Role of Government

Written By: - Date published: 10:56 am, February 11th, 2014 - 45 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, community democracy, democratic participation, economy, Environment, global warming, political alternatives, sustainability - Tags: , ,

Modern western governments have been about essentially, two things. On the one hand they have ensured an environment favourable to the operation of the market economy. On the other they have been known to serve the interests of citizens by protecting us from the worse excesses of the market. That’s a simple but good enough brushstroke version of governance within a market context.

But the balancing act of governments, whether weighted this way or that, has run into some problems. The problems are such that governments can’t continue with those roles through the near and unfolding future. Obviously, one way or another, there isn’t going to be a market economy. But without a market economy to manage, what remains for government to do?

It would take a particularly enlightened government to ease us away from production and distribution based on market economics and, well…people who seek power don’t tend to be the most enlightened or smartest of people. You may disagree with that and think that they are indeed among the brightest and smartest while some even possess an ability to inspire. If you’re right, then we can expect some serious shifts of focus coming from government, erm…20 years ago. That was when the need for a radical shifts in focus became urgent. That said then, it’s probably safe to predict that we’ll persist with a market economy until climate change par boils it or whatever.

Back to the inconvenient truth whereby reality is dictating that the traditional role of government is now defunct. The inability to acknowledge that has set both them and all of us in society down a path of auto destruct. There is less than no point in seeking to preserve market conditions when overwhelming external factors dictate that the market can’t be preserved. For the same reason, there is also no need for government to protect us from the market beyond the very short term.

Meanwhile,  they’ve got us by the short and curlies, insisting that we stay standing on this here railway track, even though the debatable source of light at the end of a tunnel has transpired to be a hell thundering through the cold grey light of dawn.

So what should or could governments do? There is still a need for short term protection from the effects of the market. Beyond that, there is a need to help lay the groundwork for what comes after the market and for what must come in the face of climate change.

To my mind, that entails government removing both the market and themselves from social/political and economic spaces and encouraging us to fill those vacated spaces in order that we can develop our own, new institutions, that will allow us to make the necessary decisions and to take the appropriate actions that flow from those deliberations.

If they don’t willingly begin to aid us, and if we can’t force them to, then the future is one of totalitarianism amid diminished resources and capabilities in a world ravaged by climate change.

Don’t take my (sometimes hyperbolic) word for it. Listen to almost any of the serious thinkers or analysts from any number of disciplines – the future’s looking bleak.

Now, how about you don’t parody the inertia of government by just sitting back to watch the show? (It will be televised).

45 comments on “Role of Government”

  1. phil 1

    It’s the corporates that rule the Country, via the ‘government’. The term could be ‘patsy government’, Clayton’s government, or perhaps ‘faux government’. To go along with our dumocrupty.

  2. weka 2

    Yep.

    To my mind, that entails government removing both the market and themselves from social/political and economic spaces and encouraging us to fill those vacated spaces in order that we can develop our own, new institutions, that will allow us to make the necessary decisions and to take the appropriate actions that flow from those deliberations.

    If they don’t willingly begin to aid us, and if we can’t force them to, then the future is one of totalitarianism amid diminished resources and capabilities in a world ravaged by climate change.

    Something worth debating perhaps is how this is framed. In that paragraph, the framing puts the government in the position of power, and us in the position of powerlessness or fighting. The government is the active agent, we are passive, waiting for them to encourage us once they have stepped aside.

    Another perspective is what is happening within the grassroots movements like Transition Towns, permaculture, relocalisation etc. There, the idea is to just get on with the work needing to be done with the idea that the people in authority will follow. No-one is asking for permission or waiting for governance or waiting for the power structures to change, they’re doing what needs to be done and then some of them are seeking ways to engage with existing authority (to varying degrees of success).

    One of the challenges here (in this conversation) politically is that the left has a core value of government being the main vehicle of responsibility for the collective. If govt is to devolve, then how do we maintain the ethics of community?

    There is another issue in what you raise. How much time until external events force change? You say the govt can only protect us from the market for the short term, but the one constant in facing our future is that we really have no idea of timeframes. That necessitates a greater degree of flexibility. It is fair to say that in terms of our own actions, we have no time left to lose. In terms of strategy, the issue of timing is important.

    • Bill 2.1

      I take your points and don’t actually disagree with them.

      If grassroots activity reaches a level whereby government is forced to sit up and take notice and then act positively, then it’s all good. With a few exceptions (Venezuela being the obvious one), many heads usually get cracked before governments even consider ceding ground. Meanwhile, we don’t really have a functioning or powerful extra parliamentary left in NZ. What there is is either insignificant and mired in old school shit (the remnants of various Leninist inspired orgs) or has been largely co-opted (eg, unions).

      Will those involved in the positive things you mention take up the antagonistic, negative but necessary ‘bodies on the line’ role vacated by the old, decimated left should events unfold in such a way as to demand it? That’s just an open question.

      Meanwhile, I was trying to be positive (yeah, I know! 😉 ) and had in mind the example of Venezuela, where the government seeks to open up spaces formally occupied by the private sector or the state and then steps back while providing the means for people to develop those spaces (favourable legislation and access to resources)…a sort of deliberate and self inflicted ‘withering of the state’.

      Hair splitting bit here – I wrote that government only needs to protect us short term (lots of caveats); not that it only can.

      As for time and tactics…yeah, I’d say it’s urgent and that as best we can, we act intelligently and ‘box clever’ where we need to. Mistakes will be made and lessons learned. Or we’ll all sit back and wait for whatever is coming down to land on us and be forced into the realm of chaotic reactions.

      • weka 2.1.1

        “If grassroots activity reaches a level whereby government is forced to sit up and take notice and then act positively, then it’s all good.”

        Still not my point. It’s not about forcing the govt to change. The idea is that you get enough people and enough movement happening around the right things (eg localising food production/sustainable land management, alternative currencies and timebanks, systems of decision making, energy etc), and then the people in govt will follow. Some of them at least. It’s easier to conceive of this with local govt because these are people already living in our communities. And increasing numbers of them are already at least partially on board with the need for change re AGW etc. (talking staff here as well as councillors, and this is why we need to support these people as much as possible). When those people, and the ones that are sitting on the fence, start feeling the pressure from serious things like fuel price increases and food shortages (not in the sense of going hungry, but when the market obviously starts failing to provide our standard of living and choice), there will already be many alternative systems in place for them to turn to (that applies to the general population in the community too). Once those people understand how their families are going to be affected, and they see the alternatives are already operating in the community, involving people in their community that have respect and value, then it will be much easier for them to change.

        We want a certain number of the population on board, then we want the pressure from AGW/PO/GFC, and then we want a tipping point.

        At that point, I agree there is the potential for the need for conflict. But I don’t think it’s a given that that will happen, so I am suggesting we look at other ways of framing this too. We may still have some choice in NZ about which ways it goes.

        I think the above theory is optimistic, and possibly overly so, but I think it’s value is that its grassroots, and its something that is inclusive. In the absense of the pan left movement we need, it will appeal to more people than political revolution IMO.

        Will those involved in the positive things you mention take up the antagonistic, negative but necessary ‘bodies on the line’ role vacated by the old, decimated left should events unfold in such a way as to demand it? That’s just an open question.

        Important question. I think some will for sure. But it doesn’t really get talked about. I think there are a number of reasons for this. One is the excess of the middle classes, who haven’t had to think about these things. Another is that avoidance of fear is a major tactic, and it probably serves the movements better at this stage to not think about the need for future violence. Or even protest, if you were meaning it at that level.

        Meanwhile, I was trying to be positive (yeah, I know! 😉 ) and had in mind the example of Venezuela, where the government seeks to open up spaces formally occupied by the private sector or the state and then steps back while providing the means for people to develop those spaces (favourable legislation and access to resources)…a sort of deliberate and self inflicted ‘withering of the state’.

        I reckon put up some links. I’m sure I’m not the only one here who is not familiar enough with the situation in Venezeula to know what you mean. I think maybe you forget how well read you in some of these areas compared to others.

        “Hair splitting bit here – I wrote that government only needs to protect us short term (lots of caveats); not that it only can.”

        ok, I don’t understand what you mean then. Do you mean the govt is protecting itself from the market?

        As for time and tactics…yeah, I’d say it’s urgent and that as best we can, we act intelligently and ‘box clever’ where we need to. Mistakes will be made and lessons learned. Or we’ll all sit back and wait for whatever is coming down to land on us and be forced into the realm of chaotic reactions.

        What I meant about timing is that, acknowledging we need to act now, we also need to acknowledge that we don’t know what the timing will be with AGW/PO/GCF pressure. So in my example above, where that pressure is crucial, the timing is also crucial. If it happens before we have critical mass around change, then things will be harder. If it doesn’t happen for decades we will lose much to the dying throes of capitalism (increased poverty, mass land degradation, worse AGW effects etc).

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          Meant to add a bit in there on edit, but lost my internet connection,

          Once those people (in local govt) understand how their families are going to be affected, and they see the alternatives are already operating in the community, involving people in their community that have respect and value, then it will be much easier for them to change.

          We want a certain number of the population on board, then we want the pressure from AGW/PO/GFC, and then we want a tipping point.

          At that point, I agree there is the potential for the need for conflict. But I don’t think it’s a given that that will happen, so I am suggesting we look at other ways of framing this too. We may still have some choice in NZ about which ways it goes.

          I think the above theory is optimistic, and possibly overly so, but I think it’s value is that its grassroots, and its something that is inclusive. In the absense of the pan left movement we need, it will appeal to more people than political revolution IMO.

          • Bill 2.1.1.1.1

            So, if I’m reading you correctly, the first paragraph is about building parallel institutions and reaching ‘critcal mass’ – something I’ve banged on about often enough here on ‘ts’. I think we broadly agree there. As to whether those enjoying ongoing privilege jump or adopt a siege mentality is an open question I think. A lot would depend on how well developed any parallel possibilities were and what pressure (say) a corporate/state nexus could bring to bear in terms of carrots and sticks….which you touch on in your edit. Eastern Europe was largely non-violent. So, who knows.

            As ever, I’m confused by what you might mean by revolution though. Your first paragraph is revolution – a new way superceding an old way- yet you then go on to say that what you outline would be more appealing than revolution.

            Further down – all I mean is that the state has always been a kind of buffer between us (the citizen) and the effects of a market naked in tooth and claw. Given that the market can’t survive a globally warmed future, we only need the state as a buffer for as long as the market persists.

          • Polish Pride 2.1.1.1.2

            I think all it needs is common sense and the right message.
            To get to this though, a certain level of concenus is required on a number of key questions.
            I also think the conversation needs to not be so focussed on the Govt being the problem. I believe it is a key part of it but is caught between two opposing ideologies, neither of which accurately determines what the role of the system should be.
            In designing, improving, building any system the first and most important question to both ask and have answered is:

            What is it that you want the system to do or what is the purpose of the system?
            then in this instance
            Who should the system be for? (answer this one first – just trust me on this).

            Unless these are answered satisfactorily you are unlikely to achieve the outcome you want to with or without government.
            I have seen millions of dollars spent in both the public and the private sector because they failed to ask these questions (and more) and agree upon these things up front.

            • Polish Pride 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Also Capitalism and Neoliberalism are quite easy to destroy if you go through proper systems analysis starting with both questions of who and what the system is for.
              Once you have that systems analysis and justification you then only need to hold capitalism and neoliberalism up to that analysis to see how it fares and neither hold up under this scrutiny at all.

        • just saying 2.1.1.2

          This is a really interesting conversation. I’m looking forward to reading (hopefully) a whole lot of different insights and viewpoints after I do what I should be doing now.

          Just in the meantime this (the following) struck me, and the reason it did is that it’s a question (in its broadest sense) that I find myself aware of regarding the people around me to the point of affecting relationships in some cases. Yet it’s not something that is mentioned ordinarily.

          Will those involved in the positive things you mention take up the antagonistic, negative but necessary ‘bodies on the line’ role vacated by the old, decimated left should events unfold in such a way as to demand it? That’s just an open question.

          Important question. I think some will for sure. But it doesn’t really get talked about. I think there are a number of reasons for this. One is the excess of the middle classes, who haven’t had to think about these things. Another is that avoidance of fear is a major tactic, and it probably serves the movements better at this stage to not think about the need for future violence. Or even protest, if you were meaning it at that level.

    • adam 2.2

      “One of the challenges here (in this conversation) politically is that the left has a core value of government being the main vehicle of responsibility for the collective”

      What the… Really so a libertarian left does not exist? Nor has it? One idea at the basic level, even if your a social democrat, is that government is not to be trusted – not in your lexicon?

      What core value, this is the type of outlandish statement that gives the right the club with which to beat up the whole left. Come on Weka, you may see it personally as a core value, and that is your choice. But, if the majority of the left think the government has a role to play in morality and responsibility for action – then totalitarianism is the future. Plan and simple.

      I know it hard for some, but we are looking at the collapse of an economic system in our lifetime. This is not being driven by us personally, nor by nations nor is it predictable when it will fall over, but it is going to. I don’t like the idea, I really don’t, but look around and read what the hell is going on. Even the world bank (not a left wing group at all) and there report on climate change – They are even talking about fundamental changes to the way we run our lives and the economy.

      “There, the idea is to just get on with the work needing to be done with the idea that the people in authority will follow. No-one is asking for permission or waiting for governance or waiting for the power structures to change, they’re doing what needs to be done and then some of them are seeking ways to engage with existing authority (to varying degrees of success).”

      OMG yes, I could not agree more. As an anarchist you know I’m going to say bugger the authority, how can they justify their legitimacy – generally they can’t.

      “If govt is to devolve, then how do we maintain the ethics of community?”

      Governance verses Government chestnut. Don’t you think Weka with more democracy, not less, then ideas of governance come to the for. We do governance all the time, family, work, iwi, etc… Were use the form, and I have no problem with the that, indeed it could be argued as amoral familists it is the only real form of relationships we understand. (I digress) The mind set shift is we normally see/secede the handing of that form to government. We don’t need to, we can govern ourselves.

      Finally thanks Weka and Bill for starting the brain juices working this morning.

      • weka 2.2.1

        Not sure what you mean by libertarian left there adam, nor why you think that what I said negates it. Engari, fwiw, I don’t see libertarian ethics, as I hear them presented nowadays, as being a huge part of the left in NZ. although they definitely have a strong presence in some sub-cultures. Like I said, there is the expectation historically that the government has a responsibility to meet the communal needs of the people (health, education, roading, law etc). There has been some tension between that and those who seek to work beyond that model. A classic contemporary example is Maori wanting control of funds to deliver social security to their own people outside of WINZ/MSD. This get’s called ‘privatisation’ (and other things) by many in the left. Myself, I completely understand where Maori are coming from with this – they want to establish their own systems of governance if you like and they know that they are the best people to deliver support to their people. I can’t see why a new model can’t be set up, but that is beyond what the traditional left and right in NZ can cope with. (I don’t seen an inherent contradiction between the tradition social ethic of the left and that btw).

        Governance verses Government chestnut. Don’t you think Weka with more democracy, not less, then ideas of governance come to the for. We do governance all the time, family, work, iwi, etc… Were use the form, and I have no problem with the that, indeed it could be argued as amoral familists it is the only real form of relationships we understand. (I digress) The mind set shift is we normally see/secede the handing of that form to government. We don’t need to, we can govern ourselves.

        Yes, more democracy, of course. I just don’t see anarchy as presenting anything viable at this stage, sorry. Potential yes, definitely; useable in the immediate future, no. I also don’t see any evidence that we can govern ourselves (and bear in mind I’ve been involved in many different kinds of alternative systems for many years). Again, potential but not working models yet. Left to ourselves, eg if the global economy collapsed suddenly, and the NZ govt followed suit, I think we would have multiple systems springing up in NZ, some good, some bad, and we would all be on a mighty learning curve. The main thing I think about is how many people in NZ haven’t even been exposed to the ideas you are talking about, let alone adopted them or practiced them before the shit hits the fan. Of all the things I’m aware of I think iwi probably have the most to offer, but colonisation has taken its toll there too in terms of how to organise collectively.

        • Bill 2.2.1.1

          Just want to pick up on this one point –

          I also don’t see any evidence that we can govern ourselves..

          Couple of questions. Why would we expect to see any such evidence when we are inculcated from a very young age and by all the institutions we encounter to believe that others should govern us?

          Given the preponderance and reach of institutions that assume to govern us, where would the spaces be that would have afforded the opportunity to practice self governance?

          Given the depth of the conditioning mentioned in my first question here, why would we expect people to develop self governance systems and structures as a fall back or default position when ‘traditional’ or taught means of governance are at our disposal?

          If, as you imply, we can’t govern ourselves (and I hope my questions sign-post why I don’t ascribe to that view), then how on earth can we hold to the belief that some of us can somehow govern all of us?

          We might not be at all well practiced in self governance. But we have to try whenever and wherever it is possible. If we don’t make the effort and the mistakes, then all we are doing is inviting authoritarian forms of governance to hold sway over us and by our own measure of supposed inability, justifying their position of authority over us.

          • weka 2.2.1.1.1

            I’m not suggesting that there should be evidence that we can govern ourselves. I just responded to what I thought adam was saying, that it’s done an dusted that we can. I have no problem with the theory, I just don’t see enough of the practice yet.

            Having said that 😉 I’m not sure what you mean by self-governance, whether you mean individual or collective. Individually there are plenty of people that practice self-governance as individuals despite the socialisations. And there are attempts to practice collectively too, but it was these I was aiming my major criticism at.

            “Given the depth of the conditioning mentioned in my first question here, why would we expect people to develop self governance systems and structures as a fall back or default position when ‘traditional’ or taught means of governance are at our disposal?”

            Plenty of people are dissatisfied with the status quo. And plenty of people have theorised and tried to put into practice alternatives. Any expectation I have is based on observation. Not sure what you mean by default there though.

            “If, as you imply, we can’t govern ourselves (and I hope my questions sign-post why I don’t ascribe to that view), then how on earth can we hold to the belief that some of us can somehow govern all of us?”

            I said we can’t govern ourselves yet collectively (at this time). I think if we could we would be doing so, at least in some lesser ways even if not on a large scale.

            “We might not be at all well practiced in self governance. But we have to try whenever and wherever it is possible. If we don’t make the effort and the mistakes, then all we are doing is inviting authoritarian forms of governance to hold sway over us and by our own measure of supposed inability, justifying their position of authority over us.”

            Sure, and as noted, there is plenty of potential. I just don’t want to start with the assumption that things are givens, which is what adam seemed to me to be doing. For instance, we already know that here on ts we have no consensus on self-governance. This is the major limitation of the anarchist views (as I understand them from the outside). I know people I trust to self govern in the absense of collective governance. It’s the other buggers that worry me.

            I also don’t accept the absolutist position of either complete self-governance or authoritarianism as the only options. I would prefer to look at what we can work with from where we are now.

  3. shorts 3

    a central role of govt is to decide how determine the policy(s) the state will follow, how to implement them and how to enforce them – something our current govt (in particular) is very much lacking at

    of the parties I feel the greens and mana are actually thinking about the changing world and how best to adapt and implement policies to address our future/present challenges, labour is dragging the chain behind them (not necessarily a bad thing) and the right parties all have their heads in sand prefering to do the bidding of others (not the public)

  4. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4

    @ Bill

    Hmm I don’t agree with your definition of the ‘traditional role’ of government – you appear to be speaking about the economic role of government – yet having done so have dismissed other important roles of governments.

    This is a website providing legal information from Cornell University in the USA, which provides a couple of lists outlining the roles governments traditionally take part in:

    (1) Schools.

    (2) Hospitals.

    (3) Fire prevention.

    (4) Police protection.

    (5) Sanitation.

    (6) Public health.

    (7) Parks and recreation.

    (8) Libraries.

    (9) Museums.

    (12) Sewage treatment.

    [second list]

    1) Finance (including Auditor, Budget and Comptroller).

    (2) Elections.

    (3) Personnel.

    (4) Public works.

    (5) Office of the Mayor.

    (6) Legal Affairs.

    (7) Planning.

    (8) Waterworks.

    (9) Social services.

    (10) Street and highway construction and maintenance.

    (11) Automobile licensing.

    Omitting these other aspects of government ends up turning the argument you are presenting into somewhat of a strawman – I doubt this was your intention – however when these other important services are acknowledged it undermines the point you are attempting to make.

    Even taking your definition into account, and noting this part of it:

    “On the other they have been known to serve the interests of citizens by protecting us from the worse excesses of the market.”

    Had governments not been nearly completely derelict in their duty of this aspect – [from having been fanatically following extremist ideas of neo-liberal ideology] – then I doubt very much that ‘the markets’ would be collapsing as they are currently doing. The aggressive pursuit of deregulation has allowed dishonesty, corruption and fraud to flourish and I believe it is this [and these ‘qualities’] that has lead to the ‘fall’ we are witnessing.

    Notwithstanding this sad state of affairs – governments still have roles of social and structural services and are not solely ‘economic’ managers.

    • Bill 4.1

      yeah bl – I didn’t claim to offer up anything beyond a very broad brush stroke of what a government does in a market context. I’ll stand by that as sufficient for the point I was making.

      If you run down the list you provide and then reflect on whether the service or infrastructure was initially provided to facilitate or protect business and the business environment or whether it was intended as being provided for the public good you might get an idea of where I’m coming from. Also maybe reflect on many came about as a reaction to the endless clusterfuck that resulted from usurping community in favour of industrial units (forced enclosures and industrialisation). Some examples – education. Was it done as an act of philanthropy or did factory owners need workers who were able to read? Fire service – initially a desire to protect private property. Same with the police. Health services – initially for what or who? Maybe also think your way through how many developed in a given direction due to public pressure or other sources of fear bearing on government, rather then any altruistic desire to ‘do good’.

      Dunno about your last bit. Market economies are notoriously unstable. And sure, if the liberal elites had been held to account as they were some decades back by mass movements, then we wouldn’t be having all this austerity nonsense.

      edit – damned internet gremlins. Didn’t mean to post in triplicate.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        For a while there, some members of the power elite took enlightenment values and principles quite seriously. Whether it was from a religious perspective or a humanist perspective. And in the modern day (the last 100-200 years) an educated, liberal elite helped to ensure that incremental positive change kept occurring in society.

        Nowadays those same types of people seem pre-occupied with other more material concerns, including careerism and materialism.

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.1.1.1

          + 1

          Thank you CV, thank you for acknowledging what used to exist and still does in some circles.

          [& so much more succinctly than my fulmination @ comment 9!]

        • Bill 4.1.1.2

          Routinely, pressure has had to be applied to elite liberal circles before progressive reforms have eventuated. (Thinking women’s rights, labour rights, ‘racial’ equality etc)

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.2.1

            Yes, exactly. In a way, you have to co-opt and seduce those who are sympathetic within the liberal elite, then pressure, leverage or force the rest who are resistant.

            By the way, that’s also the strategy that the right wing and corporate interests have done to help turn the liberal elite against the working class and the underclass. Trotter’s recent writing on how non neo-lib economists in NZ were shut down and shut out is very instructive.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.1.2

        My answer to Bill is at comment 9

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Organised mass movements of people placing civic pressure on political parties and governments to ‘do the right thing’ are crucial.

    I think Bill is right; 20-30 years ago we could have got away as a civilisation with moderate and incremental changes to deal with climate change, peak fossil fuels and income inequality.

    Instead, we allowed the take over of govts by corporates and multi-millionaires, and now it’s starting to look too late to avert a civilisation scale disaster led by a toxic combination of the insane and the ignorant.

    But we have to try.

  6. captain hook 6

    I would disagree that government is holding on to all its traditonal roles. It is now under constant attack and traducement from the neo liberals who want to steal all they can from the state and remove its influence from any remaining public good.
    they also equate the public good with communism and their cause as capitalism when in fact it is just theft by stealth.
    time for people to stand up and tell it like it is.

    • Bill 6.1

      I can see where you’re coming from. When I offered the broad brush stroke in the post, I was well aware that really, governments have only been concerned with the market environment until pushed by popular demand (the suffragettes, labour movements, civil rights movements etc).

      Now, they have been more or less captured by the corporates whose influence faces no real opposition from the presence of popular movements pushing in other directions . So the future, as it stands, would seem to offer corporatism or a state centered back lash resulting in a command economy. Neither scenario does any of us 5/8ths of fuck all good.

      We need change. Big change. And a part of that could involve a positive change in the way governments see themselves and their role. Don’t think I’m holding my breath by the way – it’s probably going to be hard roe to hoe, involving us going up against both the state and the corporate sector.

      Now, where was that tiny ray of hope I tried to implant in the post? Fuckit. Gone. Oh well, back to reality then.

  7. captain hook 7

    There isn’t much hope at the moment.
    the world is being run by accountants and psychos who can just never have enough and as the world environment turns to custard and all the rest they dont give a stuff because they are the BOSS.
    pretty simple really.

  8. Flip 8

    Big topic there Bill.

    I think you have missed the point of government though. Fundamentally it is there to protect the security in the broadest sense of its people now and into the future. If government kept that in mind I think they’d have a few more clues.

    It loses its legitimacy when it fails to do this for most of the people it is there to serve.

    I could catalog the many ways in which the government should do that and its failures currently (and to be fair some successes) but I do not have the time/energy or incentive to do it.

    The management of economic markets is but one aspect it is failing in.

    • Bill 8.1

      Fundamentally it is there to protect the security in the broadest sense of its people now and into the future

      Try squaring that with the history of social struggle and sacrifice embarked on by people against government. I can’t.

      • Flip 8.1.1

        That would take a book to do. And in trying there is a good chance you might fail though I’m sure individuals would stand out. But the ideal exists and perhaps if the system was better, then it would produced a better quality of person and we’d get closer to the ideal.

        Two things are flawed. The system and the people. Both can stand improving.

        Are people the products of the system or the system a product of people? Probably both are true.

  9. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9

    If you run down the list you provide and then reflect on whether the service or infrastructure was initially provided to facilitate or protect business and the business environment or whether it was intended as being provided for the public good you might get an idea of where I’m coming from.

    I feel that you (amongst others) are rewriting history in order to make sense of what is going on now and it is not accurate nor helpful – infact I believe you are falling into a trap of buying into the framing those that you politically oppose.

    Sure, some of these services may have facilitated business – even perhaps started with that aim -(although perhaps not) yet please recall and acknowledge that there did used to be the idea out amongst many in the community that “community” existed and that existence was highly valued. Please do not forget that values other than profit motive did used to be important.

    There is a difference between the ideology that businesses and jobs were important and good for the community and therefore a government supplying services that support these community-benefit-providers and the one that we have now which is community is simply a ‘made up notion’ and profit is the value to aim at – in fact aiming at profit will provide us with all the social needs and services [oops! Not that ‘social’ should be acknowledged to exist, let us remember – it is an only the individual exists zone from here on in snuffle snuffle].

    I posit that these services started with the best intentions – at least some of them and when business interests became stronger and more powerful they warped them to suit themselves*.

    Today people such as yourself are observing how warped and self interested things have become and are assuming that this is the way it has always been. That the motivates running rampant now (because they have been encouraged by powerful interests*) are the sole motives that exist now and are the only ones that ever existed.*

    I think this is a sad rewrite of history and ignores those people now and in history that actually acted successfully to make this world a better place – and boy do we directly benefit from the improvements those people made – and are making – yet no longer do we even have the honour to acknowledge those peoples’ motives ever existed.

    So no, Bill, I do not think that governments have been quite as narrowly focussed and devoid of good intention as they are now – I imagine it has usually been a mix of ‘good’ (wider interests: acknowledging peoples’ interests) and ‘bad’ (narrow & self-serving) intentions and the balance at present is increasingly weighted toward the ‘bad’.

    * If government was always the way that you seem to think – then why is this professor is writing about the ‘anti-government’ campaign? [conducted by big business & powerful people]. Surely Big business wouldn’t need such a campaign if governments had been as focussed on business as you appear to think?

    http://www.governmentisgood.com/articles.php?aid=9&p=1

    about the professor

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Indeed. Falling for the Right Wing’s “government is the problem” meme is not going to be very helpful to us. Yes, governments in the past have been keen to help business interests…but when those business interests are owned by people who live in the same town as you, the scope for malfaesance is much more limited than when those business interests are multinational and anonymous.

      Where it has gone wrong now (esp in the USA and UK) is that the power of government and of corporations (particularly the banks) not only far overshadows anything that legitimate citizens can gather on their own behalf (since unions and various civil organisations have been smashed) but that governmental and private sector corporate power have been merging.

      In NZ we still have viable opportunities to make our democratic systems fairer, bolster the power and transparency of the judiciary and other regulatory bodies, and increase the role played by local communities. Taking real steps towards economic democracy is also still possible.

      But for how much longer however, I am not sure.

    • Bill 9.2

      In a rush. Will respond anon.

    • Bill 9.3

      I think this is a sad rewrite of history and ignores those people now and in history that actually acted successfully to make this world a better place – and boy do we directly benefit from the improvements those people made – and are making – yet no longer do we even have the honour to acknowledge those peoples’ motives ever existed.

      I in no way ignore or dismiss people or acts that have pressured government into ‘doing the right thing’. Nye Bevin comes instantly to mind. And, of course, there have been many other good people trying to work through government. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that our governments have institutionally been generally far from benign.

      Think of the suffragettes, the unionists and those engaged with civil rights movements etc who had to fight, and fight hard and long to wrest concessions from governments that were content to break heads.

      A quick walk through history from the callous ‘free market’ dogma of the Victorian era, up through the slaughter of millions in WWI and millions more in WWII with depression and oppression sandwiched in between, kind of blows away any argument for how benign governments have been.

      Post WWII, gains were made. But they were made because western governments were shit scared that the populace would find state communism attractive and because people were demanding change.. And when the idea surfaced in the 80s that all gains should be rolled back, did you witness any western government opposing the idea? People in various countries did, but their governments? I didn’t.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.3.1

        Hi Bill,

        I think that you would be sorely disappointed if you think that removing government from society will end wars.

        Humans have good qualities and bad ones – this is reflected in governments.

        I view governments as a way to organise large groups of people – I am open to alternative forms of organisation yet fail to view there would be any ‘structure’ that would cause an end to war; as soon as people collect together in groups – competition and wanting what the other group has arises – this is best addressed by ethics, not structures (or removing structures completely).

        Emphasising the golden rule, cooperation, cause and effect, valuing diversity, ensuring wealth is spread around and channelling our propensity for aggression in some way are ways that can counteract our aggressive streak – not removing our organisational structures -which, in my view, would likely create more conflict – not less (I am open to being proven wrong on that one – would prefer to be wrong on this. It would however take some convincing!)

        We have become more capable of killing en masse because of technological development. We also have private interests making weapons – who need these weapons to be used so they can make more profit, we have powerful groups in the world that want more and more profit and power – and don’t care about harming other lives nor wiping out whole cultures in the process. Addressing these problems is more likely to lead to less wars – dropping governments will simply lead to other groups being created and I am extremely confident that conflicts between the new groups would arise.

        • Bill 9.3.1.1

          Yeah bl. Except I didn’t say anything about ‘removing government from society’. If anything, what I’m proposing is a way to ensure that government is firmly embedded within society. At the moment it sits somewhat separate and above.

          Embedding government within society would obviously diminish the concentrations of power you signpost in your comment…democracy always undercuts any concentration of power or influence .

          You also don’t seem to give any consideration of how structures impact on behaviour. As a brief example, market economies reward and so encourage certain behaviours (competition and ‘doing over’ your ‘neighbour’) while failing to award others (co-operation).

          Structure is important and not the neutral phenomenon you appear to think it is.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.3.1.1.1

            @ Bill

            I fairly well agree with the points you make here.

            Somewhere along the line I thought you were arguing against government – the manner in which you omitted to acknowledge all the roles governments conduct undermines the good that they do (sometimes) serve and I really do think that this plays into the anti-government theme of powerful interests which has successfully consolidated their power and undermined democracy.

            I did miss your main point which if I am [now] understanding correctly is one of trying to motivate people to join in – not sit on the side-lines – I agree with this and apologise for having missed your main point!

            “You also don’t seem to give any consideration of how structures impact on behaviour. As a brief example, market economies reward and so encourage certain behaviours (competition and ‘doing over’ your ‘neighbour’) while failing to award others (co-operation).”

            Good point – this is true. My belief is that the whole ‘individualistic and competitiveness’ emphasis has come from an aversion to acknowledging ethics (how people got ‘right put off’ Christianity from all the negative things Christian organisations pursued – such as anti-intellectualism and child molesting and proceeded to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’), and this is where I was coming from re emphasis on ethics, however you do make a good point – I did omit this aspect and should have know better after having read and discussed here on The Standard the article by Caleb Rosado which covered that point well.

    • adam 9.4

      Where to begin blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) where to begin.

      “So no, Bill, I do not think that governments have been quite as narrowly focussed and devoid of good intention as they are now – I imagine it has usually been a mix of ‘good’ (wider interests: acknowledging peoples’ interests) and ‘bad’ (narrow & self-serving) intentions and the balance at present is increasingly weighted toward the ‘bad’.”

      The road to hell is paved with…good intentions. Sometimes there is a reason for a cliche, feel free to read what you said again. Because the right/capital think that good intentions are on their side too. Not all, I’m pretty sure there are some in Labour and National who know its all a big lie and what they are doing is not good for anyone but a few.

      To your other comments blue leopard, please I know we live in NZ and the state/government here is quite pervasive and everywhere. Indeed it goes a long way into our lives and business. But, you sound like an apologist for the state, it kinda sounds like the same arguments Maori and all other indigenous people get about all the good colonisation has done for them. See here’s a list even, be thankful you have a government to tell you what good they do and how you can do the right thing in return.

      Look I’m an anarchist blue leopard, so I will ask one question. Why can’t you and yours be able to perform what’s on your list – once you get use to being democratic? Because the only one on your list I think we need some real hard out organization on is point (6) Public health. But then again, what is to stop us from being federal, or any other organic structure we might wish to choice to spread over the country? And BL a history of the modern state is the history of mass death, and winners in history don’t talk about all the killing they do, because they won.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.4.1

        @ adam

        “The road to hell is paved with…good intentions. Sometimes there is a reason for a cliché…”

        Yes there is sometimes a reason for a cliché – it is a short saying that quickly relays a wise idea – clichés can also be quoted inappropriately and lead to messed up ideas. I consider the latter is what you have done in your comment.

        “The road to hell is paved with…good intentions.” means that we have to take a great deal of care and be thoughtful about our good intentions and specifically what new conditions pursuing them will create. I.e. we don’t always create what we intend – sometimes good intentions lead to unintended bad consequences however sometimes they don’t

        This cliché doesn’t mean that all good intentions lead to hell! It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t cultivate good intentions; it means that we need to consider with great care what effects our good intentions will create.

        I’m saying that some politicians have good intentions and have improved things for a lot of people for having had them. As others on this thread have mentioned – this has often come about from people pressure – pressure from people out here in society – who also have good intentions.

        Good intentions are not a sign that everything is going to go wrong! – I sincerely hope that is not what you meant by quoting that cliché in response to what I wrote – because that really is the implication you have left in my mind from your having done so.

        “But, you sound like an apologist for the state, it kinda sounds like the same arguments Maori and all other indigenous people get about all the good colonisation has done for them. See here’s a list even, be thankful you have a government to tell you what good they do and how you can do the right thing in return. “

        I listed what I saw as the ‘traditional role of government’ (I am wondering now whether some are incorrect and are actually roles of the State, not government). Where did I ‘apologise’ for any malpractice by the State? I didn’t .

        To the contrary, there was a severe criticism that successive governments have been derelict in their duty in my first comment. Did you miss that? [Perhaps it is you that needed to read my comment again]

        Yes it can be read that I believe government provides a beneficial role in society – No this doesn’t mean I think that all things a government or State does is good.

  10. Ad 10

    1. We do at least need a well regulated society, even if we have no democracy.
    We can now make a distinction in the term “government” between democratic enagagement, and regulation. New Zealand has not gone to hell in a handcart despite all kinds of major utilities shifting from public to private hands (not that I like it). So public regulation is different to public ownership, and is also different to public democratic accountability.

    2. We need security from harm from those who are more powerful than us.
    There’s a fair number of instutitions needed for that.

    3. We may argue that we don’t need any redistribution of wealth at all. Go for it. But I think we need at least some minimal tax. This needs collecting across a country rather than across a city, because rural residents would never be able to afford services themselves.

    4. Humans have got along without states for quite some times, but they tend to start looking pretty feudal pretty fast. Might be worth reading up on those stories of shipwrecked groups of people – why some of them have worked, why others fail.

    5. Have another look at the series “Deadwood”, this time as a group on the cusp of forming society, feeling themlseves through the necessity for cetain kinds of order. Then have a read of the UN Declaration fo Human Rights – and think about the kinds of collective will needed to achieve those.

  11. Really interesting post, Bill.

    Have you ever read Monbiot’s Age of Consent?

    It goes in the opposite direction from what you are suggesting, but with the same goal – democratisation of how we organise ourselves. He argues for the institution (via institutions) of global democracy to match corporate globalisation.

    If I remember correctly from when I read it, he discusses self-governance movements (e.g., anarchism) and comes up with the usual criticism – what does a thoroughly non-hierarchical, democratic collectivity do when it is confronted with a centralised entity that seeks to subdue or destroy it?

    From hunter-gatherer bands to the Spanish Civil War, the question is always how such thoroughly democratic arrangements are able to protect themselves from centrally-organised force.

    I see modern nation states, fundamentally, as mechanisms established to operate, enforce and embed ‘real-existent’ capitalist market economies and other totalitarian systems (‘totalitarian’ in the technical sense – totalising systems that allow no alternatives).

    A thoroughly democratic (i.e., non-centralised, self-governing) world would therefore be one without nations. No New Zealand, no Australia, no United States, no China … no Leviathan.

    Without market economies to administer, modern nation states lose their point. Which is not to say that some of their functions would no longer need to be addressed – but probably not ‘nationally’. ‘Custom’ – rather than law – would start to matter a lot more.

    • Bill 11.1

      No – never read it. Would I be right in guessing that he’s offering up some variant on ‘democratic centralism’?

      The question of the defence of democracy if or when it’s assailed by a centralised force is, I agree, a particularly difficult one. Beyond non-compliance with such authorities at a deep cultural level persisting for, if necessary years or even through generations, and guerilla ‘hit and run’ tactics in a situation of ongoing conflict, I don’t have any answers.

      Presumably, any centralised authority would have had to have built itself up from some base of ‘consent to be ruled’. In a democratic world, the question could just be as well turned on its head then and we could ask how such centralised force would ever gain a foothold in the first place.

      And yes. No nation states or whatever in a democratised world.

      • Puddleglum 11.1.1

        I actually think that in the long run – and that may well be a VERY long run – the only sustainable form of global human social organisation (assuming we endure long enough for that option to happen) is a non-hierarchical, democratic form. I have no idea how that could – or will – happen but, while that might be disappointing for me, I don’t think my lack of comprehension of that process has any influence on the likelihood of it happening.

        In natural systems, complex entities (like multi-cellular life forms) don’t come into existence by the subjugation of lower levels but, rather, arise through the interests of the component ‘lower levels’ being sufficiently met that engaging in complex forms of life works.

        I can’t see why it would be any different for human social organisation. Subordination is never a long-term ‘goer’ in evolution – but incorporation is commonplace (e.g., mitochondria in cells – hardly subordinated and, without them, cellular existence would be impossible).

        As a species, we’ve already taken the ‘no going back’ form of inherent sociality. Our particular form of individuality – personhood in all of its various and complex forms – depends upon relatively stable and supportive social systems for its existence. Destroy that and you destroy persons, which are perhaps the most impressive by-product of human social organisation (far more impressive than the pyramids, flying to the moon, etc.).

        And individual diversity, incorporated into a social system, is just what has made our form of sociality successful. In the ‘big picture’ I like to think that the short period since we departed from a roaming, hunter-gatherer form of life (i.e., the period of time we call ‘history’ or ‘civilisation’) is just a transitional process of adjustment to becoming a globally pervasive species. We haven’t yet worked out how to transform a pretty creative and successful (or at least self-sustaining) small-scale form of sociality into one that can inhabit the entire earth in a reasonably enduring way.

        If we are to avoid social suicide, there’s only one way to go now – ‘Horton Hears a Who‘; and ‘everyone counts‘.

        • Bill 11.1.1.1

          In natural systems, complex entities (like multi-cellular life forms) don’t come into existence by the subjugation of lower levels but, rather, arise through the interests of the component ‘lower levels’ being sufficiently met that engaging in complex forms of life works.

          I can’t see why it would be any different for human social organisation.

          I think I touched on that theme in the ‘Shh It’s the P word” post I did a while back – (maybe in comments? – can’t quite remember). Anyway, complex order arising from simple initial conditions as against the chaos that seems to reign when there are attempts to impose order from above.

          Maybe one day…..

          • Puddleglum 11.1.1.1.1

            Yep, you did.

            Just wanted to indicate that I think you’re right.

            There’s only one way forward – all the other apparent doors have brick walls behind them.

  12. Flip 12

    Many have completely bought into the ‘market’ being the only answer to anything.

    It looks and smells like an ideological belief, and faith in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations as the truth. It is ‘The Bible’ of modern economics. It brings out the religious fever of the right. A lot of economic experts are the priest of the new religion. It looks more like a religion the more one looks at it.

    • adam 12.1

      Funny you should say that … *grins* I always ask those who are free marketeers if they believe in logic and reason. And if they say yes – then I ask do they believe in the unseen hand, and if they say yes – I ask them about their fairies at the bottom of their garden.

      Your so right – they are the new priests, they believe in something which defies logic and reason.

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    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    6 days ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    7 days ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
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    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
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    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
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    1 week ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Exclusive language
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    1 week ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Guardian: Poll shows DISASTER for Corbyn and the End of Times
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    1 week ago
  • How prostitution became the world’s most modern profession
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Clever legal fellow on Scottish challenge to Brexit
    I make no claims to having much legal knowledge,  so I defer to those trained in this area.I am very much enjoying this twitter stream from m'learned friend in Edinburgh, deciphering the legal arguments around the Scottish court challenge to Boris Johnson, based on the charmingly obscure principle of Nobile ...
    2 weeks ago
  • An Open Letter From Closed Minds.
    Ivory Folly? The University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, upheld the right of the radical nationalist group, Action Zealandia to exercise their freedom of speech – not matter how distasteful that speech might be. A wiser community of students and scholars would have nodded their agreement and moved on. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extinction Rebellion members want to “eat babies”
    If you are not convinced terrorist Organisation ‘Extinction Rebellion’ is very, very dangerous – watch this video at one of their recent meetings. Not only is this obviously mentally ill Woman begging the other terrorists to promote killing and “eating” babies and children, if you watch carefully other members nod ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    2 weeks ago
  • The government needs to tell people about the OIA
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Join the rebellion
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Jermey Corbyn, I don’t like GNU (sorry)
    So, the latest ruminations on the gnews from Westminster (Again, sorry; I'll stop making that pun right now).  This follows on from, and likely repeats bits of, my last post, on the suggestion that a Government of National Unity (GNU) should be set up and then oversee a referendum before ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • About time
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Legal Beagle: Vexation, or Something Too Long for Twitter
    Several people have asked me whether a particular repeat litigant could be declared a vexatious litigant, in light of their recent decision to appeal an adverse High Court ruling. My nascent tweet thread was getting ridiculously long, so it became this blog post instead.The short answer is: no. The particular ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Zealandia’s Lost Boys.
    Appealing To The Past: Action Zealandia, like so many of the organisations springing up on the far-Right, across what they call the “Anglosphere”, is born out of the profound confusion over what a man is supposed to be in the twenty-first century and, more importantly, what he is supposed to do.THE STATUE OF ...
    2 weeks ago
  • British trade union and political activists defend women’s right to speak, organise
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    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Turning their back on justice
    The Justice Committee has reported back on the Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill. The Bill would establish an independent, quasi-judicial body to investigate and review potential miscarriages of justice, and refer them back to the Court of appeal if required. It would be a vital backstop to our judiciary, help ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • US imperialism’s 40 years of war on the Iranian people
    by The Spark On September 14, a total of 22 drones and cruise missiles struck two oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the Abqaiq processing facility and the Khurais oil field. Abqaiq is the largest oil production facility in the world. For a few days afterwards, Saudi Aramco, the Saudi national ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • $47 billion
    How much will NeoLiberal irregulation of the building sector and subsequent leaky homes crisis cost us? $47 billion, according to a new book:The total cost to fix all of New Zealand's leaky homes would be $47 billion, probably. The estimate comes from a new book, Rottenomics written by journalist Peter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago