Productivity

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, March 14th, 2018 - 32 comments
Categories: business, Economy, employment, Financial markets, grant robertson, kiwisaver, labour, tax - Tags:

On the weekend my cousin, who is managing a large Auckland restaurant, asked me about an opportunity to invest directly in a large new cafe business by the same partners. My advice was: keep your Kiwisaver as your primary long term goal, but be brave if you want to with a punt that you can manage with your own smarts and experience. Time to back herself.

A more productive economy – and society – has been an elusive goal for many of New Zealand’s previous governments. As we have seen from National’s last nine years of rule, they were not successful.

Ideally, productivity should mean using fewer resources to get better results and more wealth for more New Zealanders, not slaving your guts out. New Zealanders on average work very long hours and don‘t get good pay or pay increases to reward us. Even Treasury says so.

In Grant Robertson’s speech to the Waikato Business Summit of February 8th, he said that this government will be reforming the tax system to ensure greater support for a more productive economy: “For too long our tax system has lacked balance and has encouraged speculation, particularly in housing. We want this to change, and we have charged a Tax Working Group … to make proposals in this regard.”
Australia – to a lesser degree than New Zealand – has relied on bulk and high-mass commodities to sustain its economy, which hasn’t been good for productivity increases. So two recent announcements from Australian Labor’s Bill Shorten caught my eye.

The first is a commitment that, if elected, businesses which invest in Australia will be eligible for new write-off provisions. It’s a promise to introduce an Australian Investment Guarantee that promises an immediate deduction of 20% off any new asset worth more than $20,000.

At almost the same time he has announced that he is going to come down hard on tax benefits for shareholders called dividend imputations used for cash refunds.

Of course this kind of crackdown on about 200,000 self-managed super funds and wealthy retirees is going to get a major backlash from the politically influential superannuation lobby.

But the intended effect upon Australia’s economy is this: encourage many, many more Australians to invest away from the sharemarket and more directly into businesses, and for those businesses to spend a lot more on high performing productive assets.

This puts productivity squarely in the frame for their 2019 federal election, squeezed in a new direction by Labor from both ends of the investment.

I want to see Minister Robertson expand his horizon beyond cooling housing speculation and tax-and-spend happiness, take a step back and ask: what can be done to shift the whole of our working lives for greater reward, more exciting careers in highly innovative companies, and better use of our natural resources. Labor Australia is now very clear about what it will do, well before its 2019 election.

32 comments on “Productivity”

  1. savenz 1

    You are hard pressed to make any money from a cafe business!

    Same old neoliberalism labour, lets force people to invest in our country even though Labour itself seems to think overseas corporations can do it better. National have this approach too, obviously. NZ First seems to have U turned from the so called NZ First to sign trades deals, and then give logging companies more money so they can trickle it down into jobs. Trickle down only seems to lower and lower wages and provide less and less job security. Time to learn from past mistakes!

    The government allow Kiwisaver funds to take 20% of people’s profits and not guarantee it.

    The government allow banks not to have to insure their deposits.

    So what do people do? In the past they put their money into their house so at least they could have somewhere to live and these days due to immigration it earns more than they do.

    But with 1million dollars for the average house price in some cities it’s actually as likely as first division lotto for Kiwis on local wages.

    Any tax changes aimed at NZ citizens will exacerbate inequality and allow those who don’t work in NZ or have money from overseas to buy up here. It’s already happening and Labour’s weak overseas rules will do nothing as you can still buy land and other assets. The existing houses have already been bought up and their prices doubled. It’s becoming harder to pay rates on local wages, so increasingly people will have to down size or move further out, until nothing is left.

    The UK which has extensive taxes, stamp duty, 17.5 VAT, high income tax, capital gains taxes have the same problems of people on local wages not being able to afford housing.

    Increasing taxes makes no difference because only the local people seem to get caught as there are so many loopholes for corporations who seem to have extra privileges that individuals just don’t have. Many of the biggest corporations don’t even pay any taxes and if they get any liabilities they can just pick up and relocate their office at the drop of a hat.

    In the UK you literally pay 12 pounds and set up a UK company with fewer checks than joining a gym. It’s the same in NZ. These companies are used to get around local rules such as taxes or embargoes.

    For example Amnesty were tracking arms deals work $169 million from a UK registered company to South Sudan but the use of shell companies made it hard to verify if it was violating British arms embargo against South Sudan. Interestingly in the arm’s deal the company was headed by Ian Taylor as a sole shareholder who was a New Zealander, who denied knowing anything about it!

    But as the Panama papers show, the ease of shell companies is being used in so many ways to hide money and assets.

    Why don’t governments crack down?

    … well one of the biggest users of tax havens shown by Panama papers for examples was politicians.

    The National government sent Judith Collins to the anti laundering summit!

    If the government want to get taxes, stopping the rise of corporations and having much tougher rules with zero loopholes will be a start as is cracking down on foreign corporations paying little taxes.

    But with Labour’s love of trade deals that give even greater advantages to corporations over public good and wellbeing, it seems Labour would find it hard to crack down, even if they wanted to.

    Best leave the large exploiters alone, and concentrate on easy small local targets to be seen to be doing something and then lament the growing inequality and lack of small business investment. (other than immigration routs which are rampant).

    Funny hospitals, roads and schools are full in one of the lowest population increases by birth in decades in NZ, the only thing not full, is the tax coffers! Funny that, because if you only earn $20 p/h you actually qualify for tax subsidy, so why would you import people in at that level to drive the wages down even further! It’s crazy!

    • Ad 1.1

      They are making money hand over fist right now – and the central Auckland cafe market believe it or not is a long way from saturation.

      The current government is taking significant steps to limiting foreign capital – some of which you will be aware of through the legislative process.

      The more useful question than “So what do people do” is “How can government send the right investment signals”.

      I would be interested in your ideas about how New Zealand businesses could be incentivised to be more productive.

      • Tricledrown 1.1.1

        Better education of workers and management.
        Much research has been done on why NZ has one of the poorest productivity growth’s in the OECD.
        Poorly educated management the number 1 reasons.
        Poor rates of investment in technology
        Speculator’s are not taxed as heavily as productive industries.
        More recently standardized testing has caused a massive increase in youth unemployment 96,000 under 25 year olds not in training or education.
        While IT and the construction industries are steaming out for 120,000 workers .
        Rural industries farming ,forestry ,horticulture also not attracting enough workers.
        Gridlock in Auckland is reducing productivity by a huge 25%.
        Labour/NZ1st/Greens need to spend huge amounts in these neglected by National Areas of the economy.
        They have started by getting rid of the dumbing down of education,and making tertiary / Apprenticeship’s easier to access.
        National are still ranting on about a growing economy at 0•1% per Capita growth the economy actually declining per capita a recession in reality.
        National govts are bad for the economy as John Key we just muddled through the GFC,National were too busy fighting teachers by damaging our education system and giving election bribes to do anything about productivity.
        Labour are sidelined by sexual abuse scandals to show up Nationals longterm failures.

  2. Kat 2

    What about building a few ships similar to The Spirit of New Zealand and put maritime training in the school curriculum for all able bodied kids to participate in. Beats military or boot camp training and lays a good foundation for instilling resilience, self reliance, respect for others and decision making. Coupled with the reinstatement of a 21st century Ministry of Works and Development, reinvigorated industries such as Forestry, Rail and Maritime this country could go a long way down the productive road.

    • Ad 2.1

      Are you thinking about something like the Americas Cup and its associated boatbuilding support industries? That is underway.

      • Kat 2.1.1

        No Ad I am talking about the govt taking control of the situation and instigating the building of training vessels such as the Spirit of New Zealand. If we want real productivity we must start with giving all our kids the best opportunity and instruction to work things out for themselves so they can genuinely contribute. David Mac is onto it with his comments. Maritime training as part of the school curriculum would go a long way in pulling this country out of the mire of youth delinquency, substance abuse, general crime and the need for bigger prisons.

        • Ad 2.1.1.1

          OK Kat I getcha.

          I completely agree.

          It’s such a long haul to bring young people into boatbuilding apprenticeships, and it’s been a boom-bust ride for so many businesses over so many years.

          But there is a great precedent for such a school in the Rotorua-based New Zealand School for Maori Arts and Crafts. This has its own governing legislation, and has been around a while. It is a primary centre of Maori skill and traditional knowledge, and brings a lot of young people through.

          https://www.nzmaci.com/

          One of the reasons Emirates Team New Zealand wanted the base so close tot he Maritime Museum was to ensure that there would be a permanent legacy of training and sailing right next to our history. This effort will not have gone away; the Auckland Council is keenly aware of the legacy that it will gain after this Cup is gone.

    • Exkiwiforces 2.2

      What happens if the Kid’s rather be doing Civil Defence or Military Training than being forced onto a boat? As you get this “instilling resilience, self reliance, respect for others and decision making” from CD and Military Training as well.

      • Kat 2.2.1

        The kids I envisage taking up sail training program at school would be at an earlier age but could later move on to Civil Defence or Military Training if that was their calling.

        • Exkiwiforces 2.2.1.1

          There is the Sea Scouts, and NZ Cadet Forces that can achieve the same goals as you mention instead forcing the school kids into something they don’t like as that’s my only issue with your idea.

          But at same token people have issues with NZ Scouting movement and the NZ Cadet Forces.

          Could throw in the High County/ Urban SAR, High Country Fire Teams and the NZCC in the mix.

          • Kat 2.2.1.1.1

            What on earth would kids not like about a week or so away sailing on the blue sea. Have you ever been on the Spirit of New Zealand training ship.

            • Exkiwiforces 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Would’ve love to Kat, but my teachers at Hornby High knock me back as I was (according to them) a below average student and felt it should go to someone better. They even had nerve to say I wouldn’t even get into the Armed Forces as I too dumb in school reports bloody assholes they were and don’t get me started on my Middle to Long distanced running or Javelin throwing. I should’ve gone Hadley High (that my first choice) or if my parents could’ve afford it to St Andrews High and then some doors would’ve really open for me.

              Back on tropic the only Sea time this Ex tankie/ soon be Ex rockape has done. Was with the weekend Navy with Kiwi and Moa when they still boats (ships) it was quite fun. Travelling on the HMAS JB Cat from ET after INTERFET, did a Swift Eagle out Townsville which included Ship to Shore landing from our old LPA’s when I was in Support Flt and was knock back for a EX Sealion which was a rehearsal for Ex Tailsman Sabre. Sailing and racing on the lake in Canberra with a group of pirates (Navy personal and almost got drafted into the Navy team for their annual regatta until some muppet of a Jackie found out I was a bloody RAAF’ie) while I was in a Tri service unit and now boating around the Top End of Oz in my 5m waka while fishing, crabbing and the odd bit of hunting.

              My on issue is forcing kids into something they don’t want to as they could a problem and I have someone who wants to be there. Then start opening their mind/ doors to a whole new world and to me as teacher/ trainer thats the real fun part and them watching grow and learn to better themselves.

  3. David Mac 3

    I think Kat is pointing to the camaraderie and bonding that takes place between a crew of all ages over a relatively short period of time on a large sailing ship. Work as a team or all suffer.

    An alternative to dragging wayward kids out of bunks at 6am to march round a parade ground.

    Very hard to sneak in and consume drugs/alcohol. Cellphones left on the dock. A bit of internet time each evening. No TV. No visits from bad news peers. The vessels could perform a role in protecting our coastlines. Spotting and reporting illegal fishing etc. Would give the experience a sense of purpose.

    I think it’s a great idea for instilling the social attributes some of our kids are lacking.

    Lot of pride to be had for those building the boats too. They’re usually working for squillionaires

    • David Mac 3.1

      If it’s a concept that starts returning measured favourable results, an international market for the program/vessels could open up. Big fast tough utilitarian aluminium hulled yachts. Stacks of bunks rather than staterooms.

    • Ad 3.2

      Thanks David that’s good clarification.
      I will respond to Kat in kind.

      On the Americas Cup itself there must be pressure put on both Auckland Council and the government to ensure precisely this kind of legacy for young people.

      I expect you will see precisely this kind of debate around the Council chamber when the next iteration of the design for the Americas Cup bases is put up in the Governing Body meeting in late March.: actual apprenticeships. Actual futures for young people. Dare I mention Waka.

  4. David Mac 4

    I think your advise to your cousin is spot on Ad. I tried hard to make several business partnerships work well for all parties, they failed. Most do. They seem to work best when one or more partners have zero to do with running the business and purely a financial interest. I am by far at my happiest when I’m the only one with the reins.

    Just as Thatcher described the UK as a nation of shopkeepers, we’re not much different here. Small to medium businesses are the backbone of NZ and some solid viable plans to support and grow the sector is fertile vote catching territory for the Left.

    • Ad 4.1

      Cheers David.

      Her backers are good and the developers have an excellent history.

      Once the whole development is up and running I will let people know, so they can try it out.

      So long as she takes care of her long term savings and keeps that secure, it’s time to risk and promote her skill and her confidence.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    A more productive economy – and society – has been an elusive goal for many of New Zealand’s previous governments.

    That would be because all of them have NFI WTF an increase in productivity is for.

    Ideally, productivity should mean using fewer resources to get better results and more wealth for more New Zealanders, not slaving your guts out.

    Which is a misunderstanding of productivity and economics. It’s also one of those nasty combinations of meanings that reduce the comment to meaninglessness.

    Using less resources to get the same or better results is an increase in efficiency.
    An increase in productivity occurs when the same job can be done with less people involved in it.

    The latter is why an increase in productivity within a job/sector must, if all else remains the same, result in decreased wages. Of course, not all else remains the same as the reduced use of labour can open up new opportunities allowing the demand for labour to stay the same with wages staying at the same level.
    An increase in efficiency also increases the resources available for those opportunities as well.

    The result is something like this:
    If a nation is already producing enough food to feed everyone well then an increase in productivity must result in a decrease in people used for farming. The people freed up can, and should, be used in other places of society which don’t have enough people to supply the demand. More doctors, more construction workers etc.

    And before you say but, but, exports we have to query if that’s actually a viable option. Is exporting our limited physical resources out of the country actually sustainable? It really doesn’t look like it to me – once we’ve dug up all our iron sands and exported them we won’t have them any more. What do we do then?

    • Tricledrown 5.1

      DTB do what team NZ has done for $20 million we beat a syndicate who spent $200 million .
      Lord Rutherford we have no money so we have to start thinking.
      Unfortunately bean brained bean counters started tomorrow’s schools then standardised testing instead of turning out work prepared youngster’s who can think outside the box we have have 100,000 unemployable box tickers.

  6. eco maori 6

    Stuff

  7. Ad 7

    I forgot to mention that the Productivity Commission is holding a few events in the last week of March about a lot of this stuff.

    https://www.productivity.govt.nz/event/work-smarter-not-harder-productivity-week-2018

    Much of what they talk about in this paper from last year still applies:

    https://www.productivity.govt.nz/sites/default/files/CTTC%20grants%20innovation%20firm%20performance.pdf

  8. AsleepWhileWalking 8

    Ideally, productivity should mean using fewer resources to get better results and more wealth for more New Zealanders, not slaving your guts out.

    I took this not to be a misunderstanding of economics, but a better use of leverage by individuals to obtain a semi passive income.

    Perhaps I read it this way because I continuously look for reoccurring income (royalties or subscription services) + ways to scale up with tech or outsourcing.

    It is frustrating to see the “you must work hard” narrative still held up as a gold standard.

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    In the business context the often avoided quality approach that comes out of Shewart’s work https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_A._Shewhart is a proven path to lifting productivity. Local managers often aren’t keen on it however – they perceive it as diluting their power.

    I think too though that productivity has been an area (like English teaching in some countries) that suffers from measurement bias. Instead of measuring what is most productive they tend to measure what is easiest to measure. Let me suggest two productive examples that conventional contemporary economics would tend to understate. Robert Guyton’s garden – maximizes long term fertility and sustainable output and aesthetic factors while minimizing labour inputs. And, my grandmother, whose kitchen and garden were never still. She fed and clothed a family of seven through the depression, and supported her community in spite of using little in the way of cash by contemporary standards. Yet economists tend to suggest that pulling such productive workers out of that kind of situation and into low end external employment is some kind of achievement.

    We do have significant underemployment however, and some kind of state startup support is highly desirable because cost of living and especially housing is presently sucking up all the liquidity which once might have allowed new enterprise creation.

  10. CHCOff 10

    Not long ago there was a post highlighting the Fonterra situation, of it’s increased output, increased environmental cost, and increased financial strain the farming sector was under in keeping it’s head above water ( due to the corporate farming model which will eventually deprive them off the land).

    Without ‘value’, productivity becomes increasingly meaningless (much like knowledge without wisdom, a major problem with the purely political approach to govt. of the modern west in particular).

    And the best guarantor to the security of value’s efficacy, is that derived from distributed demand. It is that simple.

    • CHCOff 10.1

      In addition to the above then, it seems the ‘one size fits all approach’ of the current ‘free trade’ has been stripping western industry & economy of it’s ‘value’ component.

      In the short term, it has allowed govts. to appear ‘fiscally responsible’, although at boomerang costs of increasing ‘private debt’ across producing economy into the stuck in neutral to reverse speculative property ‘rock star’ economy.

      This has all been great for China. It has allowed the papering over of the structural problems of the communistic economy due to the centralised sovereign nationalistic govt, which for example in stark contrast to say New Zealand, does not allow the sale of it’s resources to outside interests. CHina has had distributed demand of sorts through the wide embrace of it’s cheap factory economy, that it’s govt. has been able to off-set through that demand in co-ordination via targetting the centralised open door political systems for sale in the west, in deal making and buying up the stipped out sectors of economy that have lost their ‘value’ component, essentially to China.

      The polar opposite positions to this arrangement, are for example contrasted that China has a problem in building ‘ghost cities’, not the shortages of housing say endemic to New Zealand.

      The lastest ‘free trade’ step of the TPP, is going to be a further fiasco in these regards.

  11. Richard@Downsouth 11

    A certain supermarket I know of down here, is paying most staff after April 1 $16.60 an hour (allows them to proudly say “We’re paying above minimum wage”)

  12. Exkiwiforces 12

    Ad,

    “At almost the same time he has announced that he is going to come down hard on tax benefits for shareholders called dividend imputations used for cash refunds.
    Of course this kind of crackdown on about 200,000 self-managed super funds and wealthy retirees”

    This policy announcement from Labour is not only going to hit the wealthy, but those on Low to Medium income retirees such as my mother-in-law and me in a couple of mths time when I’m pensioned off from the ADF as result of my injuries. I’m a little bit unhappy about Labours policy ATM as it could effect my living standards as I already live off smell of a oily rag at keeping costs down. The dumb ass Shorten is really out of touch of his work class retiress as lot have work their ass off during their working lives and want to enjoy what they earned at the end of their working life.

    Albo for PM, there’s a real work class hero in a true sense.

  13. beatie 13

    Then there’s the common situation whereby the workplace bully is promoted into management, resulting in an unhappy, underperforming workforce.

    • R.P. Mcmurphy 13.1

      Yes and the ignorant too. witness the fonterra debacle when the people in charge had no idea that while it may have been clean on the floor it was rotten on the fringes and production was everything.

      • R.P. Mcmurphy 13.1.1

        and furhermore the workplace strawboss bully is standard throughout workplaces in new zealand where some management is sadistic as a matter o fcourse.

  14. Tricledrown 14

    ACTs Don’t Brash was given several hundred thousand Dollars to look at what was needed to improve productivity.
    His first and last report was that housing needed to be affordable so industries had plenty of worker’s handy to where they are required.
    National cut Brashes funding immediately..
    So he wouldn’t show Nationals lack of policy in dealing with this catastrophe!

  15. R.P. Mcmurphy 15

    New Zealanders work as hard if not harder than most other workers in the world.
    Productivity is a chimera when we dont really make the sorts of goods where economies of scale and real innovation take place or can be utilised. Most of the spruiking comes from owners and operators who want to keep wages down while they cream off the top and keep up a howl of bullshit to make workers feel that they are not good enough when the fact of the matter is they are..

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    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    3 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    4 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    2 weeks 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

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