“pretty similar”

Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, May 29th, 2008 - 57 comments
Categories: articles, election 2008, election funding, john key, slippery, workers' rights - Tags: ,

I noticed an interesting comment from Ferdinand in our Kiwisaver thread yesterday:

I signed up to Kiwisaver based on the 4% employer contribution being rolled out. If National cap that at 1% then I’m out of pocket by about $75,000 in contributions alone.

That got me thinking about that meaningless phrase John Key used to describe National’s position on Kiwisaver: “pretty similar”. WTF?

So I had a think about it. Key could mean “pretty similar” to the current situation of a 1% empoyer contribution or perhaps “pretty similar” to the plan to put it up to 2% next year.

Now if you are a worker on an average wage of $45,000 with 40 years of working life ahead of you then the first scenario means you lose about $140,000 in contributions and interest. If it’s the second you lose about $90,000.

That’s a lot of money so I’m not surprised Ferdinand is concerned about what Key means and I’m sure the other 629,999 Kiwis signed up for this scheme will be too.

With so much at risk you would hope National would be sending a clear message about where they stand but I guess that’s just not something they do.

Think about it: 630,000 people with up to $140,000 to lose each. That’s a lot of cheese.

57 comments on ““pretty similar””

  1. IrishBill: surely employers will just reduce pay increases to compensate ?

  2. IrishBill 2

    Bryan, I’m glad to see you have such a low opinion of employers’ integrity.

  3. alex 3

    Can we get a graph of 1% vs 4% up on this post for an average worker over the span of say 45 years?

    Assuming that JK means by “pretty similar” to what it is now means it will stay at 1% indefinitely.

  4. Stephen 4

    Seriously?

  5. MikeE 5

    How much are the taxpayers and employers out of pocket who have to compulsariliy subsidise KiwiSlaver?

  6. Lew 6

    National’s line if this turns out to be more than speculation will be `we’ll return [some of] the difference to workers in tax cuts, and they can invest it in KiwiSaver or the investment scheme of their choice.’

    The whole `KateGate’ thing could have been neutralised if Key had simply backed his Industrial Relations spokeswoman and said something like this, rather than the failed coverup-retraction.

    L

  7. Stephen 7

    Er my comment was for Bryan

  8. vto 8

    sheesh you fullas have a funny way of looking at things. How on earth can you ‘lose’ something you never had ffs?

    And why on earth you would trust a govt to not alter the rules I do not know – history has proven that to be foolish time and time and time again.

  9. SweeetD 9

    Slow down cowboy and wait for the actual detail. There is still a load of time till the election.

  10. IishBill: so if Labour has such a high level of confidence in employers integrity why do they have to compel them to contribute to Kiwisaver ? I think National Party policy should be to remove the compulsion and let employers/employees act like grownups and negotiate their own arrangements. Yes, yes I know John Key doesn’t want to ‘scare the horses’.

  11. Tane 11

    sheesh you fullas have a funny way of looking at things. How on earth can you ‘lose’ something you never had ffs?

    The same way National and its supporters moan about the cancellation of the “chewing gum” tax cuts?

  12. Tane 12

    Slow down cowboy and wait for the actual detail. There is still a load of time till the election.

    Kiwis are trying to plan for their retirements. This is not just a game that National’s playing here.

  13. erikter 13

    The word compulsion is revered by the socialists.

    Reduce taxes and let the salary earners plan for their retirement. If some people are foolish/stupid enough not to put money aside for later years, it’s their problem, not mine.

    Of course, this entails the exercise of individual responsibility, a concept despised by the Left, who would prefer the state taking care of every aspect of the workers’ lives.

  14. Stephen 14

    On the face of it, I would favour reducing the need for employer compulsion too – let businesses offer additional Kiwisaver payments as a way of attracting workers, no? This might fluctuate according to the economic climate though…

  15. SweeetD 15

    No, its not a game. So, instead of making wild fantasy maybe’s, why don’t you wait until the actual detail has been released. Who knows, National might not win the election.

  16. Tane 16

    erikter, the word you’re looking for isn’t ‘foolish’ or ‘stupid’, it’s ‘poor’.

    Stephen, the market has proven to be an abject failure in this regard. That’s why we needed Kiwisaver in the first place.

  17. infused 17

    Kiwisaver is going to hit businesses hard. I am self employed and am not planning to employee anyone at the moment. I look after businesses though who do have employees and are dreading this.

    Why can people not save for themselves? Why does the govt always have to step in and impose costs on everyone else? It’s hard enough as it is.

    I’m not in Kiwisaver.

    EDIT: I like what someone else said, why not let the businesses set the rate? Then, one employer would have a good benefit over another employer.

  18. Tane 18

    infused, why not move to Australia and pay 9% instead?

    Face it, as tough as it is to run a business under any conditions, you’ve got some of the lowest labour costs in the developed world, a staunchly neoliberal employment regime and live in the second easiest country in the world in which to do business.

    EDIT: I like what someone else said, why not let the businesses set the rate? Then, one employer would have a good benefit over another employer.

    Because they’d mostly set them at zero, and the only people who will benefit are the minority of mobile, highly skilled and largely highly paid workers who have individual bargaining power.

  19. vto 19

    Tane said “That’s why we needed Kiwisaver in the first place.”

    I thought that was why we needed superann in the first place Tane. Or is this another first place? And what will be the next first place – an investment property for each worker perhaps? Apologies for the flippancy but it seems to be the appropriate response…

  20. Tane 20

    vto, you’re incoherent.

  21. Stephen 21

    A ‘failure’ in what sense? I know plenty of companies offered superannuation schemes before hand, but I admittedly have no idea of the scope or level of generosity. A lot of companies also *didn’t*, which I can see as being something of a problem. Now employers have an additional cost, which can be offset by the $20 a week rebate the government will give to employers, although this will be worthy bugger all to employers with high wage earners. ALTHOUGH, if you have high wage earners, you’re probably a ‘company’, which means you’re eligible for the company tax reductions, unlike non-companies (sole proprietorships etc..)

    Slightly convoluted would be a good captcha

  22. Bryan. it’s illegal to lower wages to cover Kiwisaver contributions.

    According to economic theory in the long run, yes, the kiwisaver contributions from employers would be partially offest by smaller wage growth but, on the other hand, employer contributions will be partially offset by higher wages -so they even out.

    Incidentally, 630,000 poeple losing $140,000 would be 6.3 billion 1 kg blocks of Mainland Mild from Woolworths, or $88 billion.

  23. IrishBill 23

    Bryan, I see in the Dom that employers are already lobbying National to create policy that would allow them to take KS contributions out of wages. I never claimed labour has a believe in employers’ integrity as I don’t know if they do or not. I know I don’t and today’s article hasn’t made me reconsider that opinion.

  24. Stephen 24

    Maybe i was slightly incoherent too…on balance, it looks like a slight negative for employers, though I suppose they can hold back wage increases .

  25. vto 25

    you are

    ha ha. Incoherency was my first point about this thread.

    captcha: of Cinderella, how appropriate

  26. Patrick 26

    As far as I recall, the whole reason KiwiSaver was set up was because very few New Zealanders were saving for their retirement. While it’s not compulsory to join, the incentives are strong enough that we already have 630,000 people in New Zealand saving with KiwiSaver schemes. This is fantastic.

    My younger brother has recently left high school and is working only a bit above the minimum wage, but he is still able to afford to contribute, and for the first time in his life is seriously saving money. This is a great thing, and I really doubt he would have joined without the incentives provided in KiwiSaver Mark II.

    Given that employers are also getting significant tax breaks to help cover the cost of KiwiSaver contributions, I’d say that the whole picture of it being a drain on employers isn’t so clear. If anyone has the numbers (and graphing skills!) around this, I’d really appreciate it.

    Sure, we’re not getting the 9% that Australian employers are forced to contribute, but I think what we’ve got is a great start.

  27. sean14 27

    IB

    Firstly, I agree that National should send a clear message on their KiwiSaver policy. Voters should be able to make an informed choice.

    Think about it: 630,000 people with up tp $140,000 to lose each. That’s a lot of cheese.

    That statement is technically correct, but it’s highly misleading. Many KiwiSavers have nothing to lose if employer contributions are changed: Under-65 retirees for one, and public servants who are ineligible for the employer contributions as they are already receiving them in another scheme. I’ll bet a large proportion of KiwiSavers fall into those two categories.

    What Cullen should really answer, or you can have a go if you like, is this: Why should a relative of mine, who has retired well short of 60 because she planned superbly for it, be able to join KiwiSaver with it’s $1000 kick-start and $20 a week from the government (provided she puts in $20 a week as well)? She is kicking back, enjoying her retirement, and being partially subsidised by the working poor to do so. How is that acceptable?

  28. Phil 28

    “… the market has proven to be an abject failure in this regard. That’s why we needed Kiwisaver in the first place.”

    Wages rising in tight labour markets, like we have right now, is a market working exactly as it should.

    If you want to play jam-jar economics with peoples incomes and insist on Kiwisaver, that’s your prerogative. Me, I’d rather make it easier for employers to offer a wider range of incentives to staff – cark parking, medical insurance, low interest loans, super, vehicles for private use, so on and so forth.

  29. Tane 29

    though I suppose they can hold back wage increases .

    How’s that supposed to be a selling point in the market place like you’re suggesting then?

  30. Stephen 30

    Forgive my stream of consciousness method of posting, it gets me into trouble sometimes.

    Wasn’t…one of the Ministers talking about trying get around employers holding back wage increases through legislation somehow?

  31. Tane 31

    Trevor Mallard a month or so back. Several high profile employers had told staff they’d be taking Kiwisaver out of their wages. The cheek of it, especially when the government is subsidising employer contributions.

  32. Stephen 32

    But if they’re only getting up to $20 a week in subsidies, that is really NOT going to cut it for a lot of people.

    [and any contributions above $20 a week are tax deductible. An average fulltime income of $46,000 sees $1840 a year of employer contributions at 4%, $1040 of that is covered by the $20 a week, $240 by tax deductibility. The employer is being required to contribute just $560 net a year for an employee on that average fulltime wage. Hardly an overwhelming burden. SP]

  33. Vanilla Eis 33

    Stephen: as previously stated, at the current employer contribution the subsidy covers an employee making around $59k per annum. How many people isn’t it cutting it for? We’ve already seen that the majority of workers in the country make far less than that.

  34. r0b 34

    sean: She is kicking back, enjoying her retirement, and being partially subsidised by the working poor to do so. How is that acceptable?

    There are two ways to design and implement government programmes. You can make them simple and clear, open to everyone, and you live with a certain percentage of anomalies. Or you can make them complex and regulated, and create a big bureaucracy, and live with a smaller percentage of anomalies. I guess it’s an open question as to which is cheaper in the long run, but I and I think many others prefer the first approach.

    Or in other words if the working poor weren’t subsidising your relative, they would be subsidising the big bureaucracy that was necessary to exclude her, and you’d be grumbling about that instead.

  35. Chris S 35

    Steve – that almost requires a new post. There is a lot of confusion over the “burden” that is being placed on the employer.

    In fact, in your scenario, I would think that the extra paperwork soaks up more money than the contribution 🙂

  36. Chris S. Kiwisaver is handled by IRD, the contributions go to the IRD from the employer just at PAYE payments do. Beyond intial setup, there’s no extra work involved in that regard. And the maths of claiming the credit and deductibility are pretty simple.

  37. Lets not flog ourselves too much with the belief that Kiwis are poor savers. This little chart here shows just how much Resident Withholding Tax has been increasing year-on-year just on interest earned, it doesn’t include dividends etc. It roughly indicates we have 80 odd billion dollars in savings growing at 15% per annum.

    Resident Withholding Tax

  38. andy 38

    Chris:

    Larger organisations have payroll software which cover kiwisaver and automate the process. Smaller organisation like the one I work for (4 employees on kiwisaver) it has added 5 minutes more work to monthly PAYE admin.

    I would like to see JK keep kiwisaver as is, and allow employers to deduct the contributions they make. Govt will just get a delayed tax payment via GST when I retire..:)

  39. sean14 39

    Rob

    If I was grumbling, it would be about the program, not the bureaucrats needed to run it. No point criticising the latter when it’s a function of the former.

    The person who will be grumbling is the poor minimum wage slave who can’t afford to live on 100% of his pay let along 96% of it, but sees part of his taxes going to my relative for weekend drinkies money.

  40. IrishBill 40

    “The person who will be grumbling is the poor minimum wage slave who can’t afford to live on 100% of his pay let along 96% of it,”

    I would imagine they would be grumbling even more if the employer “contribution” was coming out of their wages too.

  41. Sean14: you make a good point. Kiwisaver could be seen as more middle class welfare, those who can afford to save anyway taking money from those who can’t.

  42. IrishBill: It will be. I can see large employers negotiating down wage increases ( not wages as you suggested I was saying above) for lowly paid workers so they can pay the Kiwisaver contributions for managers and executives. The delicious law of unintended consequences that seems to be tripping up Labour a lot this year 🙂

  43. Matthew Pilott 43

    Bryan – won’t the market make everything alright then, the workers will just go elsewhere, and the managers and executives will go broke?

    No?

    That’s right – the market sucks.

    Sorry, OT, but felt like tossing that in there.

  44. andy. Employers can deduct the contributions they make. Even better, the first $20 they contribute is completely free.

  45. Tane 45

    I can see large employers negotiating down wage increases ( not wages as you suggested I was saying above) for lowly paid workers so they can pay the Kiwisaver contributions for managers and executives. The delicious law of unintended consequences that seems to be tripping up Labour a lot this year 🙂

    I don’t agree with your premise but I find it telling that you’d find such an outcome ‘delicious’.

  46. r0b 46

    Bryan: Lets not flog ourselves too much with the belief that Kiwis are poor savers. This little chart here shows

    I’m not sure what your chart shows, but there is a problem with declining household savings in NZ:
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU0609/S00447.htm
    http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2006/2823160.html

    Kiwisaver could be seen as more middle class welfare, those who can afford to save anyway taking money from those who can’t.

    Why not look on it as incentive for people to work harder and increase their earnings so that they can afford to save? That’s the story when arguing for tax cuts for the rich – the ultimate example of middle class welfare.

  47. IrishBill 47

    “IrishBill: It will be. I can see large employers negotiating down wage increases ( not wages as you suggested I was saying above) for lowly paid workers so they can pay the Kiwisaver contributions for managers and executives.”

    Bryan. That’s not legal. Is your argument that some people will break the law so we should should change it to accommodate them? Or are you yet again offering opinion on a matter you know nothing about?

  48. Matthew: Look at the numbers, you are absolutely right, workers are voting with their feet.

    Tane: I know the Prime Minister considers the NZ Herald ‘an organ of the right’ but most of the stories in the NZH about politicians being tripped up by the EFA do seem to involve Labour politicians.

  49. andy 49

    steve

    That is the 1% contribution, what about next year (hypothetically) when it goes up to 2%, and the year after to 3% and after that 4%.

    I think the employer contribution loses deductability after the second year (2%) so it becomes a direct cost to employer (??), this will inevitably be reflected in lower wage rises. this is why it would be a gift to all NZers if the employer contribution was deductable for full amount.

    I think employers would be supportive if they didn’t have to shoulder the extra cost without an offset mechanism, most I come into contact with think the Kiwisaver idea is great, but they hate the extra cost, surprise, surprise!!

    For a large company this could be the difference between hiring an extra employee or not ?

    There is a problem with the short sighted nature of NZ business, as the cost of raising capital should fall as Kiwisaver gains momentum, and there is a mass of funds looking for an investment home. Raising capital in NZ is a real problem for business, to start a small business you need a house to borrow against as small loans for businesses have very high hurdles and interest rates (twice the mortgage rate). So you have to be a successful employee before you can start a business, real chicken and egg problems for a nation of small businesses.

  50. Matthew Pilott 50

    But Bryan, they have a 9% equivalent contribution in Australia, so that’s a thoroughly pointless…point WRT compulsion is savings schemes.

    Perhaps you’d do best not to take single points in isolation!

  51. rOb: thanks for the links. The RBNZ PDF shows savings as a percentage of GDP. Savings are increasing but our indebtedness to foreign lenders has been increasing much faster. As the cliche goes “We have been borrowing cheap money from Japanese housewives so we can buy each others houses”.

  52. sean14 52

    Come to think of it, that minimum waage slave would be rightly upset about having to subsidise rich farmers to the tune of $700 million too.

  53. Matthew Pilott 53

    What $700 million exactly, sean14?

    Anyone who hates rugby will be unhappy about the world cup costs right?

    There are a lot of things the Government does that do not directly benefit me, and I do not begrudge them one bit; in a democracy it’s a thoroughly useless attitude to point to every cent of spending that’s not for your benefit and decry it.

    The Government is for the people of NZ, not just for each individual – looking at it thus is a surefire way to feel bitter and disenfranchised for no gain!

  54. Draco TB 54

    The word compulsion is revered by the socialists.

    Actually, I see far more compulsion coming out of the right than I do from any socialist of any stripe.

    I thought that was why we needed superann in the first place Tane.

    No, the reason why we ended up with superannuation is because the National government under Rob Muldoon abolished the compulsory savings scheme introduced by the previous Labour government.

    It roughly indicates we have 80 odd billion dollars in savings growing at 15% per annum.

    Who has that $80b though? Because I can assure you, it isn’t the 70%+ that have incomes below the average wage. You know, the people Kiwisaver was designed to help.

  55. Stephen 55

    Thanks for the reply SP. Though it appears there is still a bit more to this, going on the comments.

  56. National government under Rob Muldoon abolished the compulsory savings scheme introduced by the previous Labour government.

    Yep and that’s the one that would be providing $400bn of onshore investment capital by now.

  57. sean14 57

    Matthew – The Fast Forward Fund.

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    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    7 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago

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