Reflections of a retired blogger

Written By: - Date published: 4:34 pm, October 23rd, 2017 - 67 comments
Categories: blogs, The Standard - Tags: , , ,

Time for me to step down as a writer here. I’ve been doing it too long, and through some pretty bleak times. But now we have a new government, and that should bring a new wave of energy and engagement. It’s good time to make room for new writers to step up, with new ideas about the direction of this blog.

What follows is just a ramble on various topics in no particular order. Proceed at your own risk, or not.

I’m pleased that we have changed the government. But I’m probably more worried than I am pleased. Not just about the clusterfuck mess that National is leaving behind, but also about what the nature of the win says about this country. We should have won in a landslide in 2014, because dirty politics should not be acceptable to this country in any form. The fact that the Nats took that election, and maintained a highish level of popularity to the very end, does not speak well of our political health. It is clear that New Zealand has a moderate dose of what we are seeing in America with Trump, a political world where facts matter far less than spin and unquestioning allegiance to predetermined views. It’s a dangerous path.

There’s a lot of truth to the saying that oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them. It amuses me how actively the Nats lost this one by fighting an FPP campaign. Karma. If there was any rationality to politics National’s history of dirty politics and lies would see them out of power for a generation, but as above, there is no rationality to politics.

Dealing with the National opposition is not going to be easy, but there are a few things to bear in mind and keep repeating. They did a poor job with the economy, and a disastrous job with housing, poverty, health, education and the environment (documented here). They are sore losers who don’t understand MMP, want to argue with the ref, and have no mates. National will get wins from opposition, but that’s fine, the left had wins from opposition too. It’s the beauty of MMP. Don’t worry about it, and don’t let it divide the coalition government.

Is there a coming digital war? Probably. But I don’t think it will be as bad as some people say. The dirty politics blogs have had their day. Everyone now knows how they operate, and they don’t have anything like the influence that they had 5 years ago, especially with the media. They will keep spewing of course, and one thing authors here could do is regularly highlight their shit.

The systemic bias inherent in the right-wing ownership and centralisation of the media is a much bigger problem. It’s not completely unbalanced, but underlying everything is a set of assumptions and a perpetuation of myths that results in a constant screwing of the scrum in favour of the Nats. This reaches its worst in the dominance of idiot demagogues like Mike Hosking, and the repeated use of dirty politics actors like Farrar and Hooton as “commentators”. Let’s be honest about what they are – propagandists.

When it comes to regular journalists though, and I know I’m guilty of this myself, venting about them does very little good. The bad ones only get shirty, and they have a much bigger megaphone than us. The good ones are very good, and it must be frustrating for them to see their whole field (the “MSM”) continually attacked. Dear lefties, please try and make friends with journalists.

Anyway, the biggest problem in terms of political spin and public opinion is not the media, it is the weaponisation of social media. Profiling, AI methods, micro-targeted advertising, the propagation of fake news. If you haven’t heard of Cambridge Analytica you have no idea of how expertly you are being handled. If you are active on Facebook you are a product. Apart from the left trying to fight fire with fire I have no idea what to do about this. Is the politics of the future not so much a battle of ideas as it is a battle of algorithms? Depressing.

I haven’t written much about immigration and racism because I find it a difficult topic. I love immigration, I love diversity, I love travel and the rich tapestry of the exchange of culture and ideas. At the risk of sounding like Don Brash, my wife and kids don’t use a lot of sunblock, and I’ve helped family members from far away to NZ. But we do now have a problem. It isn’t the fault of immigrants, it’s the fault of politicians, a failure to plan, a failure to build infrastructure. It’s OK to point that out, and in my opinion it’s OK to put a slowdown on immigration until it’s sorted (immigration from England or Australia or anywhere). Some of the over-zealous lefties who insist on attacking this proposal as racism annoy me almost as much as overt racists. Too often it’s a privileged and self-gratifying exercise that ignores the fact that the burden of our stuffed housing and infrastructure falls mainly on the poor. Mainly in fact on Maori / Pacific Islanders. Racism of a different kind. We need to take care of the people already in this country (whether they arrived last week or generations ago) before we can sustain high levels of immigration again. Boy am I going to get in to trouble for writing this. So it goes.

In any case, sometimes it all feels like arguing about the proverbial deckchairs on the Titanic. Climate change is here. Huge challenges are coming. In fifty years the world is going be a very very different place from what it is today.

Back to the present. Politics. Philosophically I’m much more Green than Labour, but as a matter of historical accident I’m a member of the Labour Party. (I really don’t think it matters what party you support, as long as its heading in generally the constructive direction – left.) Labour, you don’t need my advice, here are some of the things you know already. You have in front of you huge opportunity and also huge risk. Jacinda Arden is your greatest asset, just let her be herself (don’t get flustered when she makes mistakes). Own up to your mistakes and fix them. Ministers must be accountable and must be seen to be accountable. Stick to the high road, leave dirty politics to the Nats. You will be very busy in government, but as a party you need to look at what went wrong in Auckland. Build relationships with immigrant communities. It’s going to be a hugely tough sell given your immigration policy, but you can’t afford to cede those communities to the Nats, so put the bloody work in. Don’t forget your impossibly huge responsibility to the Maori electorate who have given you their trust. Good luck!

Blogging has been interesting. My first comment here (12 Sept 2007) was a suggestion for a post – it seems I was doomed from the start. Against my better judgement I started submitting guest posts. My first post under my own login (4 September 2009) was Why blog?. I did around 600 posts as r0b, then 1890 after coming out as Anthony R0bins. Several hundred more as many of the Notices and Features and the like. That’s a lot of posts, too many. It was driven by a certain affinity for lost causes – loved this book in my formative years. I’m an accidental blogger – not a real one like the Farrar’s or Bradbury’s or (bless him) the George’s of the world.

Politics is a rough game. The other team plays dirty, which is understandable because it gets results. It’s very very tempting to give in to the dark side and use similar tactics of spin, lies and dogwhistles. I’d like to hope that I (none of the writers here) ever did or will. But I must admit I personally got closer than I would have liked, crossing the line into spin at times. Not proud of that, but it’s very damn frustrating to try and fight fire armed with nothing more than a combustable volume on moral philosophy. We need a better, more mature kind of politics, but I can’t see how to get there from here. I’ll go away and think about it for a bit. Best wishes to you all…


My thanks to to Lprent and The Standard Trust, fellow writers past and present, and the wonderful active commenting community here! The writers here are fantastic, and it’s been a privilege to work with them/you all, but they could use some reinforcements.

If ever there was a time to get active politically it is now. If ever you have thought about submitting guest posts or trying out as a writer here, do it now. The political right are going to go nuts in opposition, and we need fresh new hands on deck.

See you in comments sometimes.

67 comments on “Reflections of a retired blogger”

  1. Ant 1

    Great sketch, steeped in wisdom.
    Agreed, when the Nats last came to power the populous got the government it deserved, – blatantly ignoring dirty politics and hugely funded spin.
    Thanks for your tireless work.

  2. Anthony I wish you all the best for the future. I can’t think of a post from you that I didn’t enjoy – i especially liked the way you kept putting poverty and inequality back to front of mind with your posts. You have made an outstanding contribution to the left and this country – thank you so much for this mahi. I’m going to miss you mate. Arohanui e hoa.

  3. mickysavage 3

    Bugger …

  4. Allan 4

    Your observations were always very good to read. I suspect there will be quite a few people, having spent the last nine years banging their heads against the wall before finally seeing the result of their efforts, who will be pondering on their future.

    Hopefully the incoming government lives up to its promises, otherwise we all may have to resume activism to hold them to account.

    Many thanks for your writings.

  5. gsays 5

    Cheers Anthony, I too have enjoyed your contributions.
    Good luck in your future endeavours.

  6. McFlock 6

    Thanks for the great reading – always a commenter and author I’d stop to read. Onward and upward 🙂

    • Anne 6.1

      Me too.
      It was the common sense stuff that always caught my attention. Readable, reasonable and clear in its intent. You will be sorely missed Anthony Robins.

  7. Carolyn_nth 7

    All the best r0b. You have served us andthe left exceedingly well.

  8. Incognito 8

    We need a better, more mature kind of politics, but I can’t see how to get there from here.

    Darn! If you don’t know, who does? [rhetorical]

    I’ll go away and think about it for a bit.

    Please do; we all need it! [sincere]

    You have my thanks and deepest respect for everything. Frankly, I have no idea where you find the time & energy and how you manage the quality & volume of your writings. [gratitude & respect]

  9. ropata 9

    Kia Ora Matua. Enjoy your well earned break.

  10. Dv 10

    Thank you rob

  11. David Craig 11

    Cheers to you Anthony: your reflections above are rather fine, and yes confirm all the traits of your clever, clear, (almost entirely truthful!), committed blogging over years. I’ve loved seeing your posts, again and again, and have never failed to be at least slightly/ pleasantly surprised and impressed by them.
    You seem to know what to do with actual serious facts, how to put them up economically and effectively, and how to prop them up against the door when fake and nasty bullshit are trying to break it down. I like it too that increasingly, it seems, you have called shit what it is, in some of the most clear and direct ways I’ve seen in media. In this , and in all of the above, you remind me more than a little of Paul Krugman in the NYT….
    I’ll let that comparison weigh with you a little, while I in fact find myself wiping a small tear away here!
    Much love: and please do surprise us again (and again), with some more of that, when you get a moment!

  12. greywarshark 12

    Hei kona ra. Kia waimarie Anthony.
    Please drop in a sentence FTTT so we know you’re still around.
    You have been invaluable. We should be picking up the baton and running with it,
    but watch our progress like Lydiard or Snell, and you will definitely be appreciated.

  13. bwaghorn 13

    giving up is easier said than done , cheers for all you good reads.

  14. r0b 14

    Thank you, kia ora, thank you all, you are far too kind.

    My thanks to to Lprent and The Standard Trust, fellow writers past and present, and the wonderful active commenting community here!

    I’m sorry to stepping down from writing, but I will still be about a bit…

    • mickysavage 14.1

      You do understand that you are welcome back any time, in fact it is expected that you will return …

      • r0b 14.1.1

        Cheers MS. Never say never I suppose, but certainly in the foreseeable 6 months I am utterly buried in a big project at work, and beyond that things may also be complicated for quite a while. Safest to think of it as a clean break.

    • Mike Smith 14.2

      Thanks so much r0b for so much wisdom and insightful comment over so many years. You have been absolutely crucial to setting and maintaining the Standard’s standards. Very best wishes for whatever comes next

  15. Ad 15

    I kinda wondered the motive behind the grand collection of links. A cache to sustain the comrades, I presume.

    I presume also you are being gainfully redirected in a manner that precludes you from public statements. You know you can always backchannel a good leak here!

    We don’t need to love lost causes. We need only a conscience for the loseability of the world. I suspect that this, rather than standard left melancholy, is what you have.

    I have appreciated what you have done, and you are reliably loyal to the broad cause.

    I get the clear impression that you are good, and work for the good.

    Keep doing it.

  16. rhinocrates 16

    Thank you!

  17. riffer 17

    Always enjoyed your input Anthony. All the best for whatever the future holds for you.

    • garibaldi 17.1

      Ditto to all the above Anthony. Thanks for all your contributions and the integrity which you have always displayed by the bucketful.

  18. lurgee 19

    You were one of the saner and more thoughtful voices here, Anthony. You will be missed. If only for honest comments like:

    It is clear that New Zealand has a moderate dose of what we are seeing in America with Trump, a political world where facts matter far less than spin and unquestioning allegiance to predetermined views. It’s a dangerous path.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people on the left don’t get that 2017 has been a lucky fluke for us with the Greens shedding enough support to Labour to make them look credible as a governing party, and Winston deciding he’d go left.

    New Zealand is not a left wing country that mysteriously elects right wing governments. It’s pretty strongly right wing. The sooner people accept that, accept the ‘missing million’ arent going to roll into the polling booths, and realise the best way to keep National out of power and deliver some left wing policies is to colonise the centre ground, the better.

    • BM 19.1

      I do wonder if Peters legacy is to try and push the reset button and turn the clock back 30 years.

      If that’s the case I’m thankful National is on the sidelines and not in the blast zone.

  19. weka 20

    Superb post r0b. Thanks for all the work. Those post numbers are impressive, but I just want to reiterate to the community just how critical you’ve been to keeping momentum going for TS for many years, particularly with such regular posts.

    I appreciate the comments about immigration policy, it’s a topic that the left need to get to grips with very soon in NZ, and I also feel a similar frustration with the polarisation on both sides.

    Good thoughts on Labour too, I hope they choose that path.

    One of the things I’m working through in the past few days is the fact that so much has changed since the last time we had a centre left govt. There will be good things in that, but at the moment I’m feeling a bit daunted by the sheer amount of shit that’s coming the left’s way because they’ve gained some power. And not just the amount of shit but the methods of attack and, if we are not careful, the starting down the path that the US has gone that polarised the country. On the upside, I think like you that there is also real opportunity here, may we make the most of that.

    Wishing you all the best. Enjoy that garden too!

  20. Macro 21

    Am seriously going to miss your posts r0b.
    Enjoy “retirement” and the garden. Look forward to seeing you back from time to time in the commentary.
    And like all others here thank you very much for all the stirling work you have done. TS won’t be quite the same.

  21. halfcrown 22

    You are going to be sorely missed with your writings and snippets of wisdom.
    Wish you all the best and thank you for your bits of sanity in a sometimes insane world.

  22. Pacific Princess 23

    Thank you Anthony! I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. Perhaps some day soon I’ll strike up the courage and write a guest post 🙂 Like you say now is the time to do it!

  23. BM 24

    That’s a shame, I’ve always enjoyed the stuff you’ve done, alway’s provocative and thoughtful but nowhere near as trolly/baity as the stuff some of the other authors do.

    Well done r0b.

  24. lprent 25

    I’m going to miss those posts of sanity and comments of moderation.

    You have been a stalwart and consistent author for a very long time, both in the front and the back of the site. I am probably going to miss the backend even more…

    But this is a multiauthor blog and I long ago resigned myself to authors leaving when they run out of things to say, or when life removes the time to do it (Helen Kelly being the extreme instance of the latter).

    So if anyone else wants to step up to the Mike, can work on an agree to disagree basis, and can string coherent and maybe even interesting thoughts together – give a yell and probably a guest post.

    If you have your own blog and would like a larger and probably more critical audience, then we like crossposting as well.

    Just remember it is a volunteer site and time tends to be limited – including bringing people on board. But we also give a lot of freedom to affect the debate.

  25. Ovid 26

    Thanks Anthony. I hold you in high regard.

  26. Heather Grimwood 27

    Thank you Anthony for your committed work, your integrity , and your encouragement.

  27. One Anonymous Bloke 28

    Thanks Anthony.

  28. ianmac 29

    Every time I started to read a new post I was certain that if ANTHONY R0BINS was the by line, it would be well worth the read for accuracy and credibility. I do hope you pop back when there are serious issues for Jacinda’s Government. Thanks Rob.

  29. Whispering Kate 30

    I also, have enjoyed your commentary on this blog site. I find it admirable that some people have that ability to research and deliver such interesting and insightful ideas. I got very good English marks at school and was good at essay writing in the couple of years I did at Uni (never finished) but have never had the confidence to actually sit down, research and deliver. Personally I have “in your face” experience with the Mental Health System through a loved one in our family and would, if I had the guts, like to vent about it. It has beaten me down to such a level I can’t ever see it happening.

    All the best for the future and your endeavours you have planned.

  30. eco Maori/kiwi 31

    I agree with your principles Anthony even though I’m a new person to this site I can see that your contributions to this site and the left movement have had a positive effect to everyone on this site and all the viewers and your work will be missed Kia Kaha.

  31. ankerawshark 32

    Thank you so much Anthony for all the time and effort you have put into writing such excellent articles for the Standard.

    You will be missed.

    Wishing you well.
    AK

  32. Sparky 33

    I’m increasingly inclined to think there is little “left,left in the left”. Yes a bad joke but then I’m astounded how many people for example still view the likes of the Dems in the US as virtuous examples of the left or the leading CDU in German as somehow a civilised manifestation of the right with a leftie twist.

    The reality is increasingly there is no left/right divide but instead “political homogenisation” around a core set of globalist neo liberal principles. For me this is most exemplified by the unwillingness to accept capitalism as a failed philosophy. Instead its viewed as something in need of reform which inevitably looks a lot like a race to the bottom. New Zealand and others nations as something akin to a large corporations constantly making “cuts” in pursuit of a shining future that never did exist nor ever will exist.

    Meantime people slowly go blind on waiting lists, take out private medical insurance, are forced to live in cars whilst, enduring ever declining standards of healthcare, welfare, policing and education while the money that is there is siphoned off to fund foreign adventurism in the form of wars, socialism for the rich, large corporations and banks who enjoy levels of taxation normally associated with third world nations.

    NZ has the highest level of homelessness in the OECD, the highest level of youth suicide, a housing market the according to Golden Sachs is appallingly overpriced and may lead to a 40% adjustment in the next two years.

    In my opinion that’s our reality and I personally see little to suggest its going to change.

  33. In Vino 34

    Ditto to all the thanks and compliments, with the exception of BM’s.

  34. r0b 35

    Thank you, thank you all again for your kind words (including some from unexpected quarters!). I can’t reply to all the comments, but please know that every one of them is read and is appreciated. Cheers…

  35. Ed 36

    Thank you.

  36. Brian Tregaskin 37

    two words
    “Saint Anthony”

  37. Jenny Kirk 38

    Thank you rOb – I have enjoyed and appreciated your writings.

  38. Rats !, – even though I’m pretty much a new comer here ,.. I hate goodbyes. But on an up ,… we have a new govt , – and by all looks ,… a magnificent one. And it is true , that it is time for all hands on deck as the far right are going to come out swinging and mean spirited.

    Just when I would’ve preferred to think the job is done and we could all get some rest.

    Rats again !

    New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
    http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

  39. Kevin 40

    Thanks R0b, all the best. Loved your work.

  40. Exkiwiforces 41

    I would like to say thank you for your posts and allowing me to comment. All the best for the future whatever that may bring for you.

  41. cleangreen 42

    Anthony you have always written such well balanced subect matters and have acted with a very fair repectful mannerism which I have admired you greatly for this.

    I sincerely hope you will continue to chip in going forward as your views are cherrished by all I am sure judging by the blogs here, so the best of our wishes for the future and enjoy you well deserved rest and recreation my friend.

  42. Nick 43

    Great work and effort r0b, very much appreciated your thoughts and words.

  43. Robert Guyton 44

    Thanks, rOb, for all of your fine work. I wonder how difficult you will find not expressing your views here on TS; even taking a “commenters holiday” is hard enough – seasoned writers must have to hold fast to their decisions to stop writing, especially in a field like politics that changes day by day and matters, especially to those, like you, who have a deep and detailed knowledge of the labyrinth it is. I guess the twitchy typing-finger will settle down eventually and you’ll be able to ride out the coming waves of political anguish without feeling you have to put up a post about them!
    Enjoy your time out.

    • greywarshark 44.1

      You might r0b put up a comment (small ) and like Joe90 provide a valuable link for the questing to go further!?

      And just reading in serendipity pieces, or in sequence, your mighty post with its diverse headings (and not forgetting Blip’s list, still relevant after Key’s departure)
      we will always have something to occupy our minds. The sign-post will point to
      your post The mess that the new government inherits

      So thanks for all the fish. Have a good holiday. See ya later.
      Ka kite ano au i a koe.

  44. roy cartland 45

    Will be sorry to see you go r0b! And some excellent points there.

    Go well.

  45. Agora 46

    R0b .. I don’t buy it.
    You will return to your writing addiction
    as soon as you get a twitch in that finger pressing RETURN
    .. or a nationalist blogger does something stupid.
    Have a good break ..

  46. Smellpir 47

    Thank you Anthony,
    Your online life has tracked the great transition in social media involvement in politics. Thanks to you the Centre/Left has had a committed (bordering on relentless) and principled advocate.

    Good luck for your future challenges – likely to be some on-the-ground advocacy and engagement with the new government’s aspirations for tertiary education!

  47. Keepcalmcarryon 48

    Thank you for all your hard work, I’ve enjoyed your large and very balanced contribution here very much.

  48. Colin Bell 49

    I’m sorry to read that you are leaving The Standard. Part of me would like to step up and join the blog site, but at 70 plus age am not sure if my voice will be appropriate for the times.

    • weka 49.1

      Age is not an issue Colin. If you would like to have a go at writing for TS, reply here and we will see what’s possible.

      • Colin Bell 49.1.1

        Okay Weka. I suggest that we explore what may be possible by means of emails, rather than publicly visible comments on TS. I am not skilled with IT but may be able to put something together a few times per year.

  49. Dot 50

    I hope that you will use your considerable talents
    to help NZ have a good government for a long time

    I agree with your comments about our political health in this country, the level of acceptance of lies
    [ dirty politics ] is worrying
    I join all the appreciative people on this site to say thank you ROB

  50. Enjoy the time to yourself, mate.

  51. r0b 52

    And again – thank you, thank you, thank you – thank you all!

  52. joe90 53

    Thanks r0b.

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    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
    4 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    5 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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