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Sir Edmund Thomas: “Reducing Inequality” – new ‘Values’

Written By: - Date published: 5:48 pm, November 6th, 2013 - 29 comments
Categories: activism, capitalism, democratic participation, economy, political alternatives, Social issues, unemployment, vision - Tags:

Sir Edmund Thomas’s recent Bruce Jesson lecture, “Reducing Inequality: A Strategy for a Cause’ is available online now: abridged version (h/t greywarbler).  He outlines the key elements of “neoliberalism” that have resulted in vast inequalities that are damaging to our society and it’s future.

I particularly like his focus on the need to shift from values led by economics, to those that put people and communities first.  It is from there that economic policies then flow.

(1) Values directed by the economic order

The first damaging feature of neo-liberalism I would identify is the fact that the economic order has been permitted to direct, if not dictate, the values and morality of the community.  But the morality of capitalism is a pagan morality; a morality bounded by the profit motive and the obsession with consumerism and the materialistic values it engenders.  The prime example of this perverted morality exists in the fact that a person’s worth is measured, not by the value of his or her contribution to the well-being of the community, but by their accumulation of personal wealth.

My immediate point, therefore, is simple; naked self-interest (for which it is easy to read greed) is a malign foundation for a healthy society.  The free market should not be permitted to dictate or direct the values of the community.  Rather, the community must determine its own values, and impose those values on the free market.

He mentions some “neoliberal” myths that need to be exposed:

“Trickle down” economics is a prime example.  Other myths I touch upon are:

  • The myth that a progressive tax of the wealthy depresses production and retards economic growth;
  • The myth that the poor have only themselves to blame;
  • The myth that a person’s wealth is due solely to his or her own hard work;
  • The notion that the free market is the most efficient means of allocating the distribution of resources;
  • The claim that privatisation is economically beneficial;
  • The notion that the country’s finances are the household or family’s finances writ large; and
  • The claim that high CEO and senior executive salaries and large bonuses, even if they appear obscenely high, are essential to the operation of the free market.

I have some misgivings on the way Thomas focuses on individualistic human rights, and the way he aims to recast capitalism rather than to replace it.

I take the view that the main vehicle for reducing this extreme inequality and bettering the lot of humankind will be in the area of human rights, more specifically, economic, social and cultural rights; the substantive human rights.  Human rights are basically ego-centric.  As a result, the enforcement of human rights by individuals – or groups of individuals – is compatible with individualism.  The enforcement of human rights is probably now the most productive means of protecting the individual or groups of individuals from the harsh extremes of liberal individualism and capitalism.

He outlines various areas that need to be worked on to produce a more equal, fair and well-functioning society.  One of the key ones he mentions, which I am in agreement with, is that it requires us to be working at a community level, and not to wait for the government to bring about necessary changes.

Economic, social and cultural rights, I suggest, are the key. These substantive rights embrace the right to work, in which I would include the right to a living wage, the right to health care, the right to freedom from poverty and an adequate standard of living, the right to security, the right to free and equal education, the right to a reasonable standard of housing, and the right to a habitable environment.  Such rights must be articulated and pursued with a vigour that is capable of shaking and shifting the political and economic order.  Discussion needs to be more focused and directed to generating sustained pressure from those deprived of their economic, social and cultural rights and those who aspire to achieve a fairer and more equal society.

[…]

In short, what I am suggesting is a focused campaign to promote substantive human rights.  Not being indirectly enforceable in the courts, such rights will not have the force of political and civil rights, but the objective must be to ensure that they possess sufficient force for people to claim that the minimum social, economic and cultural standards they reflect are theirs as of right.  Thus, such rights would have the same natural law underpinnings as political and civil rights.  They would be demanded by those denied those rights with the same vigour and dedication as the community demand their political and civil rights

In spite of my misgivings, I like his statements about the need for a massive struggle from those disadvantaged by the current “neoliberal” order:

Consequently, change will come, if it is to come at all, as a result of the social dissatisfaction and unrest that would follow the more aggressive assertion of economic, social and cultural rights.  With people viewing the various substantive rights, not as matters to be negotiated or compromised in an imperfect and indifferent political system, but as requirements that are theirs as of right, pressure for change would be unyielding.  Just as people will vigorously protest against the suppression or denial of their political and civil rights so they would come to vigorously protest the denial of their substantive rights.

However, it does seem like a harsh and difficult struggle ahead of us.

29 comments on “Sir Edmund Thomas: “Reducing Inequality” – new ‘Values’”

  1. Philgwellington Wellington 1

    Xox
    It has to be a peaceful revolution. Anything less is unrealistic, too little and too late. Where ever I look I can’t see it. Where is the hope?

  2. Ad 2

    This is one seriously brave ex-Supreme Court Judge.

    Not even Lord Cooke of Throndon was this political, and he was the first to enforce the Treaty of Waitangi amongst other innovations.

    Thankyou Grey Warbler for the text you have managed to capture.

    No one should expect Sir Thomas to promote replacing capitalism or any other kind of system. This is a man from deep within the system; he is indeed the Queen’s representative of the entire thing.

    Are there other uncowed judges or ex-judges out there who can speak? We are so lucky to have this man speaking now.

  3. Tracey 3

    Our judiciary are operating as a bulwark to the executive. This would not be the case if we had the us system of appointment of judges. National will have a think tank to address this anomoly

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      More importation of US systems is my guess. Political appointments to the judiciary seem to have worked so well over there.

  4. TightyRighty 4

    Tracey, who made the executive appointments to our a surpreme court? I think you should be careful about hurling accusations at national. It was labour that had us-style appointments. And apart from fatty Elias, they’ve worked reasonable well so national let them continue in their roles

    • lprent 4.1

      …so national let them continue in their roles

      Perhaps you should look at the role to which they were appointed, and in particular how long they are “appointed” for – which is essentially until they decide to stand down.

      There was nothing that National could do. Besides the government has less to do with the appointments than the judges in the other higher courts do. Try over-riding them and find out how far they get. Which is of course why judges have been “appointed” from the court of appeal.

      You should really apply yourself and learn some of the basics of the legal systems in NZ rather than relying on half misunderstood right wing myths.

      • Wayne 4.1.1

        The Law Commission has recently completed a Report on the Courts, which deals with the appointment of Judges in the Higher Courts. It has been accepted by Govt (and I am fairly sure also accepted by the Opposition Parties) which will lead to broader consultation on appointment of Judges.

      • TightyRighty 4.1.2

        just labour that technicality there lprent. tracey made up some bullshit about what she neurotically believes national would do given the opportunity. fact is, they’ve had the opportunity. and did nothing of the sort.

        I know quite a few basics of the legal system in new zealand. national couldn’t override the appointments to the surpreme courrt. never suggested they could. but they could have put stoolies in place when vacancies arose in the surpreme court. they didn’t though did they?

        so before questioning my understanding of how judges are appointed in this country, try comprehend what i’m actually saying.

  5. Macro 5

    There needs to be a wholesale nation wide debate upon this very topic…

    “what’s the economy for anyway?”

    Only after we have consensus on that can we possibly move forward.

    I would sincerely suggest that the economy is NOT about growth… In the past that may have been the case,and in developing countries that may well be the case. However what is it for an economy to be “developed”?

    Is there any need for a developed economy to continue to grow? And is it at all desirable or even possible? J S Mill did not think so, and neither did Adam Smith. Continuous growth defies the Second Law of Thermodynamics for a start, and is only being “achieved” now by a pernicious redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.

    Sir Edmund Thomas has it correct. He will have seen the effects of burgeoning inequality in the courts. The sick society is the society the fails to support its most vunerable, and the more inequality the greater the proportion of those who are vunerable

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      We have to redefine “growth” as being that which focuses on improvements in quality, resilience, inclusiveness, and human wellbeing. Not on unsustainable exponential financialised volumetric and quantitative increases.

      Because in reality all we have been achieving for the last 20 years or so is uneconomic growth. Growth which damages, harms, and increases disparities and inequalities.

      • Macro 5.1.1

        Actually I believe we have to stop talking “growth” completely. The focus needs to shift to what the economy is all about anyway – and that is prosperity. What should now be the focus of all political leaders on the left – and even from the right – is how to achieve prosperity for all. Not just the chosen few. In the past there was a requirement to grow the economy because there was not enough goods for all. But when an economy is developed, there is supposedly enough. That is why there are so many who are incredulous when it is suggested that poverty exists in this country. Surely there is enough? They simply fail to recognise the existence of inequality.

        It is possible to have a sustainable economy that provides prosperity for all in a developed economy, the challenge now is to work towards that goal.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          I’d take it one half step further and say that human well being, achievement and satisfaction has to be the goal, not “prosperity.”

          • Macro 5.1.1.1.1

            I purposely did not define “prosperity” Neither does Tim Jackson in his book “Prosperity without Growth” (recommended reading) But it could well be used for all of the above. Wealth without general well being achievement and satisfaction is hardly prosperity. 🙂

          • Francis 5.1.1.1.2

            I remember learning about an alternative measure to GDP in economics several years ago, one which takes into account things like literacy rates, morality rates, wealth distribution, etc. That’s probably the kinds of measures the world as a whole should be moving onto, rather than just the production of goods and services divided by the total population…

        • Mike S 5.1.1.2

          The actual word ‘economy’ has been hijacked. It really means to economise or arrange things so that we have the most efficient (economic) and sustainable distribution and use of the resources available. Growth is relevant only in how it relates to the economic use of resources.

          I’ve written before in an old thread that under our current system, “there is no room in the market economic model for social relations or responsibility. People and their welfare are not deemed important other than they are producers and consumers. Take any of the free market model calculations or measures and you’ll see none of them have the welfare or stableness of society as part of the equation. The family and their ability to survive are not considered as relevant in terms of inputs into calculations.

          The world is saturated in debt (all money is created as debt) and is going bankrupt. Debt doesn’t even exist in the physical reality, it is just part of a game called economics that we’ve created. Yet the well-being of billions of people is now being compromised due to debt.

          Unfortunately, there is no profit in things that are beneficial to society such as saving lives, peace, sustainability, social responsibility. We live in a society where there are unprecedented levels of wealth, yet there are also unprecedented levels of social failings; increasing levels of violence, self harm amongst kids, drug abuse, mental illness, child abuse, etc. Does that not seem wrong? Activities which are detrimental to society and human kind such as war, illness and disease, financial speculation, greed, etc; are the activities which within our monetary and economic system are rewarded with massive profits. That’s a defective system surely? Poverty shouldn’t exist yet it does and is increasing rapidly. This clearly shows the system is not working.”

          A sustainable economy is impossible under our current monetary and economic system. Our current system is based completely upon exponentially ever increasing consumption. The world has finite resources so exponentially increasing consumption of those resources obviously has to come to a crashing halt at some stage.

          No amount of tinkering will resolve the issues we face. The system needs a complete redesign, which is a hugely difficult task, mainly due to politics and the fact that the very wealthy control the system and are obviously reluctant to change from that which has rewarded them so handsomely and continues to do so.

          Unfortunately, drastic change on a societal level usually only comes about due to some sort of catastrophic event or natural disaster. It could be that a complete financial collapse (which is a mathematical certainty under our current system) will be the thing that forces massive changes.It could happen very soon, or maybe not for a couple of decades or more, but it will happen.

  6. Olwyn 6

    “Human rights are basically ego-centric. As a result, the enforcement of human rights by individuals – or groups of individuals – is compatible with individualism.”

    Karol, I understood this statement as suggesting that a good starting place for change is a promising point on the current conceptual map; that the individualism the neo-libs have cultivated in people might be able to be extended in the direction of substantive human rights. I did not take him to be endorsing individualism as such.

    • karol 6.1

      That’s a good point, Olwyn. I read that paragraph a couple of times because I was troubled by it. I some ways it didn’t seem to fit with the rest of his lecture.

      There’s a couple of places where I stopped to ponder. On the one hand Thomas is advocating all out uncompromising, possibly turbulent, resistance to the current status quo. On the other hand he’s talking of (individualistic) human rights as a buffer against the harshest elements of market capitalism – as the

      most productive means of protecting the individual or groups of individuals from the harsh extremes of liberal individualism and capitalism.

      Then he also seems to contradict that with this:

      The free market should not be permitted to dictate or direct the values of the community. Rather, the community must determine its own values, and impose those values on the free market.

      Which is very much a focus on the collective putting extreme pressure on the “free market”.

      But maybe he is advocating more of a multi-facted struggle as you indicate.

      • Olwyn 6.1.1

        I was at the lecture. Apart from his rejection of neo-liberalism, he seemed rather agnostic about the economic system to be followed, provided it did not dominate community life and values. And he seemed to see substantive human rights as the issue capable of uniting people in a situation where their historic power bases have been lost to them, or greatly weakened.

        • karol 6.1.1.1

          Human rights do have a lot of unifying potential. Although, I suspect it’s Thomas’s legal background that gives it strong meaning for him.

          It may not be the term that’s as important as the values that communities agree on for themselves – as he suggests. Maybe focusing on various grass campaigns for more equality and livable communities (housing, income, affordable basic services and resources, etc) would lead to a set of (more abstract) basic values.

          I’m all for not treating “economy” as a leading philosophy.

          • Olwyn 6.1.1.1.1

            Substantive human rights are outlined in a 1948 UN document. Their lack, in common with the lack of civil rights, greatly reduces people’s agency. I think he is also looking at the the way the Civil Rights movement in the US was able to make its presence felt, despite the lack of a recognised power base underpinning it. The idea also transcends the varying interests that can set the left bickering with each other. The more I think about it, the more I am in favour of it.

            • karol 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes. I was thinking of the UN on human rights. I’m not sure if everyone on the left is all that keen on the UN. And I do mean that I’m not sure. Need more information on how “human rights” are seen throughout the left.

              • Olwyn

                Whatever the shortcomings of the UN, the document in question outlines a standard that the neo-liberal countries, including New Zealand, are failing to meet. Which gives it a certain authority – it cannot simply be dismissed as the latest harebrained scheme.

  7. Adele 7

    TightyRighty

    Why be ugly about Sian Elias? Methinks you aren’t that tight a righty otherwise you would be wallowing at her feet in awe.

    Sian Elias is the epitome of what the right aspires to represent. She breathes a privileged atmosphere; wears conservative attire; sits at the top table; is at the pinnacle of her profession; has lots of money, and is even married to a captain of industry in Sir Hugh Fletcher.

    Perhaps her being a decent human being is the cause of your puku ache. In which case, poor you, not even an enema shaped like John Key can loosen your particular tightness.

    • TightyRighty 7.1

      Right oh Adele. Whose Sue Kedgley married to again? the great thing about having a strong belief in feminism amongst right wing men as that they can tolerate the diversity of their wife’s opinion from their own and even have a happy home life. you don’t see that on the left now do you? just because you couldn’t tolerate having someone who didn’t slavishly worship the same beliefs beside you for life, doesn’t mean others can’t bigoted much?

      I think Sian Elias was a political appointment by the previous government, US supreme court style, and therefore deserving of scrutiny and a certain cynicism about her judgements. to be fair though, she’s done pretty well at being an upholder of justice in this country.

      and who let tricledown out it’s cage again? just puerile rubbish from that ip address. so because you googled “Sian Elias – Privy Council” you somehow become smarter than me?

      • lprent 7.1.1

        Hey political idiot…

        I think Sian Elias was a political appointment by the previous government

        Stupid and wrong. Go and read up about the formation of the Supreme court. In particular where the judges came from and how the chief was picked

        Jez. You really are a bit of a fuckwit when it comes to just looking stuff up….

  8. tricledrown 8

    +1
    Dame Sian alias has also sat on the privy council.
    Tighty almighty has sat on the privy and left what little brains He has got in the sewer.

  9. Adele 9

    Kiaora Karol,

    I see no ambiguity in Sir Edmund’s rather excellent speech.

    I thought his argument was that human rights (despite being ego-centrically driven) would eviscerate the extremes of individualism and capitalism from the human psyche.

    That human rights are compatible with individualism sets up the dilemma for the typical individualist capitalist. Human rights allows them to function as individualist and as capitalist therefore to argue against human rights is to argue against their own self-interest.

    They may of course think that some are entitled to more human rights than others but as history shows that sort of thinking eventually ends up being garrotted. Which is the substance of his other kōrero. Revolution is inevitable under conditions of extreme disparity. Substantive human rights are in everyone’s best interest.

    How human rights evolve beyond the current understanding is where indigenous peoples intersect with the moralising.

    • karol 9.1

      Thanks, Adele.

      Yes, I can understand the logic of this. I guess in the longer term, I would like to see a term more based in cooperative community values.

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  • More lies on the Twitter (Dan Hodges edition)
    The other big story concerning Leeds Hospital is Boris Johnson's bizzare behaviour at Leeds Hospital, where he was confronted by a journalist and challenged about a four year old boy with suspected pneumonia who was left sleeping on the floor, rather than getting  abed like a sick kid would in ...
    6 days ago
  • LabourActivistPunchedMattHancock’sSPADGate
    So, for a brief period of history, it was alleged that a protester had punched Matt Hancock's SPAD (not a euphemism; special adviser) when Hancock visited Leeds Hospital.This was reported by the likes of Robert Peston and Laura Keunssberg, as well as the less credible Guido Fawkes.  It also quickly ...
    6 days ago
  • France’s anti-Zionism is anti-liberté
    by Daphna Whitmore Last week France passed a law that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. It is based on a definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Another bus lockout
    Over the past year we've seen major bus problems in Hamilton and Wellington, as drivers have sought better wages and an end to the bullshit of split shifts, which basicly see them "married to the job". And now its Auckland's turn. When NZBus's drivers planned low-level strike action of not ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Showing us how its done
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    1 week ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    1 week ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago

  • Record export highs picked for primary sector
    Sustained high growth in primary industry exports looks set to continue over the next two years with strong prices predicted for farmers, fishers, growers and rural communities. Minister of Agriculture and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor today released the latest Situation and Outlook report for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • New partnership to boost screen sector job opportunities
    Auckland’s growing screen sector is the catalyst for a new partnership between the Ministry of Social Development and Auckland’s economic development agency Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED). The launch today at FilmFX in Henderson, is to celebrate the partnership which looks to capitalise on the social and economic development opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • A minute’s silence for Whakaari White Island victims
    A minute’s silence will be observed at 2.11pm on Monday 16 December in honour of the victims of the Whakaari White Island eruption, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed. “Wherever you are in New Zealand, or around the world, this is a moment we can stand alongside those who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ to help fund fight against measles in the Pacific region
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced New Zealand will contribute NZ$1 million of funding towards the joint United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Pacific Regional Action Plan for Measles.   “Prevention through vaccination is the most effective way of avoiding illness and a costly health emergency. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand remembers Sir Peter Snell
    New Zealand is today remembering one of our true sporting heroes, triple Olympic gold medal winner Sir Peter Snell. “He was a legend, here and around the world,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “Our thoughts are with Sir Peter’s wife Miki and their family.” “Sir Peter is recognised as New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • PM congratulates Boris Johnson on election victory
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his election victory.  “New Zealand and the United Kingdom are close friends and despite our distance we are strongly connected by our history and people,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “I look forward to continuing to work with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Building a platform for the future of rail
    The Government has released its long term vision for a sustainable 21st Century rail network that gets our cities moving, connects our regions and gets more freight off the roads.   Deputy Prime Minister and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said the Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister statement Whakaari White Island recovery operation
    I want to start by acknowledging the families who have experienced such grief and such loss since the extraordinary tragedy on Monday. Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones. We've just come from the airport where many of them were gathered and in amongst what you can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand medical specialists to provide further support to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic. “Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Discounted electric-bikes offered to public sector workers
    Discounted electric bikes will be offered up to public sector staff across the country as part of the Government’s work to reduce transport emissions and support healthier transport options.  Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter officially launched the new initiative at Wellington Hospital today.  “The Government has negotiated bulk-purchase ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Australia and New Zealand confirm joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup
    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launch an historic joint bid to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Australian Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck and New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson will announce the bold campaign, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Blackwater gold mine gets PGF boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has approved a $15 million loan to help re-establish a gold mining operation at Blackwater Gold Mine, near Reefton, Rural Communities Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor announced at an event on the West Coast today. “This is great news for the Coast that could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being
    Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being A housing project by Kohupātiki whānau in Hastings is an outstanding example of a Māori-led housing initiative that can reduce financial pressure and reconnect whānau to their whakapapa says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Minister Mahuta officially opened the Aroha Te Rangi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project
    Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. “Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Housing First to help Nelson Tasman homeless
    Nelson has today seen the launch of Housing First Nelson Tasman. Today’s launch marks the expansion of the Government’s homelessness programme, Housing First, to the top of the South Island. “Housing First is a proven programme that puts people who are experiencing homelessness and multiple, high and complex needs into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New funding to support Environment Centres working for sustainable local solutions
    New Government funding announced today will help communities make a difference in tackling environmental issues Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced in Hawkes Bay today. The Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund is dedicating $243,101 to growing the capacity and capability of the Environment Hubs Aotearoa’s (EHA) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government takes bite out of loan sharks
    The days of vulnerable consumers falling victim to loan sharks, truck shops and other predatory lenders are numbered, following the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill passing its third reading tonight. “Too many Kiwis are being given loans that are unaffordable and unsuitable, trapping them in debt and leaving their families ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand safer as Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders Bill) becomes law
    A Bill that prevents terrorism and supports the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas has passed its third reading, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill is a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Foreign Minister and Pacific Peoples Minister to visit Samoa
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa on Friday, where New Zealand medical teams are helping Samoa respond to an outbreak of measles. “New Zealand has been working closely with the Government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Pastoral Care Code will support tertiary students in 2020
    The Government has changed the law to improve student safety and welfare in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. The Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill passed its third reading this afternoon and details of an interim Code of Practice setting out the Government’s expectations of tertiary providers have also been released. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster
    A new tool to help councils fund and finance infrastructure could mean some housing developments happen a decade earlier than currently planned, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. “This new tool, developed by the Government in partnership with industry and high-growth councils, will allow councils to access private debt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Vision to unite the primary sector launched today
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has welcomed the release of a bold new vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector. “I’m delighted that New Zealand’s major farmer and grower organisations are today supporting the Primary Sector Council’s vision – Fit for a Better World,” he said. “The international consumers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ congratulates PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government on referendum
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has congratulated the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for completing a well-conducted referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. “New Zealand supported the referendum process by providing technical advice through the New Zealand Electoral Commission and leading a Regional Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Next steps for Upper North Island logistics
    In light of Cabinet’s position that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable, the Government will now embark on a short work programme to enable decision-making in the first half of next year, Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones is today releasing the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
    Kia ora koutouE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā matā wakaTēnā koutou katoaHaere ngā, moe maiKoutou ma ngā Rangatira Ko Anaru ahauKo au te Minita mo ngā TureHe Honore tino nui kei roto I ahau No reira tena koutou katoa Today, we are releasing two reports that are the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New direction for criminal justice reform
    The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime. Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund
    New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Señora Presidenta, Excellencies, Delegates. International action A common thread that runs through the Paris Agreement is the commitment we have made to each other to do what we can to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
    The Government is lifting capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years as it takes the next step to future-proof New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced $12 billion of new investment, with $8 billion for specific capital projects and $4 billion to be added to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Strong economy, careful spending gives $12bn of surpluses
    The Government is forecast to run $12 billion worth of surpluses across the four years to 2023/24 as the economy continues to grow. The surpluses will help fund day-to-day capital requirements each year. These include fixing leaky hospitals, building new classrooms to cover population growth and take pressure off class ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Priorities for 2020 Wellbeing Budget outlined
    Budget 2020 will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future-proof the economy. When the Government took office in 2017 it was left with crumbling infrastructure, severe underinvestment in public services, degraded rivers and lakes, a housing crisis and rising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister welcomes data-rich coastline mapping tool
    The Minister responsible for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (te Takutai Moana Act 2011), Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of an online geospatial tool that provides data-rich, dynamic coastline maps that will significantly boost research and evidence-gathering under the Act. Te Kete Kōrero a Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Chief Victims Advisor reappointed for a further two years
    The Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor, QSO, has been reappointed in her role for a further two years. Dr McGregor has held the role since it was established in November 2015. She provides independent advice to government on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand tsunami monitoring and detection system to be established
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have today announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. “New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. It is vital we have adequate warning systems in place,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • DART Buoys Announcement
    DART Buoys Announcement Aotea Wharf, 9.30am 11 December 2019   Acknowledgements Acknowledgements to Minister for Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare also here today. White Island It is with regret that this event shadows the tragic natural disaster two days ago. The volcanic eruptions on White Island have claimed 5 lives, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago