Post election commentary

Written By: - Date published: 11:51 am, December 2nd, 2011 - 51 comments
Categories: labour, leadership - Tags: ,

A lot has been written in the aftermath of the election. I want to quickly note two excellent pieces that you might have missed in the rush.  The first is by Nick Hager at Pundit:

I’ve just been internalising a really complicated situation in my head

Here’s the bullet-point version, to begin:

  • National won about the same number of votes it did three years ago (it got a higher percentage of the total vote owing to falling voter turnout)
  • National has an almost unmanageably thin majority in Parliament; party insiders are not at all happy
  • Winston Peters is back as a fly in the National Party’s ointment, in a large part because John Key and Steven Joyce mucked up over the Epsom tea party
  • MMP is here to stay, meaning governments need to win a real majority and not just a high single party vote
  • 50% of voters voted against National, despite its popular leader
  • Many National votes were won because of its apparently easy-going and centrist leader, not because people necessarily support its policies
  • Well over 50% of the public opposes key National Party policies such as privatisation (‘asset sales’)
  • The ACT Party, National’s most important coalition partner, died on election night
  • There are signs that National has passed the high point of its popularity and will now start to decline
  • There are signs that National leader John Key has passed the high point of his popularity and will now start to decline.
  • The coming three years will be the playing out of these things. It is going to be very different to National’s first three years in government.

That’s the summary. If you’d like the long version, read on.

Read on indeed, it’s well worth your time.  The second piece of note was by Bryan Gould in The Herald:

Labour must fight smarter against Key, starting now

There are never any final battles in politics. No one should begrudge John Key his moment of triumph on Saturday but – as he will be well aware – the campaign for the next general election has already started.

A 48 per cent share of the votes cast was, on the face of it, an outstanding achievement. But we should bear in mind that fully two-thirds of New Zealanders eligible to vote did not give their support to National, either failing to register or vote, or voting for someone else.

This was not, in other words, a coronation. Not everyone loves Key. Yet we can already see the “elective dictatorship” syndrome in Key’s claim that he has a mandate for asset sales, despite the incontrovertible polling evidence that the policy is opposed even by National voters.

The election campaign was at times an unhappy experience for Key. It revealed to his supporters, among voters and in the media, a politician whom many may not have seen before. The images of an uncomfortable and defensive Key, clearly irritated at being challenged and having to answer questions he would prefer to have ignored, will remain in the memory for a long time.

Nor is it the case, as some have suggested, that Labour’s poor showing means that the next election is already a lost cause. We should not forget that, in 2002, National’s share of the vote dropped to just 22 per cent, yet three years later, under the leadership of that “strange fellow” Don Brash, National very nearly pulled off a win. …

Labour’s new leader needs to think hard about the politics of being in Opposition. If they are to do better this term than last, there has to be a carefully planned, developed and staged strategy so that, by the time the next election campaign starts, the groundwork has been properly laid. …

There are, in other words, three stages in a successful campaign.  First, changing – through hard work and relentless pressure – the public perception of Key as a leader who can be trusted. Second, taking enough time, well before the election, to build support for policies that opponents can easily misrepresent. And third, launching vote-winning policies so as to generate momentum through the election campaign.

A new leader and a strategy like this could make for a very interesting election in 2014.

Once again well worth reading the original to fill in the gaps, there’s plenty in there for Labour to think about.  As we go through the process of choosing a new leader, the most important question that I think the candidates can be asked is – what are your plans for Labour over the next three years?  No waffle allowed, let’s hear a detailed plan.

51 comments on “Post election commentary ”

  1. queenstfarmer 1

    Yet we can already see the “elective dictatorship” syndrome in Key’s claim that he has a mandate for asset sales, despite the incontrovertible polling evidence that the policy is opposed even by National voters.

    Absolute nonsense from Gould (and others). The only “incontrovertible polling evidence” was the General Election last Saturday that handed a huge victory, with an increased majority, to National. Despite Labour basing almost it’s entire campaign on blindly ideological opposition to asset sales.

    Gould and others are now claiming that a Government’s mandate in a general election is somehow limited by pre-election opinion polls involving anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand people at best, and (from what I’ve seen) not actually asking about National’s specific policies. And these are the same opinion polls that many here claim are based on “dodgy methodologies” etc.

    If Gould is saying we should be using binding citizens referenda , then he should say so – and I would agree with him. Until then, a certain phrase of Michael Cullen’s comes to mind.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      “…an increased majority…”

      Yes, because dropping from 69 to 61 is an increase, isn’t it? No wonder the National Party finds you so easy to deceive.

    • Blighty 1.2

      what increased majority?

      What majority?

      • queenstfarmer 1.2.1

        Forgotten after only 6 days?

        • Lanthanide 1.2.1.1

          For National to have had a “majority”, they would have needed more than half the seats in the house. They did not have this before the election, and they do not have it after the election.

          • queenstfarmer 1.2.1.1.1

            You have asserted one meaning of “majority” as the only meaning.

            Meaning 3(c) in the Merriam Webster is “the greater quantity or share”.

            The two meanings in the Cambridge Dictionary of British English (which I think it’s fair to assume is the prevailing language we are using) defines it as: “the larger number or part of something; in an election, the difference in the number of votes between the winning person or group and the one that comes second”.

            • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1.1.1

              So now you’re using a definition of ‘majority’ with which National can pass no laws in the House?

              Clever.

              No wonder National strategists are pissed.

              • McFlock

                With any luck, they will have a similar “majority” next time: 54 seats, no coalition partners.

              • queenstfarmer

                I don’t know about clever, but it is correct. National would certainly struggle to pass laws if every other party in the House opposed them. Same with every other post-MMP government. Is this news to you?

                • felix

                  “National would certainly struggle to pass laws if every other party in the House opposed them”

                  Unless they had a majority in the house. Which they don’t.

                • Ari

                  Since when can majority be used for anything less than 50%? A quick search for “48% majority” finds nobody agreeing with you- they’re all talking about 48-year trends or 48 votes requiring a majority. Whoops.

                  While nobody denies that National won the election fair and square, it was because voters were not engaged or excited to turn out, not because they have some sort of commanding support.

                  • queenstfarmer

                    Since when can majority be used for anything less than 50%?

                    I don’t know, you’d have to ask Merriam Webster and Cambridge University who say it can.

        • aerobubble 1.2.1.2

          MSM coup continues after the eleciton, first never criticizing Key, then after the election downplaying the obvious talks Key is having to have with Dunne and Maori Party.

          Only a fool would believe Key has enough votes to get his budget past alone.

          All it takes is one Natonal MP to say no to asset sales.

          • queenstfarmer 1.2.1.2.1

            All it takes is one Natonal MP to say no to asset sales.

            And all it will take is a few more National MPs to defect to Labour and install Shearer as Prime Minister! Each scenario is equally as plausible.

    • RedLogix 1.3

      Your idea of a ‘huge majority’ qstf is rooted in obsolete FPP thinking.

      Let’s hypothetically tweak last weeks result a little. What if National’s party vote was reduced a small amount to say 45% and Labour’s increased to 30%? And every other result remained the same. In other words a mere 3% swing from National to Labour.

      Still a “huge majority” for National according to you … but of course significantly short of being able to form a government. In fact on the result above a left wing coalition would pretty much romp in.

      So no.. not much of a majority at all. But then I guess either you know that or choose to say the opposite for some other reason only you understand.

      • Lanthanide 1.3.1

        “choose to say the opposite for some other reason only you understand.”

        Same reason he insists on saying partial privatisation isn’t privatisation, I guess.

    • Below is a petition to demand a binding referendum on asset sales.

      http://www.averagekiwi.com/?p=674

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Nicky is great, one of NZs few public thinker/researchers. Even though his talents are usually employed on the nats and spooks he sometimes gets less than his due from the left. He is not doctrinaire enough for marxists but doesn’t cosy up to Labour either.

  3. Thomas Forrow 3

    General Election last Saturday that handed a huge victory, with an increased majority, to National

    Hm About the same vote to National as last time and National will end up with 59 seats out of 121
    with with UF and Act. that is 61 out of121
    That is as close as it could possibly be.. 1 seat…
    I can”t see how that is a huge victory, a very narrow victory methinks
    half a percent more to the Greens and it would have been a different story

    • nobody has mentioned that they also have to vote in a speaker . that makes one less seat .
      Im picking they may pick Sharples .

      • queenstfarmer 3.1.1

        Not under MMP. The speaker votes as per usual under MMP.

        • I think you will find Mr Speaker only has the deciding vote .However if you are right Mr Speaker still is not allowed to take part the debate. In other words the Nats are one down in debating Chamber. Lets also remember that after the special votes the figure may change.

          • queenstfarmer 3.1.1.1.1

            No, my statement was correct (naturally :-)). From the Parliament website:

            The Speaker’s vote is included in any party vote cast and the Speaker votes in a personal vote, though without going into the lobbies personally – the Speaker’s vote is communicated to the teller from the Speaker’s chair.

            So the speaker gets a normal vote. And you are also mistaken about the casting vote. The speaker does not have a casting vote under MMP.

  4. mikesh 4

    Labour needs to bring into the light of day its core values. I would suggest
    1. A fair tax system, which would in principal mean a progressive tax system. eg Get rid of GST which as far as I can see serves no useful purpose other than to make the overall tax system less progressive.
    2. Ensure that infrastructure is owned by the state and operated for the benefit of the people and not for profit, not even government profit. I would be thinking in terms of buying back state assets already sold and, perhaps, replacing the current banking system with a state owned system.
    3. A commitment to welfare.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      “1. A fair tax system, which would in principal mean a progressive tax system. eg Get rid of GST which as far as I can see serves no useful purpose other than to make the overall tax system less progressive.”

      GST is a consumption tax. It helps discourage wanton waste of resources. In the bleak looking future when we have to do more with less, waste is something we’re going to want to control wherever possible. Most countries in the world have some sort of sales tax.

      Removing GST of fresh fruit and vegetables was stupid, though. They should’ve removed GST off all food sold in supermarkets – essentially GST on food would be relegated to restaurants and fast food only.

      Removing GST off local rates is something I’d also support, although it could be limited to only the family home to reduce the foregone revenue while also targeting the support at where it is really needed.

      • mikesh 4.1.1

        I doubt if \GST discourages consumption if income tax rates are reduced to compensate. Technically it should encourage saving. but we still have a savings problem so it hasn’t solved that problem.

      • Anthony 4.1.2

        I’d argue to remove GST off everything deemed a base necessity of modern life: food (supermarket), water, and power.

        • Ianupnorth 4.1.2.1

          +1 – remove it from rates (why are you taxed on a tax?), remove it from domestic power.
           
          Whilst we are at it, I would like them to firstly do away with car rego’s – put the cost on the price of fuel, that way all the evaders pay their share, also clamp down on ‘perks’ – the company car and fuel cards; both abused, both paid for by those who don’t have them (indirectly)

      • Ari 4.1.3

        Actually, I like the GST removal policy as it is. An incentive for people to become vegan or vegetarian.

  5. ianmac 5

    At 7687 readings it suggests credibility for Nicky Hagar at Pundit.

  6. Anthony 6

    I agree with Nicky tbh, definitely resembles the left’s 2005 result (if not worse), and lack of any coalition partners will be very worrying for the Nats come 2014. National needed about 55% and a stronger showing by their coalition partners in this election to get good odds in 2014.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    The interesting bit is that when all the votes are counted National will have about 2.5% more of the votes cast than 2008

    Which was the same increase Labour got in 2002 !

  8. tc 8

    so 48% of was it 68% turn out is 33% of eligible voters…..no surprise it’s a money trader claiming that as a mandate to plunder.
    1 + 1 is whatever you want as I’ve got an opinion that says so, probably differs from yours but it’s a dinimmic world.

  9. Peter 10

    I think the most fun will occur, when New Zealand doesn’t return to surplus and just gains a larger deficit. Nationals claim they can reduce revenue, and cut taxes and produce a surplus is just as silly as their claim they could fix the ‘underclass’ or reduce the wage gap with Australia. ROFL @ National voters, that think John Key will save the country, let alone provide the economic growth his corporate masters crave.

    • aerobubble 10.1

      Assets sales will only buy time for the private debt problem, by pushing up the currency as foriegn investors (and kiwi expats) buy NZ dollars to pay for the assets.

      • Peter 10.1.1

        I doubt kiwi expatiates will buy into assets (only wealthy NZ’ers who will then sell their shares on for profit to foreign multinationals), and if last time is the judge then the assets will likely end up in the hands of the personal friends of the government (or the National party), and foreign multinationals. Prepare for more price gouging than ever before i.e. higher electricity prices.

  10. swt…so we’ve seen the last of Mallard as a strategist then ?

    Give Robertson the job i reckon.

  11. Im picking utter chaos in about a year. Even the great unwashed non voter is going to rise in anger. Facism is not far away. Just consider .Unemployment out of control. Kids being paid slave wages , police armed with guns .pepper spray.and stun guns. The likes of Garth McVicar telling the police what to do. I hope I’m wrong but I am seeing the signs of disorderly mass uprisings on the horizon. So what do we do ?
    Key will just piss off to one of his mansions ,most likely as Sir John.He wont care a stuff.How did we deserve this lot?

    • Peter 12.1

      All we can do is get out and vote next time, so there isn’t a repeat of this years election, if National stuffs up the country too much it might die off with the Act party…if we are lucky (but there will still be those that believe in the mythical free market paradise where human resources are squashed under foot by the boots of big corporations).

  12. The Auckland figures are interesting.  Labour lost 3.15% of the vote in the Auckland urban area and the greens gained … 3.21% of the vote in the Auckland urban area (excluding Maori seats).
     
    National’s increase was 2.31% which was about what ACT lost.  NZ First gained at the expense of Labour.
     
    All in all it was better than anywhere else in the country.  I predict that Auckland will be where all of the action is next election.

    • gingercrush 13.1

      Its always been presumed that the dominance of the three South Auckland seats would be damaging to National and no doubt they can. But electorates such as Tamaki and Epsom and to a lesser extent Pakuranga and Botany (still a bit unsure of Botany as it has a very large Asian population who have a tendency to swing) can be or are just as strong for National as South Auckland is to Labour.

      Next election the West Auckland electorates will be a primary factor in who gets the Auckland vote. Northcote too has been prone to swings. Maungakiekie is always prone to swings. Though if I was Labour I’d be more concerned with its lost of vote in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin than I would be with Auckland. Its those three cities that I suspect will determine the 2014 election.

      The mistake for Labour would be to simply consolidate the left-wing vote and regain those votes that came from the Greens.

      • mickysavage 13.1.1

        Agreed GC in that the South Auckland seats (bless them) now have the problem of turn out rather than proportion.  All Labour has to do is make sure people get to the polling booths in these areas.

        West Auckland is now more complex.  Parts of each of the seats have become much wealthier and these areas vote National.  The Henderson Heights area in the Waitakere seat for instance may have saved Paula.  Everywhere else voted Carmel but this area voted heavily for Paula.

        It reminds me of the saying about the first Labour Government.  The people waked to the polls to vote them in and drove to the polls to vote them out … 

        Agreed also that Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington in that order need to be focussed on and that Labour needs to make inroads into the soft National vote rather than the Green vote. 

        • lprent 13.1.1.1

          We had to solve that problem in Mt Albert in the 90’s and did. The trick is really really knowing your electorate using databases and numbers. Use it to focus the people contact where it will do the most good doing what Labour does best. Turning up and talking to people who don’t vote regularly or who swing a lot.

          To do that effectively you have to canvass for knowledge rather than forever chasing votes. Chasing your own supporters all of the time is an exercise in futility. You have to canvas Nat and swing voters so you know who they are likely to be. You need to know what combinations of factors indicate or will push people one way or another. Then you can target your candidate and volunteers a lot more effectively.

          And you need to treat getting electorate votes as being a side effect of getting party votes. Paradoxically it is the easiest way of getting electorate votes.

          The paint by the numbers campaigning during the election campaign with numbers of volunteers is simply not viable any more regardless how many electorate organizations cling to the 70’s techniques. Having ‘feel’ for an electorate is massively enhanced by using numbers to look at them as well. It is the story of the 21st century.

          You get best results using small teams of volunteers working throughout the election cycle collecting and storing information. Where the selection of what information to collect is always designed to enhance your knowledge about the changing electorate. Then when you have larger numbers of volunteers available, you target them in on the types of people you need to contact to get them to go and vote for your party and maybe even your nice candidate.

  13. After the fiasco performed by Epsom voters I can only asume that the majority of Epsom voters are a bit short of Grey cells. Im just glad I dont live among these far right racist anti working class bigots. However they do as they are told dont they .?big brother is watching them so they better keep in line.

  14. DS 15

    2008:

    Right (National + ACT + United Future): 64
    Left (Labour + Greens + Progressives): 53
    Other (Maori Party): 5

    2011 (before specials):

    Right (National + ACT + United Future): 62
    Left (Labour + Greens + Mana): 48
    Other (Maori Party + NZ First): 11

    Noting that National may well lose a seat on specials, 2011 was a small swing away from the Right, and a larger swing away from the Left, with NZ First benefiting. So National’s ability to control the House has actually got weaker.

    That said, on the question of asset sales, Key campaigned on them, and emerged with a parliamentary right-wing bloc in favour of them, so regrettably he does have a mandate to do it. At some point NZers have to take responsibility for electing a government which *said* that it would sell the family silver.

    • Ari 15.1

      I don’t buy this BS that winning an election gives you a mandate for your unpopular policies. If he can’t even convince his own supporters on asset sales, there’s no way that’s the reason people voted for him. If he pushes them through it will be highly undemocratic, and IMO, the death blow to his hopes of a third term.

  15. mikesh 16

    I doubt if United Future favours asset sales.I think Peter Dunne, who is opposed to the sale of Kiwibank, is supporting the policy in order to keep onside with National. If National falls back to 59 seats Dunne has an opportunity to block the sales, but probably won’t for purely venal reasons. If this is how things pan out I would say shame on Peter.
    ps: Under current rules a motion is lost on a tie, and the Maori Party are also opposed.

  16. GW 17

    Now I’m not saying these elections have been fiddled with, but how does a record low voter turn out
    result on voter loses for parties that aren’t national. Shouldn’t they have taken a hit as well?

    I have been fascinated with the finer points of the less than fair elections that seen to happen in other countries, but boy it seems to be hard to find much online about NZ’s boundry antics under national when Piggy Muldoon was around.

    One this we could do to increase public confidence is to physically publish the actual totals at every polling station on a visible sign outside, that is updated regularly as counting progresses.

    As far as I’m aware there aren’t any real exit polls in NZ, is that right? Should there be?
    I think the above idea is great as you only need to publish a picture online of the count totals for all to see and these can be compared to the centrally counted ballot.

    For those who are interested, there is a doco about Texas election boundaries that goes through the methods, which it seems are all about chasing the close counties and close margins.

    Thoughts?

    • lprent 17.1

      It is a paper election, so running totals won’t work. It is also disturbingly honest – I have been around enough to know.

      The shenigans occur outside of the vote, and these days are very limited by a proportional system. Mostly sweetheart deals on the electorate seats to bypass party threshold limits – which failed miserably as an effective tactic this year. Voters gave the sweetheart parties a party vote of almost exactly one seat in a collective sense of ironic humor.

      Broadly speaking, the left vote split between the Greens and Labour. The right vote effective consolidated into National and the other right parties remained or became shells.

      The usual protest votes of the populist NZFirst and not voting increased a lot. The NZF vote was probably in part due to a collective response to the political machinations that knocked it under the party vote threshold last election.

      National at best (they are still ironing out agreements with other parties and special votes), have wound up with a coalition that is smaller than last time and much much more fragile. The parties that they are going into coalition with know that they have to differentiate themselves from National, or they will fully probably die next election. National are likely to really struggle to pass much of their policy agenda.

      Between now and the next election, we get to review the few flaws of our MMP system

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  • 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
    2 days 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
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