Scrap the spending cap

Written By: - Date published: 8:45 am, July 23rd, 2018 - 152 comments
Categories: business, class war, debt / deficit, economy, Economy, grant robertson, jacinda ardern, labour, monetary policy - Tags:

The Government’s self imposed budget responsibility rules have come under fire.  The rules are these:

  1. The Government will deliver a sustainable operating surplus across an economic cycle.
  2. The Government will reduce the level of Net Core Crown Debt to 20% of GDP within five years of taking office.
  3. The Government will prioritise investments to address the long-term financial and sustainability challenges facing New Zealand.
  4. The Government will take a prudent approach to ensure expenditure is phased, controlled, and directed to maximise its benefits. The Government will maintain its expenditure to within the recent historical range of spending to GDP ratio.
  5. The Government will ensure a progressive taxation system that is fair, balanced, and promotes the long-term sustainability and productivity of the economy.

But the rules are being criticised as being too restrictive and preventing the Government from taking the steps that it needs to take to repair the damage from the past decade of indifference.

From Patrick O’Meara at Radio New Zealand:

The government’s being warned it has no chance of fixing run down public services unless it ditches its self-imposed spending rules.

Jacinda Ardern’s Labour-led coalition promised to loosen the fiscal straitjacket of the previous National administration to rebuild public services, and pledged in the Budget to spend an extra $24 billion more over the next four years.

Under its budget responsibility rules, the government pledged to keep spending at 30 percent of GDP, and reduce net debt to 20 percent of GDP by 2022.

But the government’s efforts have fallen short of the expectations of some, who argue it’s not nearly enough.

“If we stick to those caps for anything more than the next couple of years then we won’t get anywhere near solving the infrastructure deficits that we’ve had across this country, built up over the last couple of decades,” BERL chief economist Ganesh Nana said.

“There’s a lot of catching up to be done.”

Salvation Army social policy analyst Alan Johnson said there was a real danger that the crisis in mental health, social housing and well-being of older New Zealanders would become ingrained.

“One of the things with those caps is that they were literally straight out of the National Party rule book, which was disappointing that both the Greens and the Labour Party signed up for them even before the election.

“They are unnecessary and they could be relaxed I think without a massive impact on our credit rating, and the cost of capital and borrowing,” Mr Johnson said.

The cap on expenditure to GDP is very conservative.  This table compiled by the OECD suggests that the 30% cap is much lower than most overseas nations.

The top five nations, all with figures over 50%, are in a variety of different shapes.  Greece is one of them, but the others include Belgium, Denmark, France and Finland. Australia is at 36% and the UK is at 42%.  Our 30% figure appears to be excessively cautious.

The Net Core Crown Debt to GDP figure is also very cautious.  Again from OECD figures suggest that our proposal is very conservative.  Australia is on 64%.  Most nations are on 50% plus.

There is plenty of wriggle room.  Helen Clark and Michael Cullen left the accounts in outstanding shape and National’s parsimonious nature has kept debt relatively low.

But we have a major problem and we have urgent infrastructure that needs to be built.

Labour’s caution is motivated by political concerns rather than economic concerns.  But we live in times where conventional rules should be disregarded.

152 comments on “Scrap the spending cap”

  1. gsays 1

    It’s not as if, by sticking to these rules, business and farming folk are going to see or say that Labour are good stewards of the economy.

    Potentially they will get the worse from both sides: the tax and spend motif will be repeated and the many at the bottom of the inequality heap will not make real gains.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      It’s not as if, by sticking to these rules, business and farming folk are going to see or say that Labour are good stewards of the economy.

      Of course they won’t – especially as the economy continues to limp along and private debt soars.

      • cleangreen 1.1.1

        100% Draco the government need to honour there promises over a “self uimposed spending cap”.
        As if they dont fullfil their promises to restore all “run down public services” then they will just be a one term government.

        It was Jacinda that recently challenged us to keep Labour in check to keep their promises made to us all.

        We are still waiting for their promises made to restore the Gisborne rail system again, so we are checkig this promise made into the cart of promises to be addressed yet by Labour.

        http://gisborneherald.co.nz/localnews/2437884-135/labour-greens-united-on-rail
        QUOTE.
        Labour-Greens united on rail
        Published: August 23, 2016 11:17AM
        ‘Wrong government in place’ to make rail a reality: Labour and Greens.
        Labour-Greens united on rail
        Published: August 23, 2016 11:17AM
        QUOTE;
        ‘Wrong government in place’ to make rail a reality: Labour and Greens.
        THE Labour and Green parties last night committed to re-opening the entire length of the Gisborne to Napier rail line but pointed out that would only happen if the National Party was removed from office.
        but pointed out that would only happen if the National Party was removed from office. UNQUOTE;
        We say to labour;
        We will hold your Government to account here.as Jacinda has requested we do so in her speech at Waitangi day 2018.
        Labour has promised in the Gisborne Herald press to reopen the rail services to Gisborne from Napier in 2016 before the election.
        Please reply to this request for a meeting please as soon as able.

  2. Glenn 2

    Totally agree, scrap the spending cap. If Labour/NZFirst/Greens wants to risk being a one term government then keep the cap on.
    Folk voted for a change yet the money is not there to implement them under the present rules. Increase the spending on improving infrastructure, housing and health and projects we can be proud of … otherwise National will spend it….on tax cuts for their rich mates.

    • dukeofurl 2.1

      The post is incorrect and compares different spending counted by OECD and what is NZ ‘core spending’

      There could be 15% difference as the OECD includes local government spending which is supposed to be around 10% of central government spending ( I tried looking it up but Stats is a mess as they change everything all the time- no wonder they screwed up the census)

      • Craig H 2.1.1

        The Tax Working Group figures said local body rates are about 10% of GDP. Spending is probably close to that, even with the fees.

  3. Pat 3

    Theres an excellent case to be made for doing so but there are a couple of things to consider.
    Firstly it will be used as a rock of ‘broken promise’ to beat the coalition with and that will have effect.
    Secondly we have capacity and time restraints that mean the use of any additional funding is unlikely to show effect before the next election.

    My hope is the required detailed planning is done over the next 18 months to enable the Gov to approach the next election with a well presented package that indeed does relax the cap and has a robust defence to the inevitable criticism that will be launched …..if i am disappointed in that hope then I suspect the future for Labour is grim indeed.

    • The Chairman 3.1

      I concur, Pat. There is an excellent case to be made for doing so.

      However, I disagree that it becoming a rock to beat them with will have any great effect. Evident by the overwhelming public support for the catch up work required, Labour will be able to keep the public on board.

      As for capacity and time restraints. In some instances, capacity constraints can be filled from offshore. And filling those capacity constraints will help Labour meet the time restraints, improving their ability to get more done. Therefore, there is scope for them to do more.

      But here’s the kicker, they are currently failing to meet the spending of their own self imposed cap. Only spending about 28% of GDP opposed to the 30% cap they self imposed. Hence, allowing them around another $6 billion to play with without even having to break their own self imposed rules.

      Additionally, it’s my understanding that if Labour fail to spend more now, things will worsen.

      • Pat 3.1.1

        there are restraints in planning also…that work takes time and as evidenced by Hiwibuild hasnt been done prior to election ( a serious failing IMO)….and any training package could easily be met within current cap.

        Its all very well to allocate funds but as Shane Jones is discovering it is somewhat more problematic to purposefully and effectively disperse them.

        Things will likely get worse with delay but they will not necessarily improve with poorly planned and connected spending

        Also they may be projected to remain under cap at the moment but they are exactly that…projections and how confident are you in those tax take and GDP projections?

        • The Chairman 3.1.1.1

          No one is suggesting poorly planned spending. So you can put that concern to bed.

          People are calling for a larger injection to help meet the massive shortfalls faced, better providing the Government with the means to urgently act. We have deepening problems, thus there is no time to delay.

          If there are also planning restraints, they to can largely be overcome by more funding and fast tracking.

          Regardless of their accuracy, as projections are the measure in use, then meeting the cap within those projections is fine. Moreover, as the self imposed cap is so conservative, there is little additional risk if projections turn out worse than projected.

          • Pat 3.1.1.1.1

            Care to nominate a couple of substantial projects that could be implemented in the next 18 months ?

            • Molly 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes. Create a transition fund to install an electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout NZ, particularly in the regions. Small to mid-sized business owners can apply for their business to have a charger on site, and in return they will have an increasing number of vehicles stopping for up to 20min at a time. Great deal for small regional cafes and restaurants, invests in transitioning infrastructure, and encourages the use of non-fossil fuels. Particularly, beneficial for business as tourist buses are encouraged to become fossil free.

              Also, invest in warehouse development of kitset houses, run by the government. Improve design and technology, while training apprentices to build.

              • Pat

                would imagine those sorts of things may be covered under the Climate Change Commissions mandate to develop the pathway to Carbon Zero 2050, thats not planned to be set up until next year although theres an interim committee in place since April…that is a huge body of work that will require a lot of interconnected policy whos work for the immediate is already budgeted for

            • The Chairman 3.1.1.1.1.2

              It’s not about what projects I care to nominate. It’s about Labour doing more (with their own projects) to address our deepening problems. And while there are challenges and hurdles to overcome, it’s about ensuring the money to do more is available.

              The calls for more investment are growing louder, yet Labour aren’t even spending up to their own self imposed cap. Equating to around a $6 billion shortfall in this years spending alone.

              • Pat

                got nothing then huh….aint quite so easy eh?

                • The Chairman

                  Again, Pat. It’s not about what I’ve got. And nobody said it was going to be easy. This is about lack of funding being a problem holding this Government back from better achieving its own objectives in addressing the shortfalls. For which, evidently you have no plausible defence.

                  • Pat

                    it is not about a lack of funding in the short term, as stated previously, it is about a lack of capacity and planning…, the planning is now being done and hopefully that planning will lead to increased capacity for which the required additional funding will then be provided.

                    It is understandable that many wish to see underinvestment in society remedied but it needs to be understood that writing a cheque does not magically create the healthcare workforce, social workers, public transport and housing (to name a few) required….the work that can be done before the next election cycle has been funded….and we will find out in due course whats on offer from that point on.

                    But then again expecting a rational response from an angry electorate may be expecting too much…..especially if theyre determined to be dissatisfied

                    • The Chairman

                      “It is not about a lack of funding in the short term…”

                      Indeed it is.

                      As I mentioned above, more funding can help overcome capacity constraints.

                      For example, the nurses dispute. Paying them more now is required to attract new nurses and maintain experienced ones. Enabling them to build up sufficient staffing levels going forward.

                      People aren’t being irrational here. It’s the Government’s current stance that is flawed.

                      Even you conceded those speaking out have put froward an excellent case.

                      Therefore, to now imply the electorate are irrational and merely angry as if it’s somehow not the Governments fault is an interesting stance for you to now take.

                  • Pat

                    an excellent case for removing the fiscal cap…not the timing of the removal….as seems to constantly pass you by.

                    As to the nurses dispute they have been offered more and there is no reason why additional training placements cannot be instituted within current budget…I note training is 3 years so any future trainees wont be qualified prior to the next election.

                    I never apportioned blame for an angry electorate and it is ridiculous of you to attempt to suggest that even had I it was the 8 month old admin I would apportion it to.

                    You are nothing if not consistent Chairman

                    • The Chairman

                      As I highlighted above, the timing is now. Which is evidently passing you by.

                      Nurse are adamant more money than what has already been offered is required.

                      And while additional training placements may be facilitated within the current budget, there isn’t enough funding being offered to attract new nurses and maintain the experienced ones. Which is vital to building and maintain staffing levels and filling those training placements going forward.

                      So once again, you have no plausible argument.

                    • Pat

                      lol…you have made no case for now at all….you havnt addressed one aspect of HOW more funds can be utilised to improve circumstances BEFORE the next election cycle….you continue your one man mission to display faux concern for those impacted by inequality and have nothing practical to offer other than complaint.

                      Keep up the good work

                    • The Chairman

                      Providing nurses with more funding now will improve circumstances before the next election cycle. Allowing voters to see the Government is on the right path albeit if benefits are yet to be fully realised.

                      Additionally, your personal potshot at me merely reaffirms you have no plausible argument.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Secondly we have capacity and time restraints that mean the use of any additional funding is unlikely to show effect before the next election.

      There are certainly some constraints but available people isn’t really one of them as we have quite a few unemployed that need training.

      My hope is the required detailed planning is done over the next 18 months to enable the Gov to approach the next election with a well presented package that indeed does relax the cap and has a robust defence to the inevitable criticism that will be launched …

      And my hope is that they finally realise how money should work in the country and why that makes foreign ownership/investment bad.

      Your hope hope is more likely to come to pass.

      • Pat 3.2.1

        My hope is at least realistic

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1

          Considering all the evidence my hope should be realistic but the politicians are still too enamoured of the rich and the failed political-economics of the capitalists and so won’t even go there.

          • Pat 3.2.1.1.1

            as I have said before the problem of politicians is solved by convincing the voting public ..and in all honesty that is where your problem lies, convince the public and the politicians are bound to follow….I;ve yet to see an argument that will do that.

            Whether we like it or not a large proportion of the population are comfortable with their lifestyle and an increasing proportion have known no other.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1.1

              convince the public and the politicians are bound to follow…

              If that were true then we wouldn’t be signed up to any FTAs, the TPPA wouldn’t have been signed and marijuana would have been legalised years ago.

              There are numerous other policies where the government, of both Labour and National, have failed to do what the people want.

              • Pat

                and yet they keep getting the votes

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Is there really anyone else to vote for?
                  Will any other party make the necessary fundamental changes in policy?
                  Will any other party simply listen to the people?

                  • Pat

                    agree the current options are limited, but in the case of TPP there was the Greens and they barely made the cut, The message would be that if none of the parties are offering the policies then theres a place for a new party or activism within the existing…..neither appears to be occurring (with the exception of a poorly performed TOP)

                    UK Labour are an example of what can happen if the numbers are there….IF.

                • KJT

                  If you look carefully, you will see that it only takes a minority of swinging voters to change the Government.

                  Hence the emotional appeals to the things that parties focus groups, say will motivate swing voters. Evidence free policies like, “tough on crime” and “fiscal responsibility” seem to work with these people.

                  “Representative Democracy”does not reflect the will of the majority, except by accident.

                  • Pat

                    I am well aware that swing voters can change election outcomes…however the impact of those swing voters is diminished with high participation rates AND you will note I’m sure that I mentioned broad based appeal…..representative democracy works when its participated in.

                    It may not provide you with the result you desire but it does deliver what the majority have selected

  4. Rosemary McDonald 4

    I can see there’s a moral imperative to relax the cap, but it would be unconscionable if extra spending went to those private firms who have already profited greatly from lucrative government contracts and their ilk.

    Sort out price gouging and overpriced contracts that allow firms to fail dismally and get away virtually unscathed.

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/358512/middlemore-failed-to-pursue-millions-in-leaky-building-claim

    Bring back the Ministry of Works,

    Renationalise the power supply.

    • Gosman 4.1

      Yes please relax the spending limit to buy back the entire electricity network. You will spend billions and billions and won’t achieve anything note worthy and will be made to look like chumps.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        And all the blame will be on the Key government for selling it against the wishes of the people in the first place.

    • cleangreen 4.2

      1000% correct rosemary;

      Best suggestion for the day is your suggestion here;

      Bring back the Ministry of Works,

      Renationalise the power supply.

  5. Ad 5

    We’re a brittle economy coming off a growth boom. That means save hard for the tough times ahead.

    And we have a state that wants to spend $28b on infrastructure but is struggling to spend it.

    Central govt is being the debt example the private sector should follow.

    Government is on right course.

  6. greywarshark 6

    Yesterday I listened to RadioNZ who had NZ Initiative talking about something. I thought where is Berl and Ganesh Nana with some balanced discussion? So great to hear this today. Let’s hear more from him and Bernard Hickey and I await Rod Oram back on Tuesdays on the citizens’ Nationalk Radio.

  7. James 7

    Why not? What’s one more broken promise ?

    • BM 7.1

      This, it’s not like this government has any credibility left.

      Trash the economy, tax everyone up the wazoo, the way it’s going this is a one-term government and once this one’s gone the left won’t see power again for a very long time.

      COL, you’ve got around 2 years left you may as well go for broke.

  8. Why on earth would they back down on their core economic belief?

    There’s a part of me almost feels sorry for Labour. I get the impression they were voted in by people so desperate for change that they voted for what they (i)want(i/) Labour to be…not what Labour clearly announced as actual policy. ie Centrism, fiscal austerity and embracing, enabling and entrenching some ‘interesting’ theories on the ‘Future of Work’

    Then again, they did fudge and obfuscate over some pretty important policies like TPP…so in actual fact I don’t feel too badly.

    Just a little sad for the bemused middle classes, and a gut wrenching sickness for those people becoming further entrenched in poverty and hopelessness with even less hope for a Government led economic system that enables social mobility.

    • dukeofurl 8.1

      They said they would renegotiate the TPP to account for some core issues and they did

      Did you not read the actual promise?

      It is important that trade agreements are carefully negotiated, and that provisions in theseagreements do not undercut the regulatory sovereignty of New Zealand.
      Labour opposes the sale of our farms, homes, state-owned enterprises, and monopoly infrastructure to overseas buyers. Investment protocols in trade agreements should not prevent a future government controlling such sales.
      The current National government traded away these rights in NZ’s Free Trade Agreement with South Korea and in the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership. Ceding this was wrong in principle. It was also unnecessary, given that other countries including Australia retained their rights to do so.
      Labour will renegotiate theseprovisions

      if you have an ‘ultra’ view on these things thats fine but dont use that to say its fudges. Dont forget the TPP was done and dusted, all finished . It was only because US refused to ratify that we had a second chance

      • Siobhan 8.1.1

        Erm, thats EXACTLY my point.
        I know there policoes.
        And you know their policies.
        Bully for us.
        A number of otherwise aware people I know seem to have been under the impression Labour ‘wouldn’t sign’..

        possibly the source of their confusion is explained by the following chart…

        /the-new-government-and-the-tppa-11/

        • dukeofurl 8.1.1.1

          Wheres the item ‘where some people’ were under the impression labour wouldnt sign ?
          Yes I know people and Im one of them , half read lots of things and form impressions from that. We can often project what we want onto what others are saying- to be honest political parties can be skilled at those almost there commitments.
          But I dont see ‘wouldnt sign’ while you probably see it ‘everywhere’

          • Siobhan 8.1.1.1.1

            Sorry bad linkage…I’m trying to show the chart halfway down the page…”citizens campaign group It’s Our Future released their own ten bottom lines, and a report card on the various political parties”, which indicates a lack of clarity on some points from Labour.

            For the third time..I absolutely knew they would sign, and that they said they would sign..there are people who dreamed up the belief they wouldn’t.

            Just like there are some people who think Labour will back away from ‘austerity’ budget constraints.

            Again, and I can’t stress this enough..wishful thinking was a big player in this last election. And Labour were happy to allow the ‘positive/lets just do this’ vibe to take centre stage rather than the reality of policy.

            If some groups are now disappointed, that’s down to their own delusions about what the current Labour Party stand for.

            • dukeofurl 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Dont know that there is big voices out there now saying
              “we didnt want you to do this’

              Sure if big bad Monster Corp comes over from US and then wants to sue us, then maybe it will become an issue again, but really dont know why you are even concerned right now.
              To me there are bigger issues to resolve than should be’s/could be’s from last year.

            • Grey Area 8.1.1.1.1.2

              Siobhan +1

  9. Blazer 9

    Steve Keen -barking mad or the real deal?Looks compelling to me.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      A quick and accurate summary of the true position that government should be in.

    • corodale 9.2

      They should be begging folk like Keen to join a Royal Commission to investigate Prosperity, but call the report “Progressive Austerity” or some crap, so as not to draw too much attention from goons.

  10. dukeofurl 10

    Those graphs dont seem right. They state they are ‘General government spending’
    while labours promise was more nuanced
    core Crown spending is managed around a trend of 30% of GDP.’

    The charts dont even show the 2015 numbers for NZ to see where we are now.

    There seems to be a definition of ‘Core Crown Expenses’
    https://treasury.govt.nz/publications/model/functional-classification-core-crown-expenses

    The gist of it is ‘ This is an accrual measure of expenses and includes non-cash items such as depreciation on physical assets.’

    The OECD defintion of general government spending is this:
    General government spending generally consists of central, state and local governments, and social security fund
    https://data.oecd.org/gga/general-government-spending.htm

    So it includes local government spending, as the other items are central government in NZ ( but not always in other countries)

    So that is the problem, using OECD numbers and labours promise is apples to oranges as it doesnt account for
    1) accrual spending is less than cash spending
    2) local government spending ( 11% of government spend)

    • mickysavage 10.1

      You might be right about local government spend. I can’t access the document they are relying on. Local government spend was about 4% of GDP so it would not make a major difference.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    1. The Government will deliver a sustainable operating surplus across an economic cycle.
    2. The Government will reduce the level of Net Core Crown Debt to 20% of GDP within five years of taking office.
    3. The Government will prioritise investments to address the long-term financial and sustainability challenges facing New Zealand.
    4. The Government will take a prudent approach to ensure expenditure is phased, controlled, and directed to maximise its benefits. The Government will maintain its expenditure to within the recent historical range of spending to GDP ratio.
    5. The Government will ensure a progressive taxation system that is fair, balanced, and promotes the long-term sustainability and productivity of the economy.

    1. The government, if operating correctly, would never have a surplus and the deficit should never exceed the growth in the economy
    2. The government should never be in debt because it can create the money that it needs.
    3. A country should never have financial issues as the government can create money
    4. Government expenditure should be based upon what needs to be done, if the resources are available and if we have the people to do it thus used to ensure full employment. Government expenditure can be used to make the resources available of course by developing local sources.
    5. I’m enthusiastic for the government to put in place 100% taxation on incomes over the PMs. Unfortunately, I doubt that the government would do something that progressive as they’re stuck in the delusional idea that taxation should never be above 50% and they even like mentioning the possibility of even going that high. Thus we can assume that they won’t really put in place the necessary progressive taxation.

    One through four can be done through a Sovereign Money system while taking money creation off of the private banks and banning foreign ownership/investment.

    • Gosman 11.1

      Why has NO country on the planet been able to implement successfully what you advocate Draco?

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1

        They have. The US Greenback, and their Colonial Scrip. The UK’s sticks and other well run systems around the world. The problem is that our representatives keep selling us out to the capitalists.

        • Gosman 11.1.1.1

          But if it worked so well then there would be little resistance to it.

          • dukeofurl 11.1.1.1.1

            Why not go for a jog down 1935 lane again. But we dont live in that world anymore

          • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1.2

            There is massive resistance to it from the capitalists who get their unearned income from the present failed system. They wouldn’t be rich and powerful any more even if they had lots of money.

            And the politicians are owned by the capitalists.

            • Gosman 11.1.1.1.2.1

              Nice conspiracy theory there . Even if true it does mean my side of the political divide is much better at ruining your side of the political divide’s plans. That must really annoy you that you have these amazing ideas that will lead to prosperity for the vast majority of the population but they keep getting nixed by people who think like me. You know this will happen yet you can’t stop it and every place your ideas (or a variation of them) is attempted the same thing happens over and over again.

              • Adrian Thornton

                @Gosman, It is incredible to me that you would actually feel proud to support an ideology based on greed, exploitation and extraction…and here I was thinking that the human project was evolution, you know , slowly evolving toward something higher, unfortunately, during this ‘selfish’ epoch, your ideology drags us backwards towards the primeval mud pool….well done.

                • Gosman

                  People who think like me run the World. People like you Adrian keep failing to change the World.

                  • No you are wrong…very wrong, ‘people who think like me’ gave the world most what is good about it as a human citizen….
                    All Worker rights.
                    All Women’s rights.
                    All Children’s rights.
                    All Disabled rights.
                    All animal rights
                    Fought to end slavery.
                    In Fact the defense of the very air you breath, water you drink and the planet you inhabit is mainly done by ‘people who think like me’.

                    had the long term vision to build the infrastructure of public hospitals, schools and housing etc that has been the backbone of western democracy over the last 100 years.

                    But then your ideology is so short term, so selfish that none of this would ever occur to a hollowed out husk of a human as you seem to be so proud to be.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Not a conspiracy theory but research.

                • corodale

                  Certainly it is a conspiracy. The FED, ECB, etc don’t plan in public, they conspire behind closed doors, and dictate policy without democratic controls. Careful with reseach, most of those publishers (Pearsons et al) are owned by Black Rock et al, which is chaired by board members of FED banks. It’s a small circle up there.

      • Tricledrown 11.1.2

        Gooseman China

  12. The Chairman 12

    The calls to lift Government spending restrictions are getting louder.

    Nurses, teachers, and others in the public sector want more money. The Salvation Army, BERL, Action Against Poverty and others are all calling for the Government to loosen their fiscal straitjacket.

    Can Jacinda hear them? Will she show leadership and take action?

    Will she insist her finance minister at least meet their own self imposed spending cap? Is she going to make a captain call or is she happy to let Grant hold the party back?

    No surprises, National are opposed to Labour lifting their self imposed cap.

    • dukeofurl 12.1

      Jacinda ?

      The cabinet makes these calls collectively

      • The Chairman 12.1.1

        The call made was 30% of GDP. Jacinda is party leader, therefore one would expect her to show leadership and get her finance minister to tow the line.

  13. adam 13

    Repeal the Reserve Bank Act, stop the tinkering.

    • Grey Area 13.1

      From the party which has never apologised for Rogernomics? Doubt it.

    • Gosman 13.2

      They have already altered it significantly. Why would repealing it help?

      • adam 13.2.1

        *sigh* Gossy for someone who supports capitalism you are rather weak on the function of legislation to support capitalism and its working. I thought some basics on how laws enable this construct of a market would be somthing you’d understand, instead a silly question. *sigh*

        • Gosman 13.2.1.1

          Following your logic we were less Capitalist before the Reserve Bank Act was passed. How did this manifest itself?

          • adam 13.2.1.1.1

            Really, you don’t know the difference between a mixed economy and a regressive one?

            You’re showing a real lack of understanding of basic economic ideas here Gossy.

            • Gosman 13.2.1.1.1.1

              Umm… we are still a mixed economy.

              • adam

                *sigh* come on Gossy, this is a regressive economy. You have never lived in a mixed economy have you? There is a facade of a mixed economy, hell even Bismarck knew you need give somthing.

                Anyone who runs with the delusion that this is a mixed economy need their head examined. It has things which look like a mixed economy, but the reality is somthing quite different these days. There is no universal health care, and there is no continuous knowledge development education. Two things which underpin a mixed economy.

                So your delusions to drag NZ further to the right economically are that, delusional. Next you’ll tell me there are things like free markets and fairies at the end of the garden.

                • Gosman

                  I suggest that it is your subjective bias that classifies this as a “regressive economy” nothing objective. At what stage does a mixed economy become a “regressive” one?

                • Gosman

                  What is “continuous knowledge development education.”?

                • Gosman

                  In what way is our health care system not universal?

                  • adam

                    Do you read?

                    • Gosman

                      Yes. In what way is our health system not universal?

                    • adam

                      Again, do you read? Never heard of waiting lists or Phamac? What about doctors fees or prescription fees?

                      It’s like talking to an idiot.

                    • Gosman

                      We have always had Doctor’s fees and waiting lists on the Public health system. Does that mean we have always been a “Regressive economy”?

                      https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/research-papers/document/00PLSocRP09031/new-zealand-health-system-reforms

                      https://teara.govt.nz/en/primary-health-care

                    • adam

                      Your lies are outstanding. Never paid for a doctor before 1989. Never had any prescription fees either till the 5th national government.

                    • Gosman

                      Check my link

                      “A two-tier health system had developed, where hospital care was free but GPs charged high fees. From the 1970s governments tried to change this. From 1992 they subsidised GP visits for poorer people through community services cards.”

                      People paid for GP visits pre 1984.

                      If you have evidence to the contrary then produce it.

                    • adam

                      Did you live here pre 1984? I know you did not, so you don’t really know how it worked do you. You have this idea of it but no understanding. GP visits were free for the under 18, as with dental.

                      Also anyone with a disability had access to a doctor with no fee. Admittedly the list of doctors for disabled was limited, and this was folded into the hospital budget at the time.

                      Also there was ACC, which covered a chunk of doctors visits pre 1984.

                      And I see you ran from prescriptions.

                      Come on Gossy, if you didn’t realise we been living in a regressive economy since the introduction of the Reserve Bank Act your more of an ideology than I thought.

                    • Gosman

                      You claimed that noone paid for Doctors fees. Now you are claiming some people did but many different. However what level of payment for Doctors visits stop the Health care system being universal?

                    • adam

                      Back to questions…

                      Oh dear I point out you were wrong and this is the response, poor Gossy.

                    • Gosman

                      You didn’t point out I was wrong. I stated that people paid for Doctors vists pre 1984 and provided a link to that. I never stated that EVERYBODY paid for Doctors visits pre 1984. It was you who argued that they didn’t. You still haven’t shown that Doctor’s visits did not cost anybody pre 1984.

                • Gosman

                  Additionally, why do you think those two things you mention are indicative of a mixed economy?

                  • adam

                    Argue, or make a statement sometime can you? Or are you just being an idiot because you can? I’m at ad hominem because of this way you chose to argue, which is like talking to a two year old.

                    Make a point Gossy, use your words.

                    • Gosman

                      My argument is that those two things you mention are in no way indicative of a mixed economy and even if they were, by your own definition, we have never been a mixed economy and neither has most of the the rest of the World.

                    • adam

                      Oh so you can use your words. How about you do that in the future with me rather than acting like a complete idiot?

                    • Gosman

                      No, I ask you to justify your nonsense by asking you questions about your position. As I pointed out your views have no basis in reality. We have NEVER had a Universal health care system based on your own definition and as for continuously obtaining knowledge that is just gobbledygook you made up. There is no basis for claiming either one of those two things are what defines a mixed economy. You just unilaterally decided to use them with no logical reason.

                    • adam

                      Wow, you can construct more than one sentence.

                      Bloody nora – break out the ticker tape!

                      By the way, your the one who argues for nonsuch, free markets and capitalism. What next Gossy faires and gnolls?

                    • Gosman

                      I have never argued for nonsuch. I don’t even know what nonsuch is.

    • corodale 13.3

      Jane Kelsey covers this clearly in her book Fire Economcy. There are four or so major Acts to change, plus international agreements. This would require a minimum of several terms of govt under democratic Select Committe process. A credit rating dark age. And equally brutal and prolonged media attack. Direct control from Finance Minister in response to National Crisis (eg. housing, poverty) is about the only way. Independant foreign policy is a good start. And this term of austerity will also help, to beat the public down into a mood for anarchy.

  14. the other pat 14

    “here is plenty of wriggle room. Helen Clark and Michael Cullen left the accounts in outstanding shape and National’s parsimonious nature has kept debt relatively low.”
    um am i getting types of debt confused?….clarke and co left us with 8 bill in debt and the natzi party left us 100 billion and yeah i know there was earthquakes…..

  15. SaveNZ 15

    Better the government and councils borrows cheaper than use PPP’s which are expensive and restrictive and takes away control from the public. The tubes in London tried private PPP’s and now getting rid of them as they did not work.

    NZ is a small country we can not afford to pay massive premiums to private businesses for ‘accounting’ purposes.

    (In UK call PPP’s, PFI’s)

    “UK PFI debt now stands at over £300bn for projects with an original capital cost of £55bn”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/30/pfi-britain-hospital-trust-debt-burden-tax

    “Conservatively estimated, the trusts appear to be paying a risk premium of about 30% of the total construction costs, just to get the hospitals built on time and to budget, a sum that considerably exceeds the evidence about past cost overruns.”

    For roads:

    This report: https://image.guim.co.uk/sys-files/Society/documents/2004/11/24/PFI.pdf

    found that PPP “contracts are considerably more expensive than the cost of conventional procurement”, resulting in higher returns for the companies running the PPP’s compared to their industry peers.

    While hard to compare because of the opaque nature of many contracts and large amounts of subcontracting out, it looked like the actual cost of capital of the PPP’s was 11% compared to Treasure borrowing of 4.5% i.e. 6.5% higher. This is supposed to represent the cost of risk transfer but in practice there was no risk transfer so it’s money for nothing.

    “In conclusion, the road projects appear to be costing more than expected as reflected in net present costs that are higher than those identified by the Highways Agency (Haynes and Roden 1999), owing to rising traffic and contract changes. It is, however, impossible to know at this point whether or not VFM (value for money) has been or is indeed likely to be achieved because the expensive element of the service contract relates to maintenance that generally will not be required for many years.”

    Overall, for both roads and hospitals they concluded there was no risk transfer and not value for money.

  16. Michelle 16

    I agree with some that have said we need to spend we need to spend wisely not willy nilly. It has become increasingly obvious we need to spend big and much of the money will go directly back into the economy and businesses which can only be good. I know we need to make sure we have money for disasters/emergencies and a contingency plan. And we can do this to but for the first time I think we should borrow if we have to, while rates are low. I don’t like borrowing or having any debt myself like many other NZers I have a mortgage and that is enough debt for me I don’t like to buy things I cant pay for I prefer to either go without or buy second hand and make do. But people need more money to survive and we are not a poor country. I think our government can take the lead by starting with paying our public servants more, fixing our run down infrastructure, investing in research and development, investing in clean green technology, investing in innovative ideas, product and services, investing in modern education to upskill NZers and prepare them for the future. Our government needs to help make our country cleaner, greener and lets be the leaders like we use to be. I have faith in NZers I believe with the right investment, leadership and plan we can do what ever we set our minds to, we have done it before and we can do it again. Lets not waste any time.

    • SaveNZ 16.1

      If the government spend the money wisely on employing Kiwi tax payers on good wages and conditions to deliver quality service, all will be well. This has worked before for many governments.

      But now we are changing the equation, to the untried neoliberal Nat Lite way and spend money on overseas private companies to bringing in cheap labour that in subcontracted after subcontracted, with low wages and poor workmanship while the workers drive up house price and rents, take up hospital beds add to congestion and so forth, while creating poor quality products aka buildings that the rate payers then need to pay to remediate a decade later, then that government money is not well spent and actually creating bankruptcy of public services as they pay to do it, then again to remediate it, while creating low wage, high living economies.

      If they need these skilled workers for construction, why are they not paying them skilled rates aka $100k… (actually $120 – $180k so they can afford that ‘affordable Kiwibuild house, sarc) everything is a drive to the bottom, with the middle classes as the insurer’s of the risk not the corporations. If they had to pay $100k+ for a experienced construction worker then guess what makes those Kiwi apprentices look like good value.

      And HELPS decent construction firms win the contracts who have well paid experienced people, NOT the dross who undercut, relying on cutting corners or immigration scams…

      We actually have human resource firms trafficking people who are coming to NZ without even a job so that firm can ‘mark up’ their labour for profit… it’s not a good look for people who work in this country when this is becoming widespread!

      • Gosman 16.1.1

        “If the government spend the money wisely on employing Kiwi tax payers on good wages and conditions to deliver quality service, all will be well. This has worked before for many governments.”

        Which governments did this work well for?

    • Gosman 16.2

      “It has become increasingly obvious we need to spend big and much of the money will go directly back into the economy and businesses which can only be good.”

      Not at all. Sometimes having massive government spending going directly in to the economy can be very bad indeed.

      • SaveNZ 16.2.1

        Using low wages to control inflation is leading to poverty and us becoming 3rd world. Not only that, our constant foreign investment is keeping our interest rates higher than other western countries.

        Better ways are needed than 60% of people being given low wages, while other’s make a killing and speculate on our currency for a start as well as poverty and bad living conditions creating a burgeoning prison population. Meanwhile the western world has the opposite problem in many cases aka deflation.

      • corodale 16.2.2

        This Govt would make profitable investments. This is obvious to all the genuine folk at this sociallist blog. The last 9 years seem to have left you rather synical. The majority of MPs in this govt are actually genuine intellent humanitarians, a fresh change, so be happy.

        • Gosman 16.2.2.1

          I am sure everybody who invests THINKS they will make profitable investments. What will LIKELY happen is that Politicians won’t be able to help themselves to invest for political rather than economic gain. This means the investments are unlikely to be profitable long term.

  17. cleangreen 17

    What’s wrong with using prison labour to re-build our rail lines and roads again as they did in other tight times folks?
    Makes sense when against National was always saying “it is not viable”.
    Well paying contractors may not be viable, but using ‘indentured prisoners labour’ the state taxpayers are already paying them would definitely be a ‘viable’ case.

    • SaveNZ 17.1

      I would not mind as long as it was only voluntary labour aka prisoners who wanted to do it, and for minor offence prisoners only and strictly controlled. At least prisoners already have a place to live and not adding to the housing crisis!

  18. UncookedSelachimorpha 18

    Problem is, most of the discussion is completely divorced from any comprehension of how government finance and economies actually work.


    Why the federal budget is not like a household budget:

    “Until people understand the basic realities of monetary economics we cannot have a meaningful discussion of government finances. Rather than worrying about deficits and surpluses we should be asking whether the economy would benefit from greater or lesser government expenditure or taxation. “

    Repeat after me: the Australian economy is not like a household budget:

    “The federal government does not need anybody else’s money in the form of taxation or borrowing in order to spend. They can create money. The reason they tax and borrow is to take money out of the economy so that their spending does not cause inflation or affect official interest rates. In other words, taxation and government debt are tools for economic management, not for revenue raising.”

    • Gosman 18.1

      Yes, that is what they all think until it all turns in to a Hyper-inflationary mess.

      • Tricledrown 18.1.1

        Gooseman so where is that hyper inflation going to come from when we have an open economy and inflation is what most economies want to happen to encourage savings over borrowing.
        Poor wage growth leads to more borrowing and speculation.

        • Gosman 18.1.1.1

          Inflation does not encourage savings over borrowing. In fact the opposite can occur.

          • Tricledrown 18.1.1.1.1

            Gooseman you know nothing except how to disagree with everyone including yourself.
            The Japanese economy trying to reinflate their economy to get some growth.
            US economy is experiencing inflation from growth.

      • Nic the NZer 18.1.2

        Hyper inflations are supply side phenomena. That is why economies under sanctions are the ones which exhibit extreme inflation rates.

        • Pat 18.1.2.1

          something not to be discounted in a world of diminishing resources and fiat currency….especially in a net import economy.

        • Gosman 18.1.2.2

          No they aren’t. This is just made up explanation to explain the outcome of bad fiscal and monetary policies by a nation. Please explain how sanctions lead to Hyper-inflation.

          • Nic the NZer 18.1.2.2.1

            Have you never seen the inflation rates in countries under sanctions? Recently for example Iran. Often abates with sanction lifting too.

            • Gosman 18.1.2.2.1.1

              Ummm… you are mistaking causation with correlation.

              Please explain HOW sanctions lead to hyper-inflation because I can give you plenty of examples of countries under sanctions regimes where they don’t suffer hyper-inflation.

              https://www.jstor.org/stable/25602947?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

              • Pat

                “Can’ lead to (hyper)inflation….simple supply and demand, especially for necessities….reduce supply and you essentially create a bidding war…countries under sanction may not produce all necessities although sanctions are usually targeted to mitigate this risk.

              • Nic the NZer

                Sure, so sanctions restrict availability of certain goods. This leads to price hikes by suppliers who ration their ability to on supply those goods. Price hikes are counted under inflation.

                No, I did not say sanctions always cause hyper-inflation. But there have been many examples of countries hitting around the 50% per anum mark for multiple years.

  19. Michael 19

    Labour may be in office but it is not in power. The Budget Responsibility Rules are a neoliberal straitjacket that Labour (and the Greens) donned voluntarily in an effort to suck up to the “business community” last year. While the fatcats (and the narrow-minded, grasping and venal collection that comprise our “small-business community”) spurned Labour’s overtures, they will insist that the government takes no action to relieve pressing social problems because to do so will “damage business confidence”. Labour is hoist on its own petard: by wanting to appear friends to everyone, it ends up satisfying no one.

  20. Cynical Jester 20

    I don’t understand why we have a labour led govt if they won’t do things that labour led govts are elected to do, and don’t blame NZF it’s labours own cowardice

    When this government was formed it promised systemic change. So far it has a D- score on delivering change. I’m tired of speeches and promises and so is the electorate. Homelessness and mental health has been basically untouched by this government.

    It’s a case of dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.

    I’d rather a one term government that really tried to change things rather than a government that is more interested in staying in power like this government.

    They might be voted out if they ditch it, they might be voted out if they don’t. Labour has wasted nearly a third of this term (the only guaranteed term they have ) trying to be a continuation of the Clark years. Pull finger and do something. Noone wants Jacinda to be like Helen Clark, my generation voted for change , so let’s ACTUALLY do this no more speeches , no more promises just do it or you must change your name to the Liberal party and keep the status quo. Labour govts are reforming governments so stop acting like National and let’s do this…

    • greywarshark 20.1

      CynicalJester
      We have reached High Noone i think. Time to step out into the street, face the problems, look them in the eye (which Labour has had time to do)and take them on and vanquish them. Do one of those fancy comedic fights where the guy looks like he’s going to adopt some ritual moves for attack, and while he is waving one hand in the air, he punches his opponent in the stomach with the other while he isn’t paying attention, or kicks his legs from under him.

      Sp come on Labour,. come up with your practical, pragmatic moves and confuse the monster with some theatrical moves that excite the snoring or anoyed citizens. The monster? – (probably a bunch of bureaucrats highly paid to be Sir Humphreys). If necessary use the Troy horse subterfuge and surprise. ‘No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition’ said the Pythons. Or turn the political game into a French farce where they do get to bed together and give us some laughs. Do a Winston, he just laughed at everyone and said you don’t know what you are talking about to opposition, and went ahead and got some of his projects through.

      Do something Labour, we paid our moneys and took our chances, but now we expect you to deliver the goods and to do that you must play at being real politicians.

    • Draco T Bastard 20.2

      +111

  21. Craig H 21

    Labour and the Greens agreed to the fiscal straitjacket to basically alleviate business concerns, and now business are whining like little so-and-sos because Labour are going to act like its name and enact labour-friendly employment law amendments. Stuff ’em, says I – cast off the straitjacket and make business really whine.

    • Gosman 21.1

      Why did Labour and The Greens want to alleviate business concerns in the first place?

  22. Nic the NZer 22

    Mickey once again profers the myth that Labours prior surpluses were a bastion of economic responsibility. The truth is rather more of a mixed bag.

    When the government is running a surplus it is, by accounting, reducing the income of the non government sector (e.g the economy). If the economy is going to have income growth then (ignoring the external sector, which wasn’t helping at the time) this additional spending must be coming from a rising private sector debt level. So the surpluses happen on the basis of rising debt on a shrinking income.

    Surpluses and deficits are a political game. Truely wise economic management looks at the impact of government spending on the overall economy (and society).

  23. corodale 23

    V.good little article. “Labour’s caution is motivated by political concerns rather than economic concerns…”

    Yes, its the image of responsable-house-keeper that will sway voters to re-elect her, now in the mid-term.

    If she can admit she was wrong about austerity, close to election, she can show she is human and developing, still worthy of a second chance. The Govt will then be ready with the experience to apply real change.

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    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    5 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    5 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    5 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
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    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
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    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
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    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
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    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
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    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days 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
    4 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days 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
    4 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days 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
    5 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago