Reality check

Written By: - Date published: 10:13 am, May 28th, 2008 - 29 comments
Categories: housing - Tags:

Housing NZ’s decision to hold a conference for 94 staff at the luxury Tongariro Resort raises serious issues about extravagance in the public service. My first instinct, like others, was to assume the worst and condemn the Ministry for its extravagance with public money.

Clearly $65,000 for a 90-person conference sure sounds like a lot of money, even if it includes $12,000 in travel costs and another $5,000 in extras. Per person accomodation and food worked out at $250 a night – a figure that on the face of it seems hard to justify.

So I decided to do a bit research. You see, I’ve got a friend who as part of her job books conferences for a large organisation. Last year she was tasked with booking a two-day conference for a similar number of people. She was under strict orders to keep costs to a minimum, so she chose a budget venue in the central North Island in order to minimise transport costs, booked people into shared accomodation and made sure all extra costs were kept to a minimum.

The cost? $40,000 for two days, or $222 per night for each person. That’s just $28 per person less than Housing NZ’s discount deal at the Tongariro Resort. Once she’d added the cost of transport and extras the price was upwards of $60,000.

Now I’m not going to argue that having public servants staying at a luxury resort is a good look when there are people on waiting lists to get into state houses and existing tenants wait weeks to get basic service, but if the Herald’s figures are anything to go by it seems Housing NZ genuinely got itself a bargain.

The real question here is this: political perceptions aside, is there anything fundamentally wrong about a public sector organisation giving its staff better accomodation for the same price as a budget venue?

29 comments on “Reality check”

  1. milo 1

    I see nothing wrong with this at all. Unfortunately, the media like to make scandals out of travel, conferences and ‘payouts’. But many are in fact justified, and this one certainly is.

  2. Ironically, National’s Phil Heatley, who brought the issue up, had just appeared at a $1400 a ticket one day conference. Not a waste of money, apparently.

    National conferences are expensive (travel, accomdation, conference venue, food etc), that’s life. Seems to me, they got a pretty good deal.

    Disappointing the media went sensationalist on this immediately, rather than doing some research, like Tane has done.

  3. Hell, it was $110 for an analyst just to attend the Budget lockup (fortunately, I counted as media, so it was free 😉 )

  4. insider 4

    As soon as I saw it I thought it looked cheap.

    But remember Labour made an awful meal of a very similar WINZ conference in the 90s. So what goes around comes around.

  5. mike 5

    Perception is key for a dept like Housing NZ and it’s a very bad look. 3rd termitis strikes again

  6. erikter 6

    Steve Pierson, could you please explain the difference between this conference and a similar event sponsored by WINZ years ago, when Labour was opposition?

    Yes, the same conference that caused Steve Maharey to complain bitterly about a culture of excess and extravagance in that organisation.

    I look forward to your thorough explanation.

  7. Yep,the price per head seems reasonable. What was the conference about ? The real question is: was the conference necessary or could the same result have been achieved without a conference ?

  8. Tane 8

    erikter, this site isn’t responsible for what Labour MPs say, let alone what they said ten years ago.

    As I understand it though Rankin’s WINZ conference was genuinely extravagant and included the department paying $165,000 on charter flights, $65,000 of which went missing.

  9. Bryan. If we’re going to have a public debate on the worthwhileness of spending $250 a person every time a public service does something, nothing will ever get done.

    But like I always say, it’s not in politican’s interest to allow waste in their departments that could be spent productively or on tax cuts, nor is in a department head’s interest to waste money that could be used on better results, and none of them want embarrassing media stories.

    That WINZ conference in 1999 was about $2000 a head, and, like Tane said, the big deal was that money went missing.

    captcha: conference 28 -scary.

  10. Snelly Boy 10

    Such ‘stories’ are never going to be a good look for a govt agency and the govt of the time regardless of the cost effectiveness or benefits of the get together. It’s a no win situation.

    This is for the expenditure is seen as being that of ‘our money’.

    This sentiment is understandable for the majority of the public who will never ever get the opportiunity of engaging in such perceived larging it up. One’s own hardship, jealousy or simply innonence of how the business world at large really operates behind public facades drives this resentment.

    What annoys me on these occasions though is the outrage expressed by the right wingers when so many of that ilk will regularly have their snouts in the trough of corporate waste.

    They will argue strenuously that’s different for it’s ones own money to do with what one wants but who ultimately pays for the waste though?

    The consumer and shareholders that’s who.

    If the public (and shareholders) truly knew of the extent of money and time pissed away in the name of entertainment and networking and on what, their attitudes to both coporate and govt expenditure would alter.

    And yes, I do speak from experience.

  11. erikter wrote:

    “Steve Pierson, could you please explain the difference between this conference and a similar event sponsored by WINZ years ago, when Labour was opposition?”

    About 1510 dollars per person and a chartered aeroplane…

  12. andy 12

    yeah, whats 65k when your going to retro fit all state houses with insulation at our expense.

    I can say as a neighbor of many state houses I am glad that all those people will have toasty feet while I am left to struggle with my $16 a week tax cut, which BTW will not cover my increased costs for water, gas, petrol, food, electricity, car rego and the cold….

    Sell the houses and build better more efficient housing and get harder on long term tenants. Plenty are just sitting in houses to big or they have ‘got ahead’ in a manner that state housing is designed for, but are never reassessed and moved on.

    3 houses border on my property all occupants in the homes for over 15 years, all working age and working, why the need for a state house again.

  13. Tane 13

    I can say as a neighbor of many state houses I am glad that all those people will have toasty feet while I am left to struggle with my $16 a week tax cut

    Yeah andy, those state house tenants have it pretty sweet, eh. Man, what I’d give to throw in my comfortable salary, clean toilets 16 hours a day and rely on the whims of Housing NZ to keep a roof over my family’s head.

  14. National disgrace 14

    Housing NZ staff conferencing in a luxury lodge while tenants huddle in state houses? Disgraceful. I hope under National, corrections ministers and staff would meet in disused jails. The one just south of National Park looks suitable, and real cheap.

  15. andy 15

    Tane,

    You have no idea what I do! I never said they had it sweet, but it is pretty sweet if your landlord retro fits your house with insulation and does not increase the rent?

    I rent my house, I work hard, have no kids but feel I get penalised at every turn for my CHOICES!

    tell me again why a solo mum (working) with two adult kids both working and living at home need a state house? That is only one of 12 in my street, all long term tenants. The idea of a state house is good but plenty don’t need them.

    Hand up is fine, but it should not be a long term proposition for most.

  16. illuminatedtiger 16

    You have a problem with poor kids getting warm houses? Should insulation only be for the rich?

  17. Draco TB 17

    Andy:
    Have you written to the minister about your concerns? Have you written to HNZ?

    People rorting the system is everyones concern but coming on here and complaining about these things won’t get anything done.

    Also, there is help that may be available to you to insulate your house.

  18. Matthew Pilott 18

    Andy,

    I am sorry that you are jealous because the state chooses to be a good landlord.

    You’re also berating Tane for making assumptions about your work, while doing exactly the same for state housing tenants on your street. If it riles you so much, have you looked into the criteria for state housing? Can you be sure you know every detail of your neighbours and whether they meet the criteria (if yes, then you’re probably a stalker)? Do you know the process behind moving out of a state house?

    The irony of your approach being that everyone else is talking about poor State Housing tenants, and how that money could have been spent paying poor Dot’s rent for seven years.

    Yet hearing from you, they’re the lucky ones.

    Who’s a guy to believe – annoyed blogger or lazy MSM?!?

  19. andy 19

    You have a problem with poor kids getting warm houses?

    tell me again why a solo mum (working) with two adult kids both working and living at home need a state house? including insulation?

    Poor Kids is fine, better health out comes and all that, yep fine no argument.

    Structurally HNZ is broken, 8,000 on waiting list and they are not managing tenants effectively, they coudn’t even evict the Salt family in Mt Albert.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10510630

    The Solo mum next to me has been in the house for over 15 years, both kids university educated, one a lawyer one works for winz. The time has come for some other family to get a shot, know we are subsidising these people needlessly.

    Should insulation only be for the rich?

    what is rich in your mind? Would that be one dollar more than the maximum allowable to get into a state house? Should those working poor not in a HNZ house miss out too as they face similar problems, may even be on waiting lists for a house.

  20. andy 20

    Draco,

    they are not rorting system, the system has forgotten them.

    Matthew,

    I am not jealous, annoyed yes. The benefits to NZ as a whole from state housing have become spotty at best. Dot is in a special case as her house maintenance will be put off as those properties on Kupe st are subject to a treaty claim.

    Stalker, ha thats funny. Have lived next door to them for some time, what i am getting at is that they should be in a private rental (with help from winz if needed) and the house with nice garden etc would be better in the hands of a young family in need.

    Also the residential tenancy act covers state houses so the process on moving out is simple, quick call on the 0800 number.

  21. Matthew Pilott 21

    Sorry Andy, you had me worried, knowing so much about your neighbours. Well that’s better than not knowing their names, like most people.

    It’s hard to tell if the situation you describe is representative of NZ State Housing in general – although given the long wait list and the number of long term tenants perhaps this isn’t too isolated a situation.

    This being the case, perhaps the needs of tenants should be more closely monitored – moving a tenant out of state housing would have a very big impact upon them though, and it must be done carefully; I can see why it would be a difficult thing with which to strike a balance.

    Reference to Dot was a general reference to the media’s interpretation of State Housing tenants – that they are dependant on help, and the money spent on the conference could be better spent upon them. Which is a vastly different story to the picture you paint of relatively well-off tenants getting state assistance well beyond requirements.

  22. Draco TB 22

    they are not rorting system, the system has forgotten them.

    Then remind the system by writing letters to the appropriate people.

  23. Stalker, ha thats funny. Have lived next door to them for some time, what i am getting at is that they should be in a private rental (with help from winz if needed) and the house with nice garden etc would be better in the hands of a young family in need.

    I live in a cul de sac with several HNZ properties. I’m very grateful for the fact that a period of tenancy turnover seems to have stabilised. I’m a big supporter of pubic housing, but I signed a collective letter asking HNZ to evict one new tenant (mentally ill, dangerous friends) and a similar eviction took place a few houses down, after some scary behaviour. We’re back to tenants we can happily regard as neighbours.

    You should be careful what you wish for …

  24. Structurally HNZ is broken, 8,000 on waiting list and they are not managing tenants effectively, they coudn’t even evict the Salt family in Mt Albert.

    They manage 200,000 properties. In that context an 8000 waiting list doesn’t seem quite such an issue.

    And how on earth is it HNZ’s fault that the Tenancy Tribunal ruled against its bid to evict the Salt family?

  25. middleground 25

    Please don’t mistaken HNZC with DBH, where Housing New Zealand ‘Corporation’ is a Crown Entity and Department of Building and Housing can be alternatively specified as a ‘Ministry’.

    HNZC provides state housing services for those in need.
    DBH provide information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

    So in response to: “Housing NZ’s decision to hold a conference for 94 staff at the luxury Tongariro Resort raises serious issues about extravagance in the public service. My first instinct, like others, was to assume the worst and condemn the Ministry for its extravagance with public money”
    – HZNC employees are not public servants. HZNC is also NOT a ministry

    If you need further insight to the difference between Public Service departments and Crown Entities, visit SSC’s data sheet here http://www.ssc.govt.nz/display/document.asp?docid=2815&pageno=4

  26. andy 26

    You should be careful what you wish for

    Too true. Have regular police presence at state house over the road too 🙁

    They manage 200,000 properties

    I was under the impression that it was 68,000ish, 200k sounds alot?

    Draco

    See my previous link about the Salt family upthread, people have tried.

  27. Vanilla Eis 27

    Sorry Russell, andy is right. HNZC manage around 68k properties, but house 200k people. But by the same token, the 8000 waiting list is likely people waiting, not number of properties needed.

    middleground is also correct – HNZC =! DBH.

    Additionally, the Tenancy Tribunal falls under the Department of Building and Housing, and HNZC are still bound by the Residential Tenancies Act when it comes to terminating a tenancy. They have some exceptions under crown law, but mostly they have to provide reasonable proof – normally accepted as 21 days of arrears, breach of a ten-day notice or breach of contract. If none of these conditions apply, then the Tenancy Tribunal will not terminate a tenancy in the landlords favour.

    Following on, andy, HNZC tenancy contracts will stipulate that if your income increases beyond the threshold then you start paying market rates for the property. I haven’t worked for HNZC, but during my time at DBH I got to know the RTA a little. Merely increasing your income beyond the threshold is not legal grounds for an eviction.

    edit: corrected the number of properties. andy was spot on, as far as the 2006-2007 year goes. check the HNZC annual report for more details:
    http://www.hnzc.govt.nz/hnzc/web/about-us/annual-report/annual-report_home.htm

  28. Ted 28

    “Housing boss may be punished over conference

    28/05/2008 16:28:18

    Housing New Zealand’s chief executive looks set to be punished for spending $65,000 on a two-day conference.

    Ninety four staff member spent two days at the Tongariro Lodge earlier this month in an effort to improve the way the staff provide service to state house tenants.

    Housing New Zealand’s chairman agrees the venue was inappropriate, and is planning to review the performance payment to chief executive Lesley McTurk.

    State Services Minister David Parker says the improper use of funds are taken into account when heads of Government departments have their pay reviewed.

    Housing Minister Maryan Street has spoken out in support of the conference, saying it allowed staff to improve the service they offer to state house tenants.

    But the Prime Minister says the Tongariro Lodge is the wrong venue for a conference of that kind. She says while any organisation, be it a parliamentary caucus or a Government department, will get staff together, you have to be very careful about choosing the venue.

    Miss Clark says she advised Ms Street not to try to defend the conference. She says Ms Street is a relatively new minister, who was trying to say that some good would come out of the conference”

    From NewstalkZB. Evidently it’s not just the Nats who have a problem with it. I wonder if the review will also take the HNZC getaway at the Hotel and Spa du Vin in to account.

  29. pohutukawa kid 29

    In a long career in both the private and public sectors I’ve forgotten how many courses, conferences, and other versions of groupthink activities I went to both in NZ and overseas. They’re a fact of working life and nothing to get excited about.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    1 week ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago

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