Respecting our Rights and the New Zealand Constitution

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, February 27th, 2018 - 35 comments
Categories: greens, human rights, labour, law, Politics - Tags:

So in constitutional terms, Andrew Little and the Prime Minister dropped something of a bombshell at her post-cabinet press conference yesterday, announcing plans that the Government would give courts the ability to send legislation back to Parliament for them to review if it was ruled inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act, colloquially known as BORA.

This is, arguably, a step towards both making BORA sovereign over parliament, although Labour clearly has no plans to do that themselves at this stage, (I’ll get back to what that means soon) and in the long term perhaps even larger constitutional reform, but in traditional Labour style, it’s just a single step, and they were very clear about how much they love every other aspect of the status quo. So there is no reason for those of you who view any sort of constitutional reform as a highway to a Republic to get on your horses and warn people that the British may be leaving. This is small step down a big road that could lead in any number of directions.

The plan doesn’t currently give courts the ability to force any particular change on Parliament, and is just making formal and developing a clear legal framework for something courts have already done informally in the past with regards to a certain law banning prisoners from voting, where the courts verbally reprimanded the National Government for bulling ahead with a law that was unnecessarily inconsistent with BORA. Parliament can still decline to amend an Act, amend it to remove the inconsistency, or repeal it at its own discretion, so this power is in some ways more a measure to allow the courts to bring inconsistencies of previous governments’ bills to Parliament’s attention, or to try and shame the government into rethinking after it passes a bill that breaches New Zealanders’ rights without due reason.

We currently have a preventative version of this in our legal process, where all Bills are vetted for consistency with the Bill of Rights Act before they can be passed into law, but it has frequently been ignored in the past to allow bad law to pass the house, (ACT’s Three Strikes Law comes to mind) and because this mechanism requires people to be actively taking someone to court over an issue, it will likely be treated as a much more serious step because it is likely to attract more news, with it potentially being a big public relations hit to any future governments that manage to have a law returned to them while still in office after having passed it. Overall, this is a moderate but good change, and if some future government did wish to consider making Parliament accountable to BORA, this process would have established some existing case law around the matter, so that Parliament can have an informed debate about what types of laws might be returned and why, and how to best amend the Bill of Rights Act to ensure good laws that bend our rights in order to keep them in balance aren’t sent back, but bad laws that trample over them without due reason are firmly returned to Parliament for judicious disposal or heavy reform.

There’s also an implicit check on the government to take a court’s recommendation to review a law seriously because of the risk that if they allow an inconsistent law to stand with no review for blatantly unreasonable grounds, they might end up with a second court case touching on that law and sending it back to them, or their opposition, to take action on.

As to what sovereignty over Parliament means in this context, basically that’s the step at which the courts can require Parliament to amend or repeal bills to deal with an inconsistency with BORA, which effectively means Parliament must first amend BORA to pass new laws that would currently be inconsistent with it, at least if it doesn’t want to have them struck down. While this might seem like a straightforwardly good thing, and it is eventually where I want to see our constitutional reforms head in terms of human rights, it doesn’t come without risks. Allowing courts to review and potentially overturn Parliament’s legislation gives Governments a motivation to try and politically bias the court, something that we haven’t done before and a large impediment to both justice and good legislation in the USA, so there is a legitimate slippery slope argument to be made that this is a risky step to consider. There’s also a good argument that because we don’t elect judges, (nor should we) they shouldn’t have a voice on policy matters, and that allowing them to review laws in a way that gives them any sovereignty over Parliament muddies that water.

There are good safeguards we can take for that including amending BORA to allow a bit more wiggle room around when it’s acceptable for Parliament to bend our rights in the name of arguably important legislative goals, and clearly delineating the circumstances under which such judgements would be appropriate to make in the law, but for now, this is a good first step in that direction for those who support sovereignty of BORA over Parliament, and a worthwhile reform even for those who don’t, as it currently does nothing to sacrifice Parliament’s sovereignty at all.

David Parker, in his capacity as Attorney General, also made it quite clear in the press conference that he’s not seeing this as a step to a more codified constitution, (one written down as a single document rather than existing in principle over multiple laws and conventions of practice) praising the flexibility of our current constitutional system and how it works well, but he and the Justice Minister did say laws that allow for reviews like this are appropriate given our lack of an upper house, unlike all other major Westminster Parliaments. I would however note that a politician saying a constitutional arrangement is flexible should arouse suspicion in the same way as a prisoner saying the bars of their prison are flexible- really, politicians aren’t supposed to like the limits on their power.

In any case, as you can see above, right now the only Party willing to stand up and say that they actually want Parliament to go towards sovereignty of BORA in the future is the Greens, (although Shaw’s a bit ahead of himself proclaiming Parliament will in any way be “bound” by BORA under this planned legislation- let’s say it’s more like a Parliament has given BORA a friendship bracelet than has in any way bound itself to it) so it looks like for the immediate future it’s not on the cards, but it’s incredibly likely to come up at some stage in future constitutional reviews, whether or not such reviews end up heading towards a Republic, and that means it’s open for future coalition talks if it happens that the bigger obstacle to going further was in fact New Zealand First rather than the Labour Party.

35 comments on “Respecting our Rights and the New Zealand Constitution”

  1. You_Fool 1

    Do the courts have the same review powers against the Treaty of Waitangi as well? Or is it just the BORA? Shouldn’t they be able to push legislation back if it violates the Treaty as well? Given that is our founding document…

    • Matthew Whitehead 1.1

      The Treaty of Waitangi is already part of our constitution, so as long as Parliament doesn’t explicitly legislate Treaty rights away and instead merely fails to take them into account, the courts can absolutely rule them inconsistent with the treaty and open up claims for compensation where it’s due.

  2. Ad 2

    It would take quite a rush at Parliament to entrench BORA (is it 66% of Parliament or 75%?).

    Labour is doing what it can under MMP.

    Even so, it was particularly useful to see Act give qualified support for the move yesterday. I guess National were a little busy with their internal stuff.

    There would need to be some impressive backroom lobbying to get near-unanimity across Parliament for reforms of the Courts’ power that are stronger than what is proposed.

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.1

      Actually, no it wouldn’t. Entrenching something just needs a simple majority to pass and a three-quarters supermajority to repeal.
      edit: as per (6) below, apparently you DO need the same supermajority you want to impose, but the requirement is in standing orders, not in the entrenchment legislation.

      Although I haven’t actually discussed entrenchment in this post, I think once we’ve put BORA on a basis that we’re happy with, (ie. sovereign over Parliament) it should absolutely be entrenched.

      • Chris 2.1.1

        There’s way more that needs to be done than entrenchment, too. Changes to the NZBORA itself are needed to reinstate many of the principles the courts over the years have abandoned – principles it was assumed would be remain firmly part of the legislation, like the prima facie rule of exclusion. The Court of Appeal has taken a machete to the NZBORA in ways never envisaged. If Labour are serious about bill of rights protections it needs to fix the Act itself, otherwise we’re simply entrenching the bad stuff as well. Lord Cooke of Thorndon must be spinning in his grave.

        • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.1

          That sounds good in principle, although we’d probably need to hear from a proper lawyer about the consequences of the details first. We also need to add gender identity as a protected class, too, and a number of other modernizations could be considered.

          In addition, if you’re making BORA stronger by making it sovereign over Parliament, it’s okay to add a few exceptions or a bit of wiggle-room to legislation having to comply with it in trade. Sometimes we really do have to balance rights against each other, and I legitimately wouldn’t want the ability of Parliament to pass good law to be curtailed.

          • Chris 2.1.1.1.1

            “Although I haven’t actually discussed entrenchment in this post, I think once we’ve put BORA on a basis that we’re happy with, (ie. sovereign over Parliament) it should absolutely be entrenched.”

            Once what you’re suggesting happens, then the ability of Parliament to pass “good” law will be curtailed, at least to the extent entrenchment affects that ability. Entrenchment makes it harder to fix things the courts either get wrong or when the law protecting the right is weakened. I’m not against entrenchment, but there’s a bunch of obvious things that need fixing because of the damage the courts have done to the BORA before entrenchment occurs.

            The point you make about gender identity highlights an interesting point. The grounds for discrimination are listed in the HRA, not the BORA, so entrenchment of the BORA wouldn’t affect the ability to add or amend the list as the need arises. Adding the cause of disability instead of relying solely on disability is another example, arising from the Trevethick decision. But the point is that the BORA referring to or incorporating other legislation could be a useful mechanism generally to allow “good” law to be made without the curtailment entrenchment has the potential to bring. That said, that doesn’t remove the need to do whole lot of fixing of the obvious damage the courts have done to the BORA before thinking about or at least in preparation for entrenchment.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    It’s a great wedge issue. National should roll out Paula Bennett to explain why some people have fewer human rights again. Pretty sure the new leader will back her up now Bill’s bailed, too.

    • alwyn 3.1

      Why should the National Party bother to oppose the Bill directly?
      The only person who seems to think that this Bill has any meaning at all is James Shaw. By doing so he is merely demonstrating that he isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer and that he was severely short-changed when brains were being handed out.
      When the Bill comes to the house National should argue that it is a completely meaningless piece of legislation. Then propose that the movers of the Bill be reported to the Privileges Committee for Contempt of Parliament.
      After that they could simply refuse to put up any speakers. After all the stupid thing is merely another filler for when the Government actually have nothing prepared. Remember how they kept opposing National attempts to get a vote on a Government Bill last year?
      If National really want to up the ante they could move an amendment that would suspend any law objected to until after Parliament had thoroughly reconsidered it and repassed it again. They would have to go through all stages in the House again.
      Labour wouldn’t risk that and the Green Party would then be forced to oppose the amendment.
      Poor James. Back to being the Governing Parties poodle.
      If such an amendment got through National wouldn’t actually have to vote for it at the final stage of course. If Labour, for some crazy reason, decided they could live with being hamstrung by the Courts National could vote against the Bill by arguing the supremacy of Parliament over unelected Jurists.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        Shorter Alwyn: “if this government does it, I hate it”.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          Thanks, saved me having to read it.

        • alwyn 3.1.1.2

          OAB.
          What do you think would happen if they followed my suggestion?
          Add a bit of fun to the House I would think.

        • You_Fool 3.1.1.3

          More like, “In my world National can be a dick and not be held to account”

          Slightly longer I know but still…

          I actually like his facetious amendment, and if NAct did do that then they should be held over the coals if they didn’t support the final bill

          • alwyn 3.1.1.3.1

            What was facetious about it?
            I merely want to see the Public, as represented by the Judiciary, having the chance to rein in the wilder ideas of the nutters in the current Government.
            I imagine it would at least delay the dreadful “Protect Party Leaders” bill that they are crashing through into law.
            Can anyone with a conscience possibly support that disgraceful legislation?

        • alwyn 3.1.1.4

          “if this government does it, I hate it”.
          I don’t hate anybody OAB. A total waste of time and terribly injurious to your health. Give your hatred up and you will lead a much happier and healthier life than you appear to.
          I just get a bit unhappy when a Government, of any colour, set out to do things that are bad for the people of New Zealand.

          That is why I disapprove of Winston the First and the Watermelons.
          Labour, having conveniently and very sensibly got the Green Party into a position of zero power and influence are generally only doing sensible things, so far. Signing the TPPA for example.
          Unfortunately they will find it impossible to avoid the urge to make us do what they want, not what we want or what is good for the country.
          They are also totally unprepared for being in Government. Look at the twits like Twyford with his wild promises that are quite incapable of being carried out.
          Look also at the billion dollar a year slush fund that they have given to Winnie to try and buy his way back to popularity. Great for the Racing Fraternity of course but God help the rest of us.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.4.1

            The object of your hate in my comment is an “it”: that which this government does. Not a person.

            I hope that helps you grasp my meaning.

            • alwyn 3.1.1.4.1.1

              Alright. If it makes you feel better and cheers you up I will reword it as “I don’t hate almost anyone or anything”
              I find it very, very hard not to feel hatred for people like Keith Locke’s mate Pol Pot though. I have friends who managed to get out of that benighted country although most of their family were murdered. That was one truly dreadful person.
              Stalin and Hitler come into the same category of course.
              There has never been New Zealand politician who could possibly be classed as someone to hate and no policy that has been so bad as to meet the qualification for “hatred” either.
              If you are honest I really think you would find it impossible to actually find anything done by any New Zealand Government that was really worthy of hatred.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Keith Locke’s mate

                And there it is, leaking out. Thanks for illustrating my point.

                • alwyn

                  I presume you are someone who believes that Michael Cullen was a hater and a wrecker then? Pol Pot was a truly vile individual.
                  http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/323890/Cullen-almost-reduces-Green-MP-to-tears

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Did you read the article? Cullen had a nasty turn of phrase when it suited him. His accusation failed to find its mark.

                    You’re the one smearing Locke right now though, lashing out because your hate was exposed, so stop hiding behind Micheal Cullen, cowardly Alwyn.

                    • alwyn

                      Have you been drinking again, or is your attitude caused by imbibing something much harder?
                      Give up this self-destructive attitude to the world.
                      It is only wrecking your health, both physical and mental.
                      Surely you can’t really be a fan of Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler and Mao?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Mr. Strawman,
                      Bring me a dream.
                      Make it the lamest,
                      I’ve ever seen.

              • KJT

                You think that knowingly condemning 300 thousand plus New Zealand children, to poverty and blighted lives, is not worthy of hatred?

    • Matthew Whitehead 3.2

      I expect National will simply support this Bill on its introduction, given it has no actual teeth to it right now. What they’ll oppose is any attempt to reduce the sovereignty of Parliament- they want all that power for themselves, thanks. There seems to be at least some of that attitude in Labour, too, although I think they see it as “consitutional flexibility,” rather than power, and probably feel like they have a duty to use it responsibly, it’s still a very subtle distinction.

  4. Bill 4

    From the reading of this piece, what’s to say government won’t, over time, decimate the Bill of Rights Act to make it consistent with preferred legislation?

    This bit from the sixth para seems to point to that possibility.

    …which effectively means Parliament must first amend BORA to pass new laws that would currently be inconsistent with it, at least if it doesn’t want to have them struck down.

    Given what seems to have been a general drift across “the west” to weaken Rights over the past few decades (“because security”), I can’t say I’m all together comfortable with this proposal. Maybe I just need to read more to get a better handle on things?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      what’s to say government won’t, over time, decimate the Bill of Rights Act to make it consistent with preferred legislation?

      NZ’s ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

      Other than that, the ballot box. Which is the status quo anyway.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        So the ballot box, since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is more or less just a “feel good” (maybe “aspirational”)and largely unenforceable document.

        But then, since my question was asked in relation to government, not any particular party, and since both self proclaimed ‘right’ and ‘left’ have been party to the general drift of recent years that’s seen so-called “security” trump “rights”, the ballot box wouldn’t necessarily be of much use either.

        So the question stands. If government has the power to amend BORA, what’s to say government would only do so in a positive way?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1

          largely unenforceable document.

          I refer you to the decision in Hamed v R (pdf) in the Supreme Court.

          It cannot be the case that this factor always prompts admission of the evidence obtained in breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act where offending is serious. That would be to treat human rights, which are expressed as universal, as withdrawn from those charged with serious offending…

          The Justice Department says:

          The Declaration has had a profound influence on the development of international human rights law.

          But your basic premise is reasonable: human rights exist to protect us from abuses of power, including by the government, which is also the body charged with ensuring human rights. Who guards the guards?

          • Bill 4.1.1.1.1

            What?

            I said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (a UN doc) is largely unenforceable, and you throw up a quote from a case to do with the New Zealand Bill of Rights being circumvented or ignored due to “the seriousness” of the allegations in the case? Which goes on to say that “the seriousness” should be sat alongside other considerations before the Bill of Rights is circumvented!

            In future, the Bill of Rights may be simply be amended to accommodate government wishes – assuming some degree of parliamentary consensus. So no need to play footsie with additional cute legal/moral considerations.

            I’m also struggling with the “putty” of your second quote, which I read as simply saying that the Declaration has had a profound effect on laws drawn up in line with the Declaration. So fuck me dead Sherlock. Has it really?!

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1.1.1

              The clue is in the word “universal”. I wonder where the SC got it from 🙄

              In 1978 New Zealand ratified the 1966 United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This Covenant is one of two (with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) which are intended to give legal force to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

              Human Rights Foundation. My bold.

              I note you failed to address my agreement with your basic premise. There’s no pleasing some people.

    • Matthew Whitehead 4.2

      This legislation doesn’t go that far, so it’s not a risk of the planned Bill, just a risk if we take things further.

      The point it does become a risk is if/when we give BORA sovereignty over Parliament in the future, but that’s only a risk, and that’s only one way a National Party looking to game the system might go- they might instead try to politicize the appointment of judges to simply avoid them declaring things as incompatible with BORA, or they might be defeated by their opponents and simply accept they have to try and legislate within the limit of human rights legislation. (that last one being pretty unlikely until they’ve at least tried and failed with the other two routes)

      The thing is, National and ACT will try to undermine BORA no matter what we do. I personally think it’s better to stake our institutions on stopping them and make it clear when they’re violating human rights, rather than to leave BORA toothless, so every step further along this road seems good to me, even if they’re risky.

  5. weka 5

    There’s also an implicit check on the government to take a court’s recommendation to review a law seriously because of the risk that if they allow an inconsistent law to stand with no review for blatantly unreasonable grounds, they might end up with a second court case touching on that law and sending it back to them, or their opposition, to take action on.

    Do you mean that the courts can keep sending the same piece of legislation back to parliament? Or that if govt don’t take it seriously it might come back to bite them via other legislation?

    • Matthew Whitehead 5.1

      I expect that each new case touching on a piece of legislation would present an opportunity for a judge to send back a piece of legislation to Parliament, whether it had gone already or not. We’ll have to wait to see the Bill of course, but I think allowing courts to send legislation back again if it’s not amended or repealed the first time its inconsistency with BORA becomes relevant to a court case is absolutely something judges will do if their recommendations aren’t taken seriously and if the Bill allows for it.

  6. Dawson 6

    This post and the authors follow up comments are interesting but contain the following errors:

    – The proposal is that a finding of BORA inconsistency would mean Parliament has to reconsider the legislation, not amend or repeal it. Parliament could just decide to keep the legislation.

    – The Treaty of Waitangi is not at all enforceable as direct constitutional law except where incorporated into legislation. The courts have no power to order compensation on the basis of a breach of the treaty.

    – It takes more than a simple majority to entrench legislation. Standing orders state that “A proposal for entrenchment must itself be carried in a committee of the whole House by the majority that it would require for the amendment or repeal of the provision to be entrenched.”

    • Matthew Whitehead 6.1

      1) I actually say that in the post that parliament is required only to reconsider it. From there, their options are to leave it in force as it currently stands, amend, or repeal.

      *goes back and checks*

      Yep, I definitely did talk in the post itself about how the government can take no action on being ordered to review legislation under the planned Bill. You’re mistaken. You may have been confused by the fact that I later move on to talking about making BORA sovereign over Parliament, which would remove that option.

      2) That’s not entirely my understanding given that there are some legal principles behind treaty claims that don’t actually rely on specific NZ legislation, but you’re certainly right that to date all restitution for broken treaty promises has been done through channels deliberately created by NZ law. That’s not to say in the future that judges won’t rule that such law actually applies more widely than the government thinks it does because of those constitutional documents.

      3) That’s interesting, because it’s not in the law itself, which suggests that it entrenchment could be done by simple amendment of the standing orders without a supermajority. I hadn’t considered checking standing orders for that, thanks for the correction.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • GM Strikers Are Waging a Battle on Two Fronts
    Reprinted from Jacobinmag by Jane Slaughter and Chris Brooks Almost 50,000 UAW workers are on strike against GM and a two-tier labor system that undermines worker solidarity. But members may need to wage a battle on two fronts — against the company, but also against their own union leadership. Forty-nine ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    12 hours ago
  • Who Will Be Fed Next To The Hungry Gods Of Politics?
    Before Jacingrant There Was Gracinda: Grant Robertson and his 2014 running mate, Jacinda Ardern. She stood at his side: loyal and obliging, as she had ever been. The media dubbed this duo “Gracinda” – a sort of political “Brangelina”. The other young people who worked alongside Robertson were also ambitious ...
    21 hours ago
  • Simon Bridges: the 15 March Christchurch massacre and winning at any cost
    . . Just when you thought Simon Bridges couldn’t sink any lower – he has. After the March 15th  Christchurch terror attack, the (current) Leader of the National Party issued strong committments to support urgently needed gun law reform; “We will be ready and prepared to be constructive and to ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Only the least intelligent students, with bad parents, will attend the nonsense climate strike
    We all know that bad parents simply don’t care about their children’s education. Most truants have loser parents, and grow up to be involved with crime, or in low paid employment usually like their parents. The nonsense so-called “climate strike” coming up will be attended mostly by the least intelligent ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    2 days ago
  • Professional Internet Trolls being used to push manmade climate change lies
    Is the terrorist Organisation Greenpeace and the loony Green parties around the World hiring professional internet trolls? I have noticed a trend lately where if you post research, news articles or even comments that show the manmade climate change scam to be just that, you are immediately attacked, often within ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Strike!
    Today is the first day of the global climate strike. Led by schoolkids, people all around the world are going to protest to demand action on climate change. New Zealand isn't doing it till next Friday (join us!), but if you want to get active early, there's plenty to do ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Squandering our opportunity?
    The Herald has a story today about the 400 MW of wind power currently under construction. Good news, right? Except that none of it is being driven by policy (instead, its about replacing Contact Energy's Taranaki Combined Cycle gas-fired power plant, due to shut down in 2022), and most of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Protect The King!
    To Protect and Serve: When the Prime Minister finds herself enmeshed in the coils of a full-blown political scandal, her colleagues and party comrades have only one priority: to release her as swiftly – and with as little lasting injury – as possible. Is this what Jacinda Ardern’s colleagues and ...
    3 days ago
  • The rot at the top.
    When military leaders cover up and lie to elected civilian authorities, the foundation of democratic civil-military relations is undermined because it is those authorities who are entrusted to hold the military accountable to the public that they mutually serve. But this is only true if civilian political authorities take their ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Challenging the voting age in court
    The Make It 16 campaign to lower the voting age is launching this afternoon, and they have already announced plans to challenge the law in court:The campaign, named "Make it 16" will launch at Parliament on Friday, with plans to take their case to the High Court, testing the rights ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Israel’s elections herald a long siesta
    by Daphna Whitmore The long years of Netanyahu’s reign are drawing to an end. For years he has epitomized reactionary zionism as he oversaw hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers seize land in the West Bank. There are now 700,000 settlers, putting an end to the myth that Israel was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Petrol companies promise prices will come back down once peace is restored to the Middle East
    BP, Z and Mobil all insist that petrol price hikes are temporary, “in a very literal sense.” The nation’s major petrol providers are trying to allay customer fears over prices, promising that they’ll move to lower them again “immediately” when the Middle East is returned to its formerly peaceful state. ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • All Blacks unveil boat for Rugby World Cup 2019
    South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat. In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign. In a press conference that went ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • An increasingly shoddy coverup
    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    4 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    5 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    6 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    6 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    7 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    7 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    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
    1 week 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
  • 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago

No feed items found.