Show us ya policy

Written By: - Date published: 3:57 pm, May 26th, 2008 - 31 comments
Categories: election 2008, john key, national - Tags: ,

Steve posted this morning that even Granny Herald’s patience appears to be wearing thin waiting for National and Key to announce some policy detail: “National must get a move on… we need to hear some serious policy soon”. Turns out they’re not alone.

Rod Oram (SST):

…for it to be a genuine debate, National needs to unveil its own big, deep strategy the principles, priorities and practical policies… So far it has done nothing of the kind… But the biggest worry of all is one for voters. Has National actually been doing enough deep thinking about how it will use government power? The signs aren’t promising…

Fran O’Sullivan (NZ Herald):

[Key’s] critique of the Budget lacked a killer punch. He floundered in subsequent interviews and was caught hopping when asked for National’s alternative: his bottom lip curling just a bit too much, and the open shoulder shrug too much in evidence when he seemed to realise his answers lacked conviction.

Tracy Watkins (Dom Post):

…the appearances of Dr Cullen and National’s finance spokesman Bill English on TV One’s Agenda programme the past two Sundays running are an enlightening tale of two finance ministers… One the one hand, we had Mr English treating us to a display more suited to a minister wearied and wrong-footed by too many years in government – if he started the programme determined to give little away, he must have ended it impressed with his own success at giving away less than that.

Sunday Star Times Editorial (offline, 25 May 2008):

Key’s explanations of where the money would come from are thin and sometimes plain silly. Cancelling an embassy in Sweden will make no fiscal difference. Nor would wholesale sackings of bureaucrats: even huge cuts in this area would save at most some hundreds of millions, when Key will need billions… Key promises that he won’t cut social services and it is difficult to know whether to believe this or not. National’s record from the early to the mid-1990s in this area is utterly disgraceful, a record of ludicrous structural revolution and deep cuts.

It’s starting to look rather like the Earl of Auckland might not be as well dressed as some had supposed.

31 comments on “Show us ya policy”

  1. Lampie 1

    Maybe it’s a chessey policy

  2. Ari 2

    You know what they say AYB- better late than never. 🙂

  3. James Kearney 3

    This clarification just in: John Key was not talking about cheese, or even “north of 50 dollars” worth of cheese. He was talking about Australian cheese.

  4. all_your_base 4

    Lampie, like Cullen said, I’m sure it will be a cheesy policy – a policy for the big cheeses that provides little for their workers.

    Ari, maybe you’re right but my guess is that there are political risks in refusing to release policy as calls to do so intensify from both the media and the public.

  5. Ari 5

    Oh, I was referring to the media, not John Key. I think in politics late is actually worse than never, as it gets turned into flip-flopping and looking desperate and poaching other parties’ policies. 🙂

  6. r0b 6

    The Fran link is to the wrong article, correct link should be:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10512183

    [Tane: Thanks r0b, fixed]

  7. illuminatedtiger 7

    And to top it all off this stinging attack from John Campbell:

    “I think you’re as slippery as a snake in wet grass.”

    Not looking good for the precious little rich prick.

  8. ak 8

    Well all the tories’ve come up with so far is parables and a soothing flip-flopping messiah – only fitting that they should now expect us to put all our faith in cheeses.

  9. r0b 9

    only fitting that they should now expect us to put all our faith in cheeses.

    Arrrrrgh! Groaaaan!

  10. stazi 10

    Its a bit of a no-win situation for Key. If Key announced his tax & other major policies before the budget (before he’d seen how much $$ Cullen had commited), he may have had to ‘un-promise’ parts of his plan. He would then get accused by Labour & the media of flip-flopping and going back on his word to voters.

    If Key waits to see how much Cullen decided to spent (thus basing his policy on existing, committed expenditure & knowing how much $$ Cullen has left over) Labour and the media accuse him of dithering and having no policy.

    If Key had released his policy the same day as the budget the media and Labour accuse him of not having had time to crunch the numbers properly in order to come up with well thought out and well-costed policies.

    Anybody see it any differently?

    Its 5 months until the election – what’s the rush?

  11. gobsmacked 11

    Colin Espiner (Press political editor) is frustrated too:

    “At the moment, you can’t ask the party a single thing on the economy. Monetary policy, interest rates, tax rates, expenditure cuts, debt-to-GDP track, big-ticket expenditure items like Working for Families or KiwiSaver, inflation goals, economic growth targets you name it, National doesn’t want to talk about it.”

    http://stuff.co.nz//blogs/politics/2008/05/26/a-fox-in-the-henhouse

  12. Lew 12

    National hasn’t released any policy because they know that while the early bird gets the worm, the second mouse gets the cheese.

    L

  13. ak 13

    …the second mouse gets the cheese.

    Briecisely Lew – plus yet another dead rodent for dessert…looks like it all might be getting a little difficult to digest.

  14. gobsmacked 14

    Breaking News! National release policy!

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0805/S00503.htm

    Did he grow up in a state house?

  15. depressed 15

    With a large chunk of the population unaware there is even an election this year, you do have to wonder if it matters if anyone releases any policy anytime.

    Elections are decided at the last minute, by people who, like John Key, have no firm principles, and flip flop their way through life on the basis of ‘what’s in it for me?’

    Depressing isn’t it?

    Correct me if I’m wrong…..

  16. Dan 16

    The Nats have had a problem for some time. On one hand you have Key with his simplistic populist one-liners which mean little but sound OK. He is keen to be loved and elected whatever. On the other hand you have the drys, led by English, who are fearful of too many rash promises. As long as you can defer any clear policy statements by cashing in on the incumbents’ unpopularity,then you can get by without any policy.
    They have been taken by surprise by Cullen. Now they must make a call: moderate or dry. And what do you cut?
    They also have a problem with Key who may have worked the millions in trading on the money market, but has no clue whatever in keeping a dozen balls in the air the same time.
    The Nats are overdue for an implosion. Shortland St, watch out; the Bill vs John Show is due to start in the not too distant future.

  17. r0b 17

    Correct me if I’m wrong ..

    I’d love to but – it seems like a pretty fair summary.

    I’m all for participatory democracy, people should be involved (join parties, be active). Blogs provide a good new medium for at least some level of involvement. Other than that – what – “civics” in high school? How do we get people more involved in democracy?

  18. Ari 18

    Lew: I’d say National is reaching the risky point. If they don’t come out guns blazing soon, they’ll be seen as hiding their policy rather than just taking their time- and the perception that you’re ashamed or afraid of your principles getting to the public is a big blow in an election year. We’ll need more time to tell whether it’s a good tactic or not- but if they do get away with it, it sets a bad precedent for democracy in New Zealand, I feel.

    Depressed: Yes, there’s room for improvement here, but we’re no America- while there’s people who aren’t engaged, there’s little active disillusionment with the government. Civics courses/classes would be an excellent start, but there’s more to it than that. Politics as always leaves out young people, it’s a slow machine, and politicians play the game more than they actually make policy. If we could address those…

  19. Lew 19

    Ari: “I’d say National is reaching the risky point.”

    Hm, I’d have judged it to be at least a month or three out, and I think Key thinks that too. But I suppose another poll with a result like the last Roy Morgan, perhaps the media will start to bay.

    I’m not sure it’s any worse than the usual tactics of a year. Orewa was certainly a more reprehensible display of cynical nationalist manipulation, and as electoral strategies go, it’s working well. I think NZ’s moral-political history will judge this favourably if they win and unfavourably if they lose.

    If I were appointed Minister of Education I would mandate civics classes in all public high schools.

    L

  20. James Kearney 20

    as electoral strategies go, it’s working well. I think NZ’s moral-political history will judge this favourably if they win and unfavourably if they lose.

    God you sound like an empty vessel Lew! Of course it’s ‘working well’ – that’s obvious to anyone who’s looked at a poll in the last six months.

    But what do you think about National’s tactics, as a citizen and as someone who cares about the health of our democracy?

  21. Lew 21

    James Kearney: I’ve answered this several times before, once this morning. I don’t know. It sounds instinctively bad but I can’t say I wouldn’t support my favoured party if they did it.

    L

  22. James Kearney 22

    Lew- I find it strange that you don’t see anything wrong with a party deliberately withholding policy. We live in a democracy and that relies on people being adequately informed about their choices.

    I remember a day when parties would put out detailed manifestos and would release an alternative budget every year to show how they would govern differently.

    The current National Party doesn’t care for detail, or for policy. Instead they create a man of spin and have focus grouped messages instead of principles and policy positions. Does it not bother you to see our democracy degraded like this?

    I’ve watched you comment for a while and I gotta say it’s one thing to blag on and on about the ‘game’ like you’re the only one who’s figured it out but unless you’ve got something to say about it then why bother?

  23. Jum 23

    Rob
    Absolutely Civics in Primary School, youth elections in High Schools and a youth presence in Parliament.

    It beggars belief that people are saying Helen Clark and Dr Cullen look tired. They are as fresh as daisies.

    English is looking increasingly cross, no doubt pining for the lead position and forced to watch Key’s embarrassing antics.

  24. Lew 24

    James Kearney: If democracy genuinely relies upon people being informed, then in principle National’s should be a deleterious strategy and he problem will solve itself. I agree that participants in a democracy should be informed, but if they choose not to be, how is anyone to force them? The government, by passing the EFA, has decreed that they’ll not tolerate excessive expenditure, and that mitigates strongly against an electoral debate dominated by propaganda and `spin’. This was and is a move I support (although I think it was poorly implemented) because it requires parties to begin from a reasonably even position.

    You seem to remember a golden era when all politicking was done by noble, forthright policy debate. Go back a bit further and you’ll find that a certain candidate in Dunedin poured free Speight’s to voters. Dirty tricks have always been a part of politics, and this tendency to focus on `spin’ over substance is just another aspect of changing electoral norms. I’ve stated I don’t think it’s likely to be a good influence, but I recognise that it is a reality of politics in 2008.

    As far as the remainder of your comment goes (bleating about how you don’t care for my comments), please refer to my previous responses to Robinsod: here and here.

    L

  25. but I recognise that it is a reality of politics in 2008.

    Woo bloody hoo! Here’s a simple truth you tard. Everyone here knows this is the reality. If you pulled your head out of your arse and took the time to read other people’s comments y’d realise that most here are beyond this and looking at ways to change that reality. Your constant bleating about “the game” makes you look like a one-trick pony. Having a “debate” with you is like this:

    Poor fool who has got caught up with Lew: The sky is blue therefore we must do X.

    Lew: No but what you are missing is the fact that the sky is blue.

    PFWHGCUWL: Right, but what I’m saying is because of this we must do X.

    L: I see a lot of this wishful thinking and subjective opinion here but you need to understand that the sky is blue and I know this because I have read a lot of media.

    PFWHGCUWL: ???

    L: If you were as learned as me you would understand the sky is blue because of molecular refraction… [insert highfalutin abstract words here]… therefore the sky is blue. I really think you should recognise this reality.

    [curtains fall as PFWHGCUWL leaves in disgust]

    Y’see Lew you argue the same tired circular shit day in day out and you do so in a manner that is designed to establish yourself as an authority while denying others the space for their arguments. I’ve watched you monopolise threads with this empty rhetoric and as far as I can see you are no better than Travelrev and her 911 conspiracies. In fact you are worse because you adopt a mode that subtextually belittles the contributions of other commenters who often have a lot more to say than you do.

  26. The idea may be to release a blizzard of policy late in the cycle when the media has turned its focus to the “leaders” and has little time for policy. Voters will thus have been kept in the dark and fed either nothing in the way of policy or the ‘proverbial’…..and they will go to the polls in a poll-driven, policy-free vacuum and expected to do the Right thing.

  27. Lew 27

    Sod: For one thing, I don’t give half a bad fuck if you think I’m a one-trick pony – I don’t come here for validation. I’m not a policy geek, I’m a propaganda geek. It’s a technical field and I’m serious about it. Why bother dabbling in policy here when I can leave that to the experts? If you object to academic discussion or feel like you’re being talked down to, I suggest you go to KiwiBlog.

    At this point I can’t be arsed arguing the toss any further. What it boils down to is `Boo! Nyagh! Policy or nothing!’ Until I see a credible alternate rationale for why voters currently prefer a party with no declared policy over a coalition whose very deep, broad-based and forward-thinking policy agenda materially advantages the majority of the electorate, I’ll be sticking to my explanations of how the winners play the media game to their advantage and the losers don’t. The major alternative explanations I see are `the media are against us’, `people think it’s time for a change’ and the hilarious `the electorate is stupid’. If you have another, I’m interested to hear it.

    Sure, policy is great. Alone it’s not necessarily enough to win over an electorate. Despite your claims to the contrary, you don’t demonstrate any realisation of this or its implications. Some people here do, and it’s to those people my comments are directed. Feel free to ignore whatever doesn’t fit your worldview.

    L

  28. Oh yes Lew – and Travellrev comes here to talk about 911. I don’t doubt your commitment to your narrow understanding of propaganda but I do question whether you can offer anything of value by constantly harping on about it in a manner devoid of facts or context. You talk about policy as if it is completely separate from propaganda instead of inextricably linked. In fact the interesting stuff is going on where the distinction between the two is blurred.

    The other thing is you don’t take your interest past the media. In fact you don’t even explore the power relationships between the media and the pollies properly. You may be surprised for example, to know that a lot of the media’s swing toward Key and National came because of a concerted attempt by the tories to engage with the gallery at a personal level (down the pub, invites to dinner events, etc) at exactly the same time as Labour changed out a lot of their PR staff for staff who subsequently didn’t engage but, like you, thought everything could be done with a single clever marketing silver bullet.

    National have made a very good job of a PR push over the last few years using everything from focus groups to associative advertising, the politics of emotive response (I’m working on something about this right now), staying on-message and engaged interpersonal media networking and they have reaped the rewards. What they are finding out now though is that politics is like marketing coca cola only up to a point and past that threshold there is a need for policy. That is not an opinion without fact either Lew, it’s what I’m hearing personally from journalists.

    Of course this is all pretty dull stuff compared to what is actually at stake but please, Lew. The next time you talk about the propaganda get it into your thick head that 9/10ths of message is target and that targets exist in the real world.

  29. Lew 29

    Sod: Now that you’re not just pissing and moaning, you’ve actually got something useful to say!

    “I do question whether you can offer anything of value by constantly harping on about it in a manner devoid of facts or context.”

    You do keep questioning that, but you’ve not made any actual arguments to make me reconsider it. The initial discussion with James Kearney was about whether participants in a democracy should be politically literate. I think they should be, and I think they should also be propaganda-literate. Currently people are much more policy-literate than they are propaganda-literate. That includes posters here.

    “In fact the interesting stuff is going on where the distinction between the two is blurred.”

    I quite agree. Once we see more policy I’ll be thinking about this too.

    “You may be surprised”

    Nope, not surprised at all. They’re smart.

    “like you, thought everything could be done with a single clever marketing silver bullet.”

    I’ve never thought or advocated anything of the sort. What I’m talking about is balance. The policy’s strong enough to win an election on, but the electorate doesn’t realise it.

    “What [National] are finding out now though is that politics is like marketing coca cola only up to a point and past that threshold there is a need for policy.”

    I agree with the italicised assertion above, but I see no proof that National are as yet finding it out. Signs are encouraging, and as I write I hear that MR Key has announced a rural doctor scheme and some stuff on KiwiSaver. Long may it continue.

    “Of course this is all pretty dull stuff compared to what is actually at stake”

    This seems to be our fundamental point of disagreement, but you clearly have a lot invested in it. I don’t see the end as more interesting than the means.

    “The next time you talk about the propaganda get it into your thick head that”

    The irony of someone so prone to calling people stupid complaining that I `subtextually belittle’ others’ comments is great.

    “9/10ths of message is target and that targets exist in the real world.”

    It’s not clear what you mean by `targets’ here; I presume you mean the people at whom propaganda is directed. Yes, but what’s your point? That policy affects people in material, important ways that propaganda doesn’t? Thanks, Captain Obvious.

    L

  30. Lew – I have seen you talk about “tactics” and “strategy” but I have not seen you unpack them as “and this is why I think this works as it did here” statements.

    The interpersonal stuff was an example to elucidate a point – you should try it sometime.

    As I pointed out the proof is that opinion leaders are starting to question the lack of policy. I’ve seen tipping points before and there is usually a month or two as the narratives flow through to the voter although this seems to be speeding up due to media like the standard so there’s plenty of “game” to play yet. I’m picking we are at a node that requires policy in from National in the next month if they want to take back the advantage though.

    As has been pointed out on the standard policy around student loans for doctors is not a policy but a claim from Key that he has considered the bonding model.

    And the Kiwisaver stuff was stated by Wilkinson and then retracted (so no policy there – just an insight into what may be being discussed behind closed doors.)

    It’s not just me that has a lot invested but everyone.

    I openly belittled you. As you should know it that is a lot less powerful in terms of influence than a subtextual message and a lot harder to resile from but I like a nice clear message and I stand by what I say.

    By targets I mean people in the real world and a message has a lot more resonance if it is attached to something that is tangible to the target.

    As for “Captain Obvious”? Well you’re the one constantly arguing that the sky is blue…

  31. Lew 31

    Robinsod: “I’m picking we are at a node that requires policy in from National in the next month if they want to take back the advantage though.”

    Quite right in that the worm usually takes a while to turn. I’m not sure it’s speeding up – I think National have enough of a cushion that they’ll be happy to coast for another couple of months. I guess we’ll see. I don’t really mind being proven wrong, I’m just interested in seeing how it comes about.

    Re doctors and KiwiSaver: I hadn’t read any detail about it at the time, just a couple of headlines. False alarms, then.

    “It’s not just me that has a lot invested but everyone.”

    By this I take it you mean that people stand to gain or lose from the outcome of the game – that it’s not just `the game’. I think your main beef with me is that you think I don’t understand this and am trying to sit on the fence and pretend that all outcomes are as good as each other. I’m not – I’ve never voted for United Future in my life. I’m not interested in cutting either side any slack or behaving like a partisan hack because it’ll benefit `the movement’. Anyone can be a cheerleader, it’s not worth my time. The main argument I’ve been making is that Labour have squandered a policy advantage through poor communication, and that needs to change. Again, it might seem obvious to you, but nobody seems to be acting on it.

    “I openly belittled you. As you should know it that is a lot less powerful in terms of influence than a subtextual message and a lot harder to resile from but I like a nice clear message and I stand by what I say.”

    I’ve not tried to belittle anyone except Brett Dale and Ev, and I don’t get the impression others feel belittled. I’m sure those who do are happy to have you as their knight in shining armour. One thing I’ll say in your favour is that you’re unambiguous.

    “By targets I mean people in the real world and a message has a lot more resonance if it is attached to something that is tangible to the target.”

    This really is the nub of the matter. If you accept that Labour policy actually does advantage a majority of the electorate, whereas National policy doesn’t (and I do, generally speaking), why does the electorate currently favour National? What needs to change in Labour’s communication to better tie the message to the policy? (Leaving aside the minor parties for argument’s sake).

    L

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    5 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    6 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    6 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    6 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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