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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    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    3 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    6 days ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    6 days ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    7 days ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    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 Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Guardian: Poll shows DISASTER for Corbyn and the End of Times
    The Guardian - ever eager to forewarn of doom and disaster on the left - are leading with a new poll from Opinium, which puts the Conservatives 15% clear of Labour.Con 38% +2Lab 23% -1Lib Dem 15% -5Brexit 12% +1Green 4% +2This isn't good news, and it would be very ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How prostitution became the world’s most modern profession
    Being and Being Bought (Spinifex Press, 2013) by Kajsa Ekis Ekman  A synopsis and commentary of Chapters 1-2 by Daphna Whitmore Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book She opens the discussion with a definition of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Clever legal fellow on Scottish challenge to Brexit
    I make no claims to having much legal knowledge,  so I defer to those trained in this area.I am very much enjoying this twitter stream from m'learned friend in Edinburgh, deciphering the legal arguments around the Scottish court challenge to Boris Johnson, based on the charmingly obscure principle of Nobile ...
    2 weeks ago
  • An Open Letter From Closed Minds.
    Ivory Folly? The University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, upheld the right of the radical nationalist group, Action Zealandia to exercise their freedom of speech – not matter how distasteful that speech might be. A wiser community of students and scholars would have nodded their agreement and moved on. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extinction Rebellion members want to “eat babies”
    If you are not convinced terrorist Organisation ‘Extinction Rebellion’ is very, very dangerous – watch this video at one of their recent meetings. Not only is this obviously mentally ill Woman begging the other terrorists to promote killing and “eating” babies and children, if you watch carefully other members nod ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    2 weeks ago

  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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