Power’s electoral finance reform proposals out

Written By: - Date published: 2:39 pm, September 28th, 2009 - 30 comments
Categories: election funding, national/act government - Tags:

hitler

The level of debate in 2008

Justice Minister Simon Power has released the Government’s proposals for reform of electoral finance law. Remember, Labour’s reforms of electoral finance law were branded an assault on democracy and free speech by National and its affiliates like the Herald.

There were protests in the streets (oddly, at the Wellington one, most of the several dozen of protesters were wearing suits and many of them were reported to be from the Business Roundtable), editorials thundered about the end of our democracy and National Party shills like Matthew Hooton and David Farrar were given air time to accuse Helen Clark of planning to abolish the free press if Labour won in 2008.

So, what radical changes is the government proposing to restore truth, justice and the New Zealand way?

Um, nothing groundbreaking to be honest. Here are the changes in Power’s document :

1. put in some guiding principles into the legislation. As is well-known, the lack of guiding principles in the previous legislation sparked a civil war.
2. allow parties to use their broadcasting allocation in media other than radio and TV and, maybe, outside of the election period(!)
3. continue clearing up the division between spending for parliamentary activities and election activities.
4. keep the current rules on donations
5. increase the spending limits for parties and candidates
6. have a fixed day for the start of the campaign period but not as early as 1 January in election year, as Labour had. Maybe 1 May. Those four months are the difference between fascist dictatorship and utopian democracy
7. clear up the definition of advertising. There were no manifestly unjust outcomes from the previous definition, just a lot of complaints and they arose from the Right’s determination to make the law appear unworkable, not the definition itself.
8. keep requirement to identify promoter of third party campaign. Remember, this was the bit of the EFA that gave Farrar kittens: ‘you’ll have to say your name and address after every speech! OMG!!’ but didn’t cause any problem in reality.
9. keep Labour’s rules around third party campaigns (eg, spending limits, need to register if spending over a certain amount) but make registering “weighted in favour of freedom of expression”
10. let third parties broadcast on TV and radio
11. New electoral agency to publish guidance on following the rules
12. Keep Labour’s penalties for breaking the rules

As you can tell I’m pretty comfortable with (in fact, quite relieved by) the new rules as they appear in Power’s document. They keep the Electoral Finance Act essentially intact. In reality, there were never any serious problems with that law, the Right just kicked up a fuss because it was an opportunity to brand Labour as draconian and anti-free speech. The fact that so much of the EFA will be kept under the new law is a vindication of Labour’s law and a tacit admission by National that they and their allies were merely playing politics with the issue.

At first blush, Power appears to have done a reasonable job and he’s done it by largely keeping the EFA intact.

Update: No Right Turn has a different view here, as does a guest post we’ve received that we’ll put up later.

30 comments on “Power’s electoral finance reform proposals out”

  1. lprent 1

    Interesting. They are proposing to keep most of the reforms that Labour put in, making largely cosmetic changes and adding meaningless waffle (a Key trademark). I’ll have a look through the proposal later to look at the devil in the details.

    On point 9 – good luck. That wording is simply stupidly vague.

    The campaign period is too short. A lot of the campaigns start a lot earlier, and as far as I’m concerned actually start in earnest about 12 months out from the election. The candidate is the least of the issue for the heart of a successful campaign locally or nationally.

    It is going to be interesting watching the wingnuts from Whale to DPF squirming to show why this is significantly different to the EFA.

    Whats the bet that NACT will try and run this through under urgency and an abbreviated select committee procedure where they ignore the majority of the submissions……

    • snoozer 1.1

      I see that in a number of the points, there’s actually a few different options proposed by the Government. I think Marty’s probably picked the likely options, but there’s still the opportunity of National slanting the whole thing to advantage the Right a lot more at the last minute, which is what No Right turn is worried about.

      Of all the Nats who could be in charge of this, Power is the most welcome. Can you imagine what a Brownlee or a Nick Smith or a Judith Collins would have come up with?

      • lprent 1.1.1

        Yeah this looks quite suspicious to me.

        11. New electoral agency to publish guidance on following the rules

        Why? This is what the electoral commission is meant to do.

        Why aren’t they just increasing funding to that body. It was clearly under-resourced for the type of crap that the wingnuts were firing at it last election.

        That makes me direly suspicious of the composition of this agency.

        • Graeme 1.1.1.1

          Why? This is what the electoral commission is meant to do.

          Actually, it’s not.

          That makes me direly suspicious of the composition of this agency.

          Something to look at, certainly, but I’m not particularly concerned. The separation between the Chief Electoral Office – monitoring candidate advertising – and the Electoral Commission – monitoring party advertising – was really cumbersome (and stupid).

          As long as the new body – to be called the Electoral Commission, I understand – is as independent as the current electoral commission, then this is a good thing. Having elections run by a government department, and the electoral roll run by an SOE isn’t the greatest idea – even though there’s independence in practice. A one-stop shop is a good idea.

          Certainly look out for the composition, but I’m really not expecting this to be an attempt to politicise or hijack electoral administration. The agencies involved now have been pushing for this for years.

    • rocky 1.2

      Whats the bet that NACT will try and run this through under urgency and an abbreviated select committee procedure where they ignore the majority of the submissions

      What, you mean kind of like how Labour changed the EFA significantly after the select committee process, and decided not to bother having a select committee and the public have input into major issues that people hadn’t had a chance to have a say on?

      On all other points I’m in agreement – the hype surrounding the EFA was hysterical and a lot of disinformation was put out there. And National do have a very nasty habit of using urgency to bypass the democratic process.

      Unfortunately the EFA is one of two examples I can think of where Labour didn’t exactly uphold the democratic process.

  2. Oh where do I start.

    1) First the huge difference is the public is being consulted on the policy behind any law changes.You are actually getting a say on it before a bill is introduced. Something Labour and Greens did not allow. They negotiated it all in secret and introduced a bill which would have made it illegal to e-mail someone your opinion on a policy issue. The final law was better, but the original bill was draconian as everyone accepted.

    2) In case you have forgotten the Human Rights Commission, headed by a unionist, declared the EFB so flawed it should be withdrawn.

    3) You have completely missed the fact the EFA got repealed, but with donation transparency retained. So this is not about keeping the EFA. It is about what changes get made to the 1993 Electoral Act. The fatc no major changes are proposed is a vote of confidence in the EA, not the EFA which Labour even voted to abolish.

    4) You shown your ignorance again in your claim I was against name and addresses on election adverts. I was never against them. In fact they have been required by law for 40+ years. What I objected to was the fact speaking at a protest rally was now considered an election advertisement and hence needed an authorisation statement.

    5) You claim the difference in regulated periods is between 1 Jan and 1 May. Wrong. 1 Jan as the EFA had it is out as even a possibility. There are four options for periods being around 1.5 months, two at three months and one at six months. And again the big difference is we are being given a choice.

    6) The proposed changes to election advertisement definition are in fact quite significant. They include personal advocacy on the Internet – changes Labour and the Greens rejected as amendments to the EFA incidentially which only exempted individual blogs, not all online personal advocacy.

    7) It does not keep the EFA rules for third parties. It gives two options (again that giving people a choice and chance to have a say) and if a regulated option is chosen, will have significantly higher thresholds and limits. Labour and the Greens set the limits well below what the independent electoral agency recommended.

    There is a lesson here for all this though. Electoral law doesn’t need to be a bitter background if you have a Minister who deals with all parties in good faith, and gives the public multiple opportunities to have their say.

    You may also wish to recall that the original EFB didn’t even have any extra transparency around donations. That was added in at select committee stage. The original EFB had really little redeeming quality.

    The final EFA was significantly better. Still flawed, but better. If the EFA had been the starting point of public consultation, rather than the end point, again there would have been less controversy.

    [David, treat your readers like idiots if you want but don’t do the same here. micky fisks you below. I just want to add that you were hollowing about the EFB in its final form and the EFA as enacted. Don’t expect us to have amnesia – Marty]

    • Oh can I comment

      The hysteria over this piece of legislation was immense and totally unwarranted when anyone considered the actual detail. To respond in particular:

      1) The public were consulted. There was a full select committee process and people had the chance to comment. There are a myriad of examples where this Government has put through contentious legislation under urgency. The 90 day Fire At Will Bill and the RMA tree felling bills spring to mind. There was also significant movement by the government after consideration of the submissions, something you subsequently concede.

      2) The HRC did say that the EFA affected the right to free speech. They were right, sort of, the EFA required registration of anyone spending a significant amount of money on election advertising and prevented people spending more than $120,000 on advertising. This is a lot of money. The EFA did not ban free speech, it did regulate the very expensive speech. If there is to be a pure rule on the freedom of speech then we may as well have no spending limits whatsoever and let the richest party win all of the time. Our democracy demands more than this.

      3) So we are talking about amendments to a “fundamentally flawed bill”. Obviously it was not “fundamentally flawed”.

      4) Speaking at a protest rally would not require an authorisation statement. Check the definition of “publish” in section 4 and then apologise.

      5) Either have a regulated period before the unknown election date or set an actual date. The parties start campaigning in earnest 12 months before the election. Why not use January 1? The “Iwi kiwi” billboards of 2005, paid for by Parliamentary Services money (gasp!) are a very good reason for an earlier rather than later date. And tell me, why is May 1 OK but January 1 is undemocratic??

      6) So if Telecom sets up a vote National website this should not be regulated?

      7) So there should be no limitation on third parties? So National should be able to set up any number of dummy organisations and then spend at will?

      There is a lesson here for all this. National will oppose and cloud and lie to get an advantage. We need a system where:

      1. There are spending limits on the parties
      2. There are spending limits on other organisations so the parties cannot bypass the spending limits
      3. Free speech is preserved but expensive speech is regulated.

      This is not too different to the old EFA.

      • Rex Widerstrom 2.1.1

        6) So if Telecom sets up a vote National website this should not be regulated?

        Ggggggaahhhh! 8-/ Why is the left’s response to the possibiluty of something like this to rush out and ban it?!

        Two questions:

        1. Why the hell shouldn’t Telecom spend it’s money any way it likes? It has as much right to freedom of speech as any business, union or individual. And if it has more money to spend on it than any of those examples, why shouldn’t it, provided it is open and transparent about it?

        2. What do you think the effect of such a campaign would be?

        If I may be so bold as to answer my own second question, it’d be about as successful as when its former chairman decided to front a “retain FPP” campaign – i.e. even those people who were toying with the idea figured that if that was the sort of company it put them in, they’d better support PR.

        In fact if I were running government relations for Telecom I’d be leveraging parties by promising to run a noisy supporter campaign unless they agreed to my agenda 😀

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.1

          Rex

          “Two questions:

          1. Why the hell shouldn’t Telecom spend it’s money any way it likes? It has as much right to freedom of speech as any business, union or individual. And if it has more money to spend on it than any of those examples, why shouldn’t it, provided it is open and transparent about it?

          2. What do you think the effect of such a campaign would be?”

          1. Because if all the corporates did this we would inevitably have a more corporate right wing country than we have. Some will rejoice. But if we have a true democracy where all views ought to be considered then the views of the wealthy should not dominate.

          2. I am not sure, possibly marginal but any skewering of the result should be avoided.

          • Graeme 2.1.1.1.1

            I wonder whether you’re overstating this particular concern. The change, as I understand it, would not allow Telecom to advertise in favour of National, only allow them to set up a website in favour of National.

            It may have a small effect of the sort you are anticipating, but if the same prohibitions apply as now to paid advertising (newspapers, TV, leaflets, online ads, etc.) then the availability of corporate-run campaign websites probably wouldn’t have a big effect.

        • sk 2.1.1.2

          Actually Rex, it is not clear that a corporate should have the same rights as an individual – including freedom of speech. This is the case before the US Supreme Court now over the Hilary Clinton documentary. There it is seen as a pivotal case.

          Also, it is not Telecom’s money. It is their shareholder’s money, and they should not have the right to spend it that way without a shareholders resolution. Afterall, their shareholders will be both left and right, as well as foreign. (as an aside, NZ SOE’s have more apparent freedom on this than corporates who can be sued by shareholders, think Timberlands and Solid Energy)

          Utimately there is no place for corporates in the political process. Democracies are increasingly tenuous as it is.

          This is a real issue when it comes to climate change policy, when heavy industry is foreign owned as in NZ. How much did Rio Tinto and Holcim donate to NACT last year?

      • labourarelooosers 2.1.2

        Not very effective fisking. More like a bit of mild bullshitting dressed up as rebuttal.

    • felix 2.2

      Marty, there’s a very good reason for David treating his readers like idiots.

      And mickeysavage, “indeed”.

  3. Rex Widerstrom 3

    I can’t think of anything Power’s done, or even said, this term that I agree with and this is no exception.

    It maintains a whole lot of stupid nitpicking rules on how money is spent (the whole “name and address on ever banner” nonsense) while doing nothing to tighten the rules on how — and from whom — that money is raised.

    As someone said over at Kiwiblog, on a thread about the banning of the use of GPS functions on iPhones and the like, National was elected with the expectation that it would get rid of the bulk of nanny statism, not perfect it.

    Regardless of how their supporters might try to spin it, I doubt this will do anything to satisfy those who opposed the EFA on the basis of principle rather than politics and it will come back to bite National when they’re seeking re-election.

    If Labour had any tactical sense it wouldn’t be crowing about a “vindication” right now, it’d be saying mea culpa, expressing astonishment that National had made the same mistakes, and promising to create an alternative policy which created the maximum degree of transparency for donations while not standing in the way of anyone — or any group — which wanted to spend its own money advocating a position, provided that advocacy were done openly.

    Edit: I should acknolwedge, however, as DPF has pointed out above, that this at least is open to consultation, so may be significantly improved. That does not, however, detract from my disappointment that Power has basically done nothing.

    • Armchair Critic 3.1

      Consultation has not been a strong point of this government. I don’t see why it will be any different on this issue.

  4. Graeme 4

    7. clear up the definition of advertising. There were no manifestly unjust outcomes from the previous definition, just a lot of complaints and they arose from the Right’s determination to make the law appear unworkable, not the definition itself.

    The EFA definition included medial releases!

    8. keep requirement to identify promoter of third party campaign. Remember, this was the bit of the EFA that gave Farrar kittens: ‘you’ll have to say your name and address after every speech! OMG!!’ but didn’t cause any problem in reality.

    I believe the suggested change will allow, for example, the use of the physical address of campaign headquarters, rather than it being required to be a home address.

  5. Marty G 5

    Graeme. I’m trying to recall the EC passing a compliant on to the Police over media releases.

    Yeah, you’ll be allowed to put your work address instead.It was the requirement to identify themselves at all that the Nats’ secret backers had a problem with.

    • Graeme 5.1

      1. It doesn’t matter whether one was actually referred to police. A warning would be enough to have a chilling effect etc. The problem isn’t people being referred to the police for sending out media releases, it’s people not sending out media releases for fear of being referred to police

      2. That said, the collection of media releases that formed Jim Anderton’s e-news of 16 May 2008 actually was referred to the police by the Electoral Commission. I refer you to Electoral Commission decision 2008-29, available on the Elections NZ website.

  6. RedLogix 6

    The most pernicious change is going to be the length of the ‘regulated period’.

    In 2005 National spent ALL of their Parliamentary funding on electioneering. They simply did it before the arbitrary three month limit that the AG had quietly told them he was going to audit for. That meant that they could start their campaign in early June that year, months before other parties could afford to do so, comfortable in the knowledge that while exploiting all their Parliamentary Services funding early, they then had a truckload of their own cash to be used in the last three months of the campaign. Thus avoiding any scrutiny by the AG’s office.

    Still didn’t stop Joyce ripping off the rules over the GST thing though.

    A short ‘regulated period’ naturally is biased in favour of the best funded party, because that party has the most opportunity to spend up large, with no legislated restraint, before the period starts.

    The correct solution is to fix the election date and a formal start date for the election campaign itself, no more than 8-12 weeks out. Any spending prior to that date should be counted as double in contributing to the total. Keep the campaigns short and focussed; the longer they drag on, the more they become a money driven media circus.

  7. Oh dear Mickey gets so much wrong.

    1) The public were not consulted on the EFB. They were allowed select cmte input on the EFA, but this is a very different thing. Mickey also overlooks that the other laws he cites had election mandates. The EFB had no such mandate, and the refusal to consult non Govt parties (unlike SImon Power) was unprecedented on major electoral law issues

    2) You confuse the EFB and EFA again. And you are also wrong when you say the EFA only affected those who spent more than $120,000. As an example the FSC’s anti-Winston billboard may have broken the law if it was considered an electorate advert which has a $4,000 cap. Also there was the classifying of personal opinion on non blog sites as advertisements that needed authorisation statements.

    3) The EFB was fundamentally flawed, as the EFA which emerged from it remained flawed. That is why Labour voted to repeal it. This is the law that the Electoral Commission itself said had a chilling effect on political participation. Shame that you still defend it.

    4) The bill which emerged from select committee did require an authorisation statement for speaking at a protest rally. It was (mainly) my highlighting of this requirement that forced a Government backdown at the cmte of the house stage.

    5) You are wrong re the Iwi/Kiwi billboards. Not one cent of them was paid by PS money. You really should try actually doing some research before you invent things. I don’t regard May 1 as okay.

    The reason Simon Power has included 1 May as an option is almost certainly because a significant number of people wanted a longer regulated period, so he has kept it as an option. You see this is how a competent and fair Minister does electoral law. You include options you may not personally be overly keen on, in order to retain bipartisan support for a fair process. This is the part you just do not grasp.

    6) Again you are wrong on the facts. Telecom can not set up a vote National website. You can only campaign in favour of a party with its permission.

    7) I think transparency is the best thing for third parties. If National did set up dummy third parties, then the media should report that and there will be a public backlash.

    Finally you propose what you want in an electoral finance system.Did you bother to actually make a submission? Don’t just whine about things here. You actually have been given an opportunity to have input – take advantage of it.

    • Graeme 7.1

      6) Again you are wrong on the facts. Telecom can not set up a vote National website. You can only campaign in favour of a party with its permission.

      Except if you are a registered parallel campaigner. Then websites you run aren’t considered to be election advertisements.

      7) I think transparency is the best thing for third parties. If National did set up dummy third parties, then the media should report that and there will be a public backlash.

      But parallel campaigners won’t be required to disclose their sources of funding under National’s proposals. I take it that you disagree?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.2

      We see on the Super City legislation how the promises before the legislation is passed are dropped by the wayside.
      What chance this too will be done under urgency to allow Key another holiday

  8. labourarelooosers 8

    I guess Helen Clarks ‘little red book’ election spending fraud courtesy of the EFB/A is a holy grail the Labour party and it’s supporters are hoping to repeat.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      There is still the GST national spent on their campaign rather then paying to the broadcasters.
      Never paid back apparently.

      Ask Joyce why he OK ed it when the media buyer Rainmakers was telling him in emails the funding was inclusive of GST

  9. randal 9

    you have missed the main point. the new laws will allow third parties to spend as much money as they like supporting their candidates and running their own campaigns. how democratic is that?

    • that is one of the options.

      Also, that doesn’t apply to broadcast advertising, and indeed, in relation to supporting candidates doesn’t apply to newspaper or billboard or leaflet advertising either.

      And for that matter, it doesn’t apply to the Internet either.

      In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realise this statement is completely wrong.

      • felix 9.1.1

        Where does it apply? Passing notes in class?

        edit: That would probably be a leaflet actually.

        • Graeme Edgeler 9.1.1.1

          The proposal that “the new laws will allow third parties to spend as much money as they like supporting their candidates and running their own campaigns.” does not apply in any circumstance.

          Campaigns supporting candidates will either be banned, or if a third party registers and is subject to a spending limit, allowed on a campaign website.

  10. randal 10

    hey marty… fatboy is a specialist in running sleazy campaigns against parties and individuals here and on other sites. it is in his nature to use all the prerogatives of wealth and contacts to belittle and demonise anyone who might upset his applecart or who wont bow down to his version of kissing rich peoples arses.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Bringing kindness back”
    "Auckland City Mission: 10% of Kiwis experiencing food insecurity", RNZ, 16 October 2019:About half a million people are experiencing food insecurity, according to new research from the Auckland City Mission. Food insecurity, or food poverty, is defined as not having enough appropriate food. The City Mission said over the last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Press Release: “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance b...
    Media Statement for Immediate Release 16th October 2019 “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers Despite comments from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers—Herald Newspaper Tuesday Oct 15th–there is very little evidence ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    5 days ago
  • Ever-So-Slightly Bonkers: Simon Bridges Plays To His Base.
    Would You Buy A Used Propaganda Video From This Man? Bridges and the National Party’s strategists have discovered that the ideas and attitudes considered acceptable by today’s editors and journalists are no longer enforceable. The rise and rise of the Internet and the social media platforms it spawned means that ...
    5 days ago
  • Asking for food
    There is plenty of evidence of the way the business mentality has permeated every level of society since the recrudescence of market liberalism 35 years ago. You only need to think of how citizens in need of help from their government, their state, their country, are now routinely described as ...
    Opposable ThumbBy Unknown
    5 days ago
  • Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwi do and the places they call home
    John MacCormick Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big changes in the jobs they do and where they live and work. These changes include: a decline in manufacturing jobs an increase in jobs in ‘information-intensive’ industries (which are better paid ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Protecting Fresh Waterways in Aotearoa/NZ: The Strong Public Health Case
    Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    6 days ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    6 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    7 days ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    7 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    1 week ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    1 week ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Southern Response claims move to EQC
    Responsibility for processing the small number of Southern Response claims still to be settled will be transferred to EQC by the end of the year. “As claim numbers reduce, it no longer makes sense for the Crown to have two organisations processing the remaining Canterbury claims,” Grant Robertson says. “Since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Bowel screening starts in Whanganui
    Health Minister David Clark is encouraging Whanganui residents to take up the opportunity for free bowel screening, which can detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat.   Over the next two years 12,000 Whanganui locals, aged 60 to 74 will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Screening ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, heads to Oslo today to represent New Zealand at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which is being hosted by the Norwegian Government from the 23-24 October. “The Our Ocean Conference mobilises real action on issues like marine plastic pollution and the impacts of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
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