Reaction roundup: Nats’ work rights policy

Written By: - Date published: 11:14 am, July 25th, 2008 - 39 comments
Categories: national, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , , , , , ,

Democratic, voluntary organisations of workers:
Finsec: “Within the current framework, many workers have been able to achieve real wage increases like the 5% increase from Westpac our members have been offered this week…These pay rises have come as a result of staff being able to bargain collectively through their own independent union. National’s policies undermining collective bargaining would weaken the ability of workers to achieve real wage rises”

CTU: “National’s policy does not mention how they will lift wages, suggests workers could lose the fourth week of annual leave and have pay for statutory holidays cut, and reduces the democratic right of workers to belong to unions. This is consistent with them opposing all legislation that has improved workers lives over the last 9 years.”

EPMU: “The policy aims to take rights from workers in a new job, undermine collective bargaining, block workers accessing representation on site and undermine annual leave provisions and holiday pay rates…National’s policy shows it has no plans to lift wages in New Zealand. Every point in this policy is an attack on current work rights and every point would put downward pressure on the wages of working New Zealanders.”

NDU: “This policy will keep wages down in the rapidly growing service industries where unionisation and collective bargaining is just starting to recover and deliver improvements for some of the lowest paid workers in the country.’

NZEI: ‘the pay gap is the problem; strengthening people’s ability to collectively bargain is the answer. What in National’s policy is going to strengthen collective bargaining?’

PSA: “John Key says nothing about how National will lift wages as workers face rising fuel and food prices”

Voluntary organisation of employers:
Business NZ: “We have had quite a few pendulum swings in employment policy over the last twenty years. A period of restraint and consolidation along with enhancement of basic rights is likely to be beneficial”

39 comments on “Reaction roundup: Nats’ work rights policy”

  1. T-rex 1

    That is a very strong statement from Business NZ.

    Great stuff.

    Ha! Captcha: “S. Connerize”. Is that like ‘terminate’?

  2. T-rex 3

    I retract my above. Reading the actual story… sigh.

    They should listen to their own advice.

    That said, I’m not sure what the problem is with allowing independent collective bargaining. It doesn’t say people CAN’T belong to unions, just that they’re allowed to form their own collectives as well. What’s wrong with that?

  3. BeShakey 4

    They seem to be struggling to get much positive comment on their policies. I guess theyre hoping that releasing them a way out from the election will give JK enough time to mesmorise people with his smile so they forget what the Nats policies are.

  4. Joker 5

    Finsec: “Within the current framework, many workers have been able to achieve real wage increases like the 5% increase from Westpac our members have been offered this week These pay rises have come as a result of staff being able to bargain collectively through their own independent union. National’s policies undermining collective bargaining would weaken the ability of workers to achieve real wage rises’

    Turkeys: We think Christmas is a terrible idea

    [Tane: Hey, um, just wondering, do you actually have a rebuttal of Finsec’s analysis, or are you just crowing about the idea of workers taking a pay cut under National’s policies?]

  5. T-rex 6

    It’s not just the smile… have you not seen the Notional Party Hypno-logo?

  6. there’s clearly thought behind this timing and vagueness:

    for one and a half years we’ve basically had no idea what national stands for – ‘change’ and smile and moderate were the memes… now, get out the bad policy quickly and quietly before the glare of the full campaign.. the only policy they want to release then is the tax cuts and probably one surprise spending promise.

  7. T-Rex. Being a union isn’t hard – you need 15 members and you jsut register with the DoL. What allowing collectives to be made when there’s no union involved (ie no organisation of wokers) means that the workers and their reps aren’t involved in deciding what goes into the collective. Instead, the boss bargains with a bargaining agent – paid by the boss, or the boss. The collective that emerges is obviously going to be in the employers’ interests and less beneficial to workers than a boss-union collective. The boss then presents workers with the collective and say take that or take nothing, and can legally refuse to bargain with the union because there is already a collective in place.

    Unions aren’t trying to protect their ‘patch’ by opposing this, they’re trying to protect workers’ bargaining power.

  8. Tane 9

    T-Rex: The problem is you’re accepting the Tories’ framing. Anyone can start a union – it’s simply a group of 15 or more workers who choose to register to bargain collectively. There are heaps of these small unions about under the current law.

    What National is proposing is to allow the boss to create his own collective agreement on lesser conditions and refuse to bargain with his employees’ chosen union. This was done in the 1990s under the ECA and it led to an undermining of collective agreements and a drop in wages.

    Add in other measures like the ability of employers to refuse unions site access and the 90 day no rights policy and you’ll see how the balance of power (and thus the ability to win higher wages) is being tilted hugely in favour of the employer.

    Like all of the right’s rhetoric of choice, the real power lies with the employer, not with the worker.

    Beshakey: The Nats may be hoping people will forget about their policies, but it also gives unions plenty of time to inform their members about what a potential National government would do to their wages.

    I suspect yesterday’s policy release will have galvanised a lot of unionists who had been quietly hoping that John Key would live up to his moderate rhetoric.

  9. T-rex 10

    “and can legally refuse to bargain with the union because there is already a collective in place”

    THAT I was not aware of. That’s f*cked up.

    Aren’t unions predicated on the ability to withdraw labour though? How can that be taken away? I mean how can you actually refuse to bargain with someone?

  10. Tane 11

    T-Rex. You lock out the workforce who remain on the union collective (unpaid) until they submit to your demands. The experience of the 1990s is that workers may hold out for a while, but eventually they need money to feed their families and pay their mortgages etc and have to submit to the non-union collective.

    It may mean a pay increase of 2% rather than 5%, but hey it’s better than being locked out without pay.

  11. T-rex 12

    The same thing could happen anyway though. If you had two unions within a single company (both of 20 people) and one of them was asking for 2% and the other for 5% then the employer could just offer 2%, and wait out the other workers.

    The question is why any of the 2% people would accept only 2%?

    I can’t see how to avoid this without having compulsory union membership of a single union, and that seems somewhat authoritarian.

  12. There are limited legal grounds for strikes.

    But, yes, that raises another point (and something I was looking at the other day) – weakening the bargaining position of unions actually increases strikes and labour/days lost.

  13. Tane 14

    T-Rex. Why would a union deliberately try to undermine the other union onsite with a lower pay deal that meant everyone lost out?

    Sure there can be tension sometimes between unions that share sites, but I’ve never seen anything like you’re suggesting.

    Unions aren’t businesses undercutting each other for market share, they’re democratic workers’ organisations. Workers decide themselves what their pay claims are, elect delegates to the negotiations and have a democratic vote to ratify the final deal.

  14. T-rex 15

    “Why would a union deliberately try to undermine the other union onsite with a lower pay deal that meant everyone lost out?”

    I don’t know – why would a non-union collective try to do the same thing?

    I can’t see how a union and a non-union would be any different to two unions. In either case there is the potential for corruption of the person doing the bargaining.

    “Workers decide themselves what their pay claims are, elect delegates to the negotiations and have a democratic vote to ratify the final deal.”

    Surely that would be equally true of a non-union collective. Or at least, if it wasn’t, it would be because the members chose to use a different arragement.

  15. Tane 16

    Because if it’s a non-union collective written and managed by the boss on a take-it-or-leave-it basis then he has an incentive to undermine wages. That’s why he’s introducing it in the first place.

    No democratic organisation of workers has an incentive to lower their own pay.

  16. Lew 17

    T-Rex: “I don’t know – why would a non-union collective try to do the same thing?”

    Because a non-union collective would likely be headed by a person negotiating on behalf of the employer, not the employees.

    That’s the fundamental issue: it’s divide and rule.

    L

  17. T-Rex. First, I think we’re confusing terminology between collective as a group of people and collective as shorthand for collective agreement. UNder National’s policy, there is no non-union collective organisation, only a non-union collective agreement. There’s not some kind of collective of workers that’s not called a union.

    Parties bargaining for the non-union collective are both paid for by the boss. They work in the interests of the boss – ie. lower pay rises.

    Unions are democratic, voluntary organisation of workers working for their members’ interests. A non-union bargaining agent is not working for the workers, it’s working for the boss.

  18. T-rex 19

    In that case it should be called a non-union non-collective.

    How could anyone accept such a conflict of interests? Why would anyone accept representation by a complete sellout, rather than deciding to abandon the non-collective and form their own.

    What I’m getting at here is – how is what you describe any different to an employer simply refusing to accede to any of a unions demands?

    What is the recourse available to a union that would not be available if a non-union-non-collective was present?

    Is it just a “united we stand” kind of thing? Is the perception that a union is less vulnerable to intimidation?

  19. T-rex 20

    So really, a non-union agreement is just the employer calling all the shots, but with a pretense of objectivity and independence.

    What a complete load of crap. That is even stupider than wanting to build a 4 lane highway from Welly to Auck.

  20. Draco TB 21

    The question is why any of the 2% people would accept only 2%?

    Why would anyone undermine their bargaining position by having multiple collectives in a work place?

  21. T-rex 22

    “Why would anyone undermine their bargaining position by having multiple collectives in a work place?”

    Because they might not believe in the ideals of the people representing them, or they might be looking for different things out of an agreement to the norm, etc etc.

  22. A collective agreement is an employment contract that applies to more than one worker. That’s why it’s called a collective.

    Under the current law. Workers through their union have the exclusive right to bargain for a collective agreement with the boss (the workers must vote to approve the collective).

    National would allow someone else than a union to bargain with the boss for a collective. Who’s that someone else? not the workers, it’s an agent of the boss. Workers are then presented with the choice – sign the collective (eg take a 2% rise, rather than the 4% you would expect from a union collective) or refuse, strike or get locked out.

    It’s not that National is trying to be evil, it just sees minimising costs to business as more important than workers pay and conditions.

  23. T-rex 24

    “Workers are then presented with the choice – sign the collective (eg take a 2% rise, rather than the 4% you would expect from a union collective) or refuse, strike or get locked out.”

    How is that any different to what would happen without a collective though?

    Union says “we demand 4%”, boss says “no, 2%” – neither will budge, and you’ve got the same strike/lockout scenario.

    I think the collective does nothing but allow the boss to pretend to be being more reasonable than they actually are. I can’t understand how anyone could ever argue it had merit.

  24. but, T-Rex, everyone loves choice.

  25. T-rex 26

    yeah – dare to be stupid.

  26. Tane 27

    T-Rex. Certainly union-busting goes on now with the ERA in its current form, but the protections in the law and the ability of unions to organise onsite make such an approach a lot harder.

    Allowing the boss to set up a non-union collective agreement, put together with the other changes National is proposing, will make it a lot easier for bad employers to bust the onsite union and reduce wages.

    That’s what the experience of the 1990s tells us. It’s certainly not a ‘choice’ that’s going to empower any workers. It will only empower bad employers.

  27. monkey-boy 28

    I have to confess I am intrigued. For example, if the employer refuses to negotiate with a non-union collective or such, what it to stop it saying ‘f** it ‘ we will just join/form a recognised union and then you will have to listen to us’?
    Unless the collective bargaining position of the non-union collective is identical to the unionised one, in which case, why have the union?
    I am also conscious that the ECA is about employment contracts. The term ‘contracts’ suggests a negotiable settlement, rather than a situation that is set in stone, does it not?
    I think what National is attempting to do here is to dilute the influence that unionised collective bargaining has in the workplace, not because it is intrinsically opposed to the concept of collective bargaining, but rather because it is a way to drive a wedge into the amount of financial clout and personnel that can be supplied to the Labour Party.
    If this is a case, then what we are witnessing is a three-pronged debate; one on the security of collective bargaining under present law versus a law change. Two, an appeal to the country to consider and debate the influence that unions hold over workplace negototiations for better or for worst. Three; whether the ‘status quo’ is being defended for altruistic reasons by the union movement and Labour, or because it perceives a further threat to its financial bases, which is already creaky.
    To put it mildly, if Keys apparently innocuous changes are embraced by the voter, and coupled with the EFA, if they change their mind, or merely amend it to take in rcent court rulings such as th eone against the EPMU, Labour and the unions will be in serious trouble.
    In short it could finish what the EFA started. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  28. Tane 29

    Lee, employers are opposed to collective bargaining because it means higher wage increases and more say from workers in the operations of the business. National is the party of employers, hence the policy.

    I think your obsession with the EFA is clouding your analysis here. National’s policy has nothing to do with the EFA or party funding – it’s essentially the same policy as Don Brash put out in 2005.

    Moreover, unions contribute only a small proportion of Labour’s funding. They don’t really have a lot of money to throw around, nor the mandate from their membership to spend a lot. Far more comes from business, MPs and wealthy individuals. The strength of the unions in elections is their ability to mobilise workers at election time. No electoral law will change that.

    Anyway Lee, I’ve been wondering for a while – given your pretence of standing for the workers, and given National’s policy will screw over said workers, how can you still support National?

  29. Anita 30

    Can someone with a better union-theory head than me (and without the flu 🙂 check this logic for me…

    The Employer-Worker dynamic is based, in the first instance on good will and the fact that, broadly, productive efficient companies can benefit both. When things go bad though, the dynamic is based in paired mirroring withdrawal rights: a labour withdrawal i.e. the right to strike; and a capital withdrawal i.e. the right to withdraw capital, usually but shutting down or moving overseas.

    We see both in action in New Zealand; on the one hand workers will threaten to stop work to improve wages and conditions (the classic strike), on the other companies will threaten to take their capital overseas, or change business activities, unless wages and conditions are cut (e.g. AirNZ saying they’d ship engineering overseas unless the EPMU could find a way of making services cheaper).

    There are two checks and balances on the withdrawal rights, the first is legislated controls (placing controls on both workers and employers), and the second is the operation of the market – a capital withdrawal is worthless if the workers can all get equivalent work elsewhere quickly, a labour withdrawal is worthless if the employer can hire equivalent staff quickly.

    So… to limit the effect of both controls the employers and workers form collectives. By forming unions or business associations/forums/whatever they can both negotiate with government over the legislative controls and prevent the replacement of capital/labour quickly (e.g. “we’ll all move overseas” or “you won’t be able to find any qualified engineers if the union strikes”).

    At least, in my flu-ridden state that seems right 🙂

    So, allowing non-union collective bargaining weakens the worker collective. While the group can bargain together, without membership of a broader union their threat of labour withdrawal is significantly weakened because they can’t prevent other workers being brought in to replace them. Secondly they have little power to negotiate with government over legislative change. Thirdly, encouraging the existence of groups of non-unionised workers weakens the unions (and through that, those workers) as it makes it easier for employers to replace them if they withdraw labour.

    So National’s proposal skews, against workers, the existing balance between employers and workers paired right to withdraw.

    Does that analysis hang together?

    [Hee – moderated for length I think – can’t be concise when I can’t stop coughing :]

  30. monkey-boy 31

    You see there you go again Tane:
    “Anyway Lee, I’ve been wondering for a while – given your pretence of standing for the workers, and given National’s policy will screw over said workers, how can you still support National?”

    You have a tendency to judge everyone by your own standards. Just because you are so ideologically entrenched that it wouldn’t even occur to you to see any merit in looking at both sides of the argument, you seem to think that nobody else can. I will support whoever I see as the best bet for the future of the country based on the merits of the arguments around the policies, and based on my own experience. Now, about my obsession with the EFA. I believe in discussions on kiwiblog I may have stated positons such as ‘I can’t believe that the unions are actually supporting this’ based on my own observations tht it would, in the wrong hands be a perfect instrument with which to screw the unions if National got in. Now, coupled with a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ approach to disrupting collective bargaining, if that succeeds, you will see a strike against the ability of the unions to participate in the electoral process, and you may see a waning of membership of unions which may affect say, the EPMU’s abilty to raise the limit of $120,000 it could have as a third party. If it had been allowed to by law.
    So, to be brief, the unions have been screwed already by Labours inept laws and face further of the same if National get their way.
    So I guess I should ask you: given your pretence of standing for the workers, and given Labour’s policy has screwed over said workers, how can you still support Labour?

  31. Quoth the Raven 32

    I don’t think there is much doubt that union membership and hence strength has incresed under this Labour goverment. True the EFA has decreased the amount of money a third party like a uniion can spend but unions can communicate to their members they don’t need to spend loads of cash for full page ads in the Herald.

    I think what National is attempting to do here is to dilute the influence that unionised collective bargaining has in the workplace, not because it is intrinsically opposed to the concept of collective bargaining..

    I think history shows otherwise.

  32. roger nome 33

    Lee – you aren’t too well-read on industrial relations and/or labour economics hey?

    Try slipping across to my blog, and read just the latest four posts.

    http://rogernome.blogspot.com/

  33. Sorry roger.. the spam filter has taken a shine to you and your links, but it learns and since i just unspammed you four times hopefully it will stop bocking you.

  34. “Sorry roger.. the spam filter has taken a shine to you and your links”

    Don’t worry Steve.The spam filter is the only thing in the world that can possibly have the hots for the rogered gnomer.

  35. monkey boy 37

    Roger thank you I read your blog this morning and followed some of the links. Noticed Tane regurgitating much of it today as well, here and on kiwiblog, while you were doing your Abbott and Costello act. You should do him for plagiarism. Raven historically I think you are correct about national and collective bargaining, I was basing my comment on the recent policy release, which is like a neutron bomb, which may be designed annihilate the union movement, but leave the rights of collective bargaining intact, but unusable.

  36. monkey boy 38

    ps, Roger, as you are such a fount of knowledge, can you list which countries, apart from NZ, doesn’t use probationary periods in their employment laws? I am really keen to see the company we keep.

  37. Swampy 39

    “Being a union isn’t hard – you need 15 members and you jsut register with the DoL.”

    That is complete rubbish. Unions are required to register as incorporated societies and meet all the legal requirements of that law – which basically means a written constitution that meets certain minimum standards, keeping records and accounts and so on. The bureacracy makes a small union of 15 people rather unlikely.

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    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 ...
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three 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. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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