Spin-busting: ‘A growth problem, not a debt problem’

Written By: - Date published: 10:42 am, August 4th, 2008 - 26 comments
Categories: economy, national, spin - Tags:

To justify borrowing for tax cuts, National’s new line is that New Zealand has ‘a growth problem, not a debt problem’. Untrue.


(source)
New Zealand’s growth has been faster in recent years than trend, faster than it was under National, and faster than growth in our major trade partners.

We are in a shallow recession right now but that’s because a) we’ve grown so quickly in the last 8 years that there is little spare capacity for growth in the economy and b) the world is experiencing the beginning of peak oil, that has put petrol prices to record prices, hamstringing the global economy, including New Zealand.

Moreover, National’s borrowing plan would not break us out of the present recession. It’s not roads we are short on; it’s invesmtnet in workers’ skills, a low-carbon transport infrastructure, and more private sector investment in private businesses that are needed. With our economy still basically at full capacity, all National’s borrowing will do is cause inflation.

We don’t have a growth problem: New Zealand has grown as fast as it could for the last decade leading to record-low unemployment and record high wage increases. National’s borrowing would not increase growth (more investment by private business in their capital would help, but business owners continue to prioritise profits over investment). So, we’re left with the real reason for National’s debt plan – to pay for tax cuts.

26 comments on “Spin-busting: ‘A growth problem, not a debt problem’”

  1. outofbed 1

    Alternatively of course, National could reduce those extra borrowing costs by further sales of state assets – such as Kiwibank or TVNZ in its second term – as the bills start mounting. In other words, the future sale of Kiwibank will not have been due to any shortcomings in performance on its part ultimately, it will have been required to pay for National’s election bribes during 2008. Cut taxes now, and strip mine state assets later yes, it will be interesting to watch Key trying to defend the indefensible over the course of this election campaign.

    this nails it
    http://election08.scoop.co.nz/gordon-campbell-on-national%E2%80%99s-economic-vision/

  2. Draco TB 2

    Yep, Nationals plan seems to be:
    1.) Cut taxes
    2.) Borrow to fund the tax cuts
    3.) Sell off assets to keep the incoming cash flow so they can cut taxes even more
    4.) Pauperize and bankrupt NZ

  3. vto 3

    If labour is responsible for the growth then labour is responsible for this current ‘shallow recession’, as you call it (but try being realistic and cll it what it is, namely the start of a massive meltdown. good one labour).

  4. vto. you’re smarter than this, you can do better.

    Just because government can influence the economy does not mean that every thing that happens to the economy is due to the Government (note – I didn’t say in the article that our above trend gorwth over the last decade was due in whole or in part to the Laobur-led Govts). You have to be able to point to cause and effect in each instance.

    Likewise, some borrowing can be good if done at the right times for the right reasons, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve boxed myself into supporting any borrowing at any time.

    Just because when it rains my head gets wet does not mean that if my head is wet it must be raining.

    As to the recession, I see us coming out of this with less than 1% of GDP loss – that’s what the experts are predicting too. However, in the medium term the global economy is in for a rocky ride from peak oil and we can expect signficant periods of larger recession.

  5. vto 5

    It has always got to me that pretty much through the entire term of this labour govt Cullen and Clark have consistently crowed about how their good deeds have resulted in the recent economic growth. Everybody knows that the recent growth was due to two things – the previous policies put in place during the nineties and before – and the healthy world economy.

    So if Cullen claims responsibility for that, which he has for a long time, then he is also responsible for this meltdown. (of course, he is in fact responsible for zip all, but he is the one who has claimed it)

    Re the meltdown, I wager the meltdown will be significantly greater than 1%. Did you notice the building consent stats last week? At the same level as January 2001 – don’t know if you were around then but those were dire times. And then seasonally adjusted those stats and the consents are at I think a 32 year low.

    And when are we allowed to start talking about a run on one of the big banks?

  6. SweeetD 6

    If our growth has been so wonderful, how come we are dropping down the OECD scale? Once upon a time HC had a dream to get NZ into the top half of the OECD. NZ does have a growth problem, pretty graphs do not change this.

    [we’re not in the top half of the OECD because we fell so far behind in the 1980s and 1990s, even a decade of fast growth has not been enough to close the gap. We’ve dropped one place in OECD rankings because Greece (or is it Korea?) is also growing fast and over took us but we are both closing on the higher ranked OECD countries. Even if we did have a growth problem, National has no solution to it. SP]

  7. rave 7

    Key is Bush lite crude.
    Infrastructure to slash and burn oil won by wars for oil.
    Big boys toys destroy lives.

  8. vto 8

    Ah yes Sweeeetd I keep forgetting about that. Back into the top half of the OECD it was. But we have in fact gone the other way – the reason? Sweet f a in the way of growth-promoting policies. This govt has squandered an amazing opportunity. They have just sat on their arse (when it comes to economic matters) and gorged themselves.

    The government is rich and the people are poor.

  9. Quoth the Raven 9

    So according to you vto National can’t be blamed for the slow growth, high unemployment, slow wage growth, higher level of poverty and two years of recession when it was in power and Labour can’t be responsible for the strong economic growth that New Zealand has had since they’ve been in power but the shallow period of growth we’re in now is solely down to Labour. How? Vto do you take LSD, like everyday?

  10. Felix 10

    The government is rich and the people are poor.

    Funny how I never hear poor people saying that.

    Perhaps it’s because what you actually mean is “the govt redistributes the wealth of the country to ensure that the poor are not so poor”

    Nah, you’re probably right, the govt collects money to make itself “rich”.

  11. vto 11

    LSD looks like your prerogative QtR … “the shallow period of growth we’re in now”. There is no growth now QtR. It is actually contracting.

    And I din’t say what you said I said. Cullen, I said, is the one who has claimed it all for himself. He is the one who claims the good but blames other for the bad. Duh. That was the point of the point.

  12. Quoth the Raven 12

    My mistake vto I should’ve said negative growth and you did say Cullen is not to blame for for this meltdown. Maybe I have been taking LSD today. Anyway remember when I pointed out that Bernard Hickey had written this about Labour’s last budget:
    Whatever happened to their mantra that they wouldn’t pay for tax cuts by running up debts? Their (quite powerful) argument that it wasn’t right for National to pay for tax cuts with debt is now dead as the proverbial. Their rebuttal that the debt is only paying for infrastructure is, strictly speaking, true, but debt wouldn’t have to be raised without the tax cuts. There’s no getting away from this. They are raiding the Reserve Bank’s cookie jar and borrowing from foreigners for an irresponsible spending and tax cutting budget.

    I was wondering whether Hickey would be critical of National’s plans. After saying that you’d be sure he would be. Well, he’s come out defending National’s plans, hypocracy anyone?

  13. vto 13

    QtR the hypocrisy is as thick as cowshed shit in both camps on various matters. It seems to be an unfortunate political reality.

    Re borrowing to pay for tax cuts – well people aren’t silly. The govt budget is pretty much a household budget. As long as you’ve got any debt then the argument can so very easily be made that the debt could be for anything in the budget. If you go out and pay cash for a wide screen telly and then borrow for a house then clearly the house debt could be written up as telly debt. The debt can be applied anywhere.

    So it is with this issue – are the borrowings for tax cuts? or infrastructure? or kiwisaver? or the Cullen fund? Or for students free loans? The list goes on.

    But I think there is a little difference in that when you borrow to pay for a house you do so because there is no other realistic way for the vast majority of people to buy a house. And imo it is similar with certain larger items in the national interest. eg. infrastructure.

    And another related matter – imo it is unfair to require this generation to use its cash for infrastructure that spans generations. Sure, obviously it would be fantastic to leave our grandkids etc a debt free set of amazing infrastructure, but we aint rich enough to do that (unless Southland becomes the next Arabian Peninsula). And there is a limit to how much one generation should be required to undergo hardship for the following generations.

  14. lprent 14

    vto: Actually I agree. What I disagree on is what they want to raise debt on. If it spans generations then there should be a fairly high expectation that it will in fact benefit future generations.

    Obviously I’m reasonably sensitive about this because I’m in the generation that the previous John Key (Sir Robert Muldoon) used that argument on my parents. Consequently I’ve not only had to help pay for restructuring the useless command economy he left, but also the debt. This was debt to pay for infrastructure that would ensure that my generation would be wealthy enough to pay for easily (right – like that happened). The infrastructure was to be paid for by debt, and that meant that muldoon could pay for SMP’s for his constituency – the rural community.

    Does this sound familiar… Translate SMP’s into tax-cuts and to me it rings with a horrible cackle.

    In two examples that the Nat’s want to raise debt to ensure growth, roads and fibre to the home – I don’t believe that either will benefit my families kids. To date all I have heard is some vague waffle that essentially comes down to “…have faith in muldoon ummm Key. You just need a leader with courage.” rather than some actual numbers and risk assessments.

    Bugger off – I’m too old to be caught by that crap, and so will a significant portion of the voters. We’ve seen it all before – and we paid for the tee-shirt many time over.

  15. Draco TB 15

    But I think there is a little difference in that when you borrow to pay for a house you do so because there is no other realistic way for the vast majority of people to buy a house. And imo it is similar with certain larger items in the national interest. eg. infrastructure.

    IMO, this is wrong. A nation should never have to borrow for infrastructure. All that really needs to be done is that income taxes need to be raised to cover the investment and once finished the taxes get dropped again. This has the advantage that government spending will remain inflation neutral unlike deficit spending which forces inflation upwards.

    And another related matter – imo it is unfair to require this generation to use its cash for infrastructure that spans generations.

    I’ve addressed this part here.

  16. Matthew Pilott 16

    Just a quick point, the difference between a govt budget and a houehold is that it does not earn an income as such. It can set a income level as required and can choose to set that at the level of expenditure. So the tv/mortgage example doesn’t quite work – a government could choose to fund everything through cash inflows, not debt, a household does not have the option.

    So when we can afford something but choose to reduce government income and fund it by debt there is no household equivalent. If anything it would be like making two purchases, one funded by debt and the other funded from income.

  17. vto 17

    Wasn’t Muldoon’s think big more actually setting up some industries that could be of value in the future, rather than actual infrastructure. The methanol plant for example. Muldoon was out of control in many other ways too though so perhaps a little different. And as for SMP’s for his constituency – student loans paid by the workers (I refuse to call them free) are the same thing politically. Throw the money at some people you want to vote for you.

    Draco, I have to disagree a great deal. Tax is something that should be used with absolute caution. It’s not just some pool of money that the wgtn power freaks can just dip into at will (tho many do seem to think that way). My point on the political spectrum is such that the people and their own financials come first, the government second. The current govt’s attitude to this is the reverse – witness Cullen’s many words over the years betraying his philosophy here. It is not right.

  18. Draco TB 18

    Draco, I have to disagree a great deal. Tax is something that should be used with absolute caution.

    I agree – there would have to be some very strict rules about such use and probably the use of an independent institution like the RBNZ but I’m not about to speculate on that just ATM.

    My point on the political spectrum is such that the people and their own financials come first, the government second.

    I’m of the opinion that there’s no difference. The individual needs society to achieve what they want and vice versa. There needs to be a balance between the two though. If the government takes too much then the people suffer and the economy collapses but if the government takes too little then government services collapse, the people suffer and the economy collapses. I think Cullen has been trying to walk this fine line and doing a fairly good job of it so far.

  19. Quoth the Raven 19

    Farrar has demonstrated the same hypocracy when it comes to National’s plans and Labour’s budget:
    The Labour line of not borrowing for tax cuts is dead and discredited. Now as I have said, I actually do not have a problem with borrowing for capital investment so long as the operating surplus (OBEGAL) remains positive and large enough to cover the Cullen Fund and a buffer on top of that. But OBEGAL will not be high enough to even cover the Cullen Fund until 2016.

    So where does that leave National’s increased borrowing?

    He has in fact cut them so much he needs to borrow money to put into his Cullen Fund. Anyone else doing that would be howled down. It is indeed a “poison pill’ budget like in 1990 designed to force the next Government to run a deficit or cut spending.

    There will be spending cuts regardless of who is in office. The only difference is Labour calls them “reprioritisation’.

    So this will make it tougher for National. they certainly will be able to deliver tax cuts larger than these ones, but not massively larger unless they get more rigorous with saying no to various spending proposals.

    National’s just promised billions of new spending has Farrar changed his tune now. Okay so DPF is not as bad as Hickey but it’s still poor form. I’m not registered with kiwiblog so can anyone who is bring up the right’s collective amnesia around Labour’s last budget.

  20. Swampy 20

    “Obviously I’m reasonably sensitive about this because I’m in the generation that the previous John Key (Sir Robert Muldoon) used that argument on my parents. Consequently I’ve not only had to help pay for restructuring the useless command economy he left, but also the debt. This was debt to pay for infrastructure that would ensure that my generation would be wealthy enough to pay for easily (right – like that happened). The infrastructure was to be paid for by debt, and that meant that muldoon could pay for SMP’s for his constituency – the rural community.

    Does this sound familiar ”

    What sounds familiar is
    – Blame National for all the bad in the economy
    – Give Labour credit for fixing National’s mistakes

    So Roger Douglas’s reforms of the late 1980s must have been 100% right, never mind that they have been roundly condemned by the Left in general.

    Muldoon followed in the footsteps of a long line of previous governments, National and Labour. He cannot wholly be held responsible for the situation NZ found itself in at the time he was in office. Nor can it be reasonable to pretend there was a major difference between the policies of Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson.

  21. Swampy 21

    “If the government takes too much then the people suffer and the economy collapses but if the government takes too little then government services collapse, the people suffer and the economy collapses. I think Cullen has been trying to walk this fine line and doing a fairly good job of it so far.”

    No, Cullen and Co have pushed the envelope too far in the direction of the government pushing the private sector out of too many parts of the marketplace so the government can have a greater share or a monopoly.

  22. Kevyn 22

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t GDP only a measure of consumption quantity rather than consumption quality? As such I can improve my quality of life and reduce the GDP at the same time. For instance the money I spend on an imported cylinder wrap is money I can’t spend on something made in NZ. Once I have installed the wrap my spending on NZ made electricity will fall and I might spend that saved money on a subscription to a foreign magazine. Since the magazine is imported it doesn’t count in the GDP. Now, I am still using as much hot water as did before, thus getting the same standard of living in that regard, but I am also enjoying a new source of reading pleasure so in that respect my standard of living has improved. Yet by using energy more efficiently I have reduced the GDP.

    So is fixating on growing the GDP actually a good thing? In the context of borrwing for roads as a means to increase GDP it seems this will actually work more sucessfully than borrowing to improve the railways. Firstly because imports aren’t included in the GDP spending heaps of money importing wagons and locomotives and electricla equipment won’t increase the GDP whereas spending heap on locally produced cement and gravel and rebar and employing lots of people to put it all together will increase GDP. Whatever impact the two investment option may have on future fuel and vehicle imports is irrelevant if the motivation is confined solely to growing the GDP. But the impact on the balance of payments is going to be quite different and that might affect my future quality of life much more than the artficially grown GDP might.

  23. r0b 23

    I know a lot of debates here feature “GDP”, but it’s actually a very odd measure. Some of the issues are discussed here:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-costanza10mar10,0,5656929.story?track=ntothtml
    or here:
    http://dieoff.org/page11.htm
    an alternative is described here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genuine_Progress_Indicator
    and many other places e.g. here:
    http://www.rprogress.org/sustainability_indicators/genuine_progress_indicator.htm

  24. Kevyn 24

    r0b, Excellent links. Just what I wanted.

    The graph at the 2nd link shows a remarkable coincidence between abrupt changes in the GPI trend and some of the most surprising abrupt changes in the US car buyers preferences. Maybe America’s GPI mood-swings are detected soonest by astute car designers and legislators; or the car is so central to American life that their satisfaction/disatisfaction shows up there first.
    The first long plateau ends when the Lee Iococca’s Mustang starts the pony car horsepower race.
    The next plateau begins when Congress enacts federal mandatory vehicle safety standards.
    That plateau ends when OPEC starts pushing Americans into small imports.
    The next plateau begins when Lee Iococca joins Chrysler and launches the MPV (mini passenger van) as the new American station wagon.
    That plateau ends when Chrysler-Jeep launch the SUV.
    Unfortunately the graph stops before either the Hummer or Prius were released. The tables in the Genuine Progress Indicator 2006 have much less dramatic trend changes but they are still there. The GPI actually goes up when the Hummer/Escalade and other mega-SUVs are released, dips at 9/11 then continues rising slowly. The last year is 2004. Eagerly awaiting for an update covering the Prius release and 2006 fuel price surge.

    I wonder if our GPI is reflected in house prices or sizes?

  25. lprent 25

    Swampy:

    What sounds familiar is
    – Blame National for all the bad in the economy
    – Give Labour credit for fixing National’s mistakes

    If the hat fits – then wear it. The track record of National is exactly that within my adult life. They simply do not seem to be able to do anything right.

    Of course I’ve only really had 2 national governments that I’ve observed closely.

    The first was Muldoon and that started with the long-term fuckup called national superannuation with its classic passing of costs to future generations. It ended with an economy that was massively constrained by paying the interest on government debt.

    The second was Bolger’s that started with the Mother of All Budgets that drastically cut benefit payments and massively deepened a recession. For all of the excuses that some people use for that budget, there was no need to do it fiscally (no world bank leaning down the back, and having some borrowing capabilities), it was done for purely ideological reasons.

    In the last 9 years, the national opposition has looked like the same set of blind faith ideologues that cause problems. This one just appears to want to do everything covertly and to get in by badmouthing the government rather than showing their own long-term policies. Reminds me of muldoon in 1975, and also sounds like a recipe for another disaster for NZ.

    Labour is less dangerous to have in power because they actually use their brains. They aren’t perfect but they don’t make long-term screw ups like the Nat’s routinely do. I’d argue with a lot of the policy decisions, but at least they tend to be thought out.

  26. vto 26

    Hey Draco (way back up there somewhere) you referred to there needing to be a balance between the people and the government when it comes to taxtion. Of course.

    Between the people and society you mentioned. This is wrong imo. The govt is not society. The people together are society. The govt is an appendage that can carry out some jobs for that society.

    This is where the philosophical differences between left and right crop up. I do nto accept govt as some sort of over-arching representative of my society. At all. My society is the people around me, the first concentric ring around me being my immediate family. Next concentric ring, wider family and friends. Next the local community. Next the district.. etc until the nation state is reached.

    The importance seemingly placed by th left on the position of govt in our society is what turns me off it. It is poorly placed and by its own nature is incapable of performing those tasks hurled at it by, generally, the left. The results of that poor placement are thick on the ground.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    5 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago

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