Power, the Acceleration of Cultural Evolution, and Our Best Hope for Survival

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, January 21st, 2020 - 38 comments
Categories: climate change, culture, Environment - Tags: , , , ,

Richard Heinberg writes about humanity’s relationship with power and how this presents both great danger and great opportunity.

Originally published by Post Carbon Institute
 

 

These days I’m deep in the process of writing a book on power—both physical power (humanity’s power over nature) and social power (the power of some people over others). The book’s first few chapters explore the historical process by which we developed our currently awesome powers, starting with control of fire, simple stone tools, and language. Once we had these, the pace of human empowerment picked up dramatically. We didn’t have to wait for biological evolution to slowly deliver improved organs; cultural evolution could rapidly supply new ideas, behaviors, and tools—which often took the forms of prosthetic organs (such as clothing and weapons) that enabled us to take over habitat from other creatures.

While the pace of cultural evolution was much faster than that of biological evolution, major cultural innovations like the domestication of plants and animals, the creation of the first states, and the emergence of the earliest empires were still spaced thousands of years apart. However, our sudden access to the storable, portable, and concentrated energy of fossil fuels, starting roughly in the 19th century, sped up cultural evolution to the point where disruptive cultural innovations began to be separated by mere decades, sometimes just years.

One of the factors driving cultural evolution is the rebounding interaction of technology and language. Writing, the alphabet, printing, the telegraph, telephone, radio, television, internet, and social media have sped up and spatially expanded human interaction, giving us the ability to cooperate in ever larger groups, in effect granting us expanding power over space and time.

This Great Acceleration of cultural evolution is both a danger and an opportunity. I’ll explore the opportunity in a moment; meanwhile, the danger is easy to see: developments are occurring so fast that it’s hard for many people to adapt to what is already happening in our world, much less to foresee or forestall the next disruptions. At the same time, we’ve set large processes in motion that are spiraling entirely out of our control—notably, the planetary feedbacks associated with climate change.

We humans are aggregating more power, and doing so more unequally across society, than in any previous period in history. Power is good; without it, we would be powerless. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and that’s an apt way of describing the human predicament in the early 21st century.

The problem of too much power is not unique to humans, nor to this historical moment. Evolution has found many ways of preventing power from overrunning environmental limits, and human societies have evolved ways of reining in bullies and limiting extreme economic and social inequality. In my book, I propose a new bio-social principle in evolution—the Optimum Power Principle—to describe these pathways for curbing extreme power in the short run, so that total power over time can be maximized. However, strategies to avert the concentration of too much power, whether in nature or human society, are partial and imperfect. They can’t entirely prevent occasional excesses.

The only real solutions to our current extinction-level dilemmas (the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, pervasive chemical pollution, resource depletion, increasing economic inequality leading to political dysfunction, population growth, and the availability of weapons of mass destruction) involve giving up power in various forms and to varying degrees: restraining our energy usage, reducing population, leaving giant tracts of land for biodiversity recovery, and banning nuclear weapons. Given the current benefits of power and the momentum of history, that is a difficult message for many people—especially, for powerful people—to hear. That’s why advocates for this or that “solution” often take care to speak only of job creation and profit opportunities when discussing the costs and benefits of addressing our collective problems.

The strong likelihood is that we are headed toward what economists glibly call a “correction,” though not just in stock market values but also in population, consumption levels, and biodiversity. If we hope to minimize the shock and casualties, we will need to mobilize cooperation and behavior change at a speed and scale that are unprecedented.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) cultural evolution is now happening faster than ever. There’s certainly no guarantee that it will work to our advantage: the internet and social media could easily create opportunities for extraordinary levels of cooperation, but along competing lines, thereby defeating any effort to build a unified coalition of humanity willing to check its power now so that it can sustain itself and the biosphere over a much longer period.

Nevertheless, the possibility now exists for rapid shifts in human understanding and behavior—and such shifts are essential if we are to avert the worst impacts from our past and present actions and create future societies that live happily within natural limits. As I said above, our only way out of our predicament is to give up various forms of power, often to significant degrees. Humans are well acquainted with the problem of over-accumulation of power, and cultural evolution has supplied plenty of ways of solving it—from the ancient Australian Aboriginal tradition of not hunting the red kangaroo in its mating season, to trade unions and democracy, environmental regulations, and modern billionaires like Tom Steyer who say, “Please tax me.” Today’s local newspaper here in Santa Rosa, California, featured a story about crab fishermen on the Sonoma coast who are voluntarily delaying their crabbing season (thereby incurring a substantial financial loss) in order to protect migrating whales.

We humans have the innate capability to proactively reduce our own powers—and are often happy to do this, as long as we feel that the process of doing so is fair and that others are sacrificing too. That’s why rationing succeeded during World War II. This being the case, it makes sense for those of us with an ecological, systemic view of the human condition to communicate strategically about why so many crises are currently converging (too much power), and to investigate and promulgate ways to reduce energy and material consumption, as well as population, as fairly as possible. Maybe, if we’re on the side of nature and future generations, cultural evolution will give us a boost.

 

38 comments on “Power, the Acceleration of Cultural Evolution, and Our Best Hope for Survival ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    An interesting and timely post. Social power is has always been a double edged sword for humanity; both apparently necessary for social organisation, but also the cause of it's destruction. The Jungian model is one way to look at this:

    The image copied above covers all four of the primary masculine patterns of behaviour (archetypes), but the one relevant is the King which describes our relationship to power.

    There are three corners to the triangle. At the apex lies the 'Wise King' which is pattern of the constructive mode of power, where competency and wisdom combine into leadership, guidance and growth. The Tyrant pattern is the abuse of power, the mode where exploitation, coercion and destruction are dominant, while the Weakling is also a destructive mode because chaos fills the vacuum created by a lack of leadership.

    Jungian archetypes will not be everyone's cup of tea, they are after all just a model, a way of making concrete abstract patterns of human behaviour. But what they can do is help understand in this instance that 'social power' is a complex dynamic, that the obsession with it, and the fear of it are both destructive. It's is only when it is embraced cautiously and with competence that it reveals it's constructive, creative nature.

    involve giving up power in various forms and to varying degrees: restraining our energy usage, reducing population, leaving giant tracts of land for biodiversity recovery, and banning nuclear weapons.

    Given that history is so replete with the drama of tyranny the above is attractive, after all who would not want a world in which our energy use did not harm the environment. Nations where throngs of humanity press cheek by jowl in poverty, intensely competing for their daily needs. Or a planet with the space for a thriving wilderness. Or best of all a human polity that is not poised on the hair-trigger of mass annihilation every moment of every day. All these and more are things we would all wish for.

    Yet sometimes we need to be careful what we wish for. The claim for instance that we do better by 'reducing' our energy usage is silent on the implications of plunging back into pre-industrial poverty. The claim that we need to 'reduce populations' is silent on the moral implications of determining some ideal number of people allowed to live, and what fraction of them are allowed to be Chinese, Indian, African and so on.

    And yes banning nuclear weapons seems reasonable, but nuclear physics is only one small branch of human knowledge that is capable of spectacular misuse. The knowledge exists and will do for all time; the same knowledge that gives us bombs is what enables computer chips and the internet. Humans have always possessed knowledge that could be misused, from the moment we learned to fracture sharp stone tools from blunt rocks.

    There is much in our collective history we should recoil from in shame and horror; this truth must be faced head on. The adulthood of humanity cannot resile from this, nor can it revert to childhood; our collective evolution as a species demands we take responsibility for our knowledge and put our powers into the service of good.

    The challenge is not ‘too much power’, it is too many people unaware of how to use it constructively.

    [lprent: fixed image width. ]

    • Dennis Frank 1.1

      “The challenge is not ‘too much power’, it is too many people unaware of how to use it constructively.”

      Which is precisely why I believe representative democracy as we know it is past it's use-by date. It distracts all into an irrelevant antique binary structure of politics.

      Power nowadays is multipolar, and diffused through multiple non-party agencies (within governments, internationally, and in civic society).

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Richard is writing on behalf of humanity. Using `we' as if humanity can collectively change things. This framing seems fundamentally flawed.

    Humanity nowadays is driven by multiple sub-systems, each with their own inertial effect. Since each are powered by psycho-social dynamics, changes in the way they operate are normally incremental – as in adapting to gradual shifts in circumstance.

    Zeitgeist theory, as per the science of complexity, does give us good reason to expect sudden dramatic shifts from time to time. However these are essentially indeterminate (natural) resulting from changing dynamic balance of multiple forces at work.

    Richard seems to expect a wholesale change of attitude to sweep through humanity in response to conditions in the first century of the new millennium. Millennialism didn't shift people wholesale out of business as usual twenty years ago, did it? Normalcy is still the prevalent mind-set, so dunno why Richard believes human nature will change.

    I think the problem lies in his grasp of holism. Big-picture thinking is good, but don't let it over-simplify your expectations. Our world is driven by complex, interlocking systems and cycles. Our environment is part natural, part social. Our collective behaviour is constrained by both. Our personal agency operates in relativity to multiple contexts, and status quo is the default position normally in all. Progress creeps most of the time.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Richard's model of environmentalism is predicated on the old notion of scarcity; it assumes silently that somehow reverting to pre-industrial poverty would be good for the environment, when all the evidence points in the other direction. Conventional environmentalists create for themselves a trap, on the one hand they understand that human development requires energy, while at the same time that energy is bad for the planet. From there it is a very short step to the idea that 'people are bad'.

      The scarcity solution requires that we 'de-power' and/or 'go steady state'. It presupposes there will never be enough for everyone, therefore we must either stop developing or revert to a pre-industrial state. This basic set of ideas has driven the 'green movement' for decades and manifests in a variety of guises. For example the OP outlines Heinberg's conclusion that if human progress is built upon competency, hierarchy and social power … that the path to saving the planet must be to deconstruct power itself.

      It's an argument with some innate appeal. After all who amongst us does not harbour some nostalgia for a past we think was less complex, less threatening and more innocent? Yet our pre-industrial societies barely managed to grow to 1b humans, and now we are over 7b and will peak at close to 10b. De-powering back down to pre-industrial, or even close to it, has dire implications for the lives of 90% of humans alive today. This is what at least some scarcity environmentalists mean by 'reducing populations' … they hardly mean stabilising at current levels … logically they intend for most of humanity to die off, leaving only a 'carrying capacity' of fewer than 1b remaining.

      It's a deeply anti-human philosophy when couched in such blunt terms, and no doubt many would object to such a bleak characterisation. Equally though whenever you say 'reduce population' without specifying an exact number you would intend our species culled down to, then you do leave the door wide open to speculation.

    • RedLogix 2.2

      I wonder if you've come across the ideas of Jeremy Lent.

      • Dennis Frank 2.2.1

        Actually, I did here recommend a book of his several months ago (The Patterning Instinct) parts of which I liked. He's heading in the right direction.

    • weka 2.3

      "Progress creeps most of the time."

      True, but we've also been known to act fast when the pressure warrants it. One of the values I see in what Heinberg is doing is he's putting the ideas out there to be discussed and worked on, so that when the time comes we have solid theoretical frameworks to work with. Kind of like all the regenag people who've been farming regeneratively all these years and now that tech is needed and the mainstream is beginning to realise it and doesn't have to start from scratch. I want Heinberg's ideas out there and well discussed so that the neoliberal or authoritarian hellscapes aren't the only frames on offer.

      • Dennis Frank 2.3.1

        Oh yes, he's always been good value. Worth reading. I agree re pressure – Gladwell popularising helped spread that gnosis (Tipping Point).

        The problem with not knowing how close it is is that folks keep assuming that it is imminent. They see the signs and get expectant. I'm blasé – seen too much over too long a time.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 2.3.1.1

          Agreed Dennis, tipping points are not "imminent" in NZ – blasé attitudes will serve us boomers well. smiley Nevertheless, that the timescale for collapse of current global civilisation(s) is decades, not centuries, should be obvious.

          "The collapse of complex society meant that even basic plumbing disappeared from the continent for 1,000 years."
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization

          Collapse of the systems that 'temporarily sustained' the growing global human population is a natural result of humankind's increasingly unnatural existence. An extreme population 'bust' may lie ahead; hopefully not quite so extreme as the projected boom that will see the global population double in a mere 49 years!

          It took ~47 years (from 1927 to 1974) for the global human population to double from 2 to 4 billion, and the next doubling (to 8 billion) is projected to take ~49 years (from 1974 to 2023.)
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_growth

          "Scientists may disagree about the timeline of collapse, but many argue that this is entirely beside the point. While scientists and politicians quibble over timelines and half measures, or how bad it’ll all be, we are losing precious time."

          "He [Bendell] argues this is not so much a doom-and-gloom scenario as a case of waking up to reality, so that we can do as much as we can to save as many lives as possible. His recommended response is what he calls “Deep Adaptation,” which requires going beyond “mere adjustments to our existing economic system and infrastructure, in order to prepare us for the breakdown or collapse of normal societal functions.”"

          "“Yes, we are facing alarming rates of change and this raises the likelihood of abrupt, non-linear changes in the climate system that may cause tipping points in the Earth’s safe operating space,” she [Gergis] said. “But we honestly don’t know how far away we are from that just yet. It may also be the case that we can only detect that we’ve crossed such a threshold after the fact.”"
          https://popularresistance.org/the-collapse-of-civilization-may-have-already-begun/

          "Deep Adaptation" – what a lovely idea.

          • Dennis Frank 2.3.1.1.1

            Yes, I hadn't encountered deep adaption as such, but it is implied in permaculture's focus on resilience. I agree the concept is worth recycling: it resonates. We know adaption is a primary evolutionary strategy.

            Giving the notion depth seems to imply gnosis combined with lengthy time-frames. Just like sustainability (which is more pragmatic, focus on methods).

            If we had any worthwhile international institutions, they would now be thinking along these lines. What we need is for someone like Bill Gates or Ted Turner to endow a foundation for that purpose, and have it establish an institute to develop a global survival strategy for humanity. Above & beyond the capitalism/socialism binary frame.

        • weka 2.3.1.2

          Yeah, I'm not a fan of timed predictions. Too many variables and too much still unknown. Likewise seen too many otherwise knowledgeable commentators and writers make predictions of collapse or whatever and then be wrong, which is really not a good thing to be happening if we want people to get on board.

          My personal sense is that the shit will hit the fan within my lifetime (so the next 20 – 30 years) and may happen sooner. A few years ago I wasn't thinking that so much. It's an interesting dynamic because obviously more concern for personal wellbeing will be motivating.

          That we have a ten year window now in terms of the CC lag issue seems reasonable to work with. Always been a fan of the precautionary principle.

  3. Gosman 3

    There is a tendency among many people promoting radical action on Climate change to reference past actions such as what happened during and immediately post WWII. The idea seems to be that we could do it then so why not now. What this fails to take in to account that the actual time impacted by these actions were relatively short. Even in relation to rationing in the UK it had started to be reduced by the late 1940's and was fully removed by 1958. The US was impacted a much shorter amount of time. The fact is that people put up with it for a short period because they saw the need to defeat something tangible. There is no such tangible enemy with climate change. The expectation seems to be that people would be willing to put up with rationing and other actions for an indeterminate period. that is not supported by any president in modern times in the West.

    • McFlock 3.1

      Well, there's the entire Cold War. That was an extreme effort for an indeterminate period, involving personal effort and danger across US society.

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        The Cold Ward didn't necessitate periods of sacrifice on the West's side in any meaningful way.

        • McFlock 3.1.1.1

          Just compulsory service, digging bomb shelters in the yard because of the ever-present threat of death from above at any moment, full-scale evacuation and sheltering of cities in civl defence exercises, ongoing witch-hunts wrecking thousands upon thousands of lives, and spending trillions of dollars/pounds/francs/etc on weapons systems that would have failed to do their job if they ever needed to be used.

          Careful, gossy, your moral vacuum is showing.

        • weka 3.1.1.2

          You have some lovely typos today Gosman.

        • mac1 3.1.1.3

          Gosman, look up the words of the song "Eve of Destruction" by Barry Maguire. Or "The Universal Soldier" by Donovan.

          Fear was the legacy for the West of the Cold War. For some, fear of communism, loss of freedom, 'our way of life". For others, fear of war and being called up to fight in immoral wars, loss of freedom to travel, accusations of being a Commie or a fellow traveller or a 'damned conchie'.

          The last vestiges of that fear are reported as having been mown into the fields of some Southland farmer who still fears the influence of Communist Russia, non-existent for twenty five years. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12301614

          Some still live with the fear that men with such views continue to live unhinged lives at a sacrificial cost to themselves and to the others who they themselves fear.

    • RedLogix 3.2

      Yes I can agree on this. Post WW2 most of the people in the developed world had just gone through a traumatic period of collective sacrifice 'for the greater good'. Rationing was really just something more of the same. But as you say it was a window of limited opportunity.

      The problem the CC movement has is that we are asking populations to make big sacrifices around fossil fuel use, without offering a credible alternative. Renewables are a fine and useful thing, but they are diffuse and intermittent, there is no fuel involved and most people understand at some level they're not something the whole world can build better future on.

      • Gosman 3.2.1

        Climate Change activists are also not putting forward a very attractive end goal that would encourage people to make sacrifices towards achieving. In my view a zero carbon future is not something the average person on the street understands very well. It is certainly not as easily understood as "Getting Nazi Germany to surrender unconditionally" or even something more fuzzy like"Whipping the Japs ass".

        • Bill 3.2.1.1

          Reads to me like you've made a couple of good observations there Gos.

          Bit of a bugger that we either give up carbon real fast to give ourselves an outside chance of avoiding a total systemic collapse that will bring us to zero carbon (and zero much else besides), or just wait for that total systemic collapse…

          Then again – if we ushered in a total systemic collapse in a somewhat controlled fashion, then we could perhaps have our cake and eat it too (though it won't be one made from ingredients sourced from the four corners of the world that get shipped backwards and forwards and around the globe a few times before getting thrown in a car boot in a supermarket car park) 😉

          • pat 3.2.1.1.1

            too real for most I fear Bill

            • Bill 3.2.1.1.1.1

              lol. As a biologist friend put it to me – people will finally think about giving themselves a shake when they take the kids to the local park and the kids ask why that body of water's called a duck pond…(I think he was being a tad dark on it, but the basic point was valid)

          • RedLogix 3.2.1.1.2

            You simply don't get to do "total systemic collapse" in any sort of 'controlled fashion'. It's nothing more than a fancy way of arguing for a mass die off over decades rather than months, drawing out the agony as it were. If your philosophy presupposes the death of 90% of humanity, it is a thesis morally indistinguishable from mass murder.

            I know you would be offended to be lumped into the same category as Hitler, Stalin and Mao, but only several orders of magnitude worse … so maybe you need a better plan.

            • Bill 3.2.1.1.2.1

              Are you suggesting all the French yellow vests and the French trade unionists on an indefinite general strike be had up for crimes against humanity there Red?

            • Drowsy M. Kram 3.2.1.1.2.2

              Red, you seem to be suggesting that discussing the likelihood of future localised or more widespread collapses of civilisation(s) is (somehow) "arguing for a mass die off".

              Do you genuinely think that, and, if so, why? Or are you simply being provocative? Hell, isn’t it mostly god botherers who are looking forward to the apocalypse and Armageddon? But not you, and certainly not me.

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

              • RedLogix

                Certainly you don't see too many eco types explicitly arguing for an active program of population reduction. Although some have and on reading their argument, it merely takes the standard ecological over-burden idea to it's logical conclusion. They have of course stepped well over the line, but you can at least respect their intellectual honesty.

                But while it's not common to read environmentalists openly arguing for population reduction, they certainly mention it often enough, and I'd argue it's implicit in their proposed solutions. The world population is only at the level it is because of industrialisation, and the amount of energy we access. Dismantle that and you've kicked out the means of life for billions of humans.

                • Bill

                  Personally detest the crap that blames the poor for global warming and/or the crap that would deny the poorest basic infrastructure "because them's can't be like us – it'd be irresponsible".

                  Dismantle that [fossil dependent industrialisation?] and you've kicked out the means of life for billions of humans.

                  A couple of things. How many billions of us currently live precarious lives of subsistence in the present day? You want to throw in the burgeoning numbers of homeless and destitute swilling around the population centres of industrialised countries? And then the refugees?

                  On that last point. You any cognition of the fact that if we hang on to our current "ways of living" that billions of climate refugees will be created. And that they will have nowhere to go.

                  In fact, aspects of that may already be unavoidable given present CO2 levels if the analyses coming from the field of paleontology is even just roughly accurate.

                  1m+ of sea level rise = global famine. WAIS doesn't persist under current CO2 concentrations, and holds about 4m of sea level rise, and won't take thousands of years to collapse into sea borne ice.

                  Then there's Greenland. And the ice of the Himalayas – source for major rivers of the world ( Ganges, Indus, Yarlung, Yangtze, Yellow, Mekong, and Nujiang) where populations and agriculture are concentrated.

                  But keep hanging on to those shiny things, and the way of life that gets you get those shiny things, and just keep telling yourself those comforting stories about your morally superior perspective and what not why don't you…

                • RedLogix

                  @ Bill

                  Detest away. If you're going to attack me at least do it on things I've actually said. Our present fossil fuel based industrialisation is damaging the environment via CO2 balance. I've been 100% clear on that since forever. (Plus a whole bunch of other limitations we don't need to cover here.)

                  Equally the poor are tough on their local environments for other reasons; they rely on wood for fuel which is a massive cause of deforestation, plus they expand into wilderness areas and cause habitat destruction for wildlife.

                  But here is the simply undeniable reality; in all of our pre-industrial existence, despite the great cleverness and ingenuity of our ancestors, we never got over 1b people. That was the upper limit. Now we are 7b and that increase is directly attributable to our industrial tech. It's why infant mortality has plummeted everywhere, it's why billions of people now have access to basic electricity and medicine. It's why billions have moved to cities and so on. It's why in 2016 at least half the human race has escaped poverty and are living modest middle class lives by local standards.

                  Unwind our industrialisation and revert back to the energy intensity pre-1800's … your 'total systemic collapse' and no-one will be immune to the catastrophe, rich or poor. As for the rest of your comment, yes we agree and always have done. BAU with our current tech is unsupportable, it's a trap we have to find a way out of.

                  My argument is simple, backing out of it and reverting cannot be done safely with a population of 7b and rising. It's my view that fossil fuel industrialisation always was a transitional stage, therefore we need to get the fuck on with it and move forward to the next stage. Renewables are an important part of that move but they have limits; past that we need to seriously consider what nuclear can offer when it's done properly.

                  • pat

                    so the difference between your view and Bill's is merely a question of timing ….the end result is the same

        • weka 3.2.1.2

          "Climate Change activists are also not putting forward a very attractive end goal that would encourage people to make sacrifices towards achieving. In my view a zero carbon future is not something the average person on the street understands very well. It is certainly not as easily understood as "Getting Nazi Germany to surrender unconditionally" or even something more fuzzy like"Whipping the Japs ass". "

          It would certainly help if we didn't have large forces telling lies about things (climate change, the Green Parties and movement, regenag, ecology, poverty, and so on).

          • RedLogix 3.2.1.2.1

            Expecting the fossil fuel industry to just roll over and play nice was always the height of stupidity. Yet whenever the environmental movement has had a positive alternative, a constructive substitution to offer, it has been successful when up against all manner of vested interests.

            But for decades we've mostly been hearing hair-shirt visions of 'de-power' and 'die-off' or apocalyptic 'systemic collapse' from the green movement. Cities are to be emptied and we all get to return to a pre-industrial rural lifestyles of our ancestors. Yet there are still billions of impoverished people living just this kind of marginal, precarious life in the world, maybe we would be wise to ask them what it's really like and why we find it so hard to sell.

            The hard truth is that for all their fine vision, wonderful skills and energy, the many variants of eco-sustainable alternatives, only exist because they are still to some degree embedded in and dependent on inputs from our wider industrial civilisation. I've always understood that in the event of systemic collapse, these dependent sub-groups wouldn't last a great deal longer either.

            • Poission 3.2.1.2.1.1

              But for decades we've mostly been hearing hair-shirt visions of 'de-power' and 'die-off' or apocalyptic 'systemic collapse' from the green movement

              Yep,it is always easier to be destructive then creative,as the later requires logical thought.Doomsday language disengages.

              https://twitter.com/CUBoulder/status/1218727798338215937

              • Incognito

                Nice one.

                However, I’d say that creativity, which we all possess, requires imagination and courage. Kind of ‘follow your dreams’ stuff or ‘be child-like’, both of which are frowned upon by ‘adults’. Ironically, the same ‘adults’ love to escape into fantasy worlds such as movies, story books, sex & drugs & rock ’n’ roll, etc. I reckon we’ll see more escapism and paradoxically less creativity among the general population – fear kills creativity. People have become lazy, lethargic, apathetic, frustrated (and aggressive), dissatisfied consumers instead of avid passionate creators.

              • weka

                that's a good article, thanks. I liked this “It’s real; it’s us; experts agree; it’s bad; there’s hope.”

                Heinberg doesn't strike me as a Doomer, I've found his work to be offering solid solution pathways. This is one of the key things I think we need at this point where lots of people are waking up fast and need pathways that take them somewhere good rather than into denial or fatalism. Lots of the leading edge counter culture around climate change has been focused on this idea of being real and offering hope/pathways to action (transition towns, permaculture, regenag). Really hoping there's crossover into the mainstream soon.

        • Anne 3.2.1.3

          In my view a zero carbon future is not something the average person on the street understands very well.

          It's not understood at all. That is the problem. And it applies to some political leaders as well as the average person. Take Scott Morrison for example. His latest line is something to the effect that: it's not Climate Change that needs to be addressed but rather we have to become more efficient in fighting fires.

          (I'll leave out the expletives 😡 )

          We all know his underlying concern is losing the votes of the coal mining community, but its a good example of lousy leadership based on stupidity and personal political gain.

    • pat 3.3

      Rationing didnt start or end with the advent of WW2…indeed rationing is alive and well and everywhere today.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    I noticed Einstein's essay on socialism, written the year I was born, linked above. It doesn't seem dated, his reasoning was clear and historical diagnosis accurate. Nothing has changed in the 70 years since to invalidate it – the system is structurally and functionally the same.

    His preference for a switch was declared unconditionally, and the outline of alternative seemed identical to what I absorbed from leftist writings back when I was a student. Ownership of production systems by society itself. As usual, the ethics of stealing the private property of those who built and invested in the businesses is not even acknowledged, let alone discussed. Sort of like a black hole in the psyche. Yet the guy was a genius. I graduated with a physics degree and I'm well aware that his reconceptualising of the subject was revolutionary a century ago, and precisely in what respects. Relativity, for instance.

    Too bad that penetrating insight and lateral-thinking of his failed when applied to politics and economics. Planning seems a sensible approach to governance, but is insufficient. Management skills and competence in implementation of systems are essential to political success. People lost faith in the belief system when performance failures accumulated past a critical threshold. Yet if US voters give Sanders a chance to reinvent the wheel we'll at least have the opportunity to encourage those trying to give socialism a second life not to make the same stupid mistakes.

  5. Incognito 5

    I think I understand where the author is coming from and the framing suits his narrative. However, we (humans, people) give up, and have done so for donkey’s years, power and (personal) freedom all the time. Examples are our so-called social contract and marriage/relationship arrangements (for want of a better word). Countries do the same with memberships of trade organisations and what have you. It is all par for the course, IMHO.

    Very nice post, BTW; I will now finally be able to read all the comments.

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  • Sharp-elbowed and loving it
    It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who feels they work their guts out that in fact no one is working as hard as me.It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who knows somebody taking the welfare system for a ride that they’re all ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    54 mins ago
  • Then why did she do it?
    Earlier in the month, Cancer Minister Casey Costello was caught lying to the media about whether or not she had requested advice on cutting tobacco excise tax to benefit the cancer industry. She repeated her lies in Parliament. But today, she stood up and pretended to apologise for "causing confusion" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    58 mins ago
  • Is Applying “Tough Love” To A “Fragile” Nation The Right Answer?
    The Question Christopher Luxon Needs To Ask –  And Answer: How was it possible for a nation of barely three million citizens to create and maintain an infrastructure that functioned, schools and universities that turned out well-educated and enterprising citizens, a health system that kept its people healthy, and a workforce ...
    2 hours ago
  • The limits to realism.
    Realism is a school of thought in the field of international relations (IR). It provides a theoretical framework for analysing the behaviour of States in the world political system. Like other theories (which in the IR literature include idealism, liberalism, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 hours ago
  • UNSOCIAL MEDIA – Following the Trolls
    From TODAY FM archives — Wilhelmina Shrimpton and Simon Morrow take a deep dive into trolling and cyberbullying. From the high profile to the general public, Kiwis across all walks of life are being targeted, and some are paying the ultimate price. So what drives us to troll, who is ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 hours ago
  • Govt prescribes stiff medicine for some beneficiaries while easing access to drugs containing pseudo...
    Buzz from the Beehive One of two new announcements on the government’s official website  – given plenty of publicity by the mainstream media over the past 24 hours – has been pitched as the first steps in a “reset” of the welfare system.  Stiff medicine for beneficiaries, in effect. The ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 hours ago
  • We’re not as fragile or as lazy as Luxon says
    Luxon says his government is one that is “prepared to make those hard decisions”. File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has adopted the language of Ruth Richardson before her 1991 ‘Mother of All Budgets’ in arguing for benefit sanctions to bolster the Government finances, which ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 hours ago
  • Talking over the Silence.
    Please open the doorNothing is different, we've been here beforePacing these hallsTrying to talk over the silenceIf I was to describe what I do, or at least the way it sometimes feels, then talking over the silence wouldn’t be a bad way to do so.Not that there aren’t other voices ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 hours ago
  • LINDSAY MITCHELL: National needs to go further
    Lindsay Mitchell writes – In today’s State of the Nation speech Christopher Luxon talked repeatedly about getting young people off welfare. It seems that National has devised a traffic light system which will use increasing levels of sanctions – welfare deductions – when beneficiaries fail to meet their ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    7 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National spreading panic about the economy
    It is a political strategy as old as time. Scare the public with tales of disaster and stampede them into supporting your ideological agenda because they believe There Is No Alternative. Yet, if the NZ economy truly is as “fragile” as PM Christopher Luxon says it is… Then how come ...
    9 hours ago
  • Deep in the Uncanny Valley of AI
    Hi,Before we get started, some very big fun Webworm news. I am launching a new journalism fund called Big Worm Farm!A really great thing that’s happened with Webworm over the last four years is that it’s grown. That’s great for a few reasons.Firstly — it means the work here gets ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    10 hours ago
  • Introducing: Big Worm Farm
    Hi,I’m excited to tell you about Big Worm Farm.Put simply, the main aim of Big Worm Farm is to support investigative journalists from around the world to be able to devote dedicated time to research and report on a specific story, to be published on Webworm.The stories will capture the ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    11 hours ago
  • Why Massey is broke
    The Tertiary Education Commission has named the two universities it says are at high risk financially. They are Massey and Victoria. The Commission appeared before Parliament’s Education Select Committee yesterday and offered a revealing and rare insight into the complex world of university economics. Its Briefing to the Incoming Minister ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    12 hours ago
  • You keep Luxin' when you oughta be thruthin'
    Christopher Luxon’s campaign to win last year's election continued yesterday with a speech.Channelling possibly Bruce Willis in Die Hard, he was all, I'm not going to dress it up, I'm going to level with you guys: the state of the nation is fragile.The thing he’s maybe missing is that it ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 day ago
  • The PM spoke of the need for tough choices – and then opted to beat a retreat when gays and Gaza a...
    Buzz from the Beehive The PM’s State of the Nation speech – according to a Newshub headline – was a ‘buffet of buzzwords’ and full of ‘nonsense’. Fair to say, the quoted words were attributed to Opposition politicians, who were unlikely to say the speech was visionary and inspiring: PM ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 day ago
  • Keynesian Wisdom.
    When the facts change, I change my mind - what do you do, sir?John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)This posting is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    1 day ago
  • BRIAN EASTON: Puffing policy
    Public policy towards tobacco consumption remains politically sensitive. Brian Easton writes – In 1983, a young researcher was told by a medium-level Treasury official that Treasury policy was to abandon excise duties on tobacco. The senior Treasury economist that I consulted, famed for his commonsense, snorted ‘we ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 day ago
  • Is 2.8% per year population growth too much?
    TL;DR: The Government is reviewing migration settings that produced 2.8% population growth last year and is looking at a longer-term strategy of matching population growth to the ‘absorbtive capacity’ of Aotearoa-NZ’s infrastructure.Our population grew last year at its fastest rate since 1947, when large numbers of troops returning from World ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • Tough Choices & Tough Love.
    I've been trying to hurt youI've been holding you tightI've been learning to love youAm I doing it right?How are you still breathingWith my hands all over your heart?How do we start healingIf we can't keep out the dark?Yesterday the Prime Minister delivered his State of the Nation, for no ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 day ago
  • Will the 2024 RLTP be yet another debacle?
    A couple of years ago, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport found themselves in court over the 2021 Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP). A non-profit alliance for transport decarbonisation, All Aboard Aotearoa, argued that among other factors, the RLTP was unlawful because it failed to give effect to the 2021 Government ...
    1 day ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #07
    A listing of 31 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, Feb 11, 2024 thru Sat, Feb 17, 2024. Story of the week Based on mission alignment, our Story of the Week is certainly Can we be inoculated against climate ...
    2 days ago
  • Immigration Issues.
    Help is comingI heard a whisperWhite caps turningThe breath of summerA distant drummingAnd liar birds callingEscape the anguish of our pastAnd prayOne of the major challenges of the the 21st century will be the mass migration of human beings around our globe.Some seeking economic opportunities, others fleeing repressive regimes, war ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • Trust us, we know what we’re doing
    The best trick the National Party ever pulled was to fabricate their reputation as the responsible ones.This would be the National Party that denied us the New Zealand Superannuation Scheme that—Brian Gaynor wrote back in 2007would be worth more than $240 billion today and would have transformed the New Zealand ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 days ago
  • The Left’s Timidity
    It is not just Karl Marx – even the most enthusiastic supporters of the market economy (not least Adam Smith) will concede that its normal operation inevitably leads to a concentration of wealth in relatively few hands. Some, at least, of these enthusiasts will accept that such a concentration is ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • OLIVER HARTWICH: Absurd – NZ courts can now decide on climate change
    Oliver Hartwich writes – The World Justice Project ranks New Zealand 7th out of 142 countries on its ‘Rule of Law Index’, narrowly ahead of Australia’s 13th place. However, Australia still has hope – if only because of a recent decision by the Supreme Court of New Zealand. The ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Still waiting on that turnaround
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past week’s editions.Friday: Week in review, quiz style2. Shane Jones’ demeanour in mocking and deriding climate activists can be observed in what other realm of human behaviour?a. Gleeful little boys pulling wings off fliesb. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • Mihi Forbes and the great Atlas conspiracy
    Graham Adams writes — Last week, Mihingarangi Forbes made an extraordinary claim while interviewing David Seymour on Mata Reports, a taxpayer-funded current affairs programme which, she says, looks at events through an “indigenous lens”. She asked him about Act’s links to the Atlas Network, which fosters connections between centre-right ...
    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    4 days ago
  • Puffing Policy
    Public policy towards tobacco consumption remains politically sensitive. In 1983, a young researcher was told by a medium-level Treasury official that Treasury policy was to abandon excise duties on tobacco. The senior Treasury economist that I consulted, famed for his commonsense, snorted ‘we need the money’. He explained that no-excise-duty ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • Luxon is one of three prime ministers pressing for a ceasefire in Gaza – but the two-state solutio...
    Buzz from the Beehive Two days after hundreds of people rallied outside the New Zealand parliament and the US embassy in Wellington to protest against what they maintain is genocide in Gaza,  Prime Minister Chris Luxon joined with the Prime Ministers of Australia and Canada to express their  concerns that ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • All jellied up with possum grease
    1. Shane Jones, addressing the energy industry, called climate concern what?a. The only sane responseb. Undeniably valid c. Our last best hope d. A "religion" 2. Shane Jones’ demeanour in mocking and deriding climate activists can be observed in what other realm of human behaviour?a. Gleeful little boys pulling wings off fliesb. Gleeful ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Equality comes to Greece
    The Greek Parliament has voted for marriage equality: Greece has become the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalise same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples will now also be legally allowed to adopt children after Thursday's 176-76 vote in parliament. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the new law would "boldly abolish a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • CHRIS TROTTER:  Iron in her soul.
      “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche   Chris Trotter writes – TELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to Feb 16
    Net emigration of New Zealanders overseas hit a record-high 47,000 in the 2023 year, which only partly offset net immigration of 173,000, which was dominated by arrivals from India, the Philippines and China with temporary work visas. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The five things that mattered in Aotearoa’s ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Stop Whispering.
    There's nothing to sayAnd there's nothing to doStop whispering, start shoutingStop whispering, start shoutingYesterday our government surprised a few of us by standing up for something. It wasn’t for the benefit of people who own holiday homes and multiple investment properties. Neither were there any tobacco companies or fishing cartels ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • “I'm Not Keen on Whataboutism, But What About…”
    Hi,Not sure how your week is going, but I’ve had a pretty frustrating one. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it, and I think it’s perhaps distilled in this message I got on Twitter:What got me a bit riled up is that it was a response to the ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National passing bad policies under urgency
    If National really had faith in its welfare policies, it wouldn’t be ramming them through Parliament under urgency – a step that means the policies can’t be exposed to select committee debate, public submissions, expert commentary, media scrutiny and all the normal democratic processes that this coalition appears to hold ...
    4 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 16-February-2024
    It’s Friday so once again here”s our roundup of some of the articles that caught our attention this week. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday Matt looked at the Government’s war on Auckland. On Tuesday Matt covered the ongoing issues with the rail network. On Thursday Matt ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    4 days ago
  • The Dawn Chorus for Friday, February 16
    The six things to note in my view at 6.30 am on Friday, February 16 in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy are: Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Iron In Her Soul.
    “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich NietzscheTELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP for Auckland Central is the odds-on ...
    4 days ago
  • Dig this
    Resources Minister Shane Jones yesterday told a breakfast hosted by Energy Resources Aotearoa precisely what they wanted to hear. “We campaigned to rehabilitate relegitimise and stand up for working families who derive their income,  derive their hope and derive purpose in regional New Zealand through a flourishing, growing, forward-leaning energy ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #7 2024
    Open access notables Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course, van Westen et al., Science Advances: Here, we show results of the first tipping event in the Community Earth System Model, including the large climate impacts of the collapse. Using these results, we develop a physics-based and ...
    5 days ago
  • A rejection of the rule of law
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Shrugging-Off The Atlas Network.
    Upholding The Status-Quo: The Left’s election defeat is not the work of the Atlas Network. It is not even the work of David Seymour and Act. It is the work of ordinary citizens who liked the Right’s stories better than they liked the Left’s. If the Right’s stories were made ...
    5 days ago
  • BARRIE SAUNDERS: Treaty Principles – all rather problematic
    Barrie Saunders writes – When ACT’s leader said they wanted legislation to state what the Treaty principles mean, my first thought was this will be controversial and divisive.  Clearly it is. The first reference to the principles of the Treaty were contained in the 1975 Act establishing the Treaty of ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    5 days ago
  • Luxon Rejects The “Rejection Election” At His Peril.
    Fitting Right In: National retailed a reactionary manifesto of right-wing, racially-charged policies to the electorate throughout 2023. No talk back then of ignoring the overwhelming political preferences of the voting public and making a strong stand on principle. If Luxon’s pollsters and focus-groups were telling him that the public was ...
    5 days ago
  • Valentine’s Day went unnoticed on the Beehive website – but it is not “baa, humbug” to celeb...
    Buzz from the Beehive None of our ministers – a quick check with the Beehive website suggests – found cause to mention, let along celebrate, Valentine’s Day. But two ministers – Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson – ensured that National Lamb Day did not pass ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    5 days ago
  • Are You A Leftist?
    Nothing To Lose But Our Chains: The emancipatory movement which the Left, understood correctly, has always been, cannot accommodate those who are only able to celebrate one group’s freedom by taking it from another. The expectation, always, among leftists, is that liberty enlarges us. That striking-off a person’s shackles not ...
    5 days ago
  • An unlawful directive
    An interesting question in the Parliamentary written questions feed today, from Jan Tinetti to the Minister of Education: Has she or her Office directed the Ministry of Education to not release Official Information Act material prior to the full twenty working days, if so, why? Given that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • I’ve been doing this all wrong
    Here are six words that are not easy to say but god it can feel good when you finally say them:I’ve been doing this all wrongFive years ago today I said to myself:What if I'm doing this all wrong?Five years ago today I said to Karren: I think I’m going to ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • New study suggests the Atlantic overturning circulation AMOC “is on tipping course”
    This is a re-post from RealClimate by Stefan Rahmstorf A new paper was published in Science Advances today. Its title says what it is about: “Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course.” The study follows one by Danish colleagues which made headlines last July, likewise looking for early warning signals ...
    5 days ago
  • Valentines from ACT.
    Some of us make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. We’ll buy the flowers, eye watering though the price spike might be. Say the things we should be saying anyway, although diminished by being scheduled for delivery. Some of us will even write long free-form newsletters with declarations of ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Tax cuts paid for by 13k more kids in poverty
    MSD advised the government that the indexation change it passed under urgency last night is likely to put around 7,000 extra children (and potentially up to 13,000) into poverty. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The Government has reverted indexation for main beneficiaries to price inflation from wage inflation under ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Fuel Tax Fight and Rail Fail update
    The two stories we covered at the start of the week continue to be in the headlines so it’s worth looking at the latest for each of them. Regional Fuel Tax Mayor Wayne Brown promised some ‘argy-bargy’ over the government’s decision to cancel the Regional Fuel Tax and he’s ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Arsonists
    Today, a major fire broke out on the Port Hills in Ōtutahi. Like its 2017 predecessors, it is almost certainly exacerbated by climate change. And it is still burning. The present government did not start the fire. But they piled the tinder high last time they were in power, gutting ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • I don’t know!
    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/73411 7 examples And who actually makes the decisions? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know. America is a complex country, conservative on the one hand, rapidly changing on the other. It’s not easy for us to sort it all out.   Tucker Carlson: Do you think Zelensky has the freedom to negotiate the settlement to this conflict? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know the details, of course it’s difficult for me to judge, but ...
    6 days ago
  • Fresh thinkers
    Fresh thinking will always give you hope.It might be the kind that makes you smite your brow, exclaiming: Why didn't we think of that! It's obvious!It might be the kind that makes you go: Dude you’re a genius.Sometimes it will simply be Wayne Brown handing Simeon Brown his weasel ass ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • It is not about age, it is about team.
    Much attention has been directed at Joe Biden’s mental lapses and physical frailty. Less attention has been spent on Donald Trump’s cognitive difficulties and physical limitations, with most focus being devoted to his insults and exaggerated claims (as if they … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • ROBERT MacCULLOCH: Fletcher Building – it is time to break up NZ’s most useless company.
    Robert MacCulloch writes –  Gosh, the CEO of Fletcher Building, Ross Taylor, says today’s announcement of a half-year loss of $120 million for the company is “disappointing” and was “heavily impacted” by the Convention Centre losses. He must be crying all the way to the bank (to quote Las ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage rates seen high for even longer
    Government and borrower hopes for early mortgage cost relief look likely to be thwarted. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Stronger-than-expected US inflation data out overnight is expected to delay the first US Federal Reserve rate cut into the second half of 2024, which in turn would hold mortgage rates ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, the first of the new Parliament. And to start the Parliament off, there's a bunch of first readings. A bunch of other bills have been postponed, so first up is Duncan Webb's District Court (Protecting Judgment Debtors on Main Benefit) Amendment Bill, followed by Katie ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Three Waters go down the legislative gurgler – but what should we make of Local Water Done Well?
    Buzz from the Beehive Local Government Minister Simeon Brown – it seems fair to suppose – was flushed with success after the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation. As he explained, repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing his government’s Local Water Done Well ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on five of Luxon’s Gaza absurdities
    Earlier this week, PM Christopher Luxon met with 48 public service CEOs to make sure they were on board with his plans to cut spending on public services so that National can proceed to give the revenue away to those New Zealanders least in need. This wasn’t the only absurdity ...
    6 days ago
  • Love and the Fairer Sex.
    This morning I woke early with many thoughts in my head of things said, events of the week, things that matter. I’m afraid none of them involved Seymour, Willis, or Luxon so if you’re looking for something political maybe take the day off and come back tomorrow. You won’t find ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • He stood up to Muldoon and Lange and the Fji army
    Gerald Hensley, who died aged 88 on Saturday, was the key official who presided over the tumultuous events that followed the election of the Lange Labour Government in 1984. He was also instrumental in helping a key Fijian official escape the country during one of the 1987 coups. A diplomat ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • At a glance – Has Arctic sea ice returned to normal?
    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 ...
    7 days ago
  • Halo dunia!
    Selamt datang di WordPress. Ini adalah pos pertama Anda. Sunting atau hapus, kemudian mulai menulis! ...
    7 days ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • ELE LUDEMANN: Trusting locals
    Ele Ludemann writes- A government-knows-best and predilection for central control was another unfortunate feature of the 2017-2023 Labour governments. One of the worst polices as a result of that was what started as Three Waters and became several more. The National-led government is much more trusting of locals ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 week ago
  • Legislation to flush away Three Waters has become a certainty – but we must wait for details on th...
    Buzz from the Beehive A  three-day information drought was broken, just after Point of Order published yesterday’s Buzz from the Beehive, and two significant ministerial announcements were made. First, the Budget will be delivered on 30 May, telling us which genuine savings have been made by eliminating waste and which ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 week ago
  • Rise of the Lobbyists.
    An unpopular opinion, I love Auckland.Not so much the transport or the house prices - those are pretty dire. But there’s a lot to like. We’ve a vibrant, multicultural city in a beautiful location with, mostly, friendly locals. From the native bush of the Waitakeres to the Gulf islands, it’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The holes in National’s water reform pipes
    Young renters just have to watch on as pipes keep failing and the Government and councils point fingers at each other, because all the incentives are for ratepayers to block rates increases, water meters, water charges and the creation of new entities. File Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: The National-ACT-NZ First coalition ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • After years of stability, Antarctica is losing ice
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by SueEllen Campbell Until recently, Antarctica’s ice has seemed surprisingly stable. In contrast to the far north, the southern continent’s massive ice sheets, glaciers, ice shelves (ice that floats on the ocean), and seasonal ice appeared to be reliably frozen: Enough snow fell ...
    1 week ago
  • Auckland’s Persistent Rail Issues
    Over the last few weeks in our weekly roundup we’ve commented on the frequent delays and cancellations that have occurred on the rail network this year since the rail network went back into full operation on the 22-Jan – with Kiwirail proclaiming they had ‘successfully delivered summer holiday infrastructure upgrades ...
    1 week ago

  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced five new diplomatic appointments.  "Strong and effective diplomacy to protect and advance our interests in the world is needed now more than ever," Mr Peters says.  “We are delighted to appoint senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
    Changes to fishing rules and a significant science programme are being undertaken to address kina barrens, says Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Shane Jones. “There has been tremendous interest from iwi, communities and recreational fishers who had raised concerns about such kina infestations being a major threat to Northland’s marine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Greater focus on getting people into work
    The coalition government will refocus employment efforts and the welfare system so that supporting people who can work into jobs is the number one priority, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Of concern in the labour market statistics released by Stats NZ today was the number of youth not ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • One year on, NZ appeals for release of Phillip Mehrtens
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appealed to those holding New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens in remote Papua, Indonesia, to release him immediately.  Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage a year ago on 7 February in Paro, Papua, while providing vital air links and supplies to remote communities. “We strongly urge those holding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministers reaffirm Pacific connections this week
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Health Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti are reaffirming the importance of New Zealand’s connections to the Pacific by visiting Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa this week.  “New Zealand enjoys strong and long-standing relationships with our Pacific partners - especially in Polynesia, where we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Rt Hon Christopher Luxon – Waitangi speech
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, rau rangatira ma. Tēnā koutou katoa. He tino mihi ki te mana whenua o tēnei rohe.  Mihi mai, mihi mai, mihi mai. Te whare e tū nei, tēnā koe.                               He-wāhi whakahirahira tēnei mō Aotearoa. Ka huri nga whakaaro, ki nga mate. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government awards primary sector scholarships to students
    Six university students studying agriculture and science have been awarded scholarships as part of the coalition Government’s efforts to boost on-the-ground support for farmers and growers. “The coalition Government is committed to improving support and operating conditions for farmers and growers,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. “We’re backing a range ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996. From 1996 to 1999 he worked as a solicitor in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand provides further humanitarian support to Gaza and the West Bank
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that New Zealand is providing a further $5 million to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank.  “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling,” Mr Peters says.  “That is why New Zealand has contributed $15 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Government consults on expanding COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to enable public input into expanding the scope of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, says Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden. “As committed to in both the ACT-National and NZ First-National coalition agreements, the public will be given the opportunity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Tai Tokerau Water Boost
    A further $5 million loan has been advanced to the Tai Tokerau Water Trust for Te Waihekeora Reservoir, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says.  “Water is a precious resource, Kānoa – Regional Development and Investment Unit at the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment have done amazing work in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fast track consenting in the fast lane
    The Government is progressing changes to resource management laws as part of its 100 Day Action Plan, with the first steps taken to establish a new fast-track consenting one-stop shop regime. “This new regime, which forms part of National’s coalition agreement with New Zealand First, will improve the speed and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • JOINT STATEMENT ON AUSTRALIA-NEW ZEALAND MINISTERIAL CONSULTATIONS (ANZMIN) 2024
    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence the Hon Richard Marles MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong hosted New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters MP and Minister of Defence Hon Judith Collins KC MP on 1 February ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Minimum wage set for cautious increase
    The adult minimum wage rate will increase by 2 per cent to $23.15 an hour from 1 April 2024, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden announced today. “This Government is committed to striking the right balance between protecting the incomes of our lowest paid workers and maintaining labour ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Increased security improves ED safety over summer
    Increasing the number of security staff in emergency departments (EDs) over the busy Christmas and New Year period improved the safety of both staff and patients, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says. 200 additional security staff (93 FTEs) were provided to 32 EDs in response to concerns raised by ED ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Step Closer for European Union Free Trade Agreement
    New Zealand has moved closer to ratifying the New Zealand – European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA), with the First Reading of legislation to bring the Agreement into force being held in Parliament today.   “Almost a decade after preparatory talks first began on an FTA with the European Union, I’m pleased to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago

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