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Supported autonomy

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, August 31st, 2016 - 31 comments
Categories: human rights, Social issues - Tags: , , , ,

The following is a cross-post from Philip Patston.

Philip is a social entrepreneur, diversity specialist, and managing director of Diversity New Zealand. He blogs about his life, work and existential crises as well as sociopolitical issues. 

Autonomy is often used to mean independence. Though their dictionary definitions are similar and they are synonyms of each other, I like to talk about autonomy in a slighty different way.

For me, autonomy is having the choice over when I am independent and when I am dependent. It’s similar to the notion of interdependence, except the latter, interdependence, suggests an ongoing process of co-operation or collaboration. Perhaps autonomy could include the choice of interdependence as well, but for now I want to focus on the aspect of choice.

Many disability services have, at their core, a desired outcome of independence. Functioning on one’s own, without the help of others, is considered success. Dependence on others, by comparison, is seen as undesirable, costly and, hence, unsuccessful in the wonderful world of disability service provision. In the even more amazing worlds of case management and needs assessment however, dependence could be synonymous with abject failure — or worse: disaster!

This obsession to make disabled people independent has always seemed absurd to me. No one is completely independent, after all — we depend on builders for houses; lawyers and police for protection (sometimes one from the other); artists to adorn our walls — and so the list goes on. And while cleaning the house is a relatively simple chore, many choose — and still others actually need — to pay others to do it for them.

So if someone, on account of their unique function, can’t — or at least finds it difficult to — get dressed in the morning, why is so much emphasis placed on finding ways for them to do it themselves, independently, no matter the time or effort spent?

When I began to live “independently” at around 20 years of age, I did so with no support, apart from a flatmate who was as — or more — often out than at home. I’d start my day spending an hour abluting and getting dressed, including donning the most horrendously style-destroying footwear — grey sneakers with velcro straps — because I couldn’t tie laces. Then I’d have breakfast, only to have to begin the tortuous task of washing dishes, usually from the day — or more — before.

By about 11am I’d stop for a cigarette, all the while relishing the anticipation of cleaning the house — be it vaccuuming, dusting, cleaning the floors or, god forbid, the frigging toilet. By the time 1 or 2pm came around, I was physically knackered, often in pain and more or less good for nothing for the rest of the day.

But I was being independent.

I can’t remember how long it was that it took me to unbrainwash myself — longer than it should have, given I tend towards masochism as one of my learning edges. But I finally managed to process the cognitive dissonance slowly creeping into my consciousness: if “independence” meant doing nothing more than menial chores in unfashionable shoes, well, I didn’t want to be independent.

So I threw myself into the wonderful world of needs assessment and disability support services (WWNADSS), learning very quickly the two cardinal rules of getting one’s needs met: 1. never say you can do something but it’s difficult; and 2. never say you can do something but it’s difficult. Because something being difficult meant there could be an assistive device, designed to make things easier (ergo increasing independence), but actually badly designed, as unfashionable as velcroed shoes and more than likely useless and more time consuming.

Thus I learnt the valuable lesson of black and white ability — not the competence to change ethnicity but rather that, in the WWNADSS, there were only two answers: 1. I can; and 2. I can’t. Later I learnt a third answer, the dismal future speculation: if I keep doing this one thing now, it’s highly likely to fuck me up so badly that, in 5-10 years’ time, I’ll be unable to do 3 things. Ergo more, perhaps unnecessary dependence now will equate to less independence henceforth. Net result, more independence. Success! Great rule that, folks, learn it.

I exaggerate in jest — this was the 1980s and things are slightly less black and white these days (though its legacy lingers). I write this off the back of a lecture I did with case management students at AUT University yesterday. My point was that they reframe their role, from being the champion of independence, to being a facilitator of supported autonomy. In other words, guiding people to choose where and when in their lives they want to be independent and where and when they want to be dependent. It may seem an obvious change in understanding, but the old independence imperative is still surprisingly prominent in the WWNADSS as well as case management.

Who knows, had I not realised the impact of its potentially paralysing grip on my life, independence could have stopped me writing this post as I look back on a successful 22 years’ professional career. I could still be washing the dishes.

31 comments on “Supported autonomy”

  1. Bill 1

    Nice piece. But having problems with the concept of “supported autonomy”. It strikes me as a bit of a contradiction.

    If I’m autonomous, I’m empowered. And being empowered, or having full agency, I don’t need to be supported in the usual implied sense of that word. Being autonomous, I call the shots and others may participate in that at my discretion.

    That’s at odds with “supported” and its implication that I’m relatively powerless and somewhat dependent on the agenda and timetable of some benevolent cavalry riding out of the sunset.

    Maybe that all seems a bit pernickety. Anyway. I guess all I’m saying is that I could and do absolutely support autonomy, but that the idea of “supported autonomy” just hurts my head a bit…I can’t help but envisage some paternalistic Custer riding down on me and me pulling back on that bow. 😉

    • weka 1.1

      When you’re physically dependent on someone for basic survival eg you wouldn’t eat if someone didn’t ‘support’ you, it looks different. For people that are dependent in various ways (myself included), the need for support is implicit (hence the argument against independence), so the question becomes what is the culture that that support is happening in and who is determining how that support happens?

      I can be autonomous but without support I don’t have the actual agency to call the shots.

      Also, the post is written in the context of state support which is largely focusses on independence. Some of that is from a well intentioned place, some of it from a cost cutting place. The push to independence is the neoliberal update on the patronising Custer approach of the past 😉 We need to move past both.

      btw, this stuff that Philip is naming is why I have huge concerns about the idea that under a UBI health and disability income currently adminstered by WINZ could be handed to Health and all would be good. Health comes with its own set of control culture.

      • Bill 1.1.1

        We’re all physically dependent on one other to some degree or other for our basic survival. So yeah, independence is a crock and everyone relies on support.

        The point I was trying to make isn’t at variance with anything you’ve written in your comment…I’ll try again.

        “Supported autonomy” as a stand alone phrase implies (to me at least) that the supporter, or the one doing the supporting, gets to, or has got to, set the limits on the autonomy (that being the contradiction) and it is they who then offer or impose whatever “support” they deem suitable or necessary – as opposed to the person who is seeking autonomy setting those limits and determining the required level of support .

        In other words I’m seeing the term as implying a degree of paternalism. That’s all. It’s just my interpretation of a phrase.

        As for the piece itself – I agree with what’s being said and note that Philip Patson talks about facilitating supported autonomy. That qualifier makes all the difference to my way of thinking.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          “Supported autonomy” as a stand alone phrase implies (to me at least) that the supporter, or the one doing the supporting, gets to, or has got to, set the limits on the autonomy (that being the contradiction) and it is they who then offer or impose whatever “support” they deem suitable or necessary – as opposed to the person who is seeking autonomy setting those limits and determining the required level of support .

          Nope.

          The idea would be that the person needing support get that support when they ask for it. That support allows that person to then operate independently at all other times. The support is there to help them do that because otherwise they simply wouldn’t have the time/physical capability to operate even that independently.

          • Bill 1.1.1.1.1

            I know what the idea is Draco. I also know what the term implies (for me).

            So let’s try – “autonomy” is always “supported” in one way or another. If it wasn’t, we’d be looking at independence based around notions of individualism and a likely quick exit from this world.

            So maybe the author could just have used the term ” autonomy” without the redundant “supported” since it can imply a faux or incomplete state of autonomy that’s been determined by some other.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        btw, this stuff that Philip is naming is why I have huge concerns about the idea that under a UBI health and disability income currently adminstered by WINZ could be handed to Health and all would be good.

        Why would it be put under health?

        IMO, it’s still under Social Development.

        That said, the top down ‘control culture’ that is endemic to capitalism needs to be changed anyway.

        • weka 1.1.2.1

          “Why would it be put under health?”

          I guess because people see the supplementary benefits related to health and disabilty as being health/disability issues instead of income ones. Plus people are desperate to get rid of WINZ. But I don’t really know, you’d have to ask the people who’ve made those arguments.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.1.1

            WINZ is one part of MSD, social support is another despite it being done at WINZ. Get rid of WINZ and the social support part would still exist.

            • weka 1.1.2.1.1.1

              I guess it depends on whether you see it as income issue or a social support issue. I see it as an income one myself. People with disabilities that prevent them from being able to work will not benefit from a UBI unless their unique function is taken into account. This is true of people raising kids on their own too, which makes it more obvious that it’s not a Health issue.

              The issue isn’t that those people need social support, they just need access to income that is equitable. If the point of income is to ensure that people have their needs met, and if one of the points of a UBI is to ensure that access without all the patronising and controlling bullshit that goes on at WINZ, then it follows that people with disabilities shouldn’t have to endure more of that bullshit after the introduction of a UBI just because they have a disability. So treat it as income, not social support. (there may or may not be social support needs as well for individuals or groups).

              • Draco T Bastard

                Social support could be provided either with money and thus allowing the person to choose how they got that support or through directly through the Ministry. Either way, it has to be determined if they’re entitled to that extra support. Of course, once it has been determined then they should get it permanently without having to continually justify it as happens now.

                It’s still social support and not work which is what WINZ focusses upon.

                • weka

                  WINZ is also there to provide income access to people who can’t work. Always has been. MSD don’t do that. If WINZ is to be disbanded completely, then it requires thought on what should happen to the income management of people that need that.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    WINZ is part of MSD as the large Coat of Arms up in the corner shows.

                    It’s not so much that WINZ will be disbanded as that it will be changed. IMO, It will no longer have work focus that it has now.

        • Sirenia 1.1.2.2

          A UBI could be under a whole new UBI Ministry. Perhaps a Ministry of autonomy and wellbeing!

      • Which is a totally reasonable concern and does need to be seriously addressed within any UBI proposal, preferrably in close co-operation with people who actually rely on the current forms of state assistance to live their lives.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Ergo more, perhaps unnecessary dependence now will equate to less indendependence henceforth.

    I think this has got an error in it?

    Shouldn’t it say:
    more, perhaps unnecessary dependence now, will equate to less dependence henceforth

    • weka 2.1

      Not sure Lanth. I took it to mean that the system’s impostion of values (‘independence’) actually causes harm to people.

      eg the ‘independence’ ethic says if you let people be too dependent they won’t become independent, and because independence is the most important thing we have to stop that irrespective of the consequences eg they get harmed in the process. It’s very similar to the neoliberal ‘welfare is an addiction’ meme. Ideology trumping real life and fucking people up in the process.

      • marty mars 2.1.1

        I thought it meant that

        if I try to be more independent now this will be a stretch and could cause me, over time, to lose the ability to do some things I can do now and thus my dependence will be increased in the future. So being more independent now will likely contribute to increased dependence in the future – therefore being more dependent now could mean more independence later.

  3. adam 3

    Two things cutting over each other in this post weka. First is the desire to be a autonomous individual which drives much of the modern thought process, and in this case a classical example of it’s failings. Secondly an acknowledgement that mutual aid, would benefit people more than some sort of esoteric desire to be self released.

    I’m not sure I agree with the authors terminology, as it seems confused at times. It’s like he does not want to use the words mutual aid, as that would expose the solid left basis of his argument. Many disabled organisations and support networks use the methodology of mutual aid, because it works. Especially in the face of power, when you have very little, or no power.

    It has this extra bonus – of making those involved feel empowered.

    • weka 3.1

      Can you explaing what mutual aid is adam, I’m not familiar with the term or concept.

      • adam 3.1.1

        Good summation from Moya K. Mason

        “Kropotkin’s most famous book, Mutual Aid, maintains that cooperation within a species has been an historical factor in the development of social institutions, and in fact, that the avoidance of competition greatly increases the chances of survival and raises the quality of life. He contended that mutual aid is a factor that is both biological and voluntary in nature, and is an enabler of progressive evolution. Without it, life as we know it could not exist. This can be also seen in the animal kingdom. Horses and deer unite to protect each from their foe, wolves and lions gather to hunt, while bees and ants work together in many different ways. Kropotkin said that mutual support is an established fact within the feathered world, with eagles, pelicans, vultures, sparrows, and other fowl, collectively searching for and sharing food. Some species of birds even gather together at the end of the day to sleep. ”

        For more http://www.moyak.com/papers/peter-kropotkin.html

        Or this definition

        Mutual Aid.

        Mutual Aid is a term used to signify the concept of voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit. It can take place between individuals and groups. The term comes from the book “Mutual Aid : A Factor of Evolution” published in October 1902 by Peter Kropotkin. In it, Kropotkin tried to show that cooperation is as important as competition in the processes of evolution and social organisation. Mutual Aid is therefore an important principle of egalitarian communal living forms and non-heirarchical community life. See also “Fields, factories and workshops“.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          Interesting, and I like what they are saying. I don’t see that as being incompatible with supported autonomy though. I’m also not sure how you could have a working concept of mutual aid without supported autonomy, especially given the imperative of reciprocity. Some people are dependent. We shouldn’t shy away from that, or see it as a problem.

          Can you share some examples of disability organisations that use mutual concepts?

  4. Kay 4

    Interesting post.
    I’m a firm believer in as much independence as possible, and the option of asking for help if it’s needed. But that means practical assistance has to actually exist somewhere in order for that choice to exist.

    When your very much a disability has been decreed overnight not to be a disability by the DHB for purposes of home help?
    When you’re under 65?
    When you have no dependents?
    When the alleged “disability allowance” doesn’t even cover your medication costs yet alone any home help or medical treatment?
    When ACC is out of the equation?

    “Choice” is supposedly what we, the public want. Oh that’s right, only if we can pay for it ourselves?

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      “Choice” is supposedly what we, the public want. Oh that’s right, only if we can pay for it ourselves?

      The whole point of the pricing mechanism is to price people out of getting products/services on the market and thus decreasing demand for those products/services and thus ensuring that demand doesn’t go above available resources. This is why many things should be a government service that’s freely available to all. Health and support services are obviously included in that as ‘the market’ will obviously preclude those who need such services to not be able to get them.

  5. Let me add a little context. The reason I couple the words “supported” and “autonomy”, agreeably oxymoronic, is because I am looking at the role of case managers or needs assessors in terms of the system they represent, not the outcome of the person with whom they work.

    Personally, I’m quite able to be autonomous without support. I know what I need, what I’m eligible for and how these eventuate into an outcome. But many don’t.

    My model is a challenge to those working in the system to support people – in particularly those coming to terms with serious, chronic injury or parents of newly born babies with support needs – to make informed choices about independence and dependence.

    I’m deliberately redefining autonomy as the ability to make the choice. For those new to our systems, or those brainwashed into independence because of the system’s bias, support to do this is necessary. Once they are autonomous (choosing the aspects of life in which they will be independent or dependent), they’ll no longer need support.

    • weka 5.1

      Interesting. I think I really misunderstood the post then. Are you using ‘support’ to mean something quite specific, eg the support to know one is entitled to assistance and how to access it? Rather than support also being the assistance itself (eg income or physical assistance).

  6. The New Student 6

    Everyone wants to be the master of their own destiny. Call their own shots. And so we should. Yet it seems to be the first thing we attempt to deny of each other. Strange.

  7. Bill 7

    And in related news…

    “A new service will be trialled next year to help beneficiaries with diagnosed mental health conditions become independent and find work.

    The two year trial is expected to cost $3.2 million and will be available in the Auckland, Waikato, Central, Canterbury and Southern regions.

    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says Work to Wellness will be a contracted service and will help around 1000 people a year.

    She says it will provide coaching and mentoring, job search services and assistance to help people into work.

    Beneficiaries will be able to opt-in through Work and Income, a referral from their GP or self-referring direct to the provider.”

    https://nz.news.yahoo.com/top-stories/a/32498892/beneficiaries-will-be-helped-to-find-work/?cmp=st#page1

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    Behrouz Boochani is an award winning author and journalist. He is also a refugee, who for the past six years has been detained in Australia's offshore gulag on Manus Island, and in Papua New Guinea. But last night, with the cooperation of the WORD Christchurch festival and Amnesty International, he ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • When World’s Collide.
    Different Strokes: If a multicultural immigration policy imposes no obligation on immigrant communities to acknowledge and ultimately embrace their host nation’s most cherished traditions and values, then how is that nation to prevent itself from being reduced to a collection of inward-looking and self-replicating ethnic and cultural enclaves?THE COALITION GOVERNMENT’S ...
    7 days ago
  • Could There Be Method In Massey University’s Madness?
    Protective Zone: Reading the rules and guidelines released by Massey University, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that its governing body considers the whole concept of free speech a disruptive threat to the orderly imparting of orthodox academic knowledge.IN TRUE ORWELLIAN fashion, Massey University has announced its commitment to ...
    7 days ago
  • How does poor air quality from bushfire smoke affect our health?
    Brian Oliver, University of Technology Sydney New South Wales and Queensland are in the grip of a devastating bushfire emergency, which has tragically resulted in the loss of homes and lives. But the smoke produced can affect many more people not immediately impacted by the fires – even people many ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: We need more trees, not less
    Farmers held a hate-march on Parliament today, complete with MAGA hats, gun-nut signs, and gendered insults. While supposedly about a grab-bag of issues - including, weirdly, mental health - it was clear that the protest was about one thing, and one thing only: climate change. And specifically, forestry "destroying" rural ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The IGIS annual report: Dead letters and secret law
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released their annual report today, and I've been busy reading through it. In amongst the usual review of what they've been doing all year, there's a few interesting bits. For example, a discussion on "agency retention and disposal of information", which points out that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A referendum on bigotry
    The End of Life Choice Bill passed its third reading last night, 69 - 51. Thanks to a compromise with NZ First - which looks to have been necessary on the final numbers - the commencement of the bill will be subject to a referendum. Given the ugliness of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why municipal waste-to-energy incineration is not the answer to NZ’s plastic waste crisis
    Trisia Farrelly, Massey University New Zealand is ranked the third-most-wasteful country in the OECD. New Zealanders produce five times the global daily average of waste per person – and they are getting more wasteful, producing 35% more than a decade ago. These statistics are likely to get worse following China’s ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Political parties and GMOs: we all need to move on
    Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Ideology
    by Deirdre O’Neill Under Thatcher and then Blair and continuing up until our contemporary moment, the working class has seen its culture slowly and progressively destroyed. The change from an industrial society to a service society produced a marked shift in focus from the working class as the backbone of ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Irony
    Since 2013, the Australian government has detained refugees without trial in Pacific gulags, where they are abused, tortured, and driven to suicide. The policy is not just an abuse of human rights and possible crime against humanity; it has also had a corrosive effect on the states Australia uses as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    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 The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    1 week ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    1 week ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 week ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • New high tech traps will reduce the need for 1080 poison
    New Zealand First are celebrating the announcement of an investment of $3.5 million into five new trapping devices. These are a range of bait and trap devices, all designed to be left unattended for long periods of time. NZ First conservation spokesperson Jenny Marcroft says that this latest development will ...
    11 hours ago
  • Cowboy clampers will be stymied
    Clayton Mitchell, Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs The ‘wheel clamping’ Bill that will cap clamper fees to $100 passed its third reading in Parliament today. New Zealand First welcomes The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill to combat predatory wheel clamping behaviour in what is currently a largely unregulated business. Cowboy clampers are: gouging ...
    2 days ago
  • Mental Health Commission back on track
    Jenny Marcroft, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its first reading in Parliament. “Today’s progress takes serious action on the mental health and addiction crisis the country is facing,” says New Zealand First Health Spokesperson Jenny Marcroft. “The re-establishment ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    2 days ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    2 days ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    2 days ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    3 days ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    4 days ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    1 week ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Milestone of 1800 new Police officers
    The Coalition commitment to add 1800 new Police officers to frontline policing has been achieved with the graduation of 59 constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters say today’s graduation means 1825 new Police have been deployed all ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • PM appoints business leaders to APEC Business Advisory Council
    Ensuring APEC work gets input from diverse New Zealand business and trade interests is behind three new appointments to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Rachel Taulelei, Malcolm Johns and Toni Moyes have been appointed to represent New Zealand on the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • PM speech notes for Trans-Tasman Business Circle
    Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa. Thank you for having me to speak today. To start, I’d like to acknowledge Sharron Lloyd, the General Manager of the Trans–Tasman Business Circle, the partners for this event Westpac’s  David McLean, and Derek McCormack from  AUT, and, of course ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Otago Regional Council given deadline for freshwater management plan
    A four-month investigation by former Environment Court judge Professor Peter Skelton found that Otago’s freshwater planning system is not fit for purpose to manage the region’s rivers, lakes and aquifers and that the Council has inadequate rules for the taking of water and the discharge of nutrients.   “Existing planning provisions ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • LGNZ Rural and Provincial Sector Speech
      Introduction Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to speak to an LGNZ meeting since the local elections, and I’m delighted to see the fresh faces of newly elected mayors. To returning mayors here today, as well as chief ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • New Zealand to attend G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Japan
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters departs New Zealand today to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nagoya at the invitation of this year’s G20 President, Japan. “This is the first time New Zealand will attend a G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and we are deeply honoured that it is at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Ambassador to the European Union announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of diplomat Carl Reaich as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to the European Union. “The Ambassador to the EU is one of the most important and senior roles in New Zealand’s foreign service, advocating for New Zealand’s interests with the EU institutions,” Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • New inventions boost Predator Free 2050 effort
        Innovation and technology are behind five new tools to give nature a helping hand by helping eliminate predators, funded through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage and Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “The new tools will be trialled in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • APEC 2021 Bill passes first reading
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation 2021 (APEC 2021) Bill in Parliament today. The temporary bill supports New Zealand’s security preparations for hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in 2021. “APEC is the leading economic and trade forum ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Making progress for our kids
    The Government is making progress on improving the wellbeing of the one million New Zealanders under the age of 18,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on World Children’s Day. The Government has today recommitted to the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history – the United Nation’s Convention on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Māori women in business contribute to our economy, whānau and communities
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter has released a new report celebrating the contribution of Māori women in business across Aotearoa New Zealand. “Māori women are leaders in our communities, they employ many people and support our economy and our communities,” Julie Anne Genter said. The report, Ngā wāhine kaipakihi: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Two schools on the way for Omokoroa
    Four parcels of land have been bought in Omokoroa, in the Western Bay of Plenty District, for an education facility that will accommodate both a primary and secondary school on a campus-like facility, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Two parcels were acquired from private land owners and two were ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Families Package helps over 1 million New Zealanders in first year
    1 million New Zealanders warmed by the Winter Energy Payment 36,000 families bank the Best Start Payment in first year 6,000 more families received the Family Tax Credit, 220,600 in total   They receive an increase too – from an average of $117 to $157 a week for Inland Revenue clients, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Clamp down on wheel clamping passes third reading
    New rules to clamp down on overzealous wheel clamping and extortionate fees charged in order to release a vehicle have passed their final stage in Parliament today. The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill has now passed its third reading. “These changes mean $100 will be the maximum wheel clamping ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill passes first hurdle
    An independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission is a step closer after it unanimously passed its first vote in Parliament today.  The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill lays the groundwork for establishing the Commission as a fully independent crown entity – delivering on a key recommendation of He Ara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued
    We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to screen travellers for border and immigration risks off-shore before they travel to New Zealand. It was launched in August and became mandatory on 1 October 2019. More than 500,000 NZeTAs have been issued since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Plan of action to protect seabirds
    A proposed national plan of action to reduce the number of seabirds caught in fisheries is being circulated for public feedback. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage say New Zealand is a global centre of seabird diversity with about 145 species in our waters. It has more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • National interest test added to overseas investment rules
    The Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. Associate Finance Minister David Parker said under current Overseas Investment Act rules, assets such as ports and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
    Eleven men from a pilot forestry training programme for prisoners in Northland now have full time jobs or job offers upon release, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. The ‘release to work’ programme was a collaboration between Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Reform of public service a step closer
    Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins today introduced into Parliament a Bill that will make it easier for the public service to tackle the biggest challenges facing Governments. The Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced further support as the Government of Samoa responds to a serious measles outbreak. “New Zealand will deploy a further 18 vaccination nurses, bringing the total to 30 working in Samoa over the next four weeks,” Mr Peters said. “A New Zealand Medical Assistance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
      Fa’atalofa atu, malo e lelei, Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you to the Child Poverty Action Group for asking me to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have been happening across my the social development portfolio.  Can I firstly acknowledge the vast ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
    ***Please check against delivery*** Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning to open this year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Conference and AGM. Firstly, thank you Dr Alan Jackson, NZTR Chair for your introduction. And let us acknowledge also: The NZTR Board; Dean McKenzie, Chair ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
    The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer and more secure, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi has announced today. Both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
    A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve - is being celebrated today at a community event in Tairāwhiti/East Coast attended by the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “The creation of this marine reserve in November 1999 was a game ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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