she devil did. Instead of it all y’all got a white old man, who together with a troupe of addled fake christianist corporatists is very happy to burn down this world. But hey, at least she did not win. Her emails, and shit, right?

                  No matter how many times white men, and i guess you are white, will go back but but but, the elction was lost to white men and their women.

                  Black women, brown women in the US, the ones with the least political power were the ones that voted in desperation and are the ones that pay the bills so that a few white men and their wifes can continue living without ever having to think about the consequences.
                  Fact is the democratic party in the US needs the women of colour cause the white men sure as hell ain’t voting for them.

                  And again, i would say that is very much true for the Labour Party and even the Green Party here in NZ. Maybe you want to think about that.

                  • Matthew Whitehead

                    Sabine, I’m a queer man, and I support feminism. I know about and intimately understand representational politics, if not on precisely the same issues, and I have had precisely one chance in my life to vote for someone in an electorate who in any way resembled my experience, and I didn’t even get to do it because I was particularly enthusiastic about him, (although he was a good MP) I did it because he was a compromise candidate I could support against Peter Dunne. I have had members of my family not understand this stuff, I know this issue from both sides.

                    I get what having that sort of skin in the game feels like, (especially now my own party doesn’t have any openly queer people in its caucus anymore, despite the fact that we had a young queer Māori man quite high up our list) and I also get the calculation between voting on that and voting on issues, and my beef is with the idea that Sanders did anything to hurt Clinton in the primary campaign or general election, when he not only ran the nicest, most policy-focused primary ever, deliberately shielding her against liberal criticism on her email controversy, he unreservedly endorsed his opponent after losing, despite it infuriating many of his supporters, and took every step he could to stand up for people who needed his support- including women, but if we want to talk race, he was also the first primary candidate to actually talk about what steps he would take for native americans, a group who never get the political spotlight in the USA, despite their time being long overdue, and who don’t represent any significant voter bloc in the USA because of its district-based and state-based system. Nobody talks about Native Americans in US politics without genuinely meaning it, because it’s not something the demographics seem to make smart, even though it was arguably smart for Sanders because it reinforced the fact that he is in fact the real deal, and will sacrifice a chance to reach out to majorities to talk about minorities who really have had it tough. He frequently talked about race, it just never got the press it deserved, so a lot of people with superficial interest in the campaign, or without enough time to follow closely, never got to see him being intersectional, and offering solidarity.

                    I agree with your thoughts about New Zealand politics- I may have campaigned for the Greens, but I also quite vocally reminded people that we would be supporting Jacinda as Prime Minister, and how important it would be to elect a second woman into that position, and how Shaw was openly enthusiastic about supporting her. I also supported the fact that our Green list was top-heavy with talented women, (which our rules would have allowed the executive to balance back out, had they wanted to, but thankfully they did no such thing) and have supported internal discussions that favour such candidate selections continuing into the future, and opening up further room for talented women in our party. I also pointed out many times that Labour, when it was not polling as well, was risking breaking its promises to women that they would make up at least 50% of its caucus because of their rump electorate candidates. While I am in some ways a critic of Clinton, I not only understand where you’re coming from, I am in general on your side. My issue with Clinton is simply that, for me, she crossed the line as to how much representational politics can buy you as a candidate that represents a marginalized group. I wouldn’t have supported Jenny Shipley, for instance, and I can’t support Clinton against a candidate that was so significantly better than her on policy. Trump wasn’t, and nobody involved in the Sanders campaign supported him- he did manage to poach people who foolishly thought a right-wing anti-establishment figure was better than a liberal pro-estabilshment figure, and those people were stupid, wrong, and unjustified in their opinions, and I think Sanders himself would agree they voted for the wrong person, even if his approach personally would be to try to win their votes back for democrats on economic issues, and simply say he respects that they disagree on social ones- in some ways, this is actually a much better way to engage people who disagree with you: respect their opinions where you can’t make progress, but talk to them about issues you both care about to open a genuine dialogue and build connection and respect.

                    As a white Pakeha myself, I believe the USA over-panders to white people on absolutely every angle, and is full to the brim with Don Brash-like figures. Yes, Bernie spoke to people about economics, but he never did so in a way that centred white people, like most US presidential campaigns do- he might not always have brought other races into it, but he never made it about the white experience in particular, and he didn’t dog-whistle. What he said was that poor white people also have challenges in their lives, which is absolutely true. I agree that the correct position in the US General Election was to swallow your objections and vote for Hillary as a holding action, and was devastated when she won the vote but lost the electoral college, and know that even impeaching Trump doesn’t get us anywhere because then we’d have Mike Fucking Pence trying to disappear queer people and turn young women into protagonists in the Handmaid’s tale. I was especially upset that this had happened after Democrats had rolled over to Republican obstruction about their supreme court candidate, who wasn’t even a good pick, but would at least have beat Gorsuch hands-down, because they arrogantly assumed Clinton would either confirm Merrick Garland, or name someone else they could live with, so it wouldn’t matter. Hubris is a killer, huh?

                    What I would have said about women of colour, was that there were prominent women of colour who supported Bernie because they realized that his policies were measurably better for them. Nina Turner, who was supposed to speak at the Democratic Convention, was a woman of colour who supported Sanders, and while those numbers don’t quite even out in the later primary states, there is a reasonable suggestion that the differential in support between Clinton and Sanders among women of colour had somewhat more to do with name recognition than actively disliking Sanders as a candidate, or being unwilling to vote for another white man. The far more significant demographic differential among women that didn’t shift over the primary was between young women, who overwhelmingly backed Sanders, and older women, who backed Clinton.

                    I would also have talked about how, in a sensible world, Elizabeth Warren would have shoulder tapped Bernie, asked him to give her his delegates, and jumped into the race instead as a compromise candidate who could run against Clinton as a woman but still talk to left-wing economics, a position which has not had a modern US President speak in support of it, ever, and is the real way women of colour will get ahead, and the Democrats will start winning. I would also point out that Sanders, while an older, white man, would also have been a first in terms of representational politics: the US has never had a Presidential candidate who is willing to say they weren’t a Christian. That might not seem important to you, and it might not make him someone who speaks to me particularly given I’m an atheist, but it is absolutely a trend that needs to be broken just as much as Obama broke the racial barrier on the presidency, and Warren or Harris might break the gender barrier in 2020 if Sanders chooses not to run. I think we should absolutely be looking at both representational politics, and making sure candidates represent us ideologically, at the same time. But sometimes, especially when you’re voting for just a single candidate, you have to choose. Had I been in that primary, I would have chosen Sanders. Had I been in that general election, I would have compromised and voted for Clinton.

                    As to hypotheticals: I think the fact that Sanders was the most popular politician in the US right after the general election, even though the focus wasn’t on him, in a poll commisioned by Fox, of all people, shows a little bit of what might have been, even though we can’t be certain. Had the democratic party cared more about winning, they could have had an inspirational candidate. Yes, they would have had to put off that moment of having a woman on the top of a ticket- but I would bet big money that they would have got themselves a woman as Vice-President, and that the next democrat to run would have been a woman. Yes, he would have had a harder time in the general election than he did in the primary, but he became more popular in the primary, so even if that trend reversed, he still likely would have been in the lead, and his rhetoric was much more effective with voters who swung to Trump in the general election. Clinton, in contrast, had already been thoroughly attacked with groups that were core swing supporters, and it showed in the general election when she couldn’t even win Virginia or Florida, both swing states that had gone strong for her in the Primary, even though she had everything she could have asked for but an anointment in the primary contest.


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    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    6 days ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    6 days ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    7 days ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Guardian: Poll shows DISASTER for Corbyn and the End of Times
    The Guardian - ever eager to forewarn of doom and disaster on the left - are leading with a new poll from Opinium, which puts the Conservatives 15% clear of Labour.Con 38% +2Lab 23% -1Lib Dem 15% -5Brexit 12% +1Green 4% +2This isn't good news, and it would be very ...
    1 week ago
  • How prostitution became the world’s most modern profession
    Being and Being Bought (Spinifex Press, 2013) by Kajsa Ekis Ekman  A synopsis and commentary of Chapters 1-2 by Daphna Whitmore Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book She opens the discussion with a definition of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Clever legal fellow on Scottish challenge to Brexit
    I make no claims to having much legal knowledge,  so I defer to those trained in this area.I am very much enjoying this twitter stream from m'learned friend in Edinburgh, deciphering the legal arguments around the Scottish court challenge to Boris Johnson, based on the charmingly obscure principle of Nobile ...
    2 weeks ago
  • An Open Letter From Closed Minds.
    Ivory Folly? The University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, upheld the right of the radical nationalist group, Action Zealandia to exercise their freedom of speech – not matter how distasteful that speech might be. A wiser community of students and scholars would have nodded their agreement and moved on. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extinction Rebellion members want to “eat babies”
    If you are not convinced terrorist Organisation ‘Extinction Rebellion’ is very, very dangerous – watch this video at one of their recent meetings. Not only is this obviously mentally ill Woman begging the other terrorists to promote killing and “eating” babies and children, if you watch carefully other members nod ...
    An average kiwiBy
    2 weeks ago
  • The government needs to tell people about the OIA
    The Ombudsman has been surveying people about their knowledge of the OIA and the right to information. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that widespread:The Chief Ombudsman says too many New Zealanders were in the dark over their right to access official information. Peter Boshier said an independent survey released yesterday on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Join the rebellion
    In the wake of last Friday's climate strike, Peter McKenzie had an article in The Spinoff about protest strategies. The school strike movement is "polite" and cooperates with those in power because that's its kaupapa - its led by schoolkids who understandably don't want to risk arrest. But there's more ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Jermey Corbyn, I don’t like GNU (sorry)
    So, the latest ruminations on the gnews from Westminster (Again, sorry; I'll stop making that pun right now).  This follows on from, and likely repeats bits of, my last post, on the suggestion that a Government of National Unity (GNU) should be set up and then oversee a referendum before ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • About time
    New Zealand likes to think of itself as not a racist country (despite being founded on the racist dispossession and subjugation of Maori). But for years, we've had a racist refugee policy, which basicly excludes refugees from Africa and the Middle East unless they already have relatives here. Now, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Legal Beagle: Vexation, or Something Too Long for Twitter
    Several people have asked me whether a particular repeat litigant could be declared a vexatious litigant, in light of their recent decision to appeal an adverse High Court ruling. My nascent tweet thread was getting ridiculously long, so it became this blog post instead.The short answer is: no. The particular ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Zealandia’s Lost Boys.
    Appealing To The Past: Action Zealandia, like so many of the organisations springing up on the far-Right, across what they call the “Anglosphere”, is born out of the profound confusion over what a man is supposed to be in the twenty-first century and, more importantly, what he is supposed to do.THE STATUE OF ...
    2 weeks ago
  • British trade union and political activists defend women’s right to speak, organise
      The attempts of anti-democratic transactivists to (often violently) disrupt women’s rights organising is largely ignored by those sections of the left most prone to misogyny and authoritarianism in New Zealand.  In Britain, however, scores of trade union and left activists added their names to a letter in July, defending ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Turning their back on justice
    The Justice Committee has reported back on the Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill. The Bill would establish an independent, quasi-judicial body to investigate and review potential miscarriages of justice, and refer them back to the Court of appeal if required. It would be a vital backstop to our judiciary, help ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • US imperialism’s 40 years of war on the Iranian people
    by The Spark On September 14, a total of 22 drones and cruise missiles struck two oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the Abqaiq processing facility and the Khurais oil field. Abqaiq is the largest oil production facility in the world. For a few days afterwards, Saudi Aramco, the Saudi national ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • $47 billion
    How much will NeoLiberal irregulation of the building sector and subsequent leaky homes crisis cost us? $47 billion, according to a new book:The total cost to fix all of New Zealand's leaky homes would be $47 billion, probably. The estimate comes from a new book, Rottenomics written by journalist Peter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    3 hours ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    5 hours ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    5 hours ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    6 hours ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    7 hours ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    7 hours ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    7 hours ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    10 hours ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    1 day ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    1 day ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    1 day ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    2 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    2 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    2 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    3 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    4 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    5 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    5 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    5 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    5 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    5 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    5 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    5 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    6 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    6 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    6 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    7 days ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    1 week ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    1 week ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    1 week ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    1 week ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    1 week ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    1 week ago