State of Nations

Written By: - Date published: 6:11 pm, January 29th, 2014 - 24 comments
Categories: capitalism, class, class war, crime, Environment, Ethics, global warming, International, peak oil, poverty, prisons, sustainability, war - Tags: , , , ,

This post isn’t a ‘contrast and compare’ piece on the policy announcements of National, the Greens and Labour. It’s enough to say that National are pursuing privatisation while both Labour and Green are at least trying to do good things.

Shame about the reality of the bigger picture then.

Admittedly, I might have this the wrong way around. So with that in mind, let’s just say I’m going for the more positive scenario.

Market economies operate by way of profit. If something doesn’t spin a profit, then it simply doesn’t happen or stops happening pretty quickly. Two solutions are offered up. The state can step in and use tax revenue to fund non-profit but socially valuable activity/institutions. Or we find ways to monetise everything (eg – Nats so-called education policy) and settle for wrap around, degraded ‘user pays’ systems.

Those are the poles of any economy wedded to market (regulated/unregulated) principles. And we can argue the pro’s and cons of each scenario, or of some mish-mash of the two until the cows come home.

Except we can’t.

To borrow Paula Bennets’ phrase from a different scenario – ‘The Party’s Over’.

How over? Here’s one indicator.  31% of US oil and gas shares are owned by retirement funds. But we can’t use some 80% of discovered oil that your pension funds are invested in without ‘burning’ the planet.

Extrapolating the above 31% to apply to global fossil investment, it seems either we say  ‘hang it all’, drill and burn the oil to get you your retirement return meaning that you won’t get your retirement return because the planet’s burned. Or we don’t, which means that a huge chunk of your retirement investments will be worth precisely zero (the retirement component of about US$20 trillion worth of investment ) and you don’t get your retirement return.

Nice choice, and I can almost see a future filled with the stunned tears of people protesting that they only tried to do what was good and what was right.

Want to throw resource depletion into the AGW mix?

Well, here’s a wee trick. Market economies are about market share. They just aren’t – not in any way shape or form – about market size. If they were, then all the people in Africa, South America, Latin America and elsewhere would have been pulled into the consumerist ways of life a hundred years ago or more.

So what to do when looking at peaked resources and market share? Why – you shrink the market, and –  oops! – there goes any idea you might have had about reinvesting all of that US$20 trillion of oil money elsewhere (though your bank deposits underwrite any actual bank losses). So lots more people get equal status with countless Africans, South and Latin Americans… excluded.

Here’s, an admittedly quick, hodge podge of measures and indicators from across the world that suggest the groundwork for our exclusion is being laid in. I’m sure you can join the dots and add many, many more illustative examples without any difficulty.

 

‘Anti Social Behaviour Orders’ (ASBOs) in the UK.

Also from the UK, serious attempts to bring in ‘Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance’ (Ipnas)

In the US, natural life jail sentences for such misdemeanors as stealing a US$159 jacket.

Global internet and electronic surveillance

From Scotland, 3 years in jail for a stupid facebook post.

NZ cities passing bye laws to ban begging

Throughout the world, austerity being sold as reform that serves to remove progressive reforms won in the past.

The never ending wars against drugs and terrorism that allow the poor to be harvested for profit in private prison systems.

Wars of occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya…

And against all that, an ever increasing number of protests across the world

Anyway, avert your gaze, keep your mouth shut and you may, by luck, get to hang in there. Just keep struggling and scrabbling faster than the necessarily ever faster slowest, and you might get health care and welfare and a pension fund. Yup. You too can be a part of a shrinking, multi-layered  elite, while the burgeoning majority (that you won’t be a part of, of course!) get their heads kicked in, or get jailed, or get killed for…well, the equivalent of planting a vegetable. I mean, never mind about getting shot or whatever for trying to organise people or some such. You can get murdered in some parts of the world for having the temerity to plant a fucking vegetable. And the dynamics of exclusion that play out elsewhere will be playing out over here, and sooner rather than later. Though, maybe there’s an alternative for the masters of the universe. Maybe they  have in mind something else – something other than shrinking the market to survive resource depletion?

If not, put aside concerns over the possible effects of Global Warming. That (if I haven’t got things the wrong way round – a possibility) probably comes after the lock down/ lock out that most likely, due to the Pareto Principle, won’t allow market economic practices  to continue and ‘civilisation’ (what’s going to pass for it anyway) to skite below catastrophic global warming.

So finally, I wonder if the likes of David Cunliffe understand what we’re up against when they ask that we all pull together to make NZ decent again, and whether they have the steel to see things through when international political pressure is brought to bear on the good intentions of their government?

24 comments on “State of Nations”

  1. karol 1

    Well, I think any major shift will need to involve some leadership from above, and a groundswell of pressure from within the flax roots. But, while a lot of the people are still focused on getting and having the latest shiny things, such a groundswell will be small. It’ll only be when people see in their daily lives what power down means, that they will start to engage – but by then it may be too late.

    Russel Norman did produce a power down narrative yesterday in response to the PM’s statement. I summarised and quoted from some of Norman’s speech in my post last night.

    Norman’s speech was low key, and not full of flashy rhetoric. But his speech was very well done. He first created the context of NZ’s history of progressive legislation – Savage, Kirk, etc. Then this:

    He then said that NZ needs a Green government with “values of egalitarianism, sovereignty and democracy“. But, more than that, it needs to “integrate these values with new modern values of sustainability.“ The “next wave of progressive change that is sweeping the world is green.” This is necessary as we learn a new way of living “good lives” with finite and limited natural resources.

    We are learning to access the unlimited resources of human creativity, ingenuity and generosity in order to live prosperous lives…

    It was so low key, it’ll have missed most people. But that narrative needs to be repeated again and again, in differnet ways, differnt contexts.

    • Bill 1.1

      Hmm. I wasn’t really writing this post with any ‘major shift’ in mind. I was just kinda speculating on where we’re going and what it might mean.

      So, ‘powerdown’ – or the same effect as, is achieved by excluding people from resources…just like has been the lot for billions since colonisation snapped up the worlds’ resources for ‘the west’.

      Would I rather see an across the board step change? Of course. Is it likely? Nope. Does that matter to those who hold power and make decisions? Nope. Will it matter to us? Most likely.

      And if Labour and Greens try to push against an international tendency that would exclude ever more people from resources etc to preserve ‘the market’ or capitalism…and I do believe that is happening and will be happening more…. then they will most definitely be getting ‘the hard word’ from international quarters…even if they are simply undermining the excuses put forward to justify austerity.

      It happened to Helen Clark in a different and much less dire context (business as usual neo-liberalism) – and she backed down.

      Cunliffe and who-ever, maybe unsuspectingly, are taking on much, much bigger ‘kettle of fish’ in the present.

      People and institutions with much more power than the NZ government are out of ideas and playing for keeps. They aren’t going to quietly countenance a ‘western liberal democracy’ stepping out of the fold or merely (as I suspect would be the reality of Labour/Green government) contradicting the austerity line. These ain’t the days of Savage or Kirk who, in spite of their progressive tendencies, stayed very much within the parameters of ‘acceptable’ government for their times.

      • weka 1.1.1

        Are you thinking there are options here, or that there isn’t really anything to be done?

        Great post btw.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          I’m just looking at the trajectories of governments in a world squeezed between AGW and peak resources. I’ve suggested alternatives in other posts.

          In this one I’m more interested in whether the idea that total market size will be shrunk to accommodate resource depletion and maintain power is a reasonable one (ie, broadly correct) or whether it’s completely ‘off the wall’.

          If it’s not ‘off the wall’ and is something that’s pursued, then many, many people in NZ and across ‘the west’ are going to be living lives we’ve previously only associated with the excluded majorities in ‘third world’ nations.

          AGW is a second driver for that scenario to be pushed. I guess the hope in some quarters would be that a shrunken market that caters for the needs of far fewer people would run on far lower CO2 emissions.

          Lastly I’m wondering, if in spite of all the best intentions of a Labour/Green government, whether they are factoring in the stark reality of resource depletion and AGW…and regardless of that, whether they have the steel to face down inevitable international pressures that would have them stay on the austerity/surveillance/market and social exclusion bus.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.1

            In this one I’m more interested in whether the idea that total market size will be shrunk to accommodate resource depletion and maintain power is a reasonable one (ie, broadly correct) or whether it’s completely ‘off the wall’.

            The overall size of the financial markets and the electronic credit IOUs out there in the ether far surpass, as you have already said, what the real physical economy can deliver on.

            And the financial system is continuing to expand.

            The leaders of our power elite have consciously, or unconsciously, embraced Thanatos on behalf of the entire world. (I doubt the people who have been in the bottom 50% of the world’s population are at all surprised by this, but most living in relatively wealthy western countries are going to be very surprised, at a guess.)

            Civilisations do not end in sanity. Even as the barbarian hordes descended into the Italian peninsula, money and resources were being poured into bread and circuses.

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.1.1

              I guess I’m not so much focusing on the financial sector as the possibility for people to be excluded from the ‘nuts and bolts’ of production and distribution.

              Seems we’re already being ‘eased out’ – diminishing welfare, more precarious jobs with worsening terms and conditions and a massive corporate bureaucracy of low/middle management types who will be surplus to needs soon enough.

              Then, short term, we have the possible implosion of economies like China and India leading to a whole new waves of cut backs and austerity….set against the bigger medium term picture I’ve tried to outline in the post.

          • weka 1.1.1.1.2

            “In this one I’m more interested in whether the idea that total market size will be shrunk to accommodate resource depletion and maintain power is a reasonable one (ie, broadly correct) or whether it’s completely ‘off the wall’.”

            I guess I always assumed this would happen, although I haven’t thought about it in the frame you are presenting here before, which seems a more intentional strategy rather than an inevitable consequence.

            I don’t know about AGW being a second driver, or whether resource depetion will happen soon enough to have any effect. Seasoned Peak Oil analysists are talking about how the effects of peak oil aren’t happening as fast as predicted. Looks to me like the future is still very much up in the air.

            I have no doubt that key people within the Greens get the reality (and would probably include Norman in that). I doubt that they can factor in the stark reality of peak everything or AGW, other than in broad strokes in terms of working in the right direction. How could they? Those that do get it, are unable to talk about it in public or be honest about it in their work. I would guess they have to have a special kind of cognitive dissonance.

            No idea about Labour.

            “and regardless of that, whether they have the steel to face down inevitable international pressures that would have them stay on the austerity/surveillance/market and social exclusion bus.”

            This is where my mind went immediately to strategy. Assuming there was a L/GP coalition at the critical time, how could they be supported and/or pressured to do the right thing. What would the right thing entail? What are the conditions that might enable them to choose one or other? etc I think there is definitely work that could be done now on this, esp changing the political discourse.

            btw, it’s my understanding that Lange faced this dilemma in 1984. The pressure was on immediately after the election and we all know where that led.

            another btw, the term ‘powerdown’ has been used for a while now to refer to powering down with intention and degrees of democracy (esp in grassroots terms), rather than the colonisation comparison you used. I think it’s useful to consider both, and how we might go one way or other, or where they overlap.

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.2.1

              Assuming there was a L/GP coalition at the critical time, how could they be supported and/or pressured to do the right thing. What would the right thing entail? What are the conditions that might enable them to choose one or other?

              Yes this is critical. Constant broad societal pressure must go on to the pollies, and open acceptable policy space up for the political parties to move into.

              I don’t know about AGW being a second driver, or whether resource depetion will happen soon enough to have any effect. Seasoned Peak Oil analysists are talking about how the effects of peak oil aren’t happening as fast as predicted.

              I once thought that fossil fuel reserves would run down fast enough to prevent really severe climate change.

              I changed my mind a few months ago. With the accessing of arctic oil and gas (and then after that Antarctic oil and gas) and global coal consumption likely to climb year on year for at least 10 years, we’re pretty much screwed on this track.

              • weka

                Unless the GCF fucks that 😉

                “Constant broad societal pressure must go on to the pollies, and open acceptable policy space up for the political parties to move into.”

                Spot on. I’ve been enjoying how you’ve been mentioning this idea in various ways in the past few weeks. Would love to see more discussion at some point.

                • Bill

                  On pressure. The second to last link in the post – ‘protests’…if you have the bandwidth to run a simple graphic, I recommend you link through and wait for it to play through to the present.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I figured you would pick up on the idea and run with it 🙂

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.2.2

              I don’t really go for conspiracy or intention. I’m aware it might come across like that in the post. Maybe that’s because I’m just looking at things and trying to figure it/see it for what it is.

              Anyway, I think it’s a given that the real economy is being bled to gorge the financial sector. And that, in itself, is excluding people from being able to access resources. So maybe, rather than seeing intent or deliberate and nefarious plans to leave people with nought, it could be seen as a consequence of feeding financial capital markets….ie, a secondary effect but just the same as though there was a deliberate intention.

              Or maybe just the basic competitive grasping of ‘the market’ is playing a role…take Sony(?) apparently deliberately fishing out Mediterranean (?)tuna stocks and throwing them in deep freeze for later – shades of Futurama (anchovies) – but true.

              “another btw…” yeah, I was more contrasting the two scenarios (powerdown and colonisation). Both have similar effects with regards CO2 levels – ie they decrease. But sure, one leaves us utterly fucked, excluded and powerless while the other doesn’t..

  2. Tracey 2

    Bill english turning his sights on internet shopping. Seems he is pretending he is doing it to help mums and dads.

    ” A bigger threat to New Zealand’s tax base is the increasing use of online retail spending, which avoids the country’s 15 percent goods and services tax, he said. What made both issues murky was that traditional jurisdictions were muddied by the questions over geographical and digital boundaries.

    “The most urgent issue is not the large end of town, it’s the small end of town, it’s hard-working mums and dads spending on the internet,” English told the committee.”

    • Murray Olsen 2.1

      Wouldn’t it be good if they took the same approach to internet shopping and GST that they took to the GCSB? “It’s not good, the tax isn’t being paid, so we’ll scrap it.”

    • Will@Welly 2.2

      Tracey – we all know what will happen – all the small consumers will see their goods subjected to GST, while the big boys continue to flout the rules. This is just Bill English and National just feigning concern. More b.s. and spin.

    • RedBaronCV 2.3

      And this internet shopping is insignificant, is it not, compared to the spending of corporates on services sourced overseas, avoiding decent enviromental,health and safety standards, and not being taxed a cent. How about GST levies on imported services as they cross the border, non refundable of course. This should make local sourcing of labour more attractive.

      • Tracey 2.3.1

        English says not.

        • RedBaronCV 2.3.1.1

          He was talking about income tax avoidance ( & given the size of the banks tax avoidance he is wrong) not cross border labour shopping which is likely to be even larger.

  3. Joe 3

    Roger Douglas and others in the 80s, argued for the process of deregulation, corporatisation, asset sales and currency flotation based on the TINA principle.

    This so called “principle” is now being regurgitated and peddled in Christchurch to soften up public opinion for a sell off the assets of the City Council to pay for the grandiose rugby stadium, metro sports facility, town hall and other white elephants.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      The metro sports facility isn’t a white elephant in the terms the others are, because it is for the general public and will improve their fitness etc.

      The town hall is a white elephant because it’s a hideously ugly building, and the performing arts groups in Christchurch think it is unfit for purpose (too large) and would rather have several new venues built instead.

      The stadium is a white elephant because it’ll cost far too much and probably only be used by rugby. Frankly if rugby wants a big flash stadium, the crusaders and those who pay to go to rugby games should pay for it, not the rate payers.

      Convention centre is an obvious white elephant because they’re building massive ones in both Auckland and Queenstown, so there’s no reason for Christchurch to have a state-of-the-art one as they’re proposing. Sure we need something, but not on the scale they’re proposing.

      • Molly 3.1.1

        The convention centre in Auckland is a white elephant also – in the way that all convention centres usually are.

        Also, up here in Auckland we had a purpose built sports centre for the general public – I believe the cost was around $60 million. The facility is well built – all chrome and concrete – and clean lines. Feels like a hospital. Participants come in on schedules and can relax in the bar. Which knocks out the pre and non-drinking set. It will always need to be funded by council and ratepayers.

        Moutere Hills Community Centre – on the other hand – cost $2.5 million to build, and is much less imposing. After a few years of operation, it provided enough surplus income to employ a full-time manager. The community feels like they own it, and use it accordingly. Not just for sports but for a variety of other uses. After a fire, they have worked hard to rebuild – and the community has been behind it all the way.

        I don’t know the budgeted cost for the facility, but it should be part of the process that a proposal such as the Metro Sports Centre – includes the cost of the loss of opportunity to provide a number of smaller facilities.

        Not only do they provide a place – they become a magnet for community to start meeting and social networks to form. Much better value for money.

        Edit: And for my mind – a better location for those community hubs for the Green Party than schools are.

  4. miravox 4

    Along with the new law against everything in the UK an old laws (1824 Vagrancy Act) is used so people can’t take food from rubbish bins either

    A man will stand trial next month after being caught taking some tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese from the dustbins behind a branch of Iceland.

    It is expected Paul May, a freelance web designer, will argue that he was taking the food because he needed it to eat and does not consider he has done anything illegal or dishonest in removing food destined for landfill from a skip…

    …Lawyers for the three men have asked the Crown Prosecution Service to consider dropping the case, but the CPS responded this month that the case would go ahead, because “we feel there is significant public interest in prosecuting these three individuals”.

    Public interest in seeing it thrown out of court, I reckon.

  5. aerobubble 5

    Tricky Cunliffe promises not to raise GST when elected.

    [lprent: What is the relevance to this post? ]

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    5 days ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    6 days ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    6 days ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    6 days ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    1 week ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Another constitutional outrage
    Another day, another constitutional outrage in the UK. This time, the government is saying that if parliament passes a law to stop Brexit before being prorogued, they may just ignore it:A senior cabinet minister has suggested Boris Johnson could defy legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending dairy in Canterbury
    Environment Canterbury has finally proposed nitrogen limits to stop dairy farmers from poisoning Christchurch's water supply. And naturally, farmers are whining about it:A proposed move by Environment Canterbury (ECan) to protect Christchurch's drinking water by setting tough – some would say, draconian – nitrate reductions in the decades ahead and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is National the party of climate arson?
    The Zero Carbon Bill is currently before select committee. While its targets are weak, its a generally sensible bill that promises to establish a long-term framework to guide emissions reductions. But National hasn't made up its mind on whether it will support it - and according to Andrea Vance in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Experts warn Harold the Giraffe “well past” typical giraffe life expectancy, may not have long
    Dum-de-doo. Children across New Zealand have known him for generations as the lovable giraffe who tells them to exercise, hydrate and not to shove lit cigarettes up their nostrils. But a world renowned giraffe expert says we shouldn’t be getting attached to Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe, as he is ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: 22 BLOGGERS WITH ADVICE FOR RESEARCHERS AND EVALUATORS, ILLUSTRATED I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bye, bye to the collusion lie
    Sums it up, really. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Opinion: Treat your car by buying extra petrol to snack on while you aren’t driving
    By Mike Hosking. Yesterday morning, I waltzed into work, and as I walked past the drones aggressively typing out news on the computers I’ve repeatedly asked to be moved further away from, I caught a glimpse of the words “climate change”, and noticed that suspiciously they weren’t in condescending quotation ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago

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