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Random thoughts on MMP

Written By: - Date published: 4:14 pm, November 6th, 2012 - 36 comments
Categories: democratic participation, electoral systems, MMP, Politics, referendum - Tags:

While the news is full of the Pike River debacle (yet another failure of National’s self-regulatory fantasies) and the blogs are full of derision on John Key’s idiotic statements and ‘clarifications’, I’m more interested in the MMP review. Colin James has expressed my response to Judith Collin’s politicialising of the MMP review in a short post.

The Minister of Justice says she will seek consensus from the political parties about what aspects of the Electoral Commission’s MMP reform proposals to implement.

And it is the wrong process.

Elections do not belong to MPs. Elections belong to the people. MPs should be very wary of appropriating what belongs to others.

The democratically correct course for Judith Collins would be to get legislation drafted to implement the commission’s proposals as they stand.

As Colin points out quite succinctly, politicians have a vested interest in making the electoral system advantageous to themselves. This can be clearly heard in the bleating from both Act and United Future, both of whom can be described these days as parties that have failed to do anything in the political landscape over the last few years apart from being bribed as individual sockpuppets of National.

It was exactly this type of stupid politicking by politicians intent on gerrymandering their ‘natural’ constituencies that caused the distortions in the original introduction of MMP that this review is trying to fix. Having a repeat of the same political stupidities by short-term objectives as happened in 1993-6 is unacceptable.

It is pretty clear that the Electoral Commission got it exactly right. Sure there are things that people would have liked to have gone further. But the recommendations accurately reflect the general consensus of the discussions that I’ve seen argued on this blog over the last 5 years. Most politically aware people wouldn’t like everything in this set of patches. But almost all of the noisy audience here will feel comfortable with enough of it to prefer it to doing a brief whitewash – which is what I expect National to politick itself to (as they did back in the 90’s).

Better here to develop an independent body (with more skill and depth and breadth of representation than the Electoral Commission) to review, write and administer electoral law. Of course, the law would still need Parliament’s approval. But MPs might be more circumspect about something that belongs to the people, not to them.

And that is really the point. Politics is too important to let the politicians controlling their own destinies

36 comments on “Random thoughts on MMP”

  1. Steve Wrathall 1

    “stupid politicking by politicians intent on gerrymandering their ‘natural’ constituencies”

    Do I take it that you therefore oppose the racial gerrymander that is the Maori seats, and its recurring over-representation of the Maori Party beyond its party vote share?

    • lprent 1.1

      I see you are cherry-picking for your own interests. Are you also advocating

      1. Removing the electoral seats entirely because they distort representation through differences in voter turnouts between areas?

      2. Removing the preferential electorate seats for the south island – which is a far larger distortiion than Maori seats?

      3. Forcing people to vote and jailing them if they do not. This would certainly remove the current distortions of representation due to turnout differences. Of course it could be quite expensive in prison costs.

      Because I don’t in all three nor Maori seats. There is a reason for having each of these in the electoral system. Having local MP’s is extremely useful as anyone who has ever had anything to do with local politics will tell you. It means that the voice is heard.

      Travelling in the sparse and largely deserted countryside of the South Island you realise that there is a point to giving the South Islanders preferential treatment because otherwise the electorates would be so damn big that they’d be meaningless as representation.

      Forcing people to vote is just counter productive because it’d disguise the corpse of the body politic in much the same way that the razzmataz of the elections in the US disguise that democracy where only 50% or less of the voters turn out.

      When I see some serious changes in the Maori prison populations, then I’ll consider that there is equality of opportunity in NZ. In the meantime having Maori choose to vote on the Maori roll in each census is a pretty good indicator if they need to have separate representation. It confers no real change of voting ‘weight’ (unlike the South Island seats), but it does concentrate representation of the most systematically disadvantaged large population group in NZ – which is useful.

      But by all means, try to get a referendum up on your cherry-picked obsession. I’ll work against it. That is democracy.

      • How are the SI electoral seats a distortion?

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          because of distance I suspect lprent is saying. These aren’t electorates that you can drive across in 15 minutes; how do you effectively represent people who are a hundred kilometres away or more and can’t get to your electorate office.

          • lprent 1.1.1.1.1

            Bit more basic – but that is why not reducing the SI seats is important. You really have to have spent time volunteering in electorate offices before you know how important they are. They are the last resort since they bumped the electorate sizes from 25k voters preMMP to hitting over 50k these days.

        • lprent 1.1.1.2

          On average for most of the last century the fixed numbers of seats for the SI, with 3 yearly elections, a 5 year census, and a northern drift resulted in fewer voters in SI seats than Auckland seats. Worse now of course.

          The last census was march 2006, last seat allocation was 2007. Next census 2013 if we are lucky, and next electorate boundaries maybe before the next election (I am betting not BTW).

          Given the rate of northern and auckland drift, not to mention the effects of the ChCh earthquake mean that there is a substantial imbalance between the 16 SI seats and the Auckland seats right now. I would expect that it will be well above the thousands per electorate that it was in 2007. I am expecting that if we went to election in 2014 without a secondary shift we’d be looking at differences of up to 10% like in the days of the infill housing in central auckland.

          It is alleviated by the list votes these days. But the population swing is larger and faster.

          • Graeme Edgeler 1.1.1.2.1

            1. You can’t base it on voters. Equality of size between seats is based on total population. Seats with younger populations overall can have many fewer voters.

            2. That this is the trajectory of the demography is taken into account when drawing particular boundaries.

            3. The only way to solve this is redistricting prior to every election. Even if there weren’t a fixed number of seats in the South Island, the same thing would happen between censuses.

            • lprent 1.1.1.2.1.1

              1. The electorates are based on voting populations, not total populations. From memory they look at the 16-20 15-19 demographic and skip the younger generations.

              2. Conservatively based on population ages, little immigration or emigration (because it is damn near impossible to estimate – look at it’s variants over the last 20 years), without exceptional events like Aucklands infill housing, the mid 90’s boost in immigration, or earthquakes.

              3. Yep. I wasn’t saying it was a major problem (except when we skip censuses). I was saying that the differential effect was stronger in SI seats than any Maori seat.

              Read back. I was saying that what appears to be a racist fool was cherry picking what he was objecting to. So I pointed out the equivalent situations that were as or more inequitable on a per voter impact basis to demonstrate why I thought he was cherrypicking…

              • <i>1. The electorates are based on voting populations, not total populations.</i>

                You get your own opinions. Not your own facts. You are mistaken.

                <i>Read back. I was saying that what appears to be a racist fool was cherry picking what he was objecting to. So I pointed out the equivalent situations that were as or more inequitable on a per voter impact basis to demonstrate why I thought he was cherrypicking…</i> 

                The concern expressed, and to which you replied, was about overhang, which has never been caused by any party which has ever won a South Island General Seat. 

                • McFlock

                  Just as an aside, s35(3) of the Electoral Act 1993 refers to “General Electoral population”. This seems to be voting population, not total pop?

                  But then the number of NI electorates are calculated on 16 SI electorates by electoral pop, so there doesn’t seem to be a South Advantage, either.

                  • McFlock

                    lol my bad – forgot to look up the s3 interpretation section:

                    General Electoral Population means total ordinarily resident population […] with the exception of the Maori electoral population”
                            
                    So electorate size IS based on total pop. 

                    • lprent

                      Ah. Interesting – something I never knew.

                      Seems weird because because the primary point of electorates is for voting, and as far as I am aware they have always collected age information, so they had the data. Why would they set it up to calculate from non-voters?

                      Ummm… Have to keep remembering that political institutions are quite conservative in the traditional sense. Possibles….

                      1. Could be that they expect the voters to reresent the non-voters. This would have been a factor before the franchise was extended to women, ages down to 18, and people without property. It would be retained to cover the remaining non-voters

                      2. In the days prior to Hollerith (?sp) sorters and subsequent census computers, doing calculations outside of coarse aggregates would have been hard and quite laborious. But that seems less likely. You only have to look at the election day counts to see how you can use a manual system to perform quite complex calculations in detail.

                      Anyone have any historical detail about why electorates was based on whole populations?

                    • I don’t think it’s about the voters representing other voters, but about the MPs representing everyone.

                      The historical reason is less benificent, however. My understanding is that this, like much of our electoral law over the years, was a partisan power grab.

                      National-voting farming families tended to have more children, so drawing boundaries with reference to total population meant there would be more rural seats, and the National Party would do better.

                      Now, of course, it doesn’t work like that, and the major effect is a pretty substantial increase in the Maori seats over what there would be if only 18+ was used.

                • lprent

                  Always understood that it was on the VAP – but I can’t see anything definitive on a quick look through elections.org.nz

                  Is that what he was waffling about? I was shoving end of day merges back into svn when I wrote the reply so was doing it while short compiles were running – divided attention.

                  But that can happen for any party that wins more electorate seats than their party vote. United Future and Act maybe did last election (can’t be bothered looking their party votes) and if either Dunne or Banks hold their seats this election, then almost certainly will achieve the feat this time.

                  • As McFlock notes, the definition is total population, as contained in section 3(1) of the Electoral Act. Indeed, that definition is considered so important, it’s one of the reserved (i.e. entrenched) sections in section 268.
                    Is that what he was waffling about?
                    Okay, I’m beginning to think you’re trolling me. I wondered if you were with the voting age “correction”, but can the statement: “recurring over-representation of the Maori Party beyond its party vote share?” be about anything other than Maori Party caused overhang 🙂
                    But that can happen for any party that wins more electorate seats than their party vote. United Future and Act maybe did last election (can’t be bothered looking their party votes) and if either Dunne or Banks hold their seats this election, then almost certainly will achieve the feat this time.
                    Only the Maori Party has ever caused an overhang. Dunne, Banks and Anderton never have.
                    Interestingly, these two things are inter-related. While it is true that any electorate could cause an overhang, overhang is much more likely to be caused by a candidate who wins a Maori electorate. This is because Maori electorates have much smaller voting populations, in part because of enrolment, but mostly because of the relative youth of the Maori population. Many many more Maori – who are counted when determining the number of seats and the boundaries, are under-18, so cannot vote – this means that the number of votes needed to elect an MP in a Maori seat is a lot lower than the number needed in a general seat, which greatly increases the chance that parties that do well in the Maori seats not earning enough party votes to “earn” their seats.

                    • lprent

                      No, I wasn’t trying to rev anything up. Just that blogging is a minor fraction of what I do and it doesn’t always get the brainpower it sometimes deserves.

                      Work sucks up a lot of brain power. Right now optimizing rotational 2d vector graphics on a small processor without GPU support leaves me somewhat exhausted at days end. So I tend to shift to mechanical work at the work days end and as well do a moderation sweep. I try to limit what I talk about until after dinner but don’t always succeed.

                      So do you know the rationale that the electorates were allocated on total population rather than voting age population? Still seems quite odd.

                      But in any case it still means that the votes in the Maori electorates are the same (these days when there are more than the minimum 4 maori electorates) because they are allocated on the same basis as the general population but on the population who took the maori voting option in the census.

                      The enrollment is an issue across all electorates – not just the Maori electorates. You can see it between age groups in particular under 25’s and probable immigration history. There are a number of other factors that would show if you wanted to look for other correlations.

                      Umm. Effectively with S3 you could say that the non-voters including the non-enrolled are being represented by the voters. Of course that would lead to simple justifications for restricting the franchise.

                      But it does also make the common practice amongst some voters of deliberately not enrolling or voting as a protest rather meaningless – they are presumed legally to be represented by voting peers. 😈 (and yes – that para was meant as a stir)

                    • Yes, election boundaries are fair, in that they are all calculated on the same basis, but if we were to move to 18+, the number of Maori seats would drop substantially (given their number, a drop of 1 or 2 would be susbstantial).
                      Enrolment is a problem across for youth across all electorates, but because a greater proportion of Maori are young, the problems manifest themselves more acutely in Maori electorates.

                    • lprent []

                      The three charts at the bottom of my post last year /the-new-zealand-age-of-aging-in-charts/ show the different age pyramids pretty clearly from the 2006 census.

                      I haven’t ever looked at the enrollment vs VAP in Maori electorates. But where I have looked at it in other electorates the correlations are not so simple in other age groups either. When you test it against other factors in the census data like occupational groups, mesh blocks, etc you tend to find very uneven distributions.

                    • Bunji

                      There’s a battle in the UK at the moment as the Tories aim to shift the electorate populations from people of voting age to registered voters.

                      At the moment Labour electorates in inner-cities tend to have a lot fewer voters because the population has lots of 18+ unregistered. The justification is that the voters represent the non-voters…

                      The Tory electorates have much higher enrolment. They also plan to enforce +/- 10% like we do as currently Communities of Interest override, resulting in the Isle of Wight having more than 1.5x the normal electorate size and various scottish island grouping electorates being much much smaller (but much harder for an MP to cover…).

                      And they’ll reduce the number of MPs to 600 to make it popular 🙂

                      But it ain’t going nowhere because they’re in coalition and they can’t get their unruly backbenchers to line up behind making the House of Lords democratic like their LibDem allies want…

                      (but i’ve got horribly off-topic – just was adding to the point about voters representing non-voters…)

      • Steve Wrathall 1.1.2

        What “preferential electorate seats?” The SI seats have the same population per seat as other electorates:

        “Under legislation, there is always 16 South Island general electorates. The population quota for each South Island general electorates is calculated by dividing the population of the South Island by 16.

        Because all electorates are required to be of similar size, the number of Māori electorates and North Island electorates are calculated by dividing the relevant electoral populations by the South Island quota.” http://www.elections.org.nz/elections/electorates/reviewing-electorates.html

        • lprent 1.1.2.1

          Census timings and therefore the boundary changes start having a considerable impact when there are significant population movements. At the best of times you can get events like infill housing that cause considerable shifts within the usual 5 year census.

          Right now the last census being in 2006 and the next boundary shuffle likely to be in 2014 (hopefully before the next election?) and the big population movements going on, this is likely to cause some pretty strong variances in electoral equity.

          Random thoughts on MMP

          But what I was pointing out was that rather than concentrating on a minor side-effect of having electorate seats and list seats (because it can happen in general electorate seats as well), there are a lot of other inequities that have actual or potential effects the are of more significance.

          You seem to have just cherry picked one that fits your prejudices.

    • Descendant Of Smith 1.2

      Umm Maori Party and Maori seats are two completely different things.

      And yep I’d change the number of Maori seats so that they were equal to the non-Maori seats.

      Can’t have a partnership with indigenous people when the partnership is skewed so far in one direction as it is at present.

      Remember when the treaty was signed and partnership enshrined in law there were 60,000 Maori in this country and they produced most of the wealth and owned most of the land. There were about 6,000 non-Maori.

      On that basis they should have even more seats but I’m sure a 50/50 split would suffice in modern times.

      It wouldn’t be a matter then of chasing the Maori vote – it would be a matter of sitting down with them and having proper constructive dialogue.

    • Jenny 1.3

      An ignorant response to a historic and persistent and racist gerrymander of the original Maori electorate seats from Steve Wrathall.

      When our electoral system was first set up there was a problem for the colonial government. Maori electorates would have dominated our parliament. To actively avert this, Maori were limited to a maximum number of seats well below their representation in the population.

      Giving Pakeha a recurring over representation beyond their vote share.

      This racist gerrymander persisted for a good portion of the last century and achieved what it was meant to – crush Maori political power, and effectively politically marginalise Maori influence in parliament. Having achieved that end, and now that the Maori seats have turned into their opposite, preserving at least, a vestige of that mandate originally and unfairly denied. To abolish the Maori seats now, is to complete the original racist electoral gerrymander.

    • Steve; you seem awfully threatened by 7 Maori Seats out of 120 (122 with overhangs).

      Will you be satisfied with total assimilation?

  2. karol 2

    The Labour Party is planning to draft a Bill:
     

    “Labour’s bill will deal with the most important recommendations made by the Commission.  It will abolish the one electorate seat threshold for the allocation of list seats and lower the party vote threshold from 5% to 4%.  It will also require the Electoral Commission to conduct a review after three general elections.
     
     
    “This should not be a party-political issue.  I will be writing to the Prime Minister offering to work with the Government to see these changes put in place.
     
     
    “But I am not prepared to sit back and wait and see if National will act on the Electoral Commission’s recommendations.  That’s why Labour will take the lead and put them in front of Parliament in the hope they can be implemented in time for the next election.
     
     
    “We are asking other political parties to help us progress the Electoral Commission’s recommendations.  We would also be more than happy for National to pick up our member’s bill and take it forward as Government legislation,” says David Shearer.

     
     
    This sounds kind of in the direction of what Colin James is saying, but a cross-party team developing a Bill is not an independent body.
     

  3. vto 3

    I agree.

    We the public should draft the bill and our representatives should pass it and do as we require of them. Of course such an idea will come as a complete shock to the self-important wankers like Collins and Dunne who have lost all sense of their role.

    • Rob 3.1

      Dunne a wanker?
      You are being a bit too kind and generous.
      The sooner he tips over along with his friend Banks the better.

  4. Anne 4

    The Commission’s report is indeed a reflection of the voters’ preferences as put forward in the many submissions.

    I’m delighted David Shearer and Labour are going to take the intiative and lobby other parties to support the recommendations.

    Don’t let us down this time Labour.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    There *is* a case for implementing the Electoral Commission proposals “as is”.

    But … beware of unforeseen consequences.

    If the single-electorate rule is abolished, there will be no more new parties formed by party hoppers. This might seem like a good result (morally, all party-hoppers should resign from Parliament) but it does increase the power of the established parties. Just look back over the past two decades.

    Left-leaning voters will have to choose between Labour and the Greens. Yes, people will say “Mana” or “Alliance” or “Hypothetical New Left”, but in reality (away from bloggy wishful thinking), getting 4% of the vote is a massive task. It won’t happen from outside Parliament, unless the gov’t is so horrendous that thousands are on the streets, on the barricades. (The Maori Party had a huge hikoi and a burning issue, and they fell well short in 2005).

    This doesn’t just affect the Left, of course – the Right could be reduced to one party. Parliament might have only three or four, once Winston retires.

    So I’d argue for 3% or even 2. If that means a party of fruit loops gets over the threshold … well, just look at who we’ve already had.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Minimum 3 MP caucus = 2.5% of the vote.

      That’s a decent minimum level. Once 1 in 40 citizens believe that a party represents their political views, why not give them a formal say in Wellington.

      Looking forwards to having a few Jedi Party MPs in the House.

      • There are only two decent thresholds:

        – 0.89%, or the amount to win a list seat outright. This threshold has the advantage of allowing list-based microparties to distribute their vote throughout the country and win into parliament, giving them a chance to grow if they perform well.

        – ≈1%, or more specifically, any percentage of the party vote that allows a second list seat. This restricts one-man-bands from Parliament if they don’t win an electorate, but allows party-hoppers and small parties a decent chance to get started.

        Anything else is set up to ban legitimate small parties from office in a mendacious and anti-democratic appeal to mob rule and unpopularity.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      (The Maori Party had a huge hikoi and a burning issue, and they fell well short in 2005).

      That’s because they are a race based party and as such the majority of people weren’t going to vote for them.

      If that means a party of fruit loops gets over the threshold … well, just look at who we’ve already had.

      Yep, the idea that the threshold is there to keep radical parties out is shown to be false by the fact that we have radical parties in government. One of them happens to be a major party.

      • Rob 5.2.1

        Fruit Loops!!
        I hope you are counting Dunne, Banks, and their enlightend friend Key in the group.

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    4 days ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    4 days ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    4 days ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    5 days ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    5 days ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    5 days ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    6 days ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    6 days ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    1 week ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    1 week ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 week ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    1 week ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    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 If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
    This is the third of the synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016). The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Unlike the humble cup of coffee and t-shirt that we looked at in ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • The freshwater mussel housing crisis: eviction by invasive weeds?
    Tom Moore Traditionally a food source and cutting tool, freshwater mussels/kākahi are now widely valued as water filters that help clean our waterbodies and maintain ecosystem health throughout Aotearoa. The improvement they provide in water quality can make it easier for other animals to live in streams and rivers, as ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Back it up Luxon: endorsing the destructive past is not actually the way forward
    And to think he gave all the potential goodwill away with that moronic, cult-like statement (repeated ad nauseam by many National hardliners) that Key is quite simply “the greatest PM we ever had”… Installation complete: this was nothing ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Good riddance
    National MP and former Conservation Minister Maggie Barry will not seek re-election next year. Good riddance. Because in case anyone has forgotten, barry is a bullying thug who terrorised both public servants and fellow MPs. She is one of the people who makes Parliament a toxic workplace, and our country ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: D-Day
    The Zero Carbon Bill is back in the House today for its second reading. While this isn't the final stage, its still effectively D-Day for the bill. Because today, at around 5pm, is when we're going to find out if it has a majority, whether National will support it or ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Winston is right
    Winston Peters is in court today, suing a bunch of former Minister and civil servants over their pre-election leak of his superannuation repayment. He's characterised the leak as malicious, and said that it is repugnant that his information was passed on to Ministers to use for political advantage. And he's ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Media impartiality
    Sky's economics editor, Ed Conway has posted a Twitter thread responding to a claim that - as far as I can see - Labour never made:
    Are NHS operation cancellations at an all-time high? That's the impression you might have been left with if you read this story from the ...
    1 week ago
  • Finish what’s on your plate
    Murray Cox Do I have to finish my favourite genome? That’s an often-asked question. Geneticists generally strive to produce high-quality genomes that sequence every last gene, making full use of the state-of-the-art technologies coming on stream. Sequencing DNA means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks – called ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    2 weeks ago
  • Gainful Employment: A Cautionary Tale.
    Transformative Politics: The idea is to turn each recipient into an unwitting accomplice in their own transformation. From interested observer to hyped-up activist, sharing our messages promiscuously with ‘friends’. You’ll be part of an ever-expanding circulatory system, Jennifer, for the ideas that will win us the election.”JENNIFER SKITTERED her chair ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand should not fund bigotry
    Two years ago, the Cook Islands government announced that it was planning to join the civilised world and decriminalise consensual homosexual sex between men. Now, they've reversed their position, and decided to criminalise lesbians into the bargain:Two years ago, in a step welcomed by many people including the gay and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More tyranny in Australia
    The boycott is a fundamental tool of protest. By choosing who we buy from, we can send a message, and hopefully change corporate behaviour. Historically, boycotts have been effective, for example over apartheid in South Africa and Israel, in forcing divestment from Myanmar, and in ending bus segregation in the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Submission for rationality and science against the assaults of pre-modernism and post-modernism
    Jan Rivers spoke at the Abortion Legislation Select Committee in favour of the bill, but in opposition to calls from other submitters to exchange the word ‘woman’ for ‘person’ throughout the bill. Jan is a supporter of the feminist group Speak Up For Women and has recently written an excellent ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • My loyal readership of … Cam girls and Pornbots?
    I checked my traffic stats:I was intrigued by 'monica29' - who was this very dedicated individual?  I clicked on the link, to be greeted with ...Ho, hum.Spreadin' the word, spreadin' the word.  Doesn't matter who hears it, as long as it gets out there. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Worth repeating forever
    There have been three polls since the election was announced, and I will shamelessly steal YouGov / UK Polling Report's Anthony Wells' summary of them:Survation – CON 34%, LAB 26%, LDEM 19%, BREX 12%, GRN 1% Ipsos MORI – CON 41%, LAB 24%, LDEM 20%, BREX 7%, GRN 3% YouGov ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Lutte Ouvriere on the explosion in Chile
    The following article is translated from Lutte Ouvrière, the weekly newspaper of the organisation usually known by the same name in France. When, for the second time this year, Chilean President Piñera announced an increase in the price of Metro tickets from 800 to 830 pesos, students in the high ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Wage theft – I’m fucking over it.
    Today, a worker contacted me asking if she could go to the police over her employer stealing thousands of dollars from her in unpaid wages. The employer also did not pay this worker’s taxes or student loan which amounts to tax fraud. As a workers rights activist, who founded the ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago
  • On The Rebound.
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered, They're Yours: Is there any person more vulnerable than a jilted lover on the rebound? Or, anything more certain than that the charmer, the predator, the glib spinner of lies and promises will seek such broken people out? Yes, of course, he will love every one of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rabbi urges congregation to vote against Corbyn
    Though Jonathan Romain is a fairly high profile Rabbi, writing in several papers and popping up on TV and the radio, this story doesn't seem to have made it to the Guardian yet, so I'll take the unusual step of linking the Stephen Pollard edited Jewish Chronicle:Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • My absurdly optimistic prediction
    There's an election afoot, and that is when noted opinion formers such as myself get to make wild fools of ourselves by pretending we have the faintest idea what will happen.So, here is my absurdly optimistic prediction:Labour - 285Conservative - 262SNP - 53Lib Dems - 20PC - 5Ireland - 18 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • October ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image Credit: Increase Social Media Traffic & Website Traffic I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    22 hours ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    2 days ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    7 days ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    7 days ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    1 week ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Closer cooperation with Korean horse racing industry
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters met with Korea Racing Authority Chairperson Nak Soon Kim in Seoul today to discuss closer cooperation between the New Zealand and Korean horse racing industries. As part of the visit to the Seoul Racecourse, Mr Peters witnessed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Otago to lead digital creativity
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10 million to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “The initiative will bring us closer to the vision of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF backing Dunedin’s waterfront ambitions
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support local plans to revitalise and stimulate economic development opportunities in Otago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The four Regional Economic Development Ministers have approved an in-principle investment of $19.9 million towards the region’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • M. Bovis eradication progress welcomed
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is pleased to have received the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) report on the Coalition Government’s Mycoplasma bovis eradication efforts, which shows significant progress in the fight against the disease. New Zealand First Spokesperson for Primary Industries, Mark Patterson, says the report’s findings ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF boosts Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sector
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development Hon David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing to support economic growth opportunities for Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sectors, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Trade and Export Minister David Parker announced today. Almost $20 million ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Peters discusses Pacific challenges and denuclearisation in Seoul
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Minister Winston Peters and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, discussed in Seoul today opportunities to work more closely in the Pacific and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Mr Peters and Minister Kang confirmed New Zealand and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF supports high speed broadband for marae at Parihaka Pa
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development  Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Māori Development The three marae in the historic Parihaka Pa complex in Taranaki have been upgraded to high speed broadband with the support of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Connecting the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 launched
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence Minister of Defence Ron Mark will today launch the Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 Defence Assessment  during a speech at Te Papa.  The Assessment outlines how Defence will partner with our Pacific Island neighbours and invest in Pacific regional security architecture. The Plan aligns with the Coalition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF funding could transform Gisborne company into “beacon of employment” in two years
    A new Provincial Growth Fund investment could create about 80 new jobs in Gisborne over the next two years, turning a local small business into a “beacon of employment” in the process. Regional Economic Development Parliamentary Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau said the PGF’s Te Ara Mahi funding stream would provide $1.6m ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Disability Action Plan 2019 – 2023
    “The new Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 moves us towards the inclusive and accessible New Zealand that this government has committed to,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today.  “The Action Plan was designed by disabled people, their family and supporters, the disability sector and government agencies. It will ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Joint Statement – Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting
    Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting 14 November 2019 Joint Statement 1. Defence Ministers Ron Mark and Dr Ng Eng Hen today conducted their third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Singapore. 2. Building on the Enhanced Partnership signed between both countries in May this year, this annual meeting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Sexual Violence Legislation Bill has its first reading
    A Bill to improve the court system’s response to sexual violence has passed its first reading in Parliament today. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill will reduce the trauma sexual violence complainants experience in court, while maintaining defendants’ fundamental rights and making sure the trial process ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Streamlined business invoicing a step closer
    Streamlined payment practices are a step closer for Kiwi businesses with the formal launch of New Zealand’s e-Invoicing framework. Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says the government has now established the structure to enable automated and direct data exchange between the accounting systems of buyers and sellers. “The move to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • More frontline biosecurity officers protecting NZ
    Another 51 quarantine officers and four new biosecurity detector dog teams will help protect New Zealand from invasive pests and diseases this summer, says Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “The Government is delivering on its commitment to strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system and support our valuable primary sector “New Zealand’s flora, fauna ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • NZ space economy worth $1.69 billion
    A new report has found New Zealand’s space sector contributed $1.69 billion to the economy in the last financial year and employs 12,000 people, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. The report by Deloitte was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and shows New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • New Chair for Royal Commission into Abuse
    Judge Coral Shaw has been appointed as the new Chair of the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. "Judge Shaw, who is currently one of the inquiry commissioners, is extremely well qualified for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Better mental health facilities for Palmerston North
    The Government has confirmed its third major mental health facility upgrade since the Budget, this time at Palmerston North Hospital. The Prime Minister and Health Minister today visited MidCentral DHB to announce that $30 million has been allocated to upgrade its acute mental health facility. It follows earlier announcements in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Bowel Screening hits halfway point
    The roll out of the National Bowel Screening Programme has reached the halfway mark, with 10 out of 20 District Health Boards now part of the programme. MidCentral DHB, which covers Palmerston North, Manawatu and surrounding districts, this week became the latest to DHB to offer free bowel screening to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • More vaccines for meningococcal disease
    The Government welcomes PHARMAC’s decision to fund a vaccine to protect young people from meningococcal disease from 1 December this year. “Meningococcal disease is a serious threat which people at higher risk should be protected from,” says Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter. “The combined pharmaceutical budget was increased by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Fisheries innovation projects supported
    Groups involved with innovative fisheries research projects are encouraged to apply for government support in the latest funding round from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures programme. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the SFF Futures funding is designed to be flexible enough to support small or large projects across a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government fixes culturally arranged marriage visa issue
    The Government has fixed an issue affecting how Immigration New Zealand has processed visa applications for culturally arranged marriages, which will now see a consistent process applied which ensures people with legitimate arranged marriages can visit New Zealand while also preventing any rorting of the system. Earlier this year Immigration ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Extension for Royal Commission into Mosque attacks
    The Royal Commission into the Attacks on Christchurch Mosques will report back on 30 April 2020 to give it more time to hear submissions and consider information, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Royal Commission was originally scheduled to report back to Government by 10 December 2019. “There has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Terrorism and Trade on agenda as Foreign Minister visits the United States
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington DC today to attend a ministerial meeting focused on defeating ISIS, and to continue pursuing New Zealand’s trade opportunities. Mr Peters will participate in a meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers from key countries contributing to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Hoiho get extra support alongside 168 community conservation groups backing nature
    The recently crowned Bird of the Year, the hoiho/yellow eyed penguin, is getting a much needed helping hand alongside more than 168 other community conservation projects announced Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage today. 168 community conservation projects throughout New Zealand are benefiting from $8 million in government grants, including $500,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New safety measures for modified pistols
    Controls on assault rifles and semi-automatic firearms are to be broadened to include some types of pistols, under changes to a bill currently making its way through Parliament. Police Minister Stuart Nash has tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to the Arms Legislation Bill, which is currently before a Select Committee ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit Singapore and Thailand
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark will travel to Singapore today to conduct a counterpart visit and to co-chair the third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting with his counterpart, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen. “Singapore is one of our most important defence partners in the region, and our ...
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    2 days ago
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