Political orthodoxy and economic reality

Written By: - Date published: 9:46 am, February 13th, 2012 - 68 comments
Categories: capitalism, economy, socialism, sustainability - Tags: , ,

Capitalism is good. Globalisation is good. These are pretty much givens in “Western” countries. Certainly they are taken for granted in mainstream New Zealand politics. The two major parties tinker with the parameters, but they’re both playing in the same ball park.

But it’s good to challenge assumptions every now and then, and recent pieces by two excellent authors, often quoted here at The Standard, do just that. First up Bernard Hickey:

Tough reality in a world of hurt

Does globalisation work to make most people better off most of the time?

Until recently it was mostly the more left-wing fringes of academia and political life that asked this question and didn’t like the answer. The events of the past four years have shoved this debate firmly into the mainstream and now even the most conservative of economists and academics are questioning the drive to globalise everything. …

Four years on from the Global Financial Crisis and we’re now in a second round of a global debt crisis. Economies in the West are slipping into Zombie-like states of perma-recession with high unemployment, falling real wages and intense social pressures.

High-paid manufacturing jobs that underpinned healthy middle classes have been gutted in the drive for globalisation and replaced by often insecure and lowly-paid jobs in fast-food joints, hospitals, shops and hotels.

Now a debate is growing after the publication of a research paper by mainstream economists in the United States with the dry title: The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States. It shows a quarter of America’s manufacturing job losses are due to the effects of cheap labour in China and that the shift in jobs has significantly increased government spending on unemployment benefits, healthcare costs and retraining costs. …

Globalisation makes things cheap and helps lift millions out of poverty, but the costs are borne largely by the developed world’s middle classes. …

Gordon Campbell rattles the cage of orthodoxy even harder:

Why State Capitalism Is Beating The Free Market

And why New Zealand is no good at either…

Late last month, the Economist magazine published a debate on state capitalism, in which it proposed that state-led market economies are fast becoming a global rival to the old models of liberal, free market capitalism. The chapter and verse it provided is indeed pretty impressive. More than three-quarters of the world’s oil reserves, the magazine reported, are controlled by state-backed companies, ranging from the world’s biggest natural-gas company, Russia’s Gazprom to Brazil’s Petrobras. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation is the world’s second largest diversified chemicals company, Russia’s Sberbank is Europe’s third-largest bank by market capitalisation. Dubai Ports happens to be the world’s third-largest ports operator, and Emirates is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines.

Reportedly, state companies comprise 80% of the value of the stockmarket in China, 62% in Russia and 38% in Brazil. Together, the Economist summarised, they accounted for “one-third of the emerging world’s foreign direct investment between 2003 and 2010 and an even higher proportion of its most spectacular acquisitions, as well as a growing proportion of the very largest firms: three Chinese state-owned companies rank among the world’s ten biggest companies by revenue, against only two European ones.”

All of which suggests that long ago, the real world made up its own mind about whether government belongs in business. The trend seems very relevant to New Zealand, given our history of dependence on the state for building social and physical infrastructure, fostering innovation and investing in research and development – and our habit of living in denial about this discomfiting reality. Yet as the financial analyst Brian Gaynor points out by way of illustration, the current share market is full of companies like Solid Energy, Air New Zealand, Telecom etc that owed their origins to the state. Paradoxically though, our political rhetoric since the mid 1980s has been dominated by liberal exhortations to cut regulatory red tape, lower taxes, reduce labour protections, privatise assets and thus release the entrepreneurial spirit alleged to exist within our private sector. For all the free market noise, little in the way of sustainable growth has eventuated.

In other words, economic reality in New Zealand tends to differ from the political rhetoric that is routinely in play. …

That’s just the start of a long and interesting piece, head on over and read on.

Are we going to learn any lessons from the global financial crisis, and the ongoing years of stagnation and chaos? How much longer can economic reality and political reality proceed on separate paths before something breaks? Is any political party prepared to think outside the square and start a debate on the issues raised by these authors (and others)? How about this: time for the state to lead, get in to clean-tech in a big way, and keep the jobs here in NZ. It’s a plan so crazy that it just might work.

68 comments on “Political orthodoxy and economic reality ”

  1. Kotahi Tane Huna 1

    Doesn’t sound like a crazy idea at all.

    “Mr. Blair, we still make things.” Angela Merkel.

  2. vto 2

    Yep, the tide has turned. And which part of the political spectrum will step out into the new territory? Well, perhaps look at NZ’s history to see which has the balls to strike out into new areas and which simply sits and goes along with whatever the status quo is …..

    it aint hard to nut out.

    • aerobubble 2.1

      Governments are stabilizers their job is to keep the status quo.

      The problem is eventually stabilization is the wrong behavior.

      Take climate change. Digging up hydrocarbons and putting them into the world bio-system changes irrevocable the climate, the species best capable of survival, everything.

      But wait its worse, never before in the history of the Earth has so much changed so rapidly.

      In a century we have dumped a sizeable part of the deposit laid down millions of years ago over millions of years in ONE HUNDRED years.

      And then I got a shock, when told by MSM that its okay because all we have to do is sprinkle sulphur dust particles and fake a volcanic eruption.

      Please, heating take time to build, and takes time to dissipate, so even if that dealt with curbing some heating temporarily we’d likely find adapting much easier (and so more destablizing to governments). Also it does not remove the carbon, it does not remove the heat momentum built up in the seas. Its like getting on your bike at the top of the hill and then guess estimating that when you hit the bottom the hill that not only will the untested brakes will work, but that they will stop the bike.

      Money reflects value, the valuation made under cheap oil and cheap debt are found wanting.

      Governments need to intervene and redirect value to resilience and sustainable economies, this is not happening because world governments are trying to stablize the old valuation system and ideology based around cheap oil and cheap credit.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      That’s the problem, they’re all staying with the status quo.

  3. Macro 3

    Interestingly in a discussion on mediawatch
    mediawatch yesterday morning, both these two were mentioned as examples of former journalists in the MSM who had left to get on with their own thing. They are perhaps two of the few who are actively commenting and questioning the perceived wisdom as presented by mainstream media. Unfortunately I believe that until the MSM really start to question the orthodoxy that today has resulted in the near threat of a French style revolution in Greece – nothing will happen. You have Geoff on morning report ‘tut tutting” the demonstrators outside the Greek parliament, and Nicola telling us how these measures (thought up by bankers) are necessary etc without any thought to the actual people, who through no fault of their own, will be most affected.

    (do the ‘powers that be’ honestly think that the people will take the intended cut backs without retaliation??) It seems the only thing we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history.

    Sorry. a bit off thread, but an example that Orthodoxy holds sway in our mainstream media and until they begin to question that with the reality that is playing out both in NZ and around the world – NOTHING will change.

    The discussions of Bernard Hickey and Gordon Campbell are excellent and they deserve all the coverage they can get. But with respect, the general public get their information and form their opinions from TV and radio and Newspapers.

  4. Rusty Shackleford 4

    “…get in to clean-tech in a big way… It’s a plan so crazy that it just might work.”

    It didn’t work in Spain. It’s debatable if it worked in the US.

  5. Having been to China and seen the authoritan state at work I could not see New Zealanders being prepared to accept the shere size and personal rules set down by every minor part of state control.
    Why is Singapore so economically great – it is in effect like China a dictatorship, and there are no social welfare fallbacks in either.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      I agree. NZers will never settle for a dictatorship which is why we need commun1sm* rather than state capitalism.

      * Some form of participatory democracy where the direction is chosen by the community rather than some rich elite.

      • lefty 5.1.1

        NZers will never settle for a dictatorship which is why we need commun1sm* rather than state capitalism.

        Yes. Thats right.

        And lets not pretend we live in a democracy now.

        Equality is a prerequisite of democracy and it is only from a starting point of equality that each person can take their place and participate in decision making as a political being.

        At present we have no say in the workplace, on how surpluses are distributed, how the commons are managed or almost anything else that is important.

        The state is owned by an elite and acts as their agent in decision making, either directly as the owner of businesses, or indirectly by setting and enforcing the rules (or lack of) that the capitalists operate under.

        State capitalism or private capitalism: its still about a concentration of power and a lack of real democracy.

        Real democracy would see citizens self – managing our common resources according to needs and priorities we had all participated in deciding on.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Are people still interested in democratic freedom though? The freedom to meaningfully participate in the decision making which affects their lives? It seems to me that people have been sold a fairy tale of freedom through consumerism and individualism. While living an economic reality of serfdom and subjugation.

          • Populuxe1 5.1.1.1.1

            Which presupposes a lot of free time on people’s hands to make all of the decisions and be informed enough to make those decisions – which is why we have representational democracy supported by a civil service and research groups (or at least we would if the ACTresses and Natzis weren’t dead set on dismembering it). Alastair Reynolds’ Demarchy just sounds exhausting. But then we’re not all armchair policy wonks like you, CV.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Which presupposes a lot of free time on people’s hands to make all of the decisions and be informed enough to make those decisions…

              Which we would have if the productivity gains that had happened over the last century had gone to the people rather than the capitalists.

              • Populuxe1

                Because free time magically makes people less complacent? Or, just possibly, are they more likely to spend it with their families, or on hobbies, or traveling, or jelly wrestling, or anything other than more work? Would that it were so, but it doesn’t sound much like the behaviour of H sapiens.

                • felix

                  I’m not convinced that it’s complacence as a human trait that’s the problem, but rather that we have too much to do, not enough time to fit it into, and any free spacetime we do manage to wangle gets jacked by an unrelenting screaming shit-storm of consumerist propaganda.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  That comes down to culture. ATM, we have a culture we’re the majority of people ignore politics as if it’s dirty. We need to change that culture. Back 2500 years ago in Athens it was considered poor form to not participate in the city’s politics and we need to cultivate that same culture now.

                  • Populuxe1

                    BCE5th century Athens was a society that permitted slavery and only allowed you to vote if you were a man who owned property. Neither was it adverse to dictators like Pericles. It was also the same society that forced Socrates’ execution by suicide poisoning because of his free thinking getting too popular. What a marvelous model for a society.

                    • felix

                      How are any of those relevant to Draco’s point about the attitude to politics?

                      Was he advocating any of those things?

                      Did he anywhere propose the Athens of 2500 years ago as a “model for a society”?

                    • Populuxe1

                      In answer to your question, Felix:

                      Back 2500 years ago in Athens it was considered poor form to not participate in the city’s politics and we need to cultivate that same culture now.

                      Politic is dirty. It always has been.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Pop1 you missed the point.

                      In ancient Athens people were very clear what “democratic freedom” meant. And the fact that there were slaves and there were free people made that distinction all the more clear.

                      The ancient Athenians knew that real participation in the decision making process which affected them was true freedom.

                      Without real participation and real influence over the decisions which affect your life – you are nothing more than a serf or a slave. And as you point on, in ancient Athen that was not simply a euphemism.

                    • felix

                      “In answer to your question, Felix…”

                      Would’ve been quicker to just say no he didn’t, Pop. For someone so erudite and eloquent you struggle with some pretty fucking simple stuff.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      It was a society of it’s time and, no, I didn’t suggest that we take on all of it’s culture – just the bit about the populace being involved in politics.

                      Politic is dirty. It always has been.

                      Only when we leave it to the Authoritarian and psychopathic types who invariably try to hide everything that they do behind closed doors. As they say, Sunlight is a great disinfectant.

                      BTW, Socrates.

          • lefty 5.1.1.1.2

            Capitalisms greatest achievement is to alienate people to such and extent they no longer wish to participate in the empty political rituals that pass as democracy.

            When choosing a political party is no more meaningful than choosing a soap powder there is not a great deal of incentive to be bothered.

            When betrayal is acceptable and normal behaviour by politicians only a fool would invest any emotional energy in them.

            When sound bites and focus groups determine the behaviour of supposed representatives rather than principles and engagement with constituents, then representative democracy is a farce.

            The economic reality may be one of serfdom and subjugation but capitalist politics (or liberal democracy, depending on how you want to describe it) offers no hope of freedom.

            Only the idea of some sort of revised/updated communism is big enough to inspire us into collective action and only collective action to improve our lot can truly be described as democratic politics.

            • Populuxe1 5.1.1.1.2.1

              Ah the voice of a fool who had the privilege to be born in a liberal democracy but lacks the brain power to realise it, or indeed understand what one is and therefore calls it names because he claims to be a “lefty” but probably doesn’t really understand what that means either.
              Popper. It’s not just another name for amyl nitrate.
              I pretty much concur with Clive James:
              http://blog.localdemocracy.org.uk/2009/06/01/clive-james-on-liberal-democracy/
               

              • Colonial Viper

                a “liberal democracy” lol can’t you see a kleptocracy when its right in front of your eyes???

                  • Colonial Viper

                    ? The biggest kleptocracies are the US and Europe. The scale of global theft led by corporations and co-opted politicians in those countries is astronomical. You’ve mistaken sovereign victims of kleptocracy (often led by tin pot ruler collaborators) with the perps: the massive oil companies and banks who actually make a killing out of those countries.

                    Do you really believe that Libya’s gold and oil reserves are going to stay in the hands of the Libyan people now?

                    • Populuxe1

                      Ah, you see you are describing imperialism, not kleptocracy. Kleptocrats steal from their own people (which doesn’t apply in the case of our asset sales because the stupid fucks who didn’t vote in the last election effectively gave Key a mandate to sell – however the fact that we live in a liberal democracy means we can protest the shit out of it without being executed, and not vote the fuckers in next time).
                      Libya’s gold and oil weren’t in the hands of the Libyan people, they were in tha hands of Muammar Gaddafi, who used them as a bribe to inspire loyalty to him and his tribe – which went down like a cup of cold sick in the East, hence the civil war. And yes, the US is fucked. No, Europe is not, not quite yet, especially not Germany.

      • The Chairman 5.1.2

        A change in culture requires massive media input. Less Master Chef and X Factor – more political issues.

        More equal political input requires a form of Direct Democracy.

  6. ad 6

    A neglected core of this commentary is the downward mobility of what used to be called the middle class.

    If through the next round of New Zealand’s restructure we get down to 15% employed in the public service and 15% unionised, we will need an entirely new paradigm for aspirant citizens having a plan for their lives right from the beginning. The idea of a meritocratic contract in which higher and higher education gradually affords access to higher paid professional elites will gradually evaporate.

    Broadly the New Zealand public sector has provided a middle class which has provided security, societal station, and sustained salaries. With the decline of of a local ownership elite that drove a manufacturing base, this public service base of salaried comfort has provided much of the support for the bourgeoise service industries e.g. travel, property, fashion and higher education.

    Attacking the middle class by making sustained and major cuts to the public service – both in central and local government restructures – will gradually squeeze the middle class in New Zealand into insignificance. I think we can already see the effect of this in the accelerated decline in home ownership rates. It takes a serious salary now to service a mortgage – and serious salaries are fewer and fewer in this country.

    The Labour Party should be going right back to a pledge of full employment, and a strong public service to back that up. Oddly the United States Democratic party had precisely such a pledge for several decades.

    If New Zealand can no longer foreseeably ever be able to sustain its bourgeoisie, then progressive governments will more and more be reduced to setting better terms for people to simply not aspire, but only to exist with as much autonomy from each other as possible. A country of yeoman and craft markets and farmers markets and Good magazine highlights.

    I agree that another cautious reaffirmation of the same old clichés is abundantly not working. But without a reversal of the declining middle class, the pipeline of career aspiration in New Zealand, particularly for those following the meritocratic pact of higher education mobilising higher careers and salaries through the public service, well that’s just largely dead.

    Any progressive party needs to front up on this.

    • Rusty Shackleford 6.1

      “..the downward mobility of the middle class.”

      There is lot of talk about this but are the figures really there?

      A ton of work has been done in the states and the findings were (from memory) that at least some of the effect can be accounted for by former middle class folk entering the upper/rich class. And that the middle class actually gained in share of income distribution. I’m going to guess the number of people in the middle class as a share of the population also increased.
      http://american.com/archive/2011/september/middle-class

      Of course the NZ experience is almost certainly different. Has much work been done on it?

      • McFlock 6.1.1

        Of course, if he’d used a table that didn’t finish at the GFC, or includes say 1980 and 1990 as comparators, like this one (table 694), the guy might have observed that the US top5% income has gone from 16.6% of total in 1970/80 to 21.7 in 2009, the top 20% from 43/44% to 50.3%, and the bottom 20% from 14.9 % in 1970 down to 12%.

         
        In the 2000,s the top earners took a slight dip in 06/07, but have been regaining the ground over the next 3 years. The poorest 20% were steady on 12%, while the middle 20% took a 0.3% gaing in their share of the pie, which has since been whittled back.
          
        The author of your link is as blinkered as you are.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Are we going to learn any lessons from the global financial crisis, and the ongoing years of stagnation and chaos?

    Well, we may be willing to but I doubt that the government (especially this one) will let us as they work to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

    We need a better system – capitalism (either full capitalist or socio-capitalist) doesn’t work. We’ve got 5000+ years of history to show us that.

    • Rusty Shackleford 7.1

      “capitalism doesn’t work.”
      Bit of a sweeping statement. State control of the economy (includes fascism) was a pretty destructive force in the 20th century. I think I’ll take my chances with liberty, thanks.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        Capitalism is dictatorial. Ask any businesses owner who makes the decisions – it sure as hell isn’t the workers.

        And, yeah, did you notice the 5000+ years of history showing that capitalism doesn’t work? It’s been called different things but it’s always been the same – Some few living very well while applying oppression and poverty to everyone else.

        • Rusty Shackleford 7.1.1.1

          Very much a voluntary dictatorship. You are free to leave employment any time you wish. Try leaving North Korea and see what happens.

          Most of the early civilizations were strong monarchical systems very much exhibiting power exercised from above. Some were probably more capitalist than others, but none are what could be considered either purely capitalist or purely communist, for what little real descriptive value those words have. All major civilizations have been oppressive and unequal to varying extents. None have been purely capitalistic.

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1

            Most of the early civilizations were strong monarchical systems very much exhibiting power exercised from above.

            You may not have noticed but that’s what we have now. It’s why we call it Elected Dictatorship.

            None have been purely capitalistic.

            That’s the bit you don’t seem to get. The more oppressive and dictatorial societies were more capitalistic.

            • Populuxe1 7.1.1.1.1.1

              You may not have noticed but that’s what we have now. It’s why we call it Elected Dictatorship.

              Oh Draco, if you think this is a dictatorship, you need a new dictionary (in which case you could look up “hyperbole” and “Eeyore” as well). Fuck, you must never met someone who lived under a regime where you could actually “disappear” for expressing an opinion like that. Stop clutching your pearls – they don’t go with your hair shirt.
              http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8073863.stm

            • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1.2

              If none have been purely capitalist and none have been purely communist, why on earth does rusty think that capitalism is better than communism?
               

              • Populuxe1

                Probably because, as Marx strangely managed to overlook, if people actually wanted to live in a purely communistic society (in Economic Philosophy’s  sense of “utility”) it would have happened by now. But, of course, Utopians care little for the little foibles of what people actually want.

                • Rusty Shackleford

                  “You may not have noticed but that’s what we have now. It’s why we call it Elected Dictatorship.”
                  Kind of agree.

                  “The more oppressive and dictatorial societies were more capitalistic.”
                  I’m just going to start acting intellectually dishonest in the way you do. From now on everything I don’t like is communistic.

                  In what way were Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot or Castro capitalistic pray tell?

                  • McFlock

                    One of these things is not like the others: Mercedes Benz did as well out of the war as General Motors.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Wow are you simple minded enough to think that “the people” decide the nature and structure of society? I always thought it was the most powerful, wealthiest, most influential top 1% who did that.

                  You are a naive little thing aren’t you?

                  • Populuxe1

                    Oh, CV, it’s so cute that you cling to nineteenth century classical Marxism when most of those social structures were demolished between WW2 and the Internet. Money isn’t the sole defining capital of society, Sillybilly.
                    If that was the case, John Key would still be in a state house in Christchurch and Sir Mad Butcher wouldn’t be spruking for him, nor would there have been any need to threaten the media with legal action over teapotgate, nor would so many Principals declared their principles in standing up against sandardised testing, All Blacks and Shortland Street actors would be nobodies, and many, many other examples, because despite your dark little fantasies, because power and privilege exist in many, many different forms.
                    Just to start you off gently, I recommend Lyotard, Foucault, and Derrida, and then maybe we can move onto Lacan, Virilio, Deleuze and Guattari and the more advanced stuff. Also this:
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_School
                    and this:
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Gramsci

                     
                     

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Sorry no thanks.

                      Money isn’t the sole defining capital of society, Sillybilly.
                      If that was the case, John Key would still be in a state house in Christchurch

                      Correct. Its precisely of the state housing, free healthcare and the free public schooling that John Key is where he is today.

                      Money is only a tool of course. It is a force and influence multiplier.

                • McFlock

                  But by that logic, if people actually wanted to live in a purely capitalist society, it would have happened by now.
                    

                  Personally, I wish to live in neither. But our offshore Somali Minister for Consuymer Affairs has expressed a preference for a purely theoretical system and defended it with the argument that pure capitalism has never existed. But the opposite system is equally untested. Which leaves him in a philosophical paradox that makes a mockery of his pretensions towards logic.
                    

                  • Populuxe1

                    But by that logic, if people actually wanted to live in a purely capitalist society, it would have happened by now.

                    Yep, that too.

                    Personally, I wish to live in neither. But our offshore Somali Minister for Consuymer Affairs has expressed a preference for a purely theoretical system and defended it with the argument that pure capitalism has never existed. But the opposite system is equally untested. Which leaves him in a philosophical paradox that makes a mockery of his pretensions towards logic.

                    Not only do I totally agree, a gold star for making me chuckle on an grim, overcast day.

        • Bored 7.1.1.2

          Draco, the oxidising skanky person is correct: capitalism works just fine. Its bloody obvious that if you are a capitalist the whole show is currently doing fine and dandy.

          On the other hand if you are a:
          – student being required to be certificated with a degree in order to get any work from the capitalist you will be heavily indebted with student loans. You will be poor until you can force the poor to pay your exorbitant managerial salary etc later.
          – a working youth actually in employment you will be at Mackers earning an absolute minimum pittance.
          – unemployed, one of the remaining 25% of under 25s with either no work or part time positions.

          This Draco is the Shanky Oxidists vision of society, in which as he says capitalism is working just fine (for capitalists).

          • Vicky32 7.1.1.2.1

            – unemployed, one of the remaining 25% of under 25s with either no work or part time positions.

            I just feel bound to point out here that the over 45 year olds have just as hard a time getting a job. Perhaps even more so than the under 25s…

    • Populuxe1 7.2

      Sorry, I must have been asleep when it was proven that “socio-capitalism” doesn’t work. The Nordic countries are ticking along quite nicely, with Iceland rapidly making a comeback from its meltdown. As for your assertion “We’ve got 5000+ years of history to show us that.” – we most certainly do not. On that time scale we’ve only just abolished indentured slavery and the internet is a twinkle is someone’s eye.
      I realise there’s a huge gulf in how we view Leftist politics. You, like many Standardistas are a sort of unreconstructed classical Marxist who sees society as a pre-war rigid class hierarchy with Capital being primarily economic. I subscribe to a neo-Frankfurt model where society is a panoply of overlapping identity groups and Capital includes all sorts of abstract concepts like authority, knowledge, privilege, and even erotic and creative capital. There is no reason to suggest that the basic premise of socio-capitalism cannot be improved on because it is the competitive exchange of many different forms of “capital” that drive primate societies at their basic level. Total ataraxia is total stagnation. A kinder, gentler capitalism is more compatable with liberal democracy and in my book liberal democracy is non-negotiable.

      • jimgreen 7.2.1

        While I agree with everything you say and am a big fan of the Frankfurt School, in the end I believe it breaks down at the theoretical level in its distinction between pre and post-conventional morality. I couldn’t help but seeing it as just another version of liberalism to be honest.

        Liberalism is great no doubt, but in terms of being able to create a world that is truly democratic (i.e. people having the ability to bring about change) Habermasian Critical Theory relies too much on a static vision of society and human interaction which places it squarely in the same category as any other positivist methodology.

        As a research and practical theory I believe neo-Gramscianism presents a much more solid foundation to work from, it’s just as dense as any other theory out there but once it clicks it can be quite a revelation. The neo-Gramscianism of Robert W. Cox is what I subscribe to.

        His strategy/theory is to look at the world as divided into three principal units: social forces, forms of state and world orders (the title of his seminal article if you are looking for it). Each of these units affects the other and you can imagine an idea like neoliberalism or Habermasian Critical theory as a social force and how this idea in turn proposes a form of state and world order. This also works the other way round if you’re on the receiving end unfortunately (i.e. the neoliberal world order, the form of state as dictated by institutions such as the WTO, and then finally how this has bearing on social life).

        From there you can compare/contrast the two ideas (or get dialectical in technical terms) and see where the conflict occurs (this being both material or ideational conflict), focus on eliminating that conflict, and when that’s sorted out a historic-bloc will develop and become a social force capable of overturning the existing hegemony of the ruling elite.

        By no means do you need to throw out the Frankfurt, only use it as a component of your Gramscian strategy.

        • Populuxe1 7.2.1.1

          My doG! Someone understood and gave me a rational critical response! I think I just had an orgasm. Thank you so much 🙂 I genuinely and sincerely mean that 🙂

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.2

        “We’ve got 5000+ years of history to show us that.” – we most certainly do not.

        Yes we do. Iceland did what the civilisations 5000 years ago were doing when debt got to high (too much owed to the capitalists (priests and kings back then)) – got rid of the debt by the simple expedient of burning the accounts. But then they went on and continued operating as if they hadn’t learned anything which means that, in awhile, they’ll need to do the same thing again. IMO, it would be better if we just stopped making the same stupid mistake.

        There is no reason to suggest that the basic premise of socio-capitalism cannot be improved on because it is the competitive exchange of many different forms of “capital” that drive primate societies at their basic level.

        No it’s not, it’s getting along and cooperating with each other that drives society.

        • Populuxe1 7.2.2.1

          Well Draco, how about a link to something I can actually read rather than a link to Amazon in the expectation I have to participate in capitalism to pick apart your argument. In any case, I prefer something a bit more academic, and only someone utterly ignorant of the agrarian cultures of Mesopotamia and North Africa would for a moment entertain they were (without benefit of Marx) socio-capitalist. Neither were they capitalist in our sense because the reigning monarch could, at a moments notice, overturn the structure of debt, credit, and exchange on a whim. And frequently did. If only they’d had benefit of your god-like hindsight and faith in pop-anthropology.

          IMO, it would be better if we just stopped making the same stupid mistake.

          Well do share this wisdom of the ages that has eluded the greatest minds for, as you say, 5000 years. IYO.
          No it’s not, it’s getting along and cooperating with each other that drives society.
          Wow! Another revolutionary concept. Have you published this radical theory? – because unless you’ve got some paper tucked away I haven’t heard about, no society in the history of human civilisation has ever, ever, worked that way – even tribal societies have have existed on an economy of mana or it’s equivalent. Hence Popper on Marx.

          • Draco T Bastard 7.2.2.1.1

            Mesopotamia and North Africa would for a moment entertain they were (without benefit of Marx) socio-capitalist.

            I never said that they were. You may not have noticed but the socio-capitalist systems are falling down right now and they’re falling down for the same reasons as the old dictatorial systems fell down – 1) all the wealth accumulating in the ownership and control of a few and thus increasing poverty and 2) over use of resources to pay for the interest on the debt.

            because unless you’ve got some paper tucked away I haven’t heard about, no society in the history of human civilisation has ever, ever, worked that way…

            The book I linked to mentions it, apparently several societies had little or no trade within them. All societies must come about through cooperation because without it then we’re far too weak to survive. It’s only, IMO, after a society has become well established with surplus that competition begins to take hold. Over time that competition becomes the be-all, end-all reason for the society (normally marked by capital accumulation) and it eventually falls down because of the rents and imbalances caused by that competition.

  8. Rusty Shackleford 8

    “…the rich richer and the poor poorer.”

    Is this true?

      • Rusty Shackleford 8.1.1

        Evidence?

        I’m having a bit of a look around. I was surprised to find that NZ has similar median household income to Aus.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_household_income_in_Australia_and_New_Zealand

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1

          That table says that the median NZ household is better off than the median Australian household.

          Since I do not believe that is the case, socioeconomic certain factors would seem to have been left out. What would be revealing is where the quintiles lie.

          • Rusty Shackleford 8.1.1.1.1

            I only very quickly read this, and it only covers the era of neo-liberal reform and its aftermath, but this study seems to show that income inequality increased in NZ during that time compared to Aus. It would be interesting to see whether the reforms under the Clarke govt had any affect on wealth and income distribution.

            http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2000/00-13

            • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1.1.1

              I once saw data which said that during the Clark years, increases in income inequality were stemmed (but not reversed).

              A large part of that was to do with substantial minimum wage increases and low unemployment levels. Beneficiaries got little however, and while working families got WFF to help their kids, children in beneficiary parents got very little.

              • McFlock

                2011 Economic Indicators  – stats NZ. Figu=re 1.7 (page 35) gives GINIs for “mid1980s, mid1990s, mid2000s”. NZ goes up around 7 points 80s-90s, maybe further up 1 point 1990s-2000s. A lot of that will be shitley, though. 

            • jimgreen 8.1.1.1.1.2

              There is a decent graph at the bottom of this page

              http://www.nzchildren.co.nz/income_inequality.php

              I remember quite vividly when the news came out that the Geni Coefficient started dropping as I was doing a social policy paper on it at the time, Working for Families takes the credit from what I have seen.

          • McFlock 8.1.1.1.2

            No, the authors of the table couldn’t find the NZ median household income, so they used average. Bunk.
             

      • Macro 8.1.2

        have you been out of the country for the past 3 years?
        Draco said the current govt policy is to make “the rich richer and the poor poorer”. That is what they have done (or haven’t you been listening). Have you not had a huge tax break? Or are you one of those on $25,000 who classifies themselves in the top income bracket and are now beginning to wonder why you don’t feel rich?
        Are you lining up for your piece of the State Asset pie? Available only to those who have the money.
        What other evidence of making the rich richer and the poor poor do you need?

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    It appears that big corporates are engaging in slavery:-

    U.S. companies Monsanto, manufacturer of seeds and agrochemicals, and Manpower , a provider of temporary employment services were reported on Monday by Argentina’s tax agency for alleged human trafficking.

    So, how much more like the old feudal system does our socio-economic system have to become before we admit that it’s the same thing with a different name?

  10. Vicky32 10

    Hi, I am just reading this :
    http://apps.facebook.com/theguardian/commentisfree/2012/feb/12/banknotes-not-worth-their-paper
    (I hope that link works!) It states the case admirably.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Mainstreaming Māori
    Mainstreaming need not be inherently anti-Māori. It will be if it is done badly because it will be anti-those-in need, and proportionally more of them are Māori.That the Coalition Government says it will deliver public services on the basis of need rather than, say, race deserves consideration, even though many ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 hour ago
  • National says “fuck you”
    The Justice Committee has reported back on the government's racist bill to eliminate Māori representation in local government. The report duly notes the Waitangi Tribunal's finding that the bill breaches te Tiriti, and the bill's inconsistency with our international human rights obligations - and then proceeds to ignore both. Instead, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    9 hours ago
  • Christopher Luxon is – Big in Japan
    This week our Prime Minister Christopher Luxon… mmm, let’s take a moment to consider just how good that sounds. Hope you weren’t eating.Anyway that guy. Better? That bloke from the telly, he said - what I would say to you is… I’m big in Japan. My kind of people, hard ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    15 hours ago
  • Weekly Roundup 21-June-2024
    Tis the winter solstice! The shortest day and longest night of the year. The good news: we’re on our way back to summertime. Here’s another roundup of stories to brighten up your Friday. Our header image is from CRL and shows Waihorotiu Station lit up for Matariki 2024 The ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    15 hours ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Friday, June 21
    Our economic momentum remains anaemic, and it’s possible the tiny increase in GDP was a ‘dead cat bounce’. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Per-capita GDP has fallen 4.3% from its peak over the last 21 months, which is more than it it fell in the Global Financial Crisis recession ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    16 hours ago
  • The Futility of Punishment
    Hi,I was in Texas recently and couldn’t stop thinking about how in some parts of America they really like to kill their prisoners. As a society we tend to agree murder is wrong, but somewhere along the way Texas figured it’s fine if it’s after 6pm and the killing is ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    17 hours ago
  • The new Beehive approach to the environment
    A persistent theme has been weaving between the Committee rooms at Parliament all this so-called “Scrutiny” week as MPs have probed Ministers and agencies about their work and plans. The question has been simply what the environmental price might be if the country begins to accelerate its infrastructure building to ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    19 hours ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #25 2024
    Open access notables Climate Change Is Leading to a Convergence of Global Climate Distribution, Li et al., Geophysical Research Letters: The impact of changes in global temperatures and precipitation on climate distribution remains unclear. Taking the annual global average temperatures and precipitation as the origin, this study determined the climate distribution with the ...
    1 day ago
  • You take nicer pictures when you’re not drunk
    Readers keeping count will know it's more than five years since I gave up booze. Some of you get worried on my behalf when I recount a possibly testing moment. Anxious readers: today I got well tested.All the way across France I've been enquiring in my very polite and well-meaning but ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 day ago
  • Cancer
    Turn awayIf you could, get me a drinkOf water 'cause my lips are chapped and fadedCall my Aunt MarieHelp her gather all my thingsAnd bury me in all my favourite coloursMy sisters and my brothers, stillI will not kiss you'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving youI remember the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why we shouldn’t buy new planes for the PM
    Its not often that one has to agree with Judith Collins, but yes, it would indeed cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” (at least) to buy replacement aircraft to fly the Prime Minister on his overseas missions of diplomacy and trade. And yes, the public might well regard that spending ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    2 days ago
  • The Stadium Debate – What About the Transport Options?
    A few weeks ago, Auckland Council took another step in the long-running stadium saga, narrowing its shortlist down to two options for which they will now seek feasibility studies. The recommendation to move forward with a feasibility study was carried twenty to one by the council’s Governing Body for the ...
    2 days ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 20
    Social Development Minister Louise Upston has defended the Government’s decision to save money by dumping a programme which tops up the pay of disabled workers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: It has emerged the National-ACT-NZ First Government decided to cut wages for disabled workers from the minimum wage to $2 an hour ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Where the power really resides in Wellington
    The new Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) yesterday gave a Select Committee a brutally frank outline of the department’s role as the agency right at the centre of power in Wellington. Ben King, formerly a deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 days ago
  • Climate Adam: Why we're still losing the fight against Methane
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Carbon dioxide is the main culprit behind climate change. But in second place is methane: a greenhouse gas stronger than CO2, ...
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: More ETS failure
    A few weeks ago, I blogged about the (then) upcoming ETS auction, raising the prospect of it failing, leaving the government with a messy budget hole. The auction was today, and indeed, it failed. In fact, it was such a failure that no-one even bothered to bid. Its easy to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • The Return of Jacinda.
    Oh, take me, take me, take meTo the dreamer's ballI'll be right on time and I'll dress so fineYou're gonna love me when you see meI won't have to worryTake me, take mePromise not to wake me'Til it's morningIt's all been trueEarly morning yesterday, well before dawn, doom-scrolling.Not intentionally, that’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • How good is the interim NW busway?
    This is a guest post by Pshem Kowalczyk, a long-time follower of the blog. With great fanfare, just over six months ago (on 12 November 2023), AT launched its interim busway for the NorthWest region, with the new WX express service at the heart of the changes. I live ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    3 days ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    4 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    4 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    4 days ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    5 days ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    5 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    5 days ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    6 days ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    1 week ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    1 week ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    1 week ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    1 week ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    1 week ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    1 week ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    2 weeks ago

  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-06-21T11:30:19+00:00