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Starve the beast

Written By: - Date published: 12:39 pm, December 14th, 2010 - 48 comments
Categories: public services, tax - Tags: ,

Let’s face it. A government doesn’t accidentally spend $15 billion more than its revenue while cutting billions in taxes. The unsustainably high deficit is intentional policy, not happenstance.

In good times and bad, National’s answer is always to cut taxes:

Economic good times and record surpluses? ‘Hardworking Kiwis are being overtaxed by that greedy Michael Cullen’

Recession and record deficits? ‘We need tax cuts to boost the economy’

It doesn’t seem to make sense that your answer to two diametrically opposite situations would be the same. Unless, of course, your objectives aren’t those stated.

The rightwing wealthy elite hates public services. They believe that if you aren’t worthy enough, as measured by the market, to afford something you shouldn’t get it. And they especially hate paying the taxes to buy these public services. Being narrow-minded they can’t see that they benefit from living in a society where the less well-off get education and healthcare and a minimal income safety net.

The problem, rightwingers discovered, as they fought the creation of the welfare state in the middle of last century, is that poor people get to vote too. And they love public services. The social wage is as valuable, if not more valuable, than the market wage for many people. For the poor, public services provide some relief from the massive inequities created by the market.

But, by and large, the poor pay taxes too. And few people enjoy it. So, the Right hit on a strategy. Rather than decrying public services as inherently wrong as they had, they focused on persuading people that, rain or shine, they need tax cuts. It turns out that it’s quite easy to convince people that they should have more money in their pockets, if you don’t make them aware of the consequences. Polls regularly show big support for tax cuts but big opposition to the statement ‘would you support public service cuts to pay for tax cuts’.

But the Right knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch. The objective of the tax cut mantra is to create huge deficits that then need to be ‘fixed’ with spending cuts. This is what American conservatives call ‘starve the beast’.

Grover Norquist put it colourfully when he said “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

This is what is happening all over the world. During the boom years, governments everywhere cut taxes, even Left ones like Labour, who at least cut them to the bottom end more. It seemed like they could afford to, with the massive surpluses they would otherwise have been running (except the UK and US, which ran deficits even in the boom years). Along came the great recession and more tax cuts, this time to stimulate the economy – even though the evidence is that greater government spending is more stimulatory.

Now, the deficits are out of control here and abroad. Does anyone say ‘hey, lets just return tax levels to where they were when we didn’t have a structural deficit?’ No. Because the Right has been very very successful, with the centre-Left’s meek acquiescence, in making raising taxes nearly impossible. Instead, the ‘only solution’ is austerity cuts to public services.

There’s no crisis without opportunity, and this crisis is playing perfectly into the right’s hands. We’ll be told that ‘extravagant’ public services are no longer affordable and health and education will get big cuts. We’ve already been softened up for welfare cuts. And asset sales will also become ‘necessary’ to pay off our debts.

We’ve been here before – 20 years ago. Starve the beast worked then, and it’s working now.

48 comments on “Starve the beast”

  1. Did I see Pansy’s arm firmly up her back so that her resignation would drown out what economically is much more significant news?

    And if my accountant drove the business into deficits and had no plan to fix the problem I would get a new accountant.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Are you looking at Bill English when you say that.

      • Clarke 1.1.1

        Probably not – the difference between Bill English and an accountant is that the accountant is qualified to do their job. Bill? Not so much.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Great synopsis. And what are the Left going to do to make the public realise that we need to create an equitable productive society capable of raising incomes for the many, and not just cutting taxes for the few.

    As for raising tax revenues: CGT, estate tax and much more progressive PAYE please (where new upper bands are set at 5x, 10x and 40x the median wage, but the first few thousand earned a year are taxed at 0%). Oh and return GST back to 10%, the regressive tax that it is.

  3. big bruv 3

    Yep…big spending cuts.

    An immediate end to the interest free student loan bribe.
    An immediate end to the working for families bribe.
    An immediate end to long term dole bludgers receiving the benefit
    An immediate end to the DPB.
    Get rid of 75% of government departments / ministries, sack all of the public servants who work in those departments / ministries and save the tax payer a fortune.

    That is only the start……Labour created the problem by letting a history teacher play with the countries finances during an economic boom (and led us into recession well before anybody else in the world).

    I just hope that Key and the Nat’s are brave enough to make the hard choices, they have the support of the public, they have plenty of political capital it is time they started spending some of it.

    The reality is that it will not matter how tough it is, the Nat’s will be be back in power after the next election.

    • marsman 3.2

      From ZERO Public Debt to $15BILLION Public Debt. Bill English has done it again, he’s inept and he’s mismanaging the economy !

    • Lanthanide 3.3

      Expect an immediate and sustained uptick in the number of Kiwis going over to Oz.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 3.4

      If its low debt you want you may have to start voting Labour.

    • Irascible 3.5

      NZ let a money speculator / gambler combined with a treasury minion who holds to a discredited economic theory control the economy and it all turned to crap with a record budget blow out and a promised cycleway as the only means of rescue.
      The hard choice for Key & company is to admit their failures and follow Pansy into botanical oblivion.

    • NickS 3.6

      An immediate end to the DPB.

      Followed by a rise in government spending on policing, courts and prison as those utterly without (and with the will to do so) take from those with. But hey, it’s not like the DPB is relatively cheap compared to the costs of imprisoning people in conditions that meet NZ law, combined with all the other costs of crime, and unemployment obviously doesn’t exist either.

      And have you made that donation yet bb?

    • bbfloyd 3.7

      you really are boring old fart big bruv.. you obviously lost your cognitive abilities along with your eyesight long ago… now you’re reduced to not much more than telling stories about when you were in the war…. the boer war.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.8

      This is what your “solutions” will bring about BB. Total devastation.

  4. The question is, will there be another 1990-style “crisis” which forces National to sell off state assets to balance the books?

    Then the wealthy win twice – lower taxes and access to bargain basement SOEs. Of course, it will be promoted as Mum and Dad investors, perhaps the Hotchins for example?

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      LAB need to get ahead of this curve.

      • big bruv 4.1.1

        And how would they do that Viper?

        Borrow even more?
        Hand out more tax dollars earned by working people to bludgers?
        Impose crippling tax’s on anybody who earns more than the average wage?
        Bring back compulsory unionism?

        • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1

          Support people into jobs, thereby raising the tax take and lowering the welfare expense.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.2

          bug bruv, whether you like it or not, people fall on hard times and need support. We are a society which should not tolerate poverty when we have huge capital resources at our disposal. $1.7B for SCF, $9.1B for rich tax payers over 4 years, etc. People can only succeed if they have the resources at their disposal to pick themselves up and dust themselves off. That part of it is their responsibility but society should understand that most people do better with support and encouragement.

          Cunliffe is clear on where our economy needs to make society both richer and fairer with those riches. A more diversified, higher value add economic base.

          Taxes should also go up on those who earn more than 5x, 10x and ~50x the NZ median income. That’s at approx $130K p.a., $260K p.a. and $1.3M p.a.

          Hard to cripple them with taxes mate, don’t fear there will still be plenty of bubbly and ham in the pantry over Christmas.

          • big bruv 4.1.1.2.1

            Viper

            People do fall on hard times, on that we agree, however those same people should have made provision to care for themselves when those hard times come along.
            It is simply not acceptable for them to expect their fellow Kiwis to bail them out time after time.
            You are also right when you say we should not tolerate poverty, we should not tolerate laziness or those who do not make the best of the tax payer funded education they receive.

            You say that taxes should go up at 5x 10x and 50x, how much should those taxes go up by Viper?

            History does not support what you say or the constant stream of lies coming from Cunliffe, Labour would once again hammer the middle class and offer huge bribes to the idle and the lazy.

            • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.2.1.1

              however those same people should have made provision to care for themselves when those hard times come along.
              It is simply not acceptable for them to expect their fellow Kiwis to bail them out time after time.

              Wage suppression makes it impossible for large groups of workers to create their own safety net of more than a few weeks of savings. So your suggestion of self-insuring against hard times is impractical.

              Funny you use the term ‘bail out’. SCF bond holders, Southland farmers, kiwifruit growers all seemed OK with it.

              You say that taxes should go up at 5x 10x and 50x, how much should those taxes go up by Viper?

              History does not support what you say or the constant stream of lies coming from Cunliffe, Labour would once again hammer the middle class and offer huge bribes to the idle and the lazy.

              You must have missed the part where workers are the ones who have to apply their labour to make a living. They are not idle nor lazy. 160,000 unemployed would get straight back to work tomorrow – except Bill and John have no economic plan for creating jobs and is letting that human resource rot.

              As for how much taxes should go up by? 1956-1964 income taxes in the US for top earners was 91%. The period where the foundations of the middle class were built and wealth permeated through vast sections of US society: not just the very top.

              In fact today, 5% of Americans own more financial wealth than the bottom 95% put together. That top 5% has made their huge wealth on taking the fruits of the productive labour of the bottom 95% and returning them the least pay possible. Often offshoring American jobs in the process. Who did you say was lazy again?

              History does not support what

              Never knew you were a historian mate.

              • big bruv

                Your reply reeks of left wing socialist ideology..

                “Wage suppression makes it impossible for large groups of workers to create their own safety net of more than a few weeks of savings”

                What utter rubbish, what makes it impossible is the theft that is over taxation, interest free student loans, working for families and the mindset (fostered by nine years of a Labour government) that the “state” (here read tax payer) will bail out those who do not take personal responsibility for themselves and their families.

                You also put words in my mouth (if I did that to you I would be banned), I am on record as saying that SCF, Farmers and Kiwifruit growers should have been left to their own fate, if they cannot cover themselves with business insurance then tough luck.

                • bbfloyd

                  big bruv.. your comment reeks of rank stupidity, compounded with an incurable bigotry… get a life… somewhere you will be happy… uganda is on the lookout for a social welfare minister.

            • Lanthanide 4.1.1.2.1.2

              “People do fall on hard times, on that we agree, however those same people should have made provision to care for themselves when those hard times come along”
              Show me how someone on minimum wage can make provision to care for themselves when hard times come along.

              If your answer is “get a job that pays better than minimum wage”, please show me a society in which there is no minimum wage. Hint: trick question, it requires everyone to be paid $infinity.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2.1.3

              however those same people should have made provision to care for themselves when those hard times come along.

              My nephew has house insurance which includes redundancy/income insurance. They refuse to pay. So, he made provision but it’s not helping. His savings have been used up due to the recession. He works as much as he can but he’s still close to losing his house. What else can he do?

              BB, you’re an ideologically blind idiot.

    • Bored 4.2

      Mr/s Parrot, the policy analysis from me is that buying an SOE is a really good idea as people must have these services provided…so far so good. But when the people can no longer afford these services…down she goes, investment devalued or lost. Mum and Dad Hotchins will say that the “market” has found its level, but they wont like it….they might ask something unique like having the state “fund” and “subsidise” those who cannot afford their services. Welfare…but now who is going to pay the tax bill, not us they say. Take on debt….but eeeekk theres no credit to be had because the system is bankrupt.

      Interestingly in the above scenario you are creating the preconditions Leninists and fascists love, the opportunity to provide legitimacy from a defunct system.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    “A government doesn’t accidentally spend $15 billion more than its revenue while cutting billions in taxes.”

    Actually, the tax cuts are fiscally neutral, so your comment about cutting taxes is not accurate if you are talking about the whole revenue stream.

    I suspect there is timing issues with GST here. People get their tax cuts before the government picks up the GST increase.

    • r0b 5.1

      Actually, the tax cuts are fiscally neutral, so your comment about cutting taxes is not accurate if you are talking about the whole revenue stream.

      Actually they really really aren’t.

    • lprent 5.2

      You don’t believe Bill English do you? The only thing he is economical on is the truth – surely even you recognize that by now.

      Oh I see r0b has pointed out a relevant link.

    • TS

      The cuts were not fiscally neutral unless growth exploded and confidence was immediately restored. They did anticipate a $1b deficit in the first year even if conditions were optimal.

      Conditions are way worse. There is a big hole in the accounts and no sign of how it is going to be filled.

      Unless the nats start selling everything …

      • tsmithfield 5.3.1

        I don’t object to pinging off a few things at all. So, if National wanted to go down that route there would be no objections from me.

        Allowing for growth in the projections is a reasonable assumption given the low base we are coming from.

        Of course, factors such as the earthquake and the impending drought were unknowns at the time. OTOH, the government stands to gain a windfall from the earthquake in the future with GST revenue from all the repairs, increased PAYE income from busy builders etc. So, things should turn around fairly quickly I expect.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.3.1.1

          I don’t object to pinging off a few things at all.

          That’s because you’re stupid.

          There’s a reason why the government does all the government services – it’s because they’re not commercially viable but are essential.

          • tsmithfield 5.3.1.1.1

            So on principal would you refuse to sell any government assets, including unused schools etc, no matter how good the business case?

            • Pascal's bookie 5.3.1.1.1.1

              That’s not what he said at all. He said he doesn’t think the business case stacks up.

              Whereas you said you think selling assets to pay for a budget hole created by a poorly designed tax package is something you could support.

            • mickysavage 5.3.1.1.1.2

              Labour also had a major drought in 2007-08 that caused the bookd to not look so good.

              And TS on principle I would tax the rich rather than sell community assets. And we are down to the bone in terms of what we can sell.

              • tsmithfield

                If we sell assets and repay debt then we have less interest to pay and thereby more to put into social needs.

                • Colonial Viper

                  If we raise taxes and repay debt then we have less interest to pay and thereby more to put into social needs.

                  We’ll also still own our own country as a sovereignty bonus.

  6. big bruv 6

    lol….

    r0b quotes the standard as a source……hardly independent or known for it’s accuracy.

    [lprent: It is a source that is known for linking their posts to relevant numbers. In this case Keith Ng who I observe as being addicted to accurate numbers.

    BTW: If you don’t like it here then I’m happy to enforce a voluntary (or involuntary) ban. But if you want to stay here then it’d pay you to argue on a different basis like actual numbers or analysis. Slagging off the site on no other basis than you’re too lazy to pull your head out of your arse is a fast way to wear out my tolerance. ]

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      If you actually bothered to follow the link, you’ll see it is based around Keith Ng at Public Address.

      How about you actually rebut the article and opinion with some facts and analysis, instead of mindlessly slagging it off because it’s from “the standard”?

    • big bruv 6.2

      Lol…..oh yes Iprent, and you are so well know for your tolerance.

      [lprent: No I’m not.

      My role here does not require it, which is why I don’t bother trying to feign it and I usually rather enjoy being more than a bit of a pain when people violate the bounds of behaviour.

      Attacking the site or authors when you’re too lazy (or too incapable) to figure a valid argument is one of the things that I specifically don’t tolerate. Read the policy.

      But you know that, so now you’re starting to waste my time and I have very little tolerance for that either. ]

  7. clandestino 7

    A good reason for tax cuts is the ability to further pay down debt and increase savings. The lower tax take, lower household consumption data after the GST increase, and sustained consumer deleveraging is evidence it is working, slowly. The borrowing really isn’t an issue for me, just inflate, devalue, import less made in china crap and less oil thus nurturing manufacturing and alternative energies. Right now, a high dollar is only good for travellers and getting that new 3DHD 55 incher under the tree, 0% down 48 months to pay of course.

    Now if more people would only join Kiwisaver, increase savings and deepen our capital markets, we might actually get some private sector investment in this country’s talent, unemployed and potential industries. Also, mandate the Super fund to invest a % in long term growth sectors in NZ, so in 2025 we won’t be paying through the nose for our parents nappy changers.

    Captcha: Logical. Damn right it is.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      The lower tax take, lower household consumption data after the GST increase, and sustained consumer deleveraging is evidence it is working, slowly.

      Yeah but its the same exact evidence that we are sliding deeper into recession.

      A good reason for tax cuts is the ability to further pay down debt and increase savings.

      Yeah but its sorta silly coz individuals can pay down private sector debt while the Government racks it up due to low tax revenue.

      All you are doing is swapping private debt for public debt. You are moving the problem, not solving it. And the rich get richer all the while, as the general tax payer gets burdened with more and more public debt.

  8. joe bloggs 8

    The … deficit is intentional policy

    Yup, a policy of intentional $4b earthquakes is right up there amongst your best conspiracy theories Eddie

  9. It doesn’t seem to make sense that your answer to two diametrically opposite situations would be the same. Unless, of course, your objectives aren’t those stated.

    While not arguing against the broad thrust of your conclusion Eddie, I think you’re underestimating the role of stupidity, and hubris.

    We’re talking a Cabinet comprised of Paula Bennett, Judith Collins, Anne Tolley… hell, even John Key has only ever been successful making money off of other money, he’d have no idea how to run a productive enterprise the size of a corner dairy let alone a country.

    English has a commerce degree but (aside from the fact that those who have one tell me it’s not a lot of practical use unless you’re an accountant) he was captured by Treasury over 20 years ago when what’s needed in a Finance Minister is a healthy mistrust of Treasury so they’re always forced to offer up a range of options and opinions not just the prevailing line of thought.

    But all that wouldn’t be so bad if they realised their limitations and sought advice. However that’s where the hubris comes in. I’m sure Bennett and Collins, for instance, both sit there thinking how much better they’d be as PM, with their exciting “stop all benefits payments and offer the unemployed work building the prisons that will house them when the prison building work dries up” scheme.

    The clowns are in charge of the circus while the country is walking the tightrope.

  10. Carol 10

    Hmmm… well Duncan Garner said on TV3 news tonight, that the government needs to stop blaming the recession and the last Labour government, and start owning the problems with the economy. However, this comment didn’t make it to Garner’s print version of the story. It’s probably in the accompanying video:
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Government-borrowing-250-million-per-week/tabid/421/articleID/190868/Default.aspx

    The TV3 news item and the print version, did feature a short quote from Goff:

    “We’re borrowing money to keep people in jobs and in their entitlements – that position can’t stay forever,” says Prime Minister John Key.

    ACT says massive cuts are needed, and Mr Key won’t do it.

    “I don’t believe they have the courage to do what’s right,” says ACT’s finance spokesman, Sir Roger Douglas.

    Labour says it is proof the October tax cuts were not affordable.

    “They are effectively paying for tax cuts for the wealthy by borrowing,” says Labour leader Phil Goff.

    So Mr English departs the stage for 2010, and the signs for 2011 are slightly better – but only just.

    • Pascal's bookie 10.1

      ‘Overwhelmingly 92 % said they are likely to stay in NZ; but there are still a few there, 5%, said they will move to Australia and 2.3% say they will move somewhere else’.

      Oh well that’s all right then! 7.3% is a total minority and the ‘not leaving’ win this one easily!!

  11. Deadly_NZ 11

    I’d go to Aussie but Blinglish has stolen all my money :-((So i wonder how many of the 92% are in the same boat.. You see they did not ask the right questions…

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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Reviewing the whitewash
    Back in 2015, then Ombudsman Beverley Wakem conducted a review of the OIA, Not a game of hide and seek. The "review" was a whitewash, which found no need for legislative change, and instead criticised the media and requesters - which destroyed Wakem's reputation, and undermined that of the Office ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • You Gov MRP Poll Out
    So, You Gov's MRP poll - the weird one that tries to reflect what will happen at a constituency level and which pretty much nailed the hung parliament in 2017 - is not looking too good for Labour:
    UK #GE2019 MRP seat projection:CON: 339 (-20)LAB: 231 (+20)SNP: 41 (-2)LDEM: 15 ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Accountability?
    We've known about climate change for over forty years now,and it has been a major political issue for twenty. And yet fossil fuel companies have kept polluting with impunity, while government have looked the other way and twiddled their thumbs and refused to do anything because "the economy", or just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Delusional And Irrational: The Rise Of Paranoid Politics In New Zealand.
    Sheer Loopiness: Many of those expressing bemusement at the antics of these #turnardern effacers, were convinced that they were yet another expression of the National Party’s increasingly spiteful anti-government propaganda campaign. They marvelled at the oddness of the perpetrators’ mindset and questioned the common-sense of allowing the rest of New Zealand ...
    5 days ago
  • Things to know about Whakaari/White Island
    Brad Scott, GNS Science VolcanologistThis post was originally published by GeoNet. Following the 9 December devastating eruption at Whakaari/White Island we have put together some information about the island. New Zealand’s most active volcano Whakaari/White Island is currently New Zealand’s most active volcano, it has been since an eruptive episode ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Status quo supports status quo
    The Justice Committee has reported back on its Inquiry into the 2017 General Election and 2016 Local Elections, with a host of recommendations about how to improve our electoral systems. Some of their recommendations are already incorporate din the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before Parliament, but there's also a recommendation ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Greens abandon NeoLiberalism
    Back in 2017, in order to make themselves "electable" in the eyes of rich people who oppose everything they stand for, the Greens signed up for NeoLiberalism, adopting a restrictive set of "Budget Responsibility Rules" which basicly prevented them from using government to make things better. Now, they're finally abandoning ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Lying about a failed war
    Since invading in 2001, the US has consistently claimed that their war in Afghanistan has been going well, even when it continued year after year after year. Of course, they were lying, and thanks to the Washington Post and the US Freedom of Information Act, we get to see just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Artificial Intelligence and You
    How should we think about artificial intelligence and the implications that it has for our work and leisure? There are many articles on artificial intelligence and its potential impacts on jobs, and the ethics of applications. These are important topics, but I want to focus on some less discussed aspects, ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
    I love data. It’s amazing the sort of “discoveries” I can make given a data set and computer statistical package. It’s just so easy to search for relationships and test their statistical significance. Maybe relationships which ...
    6 days ago
  • 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 days ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 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
    7 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    20 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 days ago
  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
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