Role of Government

Written By: - Date published: 10:56 am, February 11th, 2014 - 46 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).

46 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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    1. Shane Jones, addressing the energy industry, called climate concern what?a. The only sane responseb. Undeniably valid c. Our last best hope d. A "religion" 2. Shane Jones’ demeanour in mocking and deriding climate activists can be observed in what other realm of human behaviour?a. Gleeful little boys pulling wings off fliesb. Gleeful ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Equality comes to Greece
    The Greek Parliament has voted for marriage equality: Greece has become the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalise same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples will now also be legally allowed to adopt children after Thursday's 176-76 vote in parliament. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the new law would "boldly abolish a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • CHRIS TROTTER:  Iron in her soul.
      “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche   Chris Trotter writes – TELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    5 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to Feb 16
    Net emigration of New Zealanders overseas hit a record-high 47,000 in the 2023 year, which only partly offset net immigration of 173,000, which was dominated by arrivals from India, the Philippines and China with temporary work visas. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The five things that mattered in Aotearoa’s ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Stop Whispering.
    There's nothing to sayAnd there's nothing to doStop whispering, start shoutingStop whispering, start shoutingYesterday our government surprised a few of us by standing up for something. It wasn’t for the benefit of people who own holiday homes and multiple investment properties. Neither were there any tobacco companies or fishing cartels ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • “I'm Not Keen on Whataboutism, But What About…”
    Hi,Not sure how your week is going, but I’ve had a pretty frustrating one. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it, and I think it’s perhaps distilled in this message I got on Twitter:What got me a bit riled up is that it was a response to the ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National passing bad policies under urgency
    If National really had faith in its welfare policies, it wouldn’t be ramming them through Parliament under urgency – a step that means the policies can’t be exposed to select committee debate, public submissions, expert commentary, media scrutiny and all the normal democratic processes that this coalition appears to hold ...
    5 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 16-February-2024
    It’s Friday so once again here”s our roundup of some of the articles that caught our attention this week. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday Matt looked at the Government’s war on Auckland. On Tuesday Matt covered the ongoing issues with the rail network. On Thursday Matt ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    5 days ago
  • The Dawn Chorus for Friday, February 16
    The six things to note in my view at 6.30 am on Friday, February 16 in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy are: Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Iron In Her Soul.
    “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich NietzscheTELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP for Auckland Central is the odds-on ...
    5 days ago
  • Dig this
    Resources Minister Shane Jones yesterday told a breakfast hosted by Energy Resources Aotearoa precisely what they wanted to hear. “We campaigned to rehabilitate relegitimise and stand up for working families who derive their income,  derive their hope and derive purpose in regional New Zealand through a flourishing, growing, forward-leaning energy ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #7 2024
    Open access notables Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course, van Westen et al., Science Advances: Here, we show results of the first tipping event in the Community Earth System Model, including the large climate impacts of the collapse. Using these results, we develop a physics-based and ...
    5 days ago
  • A rejection of the rule of law
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Shrugging-Off The Atlas Network.
    Upholding The Status-Quo: The Left’s election defeat is not the work of the Atlas Network. It is not even the work of David Seymour and Act. It is the work of ordinary citizens who liked the Right’s stories better than they liked the Left’s. If the Right’s stories were made ...
    6 days ago
  • BARRIE SAUNDERS: Treaty Principles – all rather problematic
    Barrie Saunders writes – When ACT’s leader said they wanted legislation to state what the Treaty principles mean, my first thought was this will be controversial and divisive.  Clearly it is. The first reference to the principles of the Treaty were contained in the 1975 Act establishing the Treaty of ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Luxon Rejects The “Rejection Election” At His Peril.
    Fitting Right In: National retailed a reactionary manifesto of right-wing, racially-charged policies to the electorate throughout 2023. No talk back then of ignoring the overwhelming political preferences of the voting public and making a strong stand on principle. If Luxon’s pollsters and focus-groups were telling him that the public was ...
    6 days ago
  • Valentine’s Day went unnoticed on the Beehive website – but it is not “baa, humbug” to celeb...
    Buzz from the Beehive None of our ministers – a quick check with the Beehive website suggests – found cause to mention, let along celebrate, Valentine’s Day. But two ministers – Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson – ensured that National Lamb Day did not pass ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • Are You A Leftist?
    Nothing To Lose But Our Chains: The emancipatory movement which the Left, understood correctly, has always been, cannot accommodate those who are only able to celebrate one group’s freedom by taking it from another. The expectation, always, among leftists, is that liberty enlarges us. That striking-off a person’s shackles not ...
    6 days ago
  • An unlawful directive
    An interesting question in the Parliamentary written questions feed today, from Jan Tinetti to the Minister of Education: Has she or her Office directed the Ministry of Education to not release Official Information Act material prior to the full twenty working days, if so, why? Given that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • I’ve been doing this all wrong
    Here are six words that are not easy to say but god it can feel good when you finally say them:I’ve been doing this all wrongFive years ago today I said to myself:What if I'm doing this all wrong?Five years ago today I said to Karren: I think I’m going to ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • New study suggests the Atlantic overturning circulation AMOC “is on tipping course”
    This is a re-post from RealClimate by Stefan Rahmstorf A new paper was published in Science Advances today. Its title says what it is about: “Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course.” The study follows one by Danish colleagues which made headlines last July, likewise looking for early warning signals ...
    6 days ago
  • Valentines from ACT.
    Some of us make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. We’ll buy the flowers, eye watering though the price spike might be. Say the things we should be saying anyway, although diminished by being scheduled for delivery. Some of us will even write long free-form newsletters with declarations of ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Tax cuts paid for by 13k more kids in poverty
    MSD advised the government that the indexation change it passed under urgency last night is likely to put around 7,000 extra children (and potentially up to 13,000) into poverty. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The Government has reverted indexation for main beneficiaries to price inflation from wage inflation under ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Fuel Tax Fight and Rail Fail update
    The two stories we covered at the start of the week continue to be in the headlines so it’s worth looking at the latest for each of them. Regional Fuel Tax Mayor Wayne Brown promised some ‘argy-bargy’ over the government’s decision to cancel the Regional Fuel Tax and he’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Arsonists
    Today, a major fire broke out on the Port Hills in Ōtutahi. Like its 2017 predecessors, it is almost certainly exacerbated by climate change. And it is still burning. The present government did not start the fire. But they piled the tinder high last time they were in power, gutting ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • I don’t know!
    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/73411 7 examples And who actually makes the decisions? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know. America is a complex country, conservative on the one hand, rapidly changing on the other. It’s not easy for us to sort it all out.   Tucker Carlson: Do you think Zelensky has the freedom to negotiate the settlement to this conflict? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know the details, of course it’s difficult for me to judge, but ...
    7 days ago
  • Fresh thinkers
    Fresh thinking will always give you hope.It might be the kind that makes you smite your brow, exclaiming: Why didn't we think of that! It's obvious!It might be the kind that makes you go: Dude you’re a genius.Sometimes it will simply be Wayne Brown handing Simeon Brown his weasel ass ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • It is not about age, it is about team.
    Much attention has been directed at Joe Biden’s mental lapses and physical frailty. Less attention has been spent on Donald Trump’s cognitive difficulties and physical limitations, with most focus being devoted to his insults and exaggerated claims (as if they … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • ROBERT MacCULLOCH: Fletcher Building – it is time to break up NZ’s most useless company.
    Robert MacCulloch writes –  Gosh, the CEO of Fletcher Building, Ross Taylor, says today’s announcement of a half-year loss of $120 million for the company is “disappointing” and was “heavily impacted” by the Convention Centre losses. He must be crying all the way to the bank (to quote Las ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    7 days ago
  • Mortgage rates seen high for even longer
    Government and borrower hopes for early mortgage cost relief look likely to be thwarted. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Stronger-than-expected US inflation data out overnight is expected to delay the first US Federal Reserve rate cut into the second half of 2024, which in turn would hold mortgage rates ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, the first of the new Parliament. And to start the Parliament off, there's a bunch of first readings. A bunch of other bills have been postponed, so first up is Duncan Webb's District Court (Protecting Judgment Debtors on Main Benefit) Amendment Bill, followed by Katie ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Three Waters go down the legislative gurgler – but what should we make of Local Water Done Well?
    Buzz from the Beehive Local Government Minister Simeon Brown – it seems fair to suppose – was flushed with success after the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation. As he explained, repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing his government’s Local Water Done Well ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    7 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on five of Luxon’s Gaza absurdities
    Earlier this week, PM Christopher Luxon met with 48 public service CEOs to make sure they were on board with his plans to cut spending on public services so that National can proceed to give the revenue away to those New Zealanders least in need. This wasn’t the only absurdity ...
    7 days ago
  • Love and the Fairer Sex.
    This morning I woke early with many thoughts in my head of things said, events of the week, things that matter. I’m afraid none of them involved Seymour, Willis, or Luxon so if you’re looking for something political maybe take the day off and come back tomorrow. You won’t find ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • He stood up to Muldoon and Lange and the Fji army
    Gerald Hensley, who died aged 88 on Saturday, was the key official who presided over the tumultuous events that followed the election of the Lange Labour Government in 1984. He was also instrumental in helping a key Fijian official escape the country during one of the 1987 coups. A diplomat ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Has Arctic sea ice returned to normal?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Halo dunia!
    Selamt datang di WordPress. Ini adalah pos pertama Anda. Sunting atau hapus, kemudian mulai menulis! ...
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • ELE LUDEMANN: Trusting locals
    Ele Ludemann writes- A government-knows-best and predilection for central control was another unfortunate feature of the 2017-2023 Labour governments. One of the worst polices as a result of that was what started as Three Waters and became several more. The National-led government is much more trusting of locals ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 week ago
  • Legislation to flush away Three Waters has become a certainty – but we must wait for details on th...
    Buzz from the Beehive A  three-day information drought was broken, just after Point of Order published yesterday’s Buzz from the Beehive, and two significant ministerial announcements were made. First, the Budget will be delivered on 30 May, telling us which genuine savings have been made by eliminating waste and which ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 week ago
  • Rise of the Lobbyists.
    An unpopular opinion, I love Auckland.Not so much the transport or the house prices - those are pretty dire. But there’s a lot to like. We’ve a vibrant, multicultural city in a beautiful location with, mostly, friendly locals. From the native bush of the Waitakeres to the Gulf islands, it’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago

  • Greater support for social workers
    The Coalition Government is enhancing the professionalism of the social work sector and supporting the vulnerable people who rely on them, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.  The Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. It amends the Social Workers Registration Legislation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced five new diplomatic appointments.  "Strong and effective diplomacy to protect and advance our interests in the world is needed now more than ever," Mr Peters says.  “We are delighted to appoint senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
    Changes to fishing rules and a significant science programme are being undertaken to address kina barrens, says Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Shane Jones. “There has been tremendous interest from iwi, communities and recreational fishers who had raised concerns about such kina infestations being a major threat to Northland’s marine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Greater focus on getting people into work
    The coalition government will refocus employment efforts and the welfare system so that supporting people who can work into jobs is the number one priority, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Of concern in the labour market statistics released by Stats NZ today was the number of youth not ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • One year on, NZ appeals for release of Phillip Mehrtens
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appealed to those holding New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens in remote Papua, Indonesia, to release him immediately.  Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage a year ago on 7 February in Paro, Papua, while providing vital air links and supplies to remote communities. “We strongly urge those holding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministers reaffirm Pacific connections this week
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Health Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti are reaffirming the importance of New Zealand’s connections to the Pacific by visiting Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa this week.  “New Zealand enjoys strong and long-standing relationships with our Pacific partners - especially in Polynesia, where we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Rt Hon Christopher Luxon – Waitangi speech
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, rau rangatira ma. Tēnā koutou katoa. He tino mihi ki te mana whenua o tēnei rohe.  Mihi mai, mihi mai, mihi mai. Te whare e tū nei, tēnā koe.                               He-wāhi whakahirahira tēnei mō Aotearoa. Ka huri nga whakaaro, ki nga mate. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government awards primary sector scholarships to students
    Six university students studying agriculture and science have been awarded scholarships as part of the coalition Government’s efforts to boost on-the-ground support for farmers and growers. “The coalition Government is committed to improving support and operating conditions for farmers and growers,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. “We’re backing a range ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996. From 1996 to 1999 he worked as a solicitor in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand provides further humanitarian support to Gaza and the West Bank
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that New Zealand is providing a further $5 million to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank.  “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling,” Mr Peters says.  “That is why New Zealand has contributed $15 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Government consults on expanding COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to enable public input into expanding the scope of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, says Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden. “As committed to in both the ACT-National and NZ First-National coalition agreements, the public will be given the opportunity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Tai Tokerau Water Boost
    A further $5 million loan has been advanced to the Tai Tokerau Water Trust for Te Waihekeora Reservoir, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says.  “Water is a precious resource, Kānoa – Regional Development and Investment Unit at the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment have done amazing work in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fast track consenting in the fast lane
    The Government is progressing changes to resource management laws as part of its 100 Day Action Plan, with the first steps taken to establish a new fast-track consenting one-stop shop regime. “This new regime, which forms part of National’s coalition agreement with New Zealand First, will improve the speed and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • JOINT STATEMENT ON AUSTRALIA-NEW ZEALAND MINISTERIAL CONSULTATIONS (ANZMIN) 2024
    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence the Hon Richard Marles MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong hosted New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters MP and Minister of Defence Hon Judith Collins KC MP on 1 February ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Minimum wage set for cautious increase
    The adult minimum wage rate will increase by 2 per cent to $23.15 an hour from 1 April 2024, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden announced today. “This Government is committed to striking the right balance between protecting the incomes of our lowest paid workers and maintaining labour ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Increased security improves ED safety over summer
    Increasing the number of security staff in emergency departments (EDs) over the busy Christmas and New Year period improved the safety of both staff and patients, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says. 200 additional security staff (93 FTEs) were provided to 32 EDs in response to concerns raised by ED ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago

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