Taxpayers Union Press Release on Eleanor Catton

Written By: - Date published: 4:48 pm, January 28th, 2015 - 277 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags: , ,

When I first read this I thought it was a sublime piece of satire by Imperator Fish or by the Civilian because it was just so silly but Imperator Fish had already attacked the subject here and the Civilian here.  But then I rechecked and it was a fair dinkum press release sent out by our least favourite union.  So that you can marvel at the extent of its stupidity I will repeat it in full.  Original is from here.

The Taxpayers’ Union is questioning Man Booker prize winner Eleanor Catton’s comments regarding the Government’s support of the arts given the substantial support she has personally received from taxpayers.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“Some might question why Ms Catton would have a go at New Zealand when it’s Kiwi taxpayers who have largely funded her education and career. For example, Ms Catton’s most notable work, The Luminaries, was completed while being on a six-month residency funded by Creative New Zealand.”

“If Ms Catton isn’t thankful for the substantial support by the New Zealand Government while she wrote The Luminaries, maybe she could use some of the substantial royalties to pay the money back.”

Perhaps Mr Williams should pay back every dime spent on his education given his hostile objection to the waste of taxpayer money.  Given the stupidity of his comments and his opposition to anything collective it seems that taxpayer’s money has indeed been wasted on his education.

And with every utterance by every right wing idiot about Eleanor Catton’s comment that New Zealand is dominated by “neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, shallow and money hungry politicians who do not care about culture” the truth of what she said is reinforced.  And don’t get me started on Sean Plunkett …

Kia kaha Eleanor.

277 comments on “Taxpayers Union Press Release on Eleanor Catton”

  1. Paul 1

    I was reading article by Chris Hedges about the film American Sniper and how the reaction shows the ugly underbelly of US culture.
    When I got to this paragraph , I couldn’t fail but to see comparisons to sections of NZ society..especially in light of the Eleanor Catton story.

    ‘There is no shortage of simpletons whose minds are warped by this belief system. We elected one of them, George W. Bush, as president. They populate the armed forces and the Christian right. They watch Fox News and believe it. They have little understanding or curiosity about the world outside their insular communities. They are proud of their ignorance and anti-intellectualism. They prefer drinking beer and watching football to reading a book. And when they get into power—they already control the Congress, the corporate world, most of the media and the war machine—their binary vision of good and evil and their myopic self-adulation cause severe trouble for their country. “American Sniper,” like the big-budget feature films pumped out in Germany during the Nazi era to exalt deformed values of militarism, racial self-glorification and state violence, is a piece of propaganda, a tawdry commercial for the crimes of empire. That it made a record-breaking $105.3 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday long weekend is a symptom of the United States’ dark malaise.’

    • emergency mike 1.1

      Boy I sure hope there’s a star-spangled banner or two!

      Looking forward to the sequels, “American Interrogator” and “American Drone Operator”.

      • Lloyd 1.1.1

        Surely the other side of the story, such as “Muslim Bomber” would produce a spine-tingling counter-point to the American Sniper film.

        • David

          It is such an offensive movie title. There was a Sniper movie ages ago with Tom Berenger, but that was bloody fiction! Hurt Locker, now that is a movie that portrays that particular war in a much better light, if there can be such a thing.

      • Tracey 1.1.2

        american water boarder?

      • tricledrown 1.1.3

        Brought to you by 5 eyes
        American spy
        American poodle starring narcissist John Key selfie obsessed psycho!
        American apologist
        American colonialist.
        All produced by 20th Century fox.
        Another Murdocracy propaganda production.

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    It’s unbelievable how arrogant New Zealand’s neo-liberal scum have become. We have a PM who steals public assets to enrich himself and then imagines he has the standing to criticise an artist who has made it on her own merits. I suppose the French aristos imagined themselves similarly tall until the guillotine cut them down to size.

    • “We have a PM who steals public assets to enrich himself”

      What on earth are you talking about?

      • OHFFS 2.1.1

        “Standing by your man”, while noble, Mr Hooton, is nevertheless misguided.

        Your blind trust in John Key, as is evidenced by your selective memory, is quaintly homoerotic.

        Clearly you are confused about the past, so allow me to remind you of the degree to which you are reliant on blind trust, rather than 20/20 hindsight:

        The “key words” which appear to have escaped your (very selective) memory are:


        Followed very quickly, and not coincidentally, by “Blind” and “Trust”, which, ironically, both describe the only qualities required to support the Prime Sinister.

      • Skinny 2.1.2

        Now let me think back?

        Oh yes that’s right Tranzrail shares Hooton. Of course using his ‘blind trust’ Lord knows what other public assets Key has helped himself to. I’m picking in his blind trust are our power utility shares. Of course being ‘blind’ slippery John has no idea whatsoever. Pull the other leg, it’s akin to the TPU actually being a reputable Union.

      • Stuart Munro 2.1.3

        Tranzrail among other things

    • Grantoc 2.2

      What ‘public assets’ has the PM stolen?

  3. Tom Jackson 3

    NZ is pretty dumb. If we’re not careful, we’ll overtake Australia in the world dumb stakes.

  4. emergency mike 4

    Hilarious how the Taxpayers Union found themselves a ‘taxpayer’ angle to this. Same dirty politics MO as usual, play the woman not the ball.

    Interesting that someone in the dirty politics chain felt the next to go there all. They could have just ignored it. This crew is quite sensitive to attacks on their image that get any airtime. The phrase ‘hitting a nerve’ comes to mind.

    • Tracey 4.1

      do they ask all blacks like zac guilford to pay back money spent on them when they drink and get chucked out of teams?

      • alwyn 4.1.1

        They might not ask for any previous payments back but they certainly don’t give them any more. Guildford had his contract with the NZRU terminated with immediate effect.
        Would you approve of any further payments to, or recognition of, Catton being scrapped with immediate effect?

        • Colonial Rawshark

          What team rules did Catton break, alwyn?

          Apart from failing to be sycophantic, that is.

          • felix

            She broke the rules of Team Key.

            • weka

              One of which is you’re only entitled to state money if you agree with the government, or at least don’t dissent in public. Paula Bennett set the benchmark on that one.

          • alwyn

            I neither know, nor care whether Catton is a member of any team.
            I was simply explaining to Tracey that the answer to her question is that the NZRU certainly do punish players who misbehave. She seems to have a view that they can do anything they like.

            Personally, as an old resident of Hawkes Bay I was very sorry that Guildford has his drinking problems. He was a very good player when he stayed sober.

            Incidentally, and apropos of nothing in particular, has anyone actually finished Catton’s book? I was given a copy for Christmas in 2013. I read about 300 pages and then gave up on the attempt. Does it get any better or does the whole thing consist of a work that needed a good editor to prune out the verbiage?

            • Tracey

              but no one asked zac to pay back money alwyn, the first or second time he transgressed. yes i read it. the man booker people finished it. so did the new zealand book judges who gave it first prize. the verbeage you refer to is English. well thought out and crafted.

              finally, as an employed academic she has a statutory obligation to be a critic and conscience of nz society. a legal obligation no less

              the more you write the more you make her point for her.

              • The lost sheep

                ” as an employed academic she has a statutory obligation to be a critic and conscience of nz society. a legal obligation no less”

                The Education Act S161 (2) (a) guarantees the freedom to question and test etc, but that is something less than a statutory / legal obligation to do so.

                • Tracey

                  go and read the whole thing…

                  in order to be a university you have to etc etc…

                  nonetheless suggesting she pay back her grants or stop working at a taxpayer funded university or other tertiary rather flies in the face of the freedom.

                  • The lost sheep

                    “go and read the whole thing”

                    I have Tracy, and I was unable to locate any “statutory or legal obligation” for an employed academic to be a critic and conscience of NZ society.

                    Can you identify it for me please?

                    • The lost sheep

                      Still looking Tracy?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Section 162 has the clause you are looking for:

                      …accept a role as critic and conscience of society…

                    • Tracey


                      sheeple and alwyn seem to be reading other blogs and then replying here.

                    • Tracey

                      silly goose sheeple, i posted the answer before you even asked me.

                      Taxpayers Union Press Release on Eleanor Catton

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The right wing echo chamber is crying out for original material?
                      Perish the thought.

                      Edit: just read Tracey’s last.

                      Hey Sheep! Reading is a skill. 😈

                    • Tracey



                    • McFlock

                      prepare for more pinhead dancing on pin heads…

                      A primer on academic freedom is here. I’m sure TLS will assure us that they’ve read all 30 pages before they make some more stupid comments.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Thanks McFlock. Bookmark.

                    • The lost sheep

                      162 purely refers to the ‘characteristic’ of the University Institution.

                      There is nothing at all in there that confers any ‘statutory or legal obligation’ on any individual academic as Tracey claimed.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      On Earth, where words* have ‘meaning’, it’s a requirement of their** establishment.

                      *Such as those ‘words’ used in Acts of ‘Parliament’. Baby steps.


                      PS: Do I have to spell this out for you, Sheep? Acts of Parliament are ‘laws’, which ‘must be obeyed’. Can an authoritarian follower really be so confused about this? Ba-aa!

                    • The lost sheep

                      So you understand the meaning of the *words* ‘Statutory obligation’ then OAB?

                      If you assert that individual academics are bound by such an obligation, can you outline the ‘statute’ that covers how the individual must fulfill those obligations, and what legal sanctions apply if they fail to do so?

                      Maybe you could explain why the vast majority of employed academics appear to be blatantly failing to carry out this ‘statutory obligation’?

                      Could you could outline some of the principles established by the body of case law around individual cases of failure to follow this obligation?

                      Or you could just admit that Tracey was wrong to state that
                      ” as an employed academic she has a statutory obligation to be a critic and conscience of nz society. a legal obligation no less”

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      What a lovely shiny farcical observation you have made: that individuals are not universities.

                      Can you explain how universities are supposed to ‘encourage’ their critical and conscientious employees to ‘act’?

                      This obligation requires them to seek out critical and conscientious people to employ, no?

                      Or is that a baby step too far?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      THe lost sheep: I’m not amazed idiots like you continue to degrade our education, civilisation and culture.

                    • Tracey

                      t he education act is a statute. that satisfied the use of the word statutory.

                      s162 s establishes that an entity is not legally a university unless it agree to be critic and conscience of society. that is an obligation imposed in return for being accorded university status.

                      statutory plus obligation equals statutory obligation.

                      a statute is a law.

                      that no one has taken a university to court for failing to discharge its statutory obligation is not proof that no such obligation exists. ( i havent checked if anyone has). as for how many academics have to criticise or be the conscience to satisfy the obligation enabling a university to retain its status, i dont know. but that is a different issue

                      pin meet sheeple. he likes to dance.

                      ps. if it lacks the characteristic of being critic and conscience it does not meet the criteria to be a university.

                      every statute doesnt set out all tge ways to satisfy every clause… thats why so much work grew from the rma for planners and lawyers.

                    • McFlock

                      lost again, huh?

                      You read s162? Did you read s161? Because apparently you read the whole thing. S161 randomly deals with academic freedom.

                      Why oh why would that be? You could have read the document I linked to earlier, but then you’d know the answer. Let’s make it easier for you:

                      The University values its obligation and role as a critic and conscience of society1 and supports and encourages academic staff and students to responsibly practise the tenets of academic freedom of expression as central to the proper conduct of teaching, administration, research and scholarship. Implicit within this role is the freedom of academic staff and students to critique ideas both within and beyond the University itself.

                      It is acknowledged that the exercise of academic freedom of expression is core to the role and function of the University. As with all rights and obligations, academic freedom carries with it certain responsibilities, expectations and accountabilities, and is exercised within a relationship of trust and confidence.

                      That’s from the university of canterbury.

                      Academic staff are the only staff with the protection to be able to enable a university to fulfil its statutory obligations.

                      Now, your argument seems to be that just because an individual academic is legally empowered to speak their mind freely doesn’t mean that they are legally obliged to.

                      Actually, they are. If they do not say a particular something, then they were not minded to say it. If they are minded to say something, they must – otherwise see the first bit. What academic freedom tries to assure is that nothing bad will happen to an academic should the academic say something.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Sheep needs to think very hard indeed about this.

                      The only substantive thing that separates the social democracies from the rest – our ‘advantage’ – is peer review.

                      Authoritarian followers please note: I am using peer review as a ‘metaphor’ and literally.

                      PS: All the academics are holding their weapons wrong. Subtle cartoonist.

                    • McFlock

                      To put it another way:

                      I am free to go where I want.
                      If I want to go somewhere, I go there.
                      If I am not there, I did not want to go there.
                      Without a restriction on where I want to go, I cannot help but be where I wish to be.

                    • The lost sheep

                      “that no one has taken a university to court for failing to discharge its statutory obligation is not proof that no such obligation exists. ( i havent checked if anyone has). as for how many academics have to criticise or be the conscience to satisfy the obligation enabling a university to retain its status, i dont know. but that is a different issue.

                      No, that is exactly the issue Tracy.
                      Because if there was a statutory obligation for any particular individual, or groupings of individuals, to be ‘bound by law’ to follow any specific level of obligation… would be set out in law, and we could clearly specify what that obligation was.

                      But there is no such obligation under law for any individual academic, contrary to your statement, and that is why no sanction exists in law, and no one has ever been held to account for it.

                      You can all go on turning yourselves inside out trying to avoid this fact as much as you like….
                      But all you are proving is your pathological incapacity to ever concede a single point you make could be wrong.

                      Please refer to the George Orwell quote I posted below. You are demonstrating it perfectly.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Dancer, meet pinhead.

                      PS: I don’t think anyone who’s waded this far should go away empty handed – so here’s some music.

                    • The lost sheep

                      I know you appreciate stories about my Socialist Dad OAB, so you’ll love this one.

                      He told me that you can you can deduce one very important factor from the level of abuse an adversary uses in a debate.

                      “The confidence they have in their own argument is inversely proportional to the amount of abuse they employ to defend it.”

                      Think he said he’d got that from Trotsky, but I’ve never been able to nail the quote.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Well sure, Sheep, and you still have to tackle their argument, because guess what, no matter how abusive they are, it’ll be coming back.

                      Use the ice-pick, young Trotsky – explain how you think it is that critical, conscientious citizens align with your confirmation bias rather than mine.

                      PS: I suppose this warrants more music. This one’s about heroes and lies.

                    • McFlock

                      Because if there was a statutory obligation for any particular individual, or groupings of individuals, to be ‘bound by law’ to follow any specific level of obligation

                      Is a university not a group of individuals, then?

                    • Tracey

                      i havent abused you. i have disagreed with you. you are no more inclined to concede you might be wrong than I am. I have given you my statutory interpretation to justify my use of the words statutory obligation. You disagree. Good o, but that doesn’t mean you are right or I am wrong but rather we offer opposing viewpoints.

                      A university that is not pursuing its role as critic and conscience is, according to the education act, not a university. The words plainly express that.

                      Are you also saying that every time someone contravenes an Act but no one sues them they could never have had a statutory obligation because no one sued them?

                      In any event you have not convinced me that

                      “But there is no such obligation under law for any individual academic, contrary to your statement, and that is why no sanction exists in law, and no one has ever been held to account for it.”

                      Can you show me where the education act specifies that a university can exist without any people working within its structures, and if it does not allow for that, would the people making up a university, in your mind, include academics?

                      Finally how do you envisage a building being a critic or conscience of society, and what would possess our legislators to expect that of brick and mortar?

                      [lprent: You certainly didn’t ‘abuse’ the sheep, just gave the unshorn fluffball a mild education as far as I can see. I had a look after reading this comment. Clearly someone who is too probably too sensitive for debate here. Imagine how abused they will feel when they hit my style of arguing when I am not moderating. Shivering after being shorn? ]

                    • The lost sheep

                      As LPrent says, you didn’t abuse me, and having formed the impression you are a caring and compassionate individual, I would be shocked if you did. On that basis I understand that you may think you have over-stepped the mark by referring to me as a ‘silly goose’.
                      I forgive you for that and hold no grudge.

                      But, nice though you are, I have to insist that your original claim was that Eleanor Catton, as an individual employed academic, had a ‘statutory obligation’ to be a ‘critic and conscience of NZ society’.
                      That is the point I disputed, and so I am not going to answer your questions relating to the completely shifted ground that by ‘Eleanor Catton’, and ‘She’, you actually meant ‘a University’.

                      So I’ll state it again dead straight, and ask you to answer me just as straight…

                      Individual academics have no obligations under NZ law to engage in any specific political activity, including being a ‘critic and a conscience’.
                      There is no definition or explanation of such an obligation for individual Academics (or any other citizens) in NZ law.
                      As a logical consequence of the above, there are no sanctions available for failure of individual academics to follow non existent legal obligations.
                      Therefore, and by definition, there is no ‘statutory or legal obligation’ for Eleanor Catton or any other employed individual Academic to ‘be bound by the law’ to think or say anything political at all.

                      Which of those statements are wrong in fact?

                      Think it through…a bit of satire might make the unworkable and nonsensical nature of the concept obvious?

                      ” Following a lead from an undercover SIS source, a Professor of Invertebrate Biology at the University of Otago has been charged with the criminal offence of ‘consistent failure to publicly condemn the policies of Government’ during his 50 year Academic tenure.

                      The seriousness of this charge is reflected in the potential sentence of up to 3 years in jail, or life time supervision under the Political Expression Rehabilitation program.

                      The prosecution outlined a utterly callous disregard for wider social issues displayed by the Professor, as evidenced by his shocking statement that ‘he had only ever really been interested in sub-tidal Mollusks’.

                      His defense is believed to hinge on the Professors claim that at several lunchtimes during the ’90’s he ventured to colleagues that The Labour Government was allocating insufficient funding to West Coast Giant Snail populations, and he once got somewhere near the front of a march in solidarity with a small copse of threatened trees in suburban Dunedin.

                      The presiding Judge warned that this case was “a potentially heinous breach of the legal requirement for academics to express their freedom of thought and speech by making compulsory public statements of a political nature.”

                      He further cautioned of the precedence set in the case of the ‘Adam Smith Five’ who were recently sent to academic exile in Dargaville for failing to be active enough in contacting the Mainstream Media with their criticisms of the Marxist Policies of the current Mana / Greens coalition.

                      Inside sources at the University have suggested that the recent operation that uncovered the Professors lack of activity may also have exposed a systemic abuse of compulsory political freedom of expression throughout Otago Academia, and speculation is mounting that the 30% quota of faculty having a MSM presence may have been seriously breached.

                      You get the point…..

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Mansplainin’ ad nauseam.

                      Is charity wasted on wingnuts? Discuss.

                    • McFlock

                      This is obviously a very difficult concept for you to handle.
                      Let’s try another tack:

                      1: universities need to include in their role “critic and conscience of society” in order to maintain their university status.

                      2: they satisfy this requirement through their academic staff.

                      3: academic freedom is a core function of academic staff, as opposed to general staff such as non-academic researchers or tutors

                      4: academic freedom is not limited to “political” statements, it includes things like water quality or correcting legislators about the value of pi

                      5: an academic staff member who does not speak their mind is like a ship captain who does not command the ship – even if their inaction does not count as a shoddy effort at the act of command or speech itself, it is failing to fulfill the requirements of their role and they should lose their jobs for incompetence

                      6: to recap, it is their role because it is the only mechanism by which the university can fulfil its statutory obligations, without which it would get demoted to a polytech or something. So the university includes it in its employment agreements to fulfil the legislative requirement.

                    • Tracey


                      Thank you. I cannot see, and TLS has failed to convince me, that a building can have the onus to be a critic and conscience of society. It seems to me in the absence of a set of buildings constituting a university under the education act, being able to discharge that duty under the Act, they must do so through people. Eleanor Catton (although employed by a technical institute not a university (TLS may have been on very strong ground had he/she used this as his/her point of contention with my statement) therefore has a duty to be a critic and conscience of society.

              • alwyn

                You mean that the NZRU, who paid Guildford, didn’t ask him to return any money that he had been paid prior to his transgressions. Other people, possibly including yourself, seem to think that they should have done so. That is of course not the business of anyone except the Rugby Union, is it?
                Any money that Catton received from the taxpayer would have been paid by the Government, as the taxpayer’s representative. I notice that the Government has not stated that she should be asked to do any such thing as return money she may have received. The people who are complaining are not the Government are they. They are just a few individuals who don’t like her views very much. John Key himself, the main person she is attacking has been very restrained hasn’t he? Really the furthest he went was to say he was disappointed.
                You will presumably allow people such as the Taxpayer’s Union and Sean Plunkett the same right of free speech as you will allow Ms Catton.
                The views Plunkett expresses may not be to your taste, and they certainly aren’t to mine, but he must be allowed to express them if we are to live in a free society.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Radio Lifeless is entitled to allow any old hateful bigotry to go out under its name, too, although that’s not exactly “free” speech is it, being paid for ‘n’ all.

                • felix

                  alwyn, you are comparing a sportsperson’s “transgression” with something Catton did.

                  What is it?

                  What is Catton’s “transgression”?

                  • Tracey

                    I made the analogy in an attempt to show the difference that is made in NZ between a rugby or cricket player breaking a law and no one demands they pay anything back, and they have received substantial help from taxpayers and ratepayers along the way and these personal attacks on Catton, International and National Book prize winner, by Plunkett, some on the blogosphere and Key’s ridicule by association with The Greens.

                    He then used his position of ignorance about how sport and sportspeople in NZ are funded to try and avoid the analogy I was making.

                  • alwyn

                    I’m not making any such comparison actually.
                    You will note that I have not made any request that she should return any money, assuming there ever has been any, received by her from the taxpayer. That is a claim from the Tax-payer’s Union (if that is what they call themselves).
                    It was Tracey that brought Zac Guildford into the debate. She is the one you should be questioning about what Zac’s various misdemeanours have to do with Catton.
                    You will note that the worst thing I have said about Catton is that her book goes on and on and on and on, to such an extent that I got totally bored after 300 pages and have never got back to it.
                    That is of course more the responsibility of her editor than herself.
                    Catton is, like everybody else, entitled to exercise her right to free speech. So is anyone else, including dicks like Plunkett with his “clever” use of a word that most people would assume was whore.

                    ps Tracey posted while I was typing this, and I didn’t see it until after I posted. Please note that Guildford wasn’t asked to repay anything by his employer. Neither was Catton. The only people bringing repayment up are those who were not involved. Catton’s involvement with the Green campaign is actually relevant and it is a fair comment by the attacked person, John Key, to mention it.
                    It would be just as relevant to note that Pete George is (or was) connected to another party when he posts a comment.

                    • felix

                      Sure you are. You also made a comparison between Catton and a sportsperson’s “misbehaving”.

                      Care to say what Catton’s “misbehaving” consists of?

                • Tracey

                  Perhaps educate yourself on the structure and funding of sport in NZ, including how Guilford’s career started and who funded it from when he first pulled on some boots through to when the NZRU began paying him… In order to get paid by the NZRU he received the benefit of taxpayer and ratepayer funding to get there, including funding for NZRU development youth. Then he broke a law or two. The taxpayer’s union didn’t demand he pay back the money that he had relied upon directly and indirectly to help him to get to professional level.

                  He won Gold with a Commonwealth Games sevens team in 2010. You might want to look up how that is funded, and by whom.

                  SNZ funds rugby, including grassroots, Council’s pay for and maintain the grounds they play on. He would have been involved in fundraisers, taking taxpayer money.

                  I worte “no one” asked him to pay any money back alwyn, you can make that a demand by me on the government to demand money back if it suits you, even when it is patently not. Same argument goes for Jesse Ryder, no calls for him to pay anything back and again he didnt get to be a professional player without using taxpayer and ratepayer funds.

                  I have not said anywhere (please find it and quote it to me if I did) that they shouldn’t oppose her opinion? I have said using positions of power to ridicule (which is what Key’s associating her with The Greens to belittle her was) and Plunkett’s (having a radio slot is a position of power and influence) name calling amounted to, undermines free speech in that it DETERS others from expressing a view contrary to the government of the day for fear of personal attacks.

                  • alwyn

                    Please, please Tracey.
                    Associating someone with the Greens belittles them?
                    Surely you don’t mean to say that?
                    “(which is what Key’s associating her with The Greens to belittle her was)”.
                    Plunkett is what I believe is called a “shock Jock”, isn’t he? As such he, like Willie Jackson and John Tamihere, keep their employment by being contentious. At least I think they do. I haven’t heard Plunkett on the radio since he left Morning Report, and I’ve never listened to Jackson or Tamihere at all.
                    As for you comments about people like Guildford only getting where they are because of what the tax/rate payer did I think you have no idea how hard professional sports people work. 99% of their success is their own doing.
                    As far as talking about people being deterred form expressing their opinions because they may be responded to. It is no doubt true but I don’t see any real way around it except by sticking to the anonymity of a blog. I’ve been accused of various misdemeanours in this blog but I don’t really care as I (hope) my identity is reasonably masked and anyway I don’t have to rely on anyone employing me now. Catton was treated pretty kindly by Key in actuality.

                    • Tracey

                      I will leave it to those more eloquent than I to explain my position.



                      Again, I did not say he only got to be an ALL Black because of taxpayer funding. Where are you getting all this misinformation from? It isnot my posts. I am asserting that he got as much, if not more taxpayer and ratepayer support as Catton BUT NO ONE IN THE MEDIA OR THE PM sought to belittle him or demand he pay back the money he had received along the way.

                      and then again you write

                      “because they may be responded to.”

                      Didnt say that, said if they are ridiculed, belittled or insulted.

                      So, your attempt to debate with me so far on my view versus yours has involved you addressing at least 3 things you attribute to me but I never said.

                      Enjoy the articles, they say it far better than me, obviously.

                • freedom

                  “John Key himself, the main person she is attacking has been very restrained hasn’t he?”

                  Considering John Key is not mentioned at any time in any of her comments in the interview that is being reported on, I am compelled to ask, what are you on about?

                  He is not mentioned as a person or an MP or even as the PM. He is not specifically mentioned in any way. Even in the video of the press interviews after the session, his name is nowhere. Do you have a secret transcript of the Festival’s Early Triumphs session, at which Catton was speaking? One where his name is used or where he is referenced ?

                  The only conclusion is you did not even even read the items being debated and are merely commenting on what others have said was said.

                  Read the interview, watch the video, go find John Key’s name, or his position being referred to, anything that separates him from the very broad label of “politicians” that was used.

                  Perhaps the real reason for the bruhaha is the session was young women talking about women and was mediated by the group UN Women ? Makes as much sense as most of the sensationalist crap I have seen thrown around on this story

                  Here is what the festival itself had to say about her presentation.
                  “Catton confessed that her decision to set The Luminaries during the Gold Rush in New Zealand was partly because she had started writing it in 2008 during the global financial crisis, and the issues around money and greed were in her subconscious mind.

                  This was a brave and engrossing talk by two exceptional young women, and was a fitting beginning to the UN Women series at this year’s ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival.”

                  What I do know is if the phrase “neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians ” has you assuming someone is talking about our Prime Minister John Key, then Eleanor Catton cannot be held responsible for that!

                • framu

                  “John Key himself, the main person she is attacking has been very restrained hasn’t he? Really the furthest he went was to say he was disappointed.”

                  bullshit mate

                  he engaged in his usual schoolyard innuendo, dog whistling and character assasination – on a comment that didnt even mention him specifically

                  true to form key didnt address the comment but made a sneering put down of the messenger as his first port of call.

                  That speaks volumes about him

          • Naki man

            “What team rules did Catton break, alwyn?”

            How about treason
            ungrateful [Deleted – we have standards even if you and Plunkett do not – MS], that about sums it up.

            • mickysavage

              Question for you naki man. What is your definition of treason?

              • Anne

                I can answer that one for you.

                Anyone who doesn’t believe everything John Key says.

                He doesn’t own a dictionary cos he doesn’t believe in dictionaries cos they get made by those nasty, brainy commie types.

              • Ooh! Ooh! I know this one from time spent on Kiwiblog threads – it’s hostility to a National-led government. There’d be enough people to be shot for “treason” to constitute a scheduling problem if these guys had their way.

              • Naki man

                Betrayal of your country, perhaps that was a bad choice of word since she is not a kiwi. Taking tax payers money and then sticking the knife in from another country is gutless. Dirty politics from the greens

                • Paul

                  Do you believe in free speech?
                  There are countries that share your opinions. Maybe you could go there.

                • mickysavage

                  So criticising the government’s direction is the same as sticking the knife in? You must think that I am a homicidal mass murderer.

                • lprent

                  Oh piss off you complete jerk.

                  To allow people to have the opportunity to state what their opinions are is exactly why I volunteered into the army.

                  Having gutless stupid gits like you slagging off people because they speak their mind is exactly why I would like to kick bigoted arseholes like you and Sean Plunket out of my country.

                  You are a stupid dickhead..

                  • sir pat

                    “Having gutless stupid gits like you slagging off people because they speak their mind is exactly why I would like to kick bigoted arseholes like you and Sean Plunket out of my country.”
                    um… speech…..its for everyone right????……or are you just playing at the bully again????

                    “You are a stupid dickhead..”…….guess it takes one to know one but then again vitriol seem to be your forte… turn next is it?

                    • lprent

                      Perhaps it’d help if you pulled your head out of your faecal inspection and thought about the topic of the post.

                      You understand irony? Or does that whistle over your head as well?

                  • Macro

                    And I served 15 years in the RNZN for the same reason

                • Rodel

                  Naki man, Plunkett , Williams and ilk.
                  Many of us received an education through help from the NZ taxpayer and our own hard work.

                  How dare you suggest that we should not speak our minds about the government or anyone whose views we regard as wrong.

                  What do you want? a bunch of servile sycophants grateful to their feudal masters?

                  “Hey if you ever got help from the government or took advantage of our taxpayer funded education system … you must shut up forever.” (Shades of Fox News commentators)

                  It bothers me that there exists such simpletons with such outmoded values and attitudes, to our New Zealand culture and society.

                  Such attitudes are a betrayal of what we stand for in this country,

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Taking tax payers money and then sticking the knife in from another country is gutless.

                  But you’re OK when John Key does it.

            • Paul

              Your answer unwittingly supports much of what she said.

            • Jones

              If anyone is treasonous it is John Key and his economic assault on NZ… which goes all the way back to John Key’s association with Andrew Krieger’s attack on the NZ dollar in 1987.

        • Tracey

          he didnt get terminated the first time…

  5. Blue 5

    I find the right’s outrage over what Catton said completely mystifying. Her comments were not controversial at all, just a statement of fact.

    Our government is indeed neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, shallow and money-hungry. Any right winger worthy of the name would not seek to shrink from any of this – it’s their raison d’etre.

    Of more interest than Catton speaking out about her beliefs is why NZ’s right are running scared from standing up for theirs.

    • Tracey 5.1

      her comments were a statement of opinion not really fact… but apparently an opinion that isnt theirs is intolerable

      • Pete George 5.1.1

        No, just an opinion that can be countered with other opinions. Free speech works both ways.

        Politicians shouldn’t be banned from responding to criticism should they?

        • fender

          So apart from the attacks that constituted these “opinions”, what “other opinions” countered her argument exactly?

          • Pete George

            I’ve seen many counter her view of New Zealand politics and politicians.

            And also her views on not winning the local prize:

            Catton’s claim dismays judge

            New Zealand Book Award judge Dick Frizzell is dismayed by author Eleanor Catton’s assertion she did not take the top prize last year because she is a tall poppy.

            In an interview with media in India, the 2013 Man Booker Prize winner for her novelThe Luminaries said she did not get New Zealand’s top award because there was an attitude that she had already won big overseas.

            “There was this kind of thing that now you’ve won this prize from overseas, we’re not going to celebrate it here, we’re going to give the award to somebody else,” Catton said.

            She did win the Best Fiction award but Jill Trevelyan’s story of Peter McLeavey won the Book of the Year.

            Artist Frizzell said it was “absolutely not” a case of bringing Catton down to size and the judges were “buggered if we did or we didn’t” give the top award to Catton.

            “The Booker doesn’t have categories. The Booker is fiction, that’s it, and here we were up against illustrated non-fiction and biographies and what have you.

            “We did have a lot more to consider and there were some fabulous books in that line-up, I have to say.”


            There’s more in the audio in the link.

            • fender

              So no actual countering of her political argument then, just “dismay” from someone who’s imagining a perceived injustice.

              • Pete George

                An example:

                Speaking on Firstline this morning, Mr Key said her views were “sad” because a lot of taxpayer money has been spent on backing New Zealand’s literary sector.

                “We were the Government that for instance was part of being country of the year that was host of the [2012 Frankfurt Book Fair], for instance. Actually I remember us getting some criticism for putting in so much money into that particular event.”

                The Prime Minister has recently been in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, where inequality was a hot topic. He says rather than caring only about short-term gains, as Catton believes, there is “tremendous respect” for New Zealand’s recent economic achievements.
                “It’s growing, it’s producing jobs, its incomes are rising; today we are going to give a speech that talks about allowing and ensuring that more vulnerable families, who are very low-income families, get access to a home. That’s hardly the speech of a completely profit-crazed Prime Minister.”


                I’ve seen a lot of countering. Where have you looked?

                • fender

                  There’s been plenty of near character assassination going on, but the PM’s spin lines you have provided are the closest to a “countering” of her political argument, despite being just typical Key spin.

                  • Pete George

                    As has been already mentioned here Sean Plunket had go, albeit over the top.


                    Eleanor Catton brilliantly articulates and crystallises the entire left wing philosophy (people first, money second) when she says our government is only hungry for money.

                    Well, Eleanor let me spell it out for you – in the real world (a place in which you clearly have no experience, if I want to go to the cinema and indulge in a bit of culture, I have to have the money first.

                    There’s a lot more around.

                    I doubt that there’s many MPs who would agree with her.

                    • lprent

                      Sean Plunket is in my opinion a rather stupid arsehole, a blowhard who clearly is incapable of thinking, and the type of fuckwit bigot who makes me ashamed of ever having put on uniform to defend him.

                      He is an absolute disgrace of a kiwi. My bet is that he has never bothered to do much for his country. He appears to be the type of shiftless bastard who only ever helped himself – a neolib fuckwit. Hopefully he will rot in hell.

                      And you are not much better.

                      That is also an opinion.

                    • Pete George

                      You’ve just said elsewhere that slagging people off isn’t flash.

                      In my opinion there seems to be a bit of irony here.

                    • Pete George

                      Oh piss off you complete jerk.

                      To allow people to have the opportunity to state what their opinions are is exactly why I volunteered into the army.

                      Having gutless stupid gits like you slagging off people because they speak their mind is exactly why I would like to kick bigoted arseholes like you and Sean Plunket out of my country.


                      So a wee bit hypocritical.

                      Or misusing state power to bully and silence critics.

                      Taxpayers Union Press Release on Eleanor Catton

                      While on a different level what’s the real difference between that and using broadcast power or blog power to bully and silence critics or people with different opinions?

                      Greens on Facebook:

                      We were grateful to have Eleanor Catton’s support during the election campaign, and we fully support her right to speak freely about the Government’s priorities without being shouted down or called a ‘traitor’ by media commentators.

                      Applies both ways.

                    • Tracey

                      what is it about people like Plunkett who think they have a monopoly on what is and isn’t the real world?

                  • Paul

                    He doesn’t stop, does he?
                    Like a never ending loop.

                • McFlock

                  Holy crap, lol, he really said that?

                  So an incredibly wealthy PM says that obscenely wealthy individuals whom he met in a resort of the insanely rich talked about inequality (no comment about whether they were pro or con, private jets implies an answer, though). Refers to himself with the ‘royal we’. The performance metrics he mentioned involved income, gdp and employment (i.e. income). Housing affordability was a big issue last election – any pm who wants to keep their party in power would mention it.

                  3 out of 4 metrics seems to be, at the very least, profit-motivated.
                  The “we” suggests narcissism delusions of grandeur.

                  So, if not “profit crazed”, “profit motivated and possibly with at least a personality disorder or two”.

                  Great example of countering lol

              • Paul

                PG is fishing.

        • Psycho Milt

          “Ungrateful whore/hua” (ungrateful for what, ffs?) isn’t an opinion, it’s an insult. A pretty hypocritical insult, coming from such an obnoxious arsehole, at that.

          • Pete George

            Yes, Plunket was very insulting. I think it was way over the top – that sort of insulting language detracts from valid criticism.

            And I’d guess that there were politicians who insulted, possibly very insulted by what Catton said.

            • mickysavage

              False equivalence Pete. A discussion about the morality of this Government’s actions should always be welcome.

              • Paul

                Peter George is attempting to derail the thread.

              • Pete George


                Discussions are two way things, not ‘listen and shut up’. Aren’t they?

                You should know plenty about politicians being criticised. Shouldn’t they be able to respond?

                • Pascals bookie

                  How about when Key said he was sad Catton was talking about stuff that wasn’t what she was famous for.

                  Is ‘shut up and be grateful we didn’t cancel everything’ a conversation?

              • Paul

                He is trying to lure you in….

        • Wayne

          On this, I agree with Pete George.

          Of course Eleanor Catton can express her views about the government, and they are pretty typical for those on the Green Left. Nothing unusual there. For those who read the full interview, they are a pretty minor part of an interview which is mostly about being a writer in the small society that is New Zealand.

          But when the relevant words are quoted back to John Key by a journalist (and I am sure that is what happened), he has to say something. His reported comments from yesterday are pretty much what you would expect from just about any politician having to answer such a question. Not critical of her, simply stating that those are typical views of the Greens.

          This is truly a storm in a teacup.

          • Paul

            So why are you commenting?
            This has touched a nerve for many of the right.

            The Emperor has no clothes. He has been shown up to be what he is.
            Obsessed with money.

          • framu

            “he has to say something.”:

            yes – he engaged in character assasination and weak obvious dog whistles

            wow – the most senior public official we have is so pathetic and insecure he cant debate the ideas and has to resort to innunedo and name calling

            what a fucking champ

            thats the thing wayne – people like you should be able to make a counter argument without behaving like they are 5.

          • Tracey

            apart from his vekled insult by using greens i have no problem with him responding. i wish he would comment on sabin though. far more important.

            it is the insult by others i find fascinating, including their challenge of her book which dick frizzell judged best fiction and which got the man booker prize. so some people didnt enjoy the book but turn it into abuse.

            that universities have all the following characteristics and other tertiary institutions have 1 or more of those characteristics:

            (i)they are primarily concerned with more advanced learning, the principal aim being to develop intellectual independence:

            (ii)their research and teaching are closely interdependent and most of their teaching is done by people who are active in advancing knowledge:

            (iii)they meet international standards of research and teaching:

            (iv)they are a repository of knowledge and expertise:

            (v)they accept a role as critic and conscience of society; and

            of course disagree with her view of our govt but do it with reason and respect not abuse and churlishness as plunkett and taxpayers “union” have done and some here.

          • freedom

            “But when the relevant words are quoted back to John Key by a journalist…. he has to say something”

            really? Seems the PM has a different view
            what was it he said just the other day

            “Because I comment on things I want to comment on and I don’t on things I don’t”

        • Tracey

          no. and that you took me to be suggesting that is fascinating. responding is fine. veiled insults and overt insults deter people from speaking out.

          • Pete George

            That frequently happens here, doesn’t it.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              You’re not very good at it, though, no matter how hard you try.

            • Tracey

              and you are comparing TS and Plunketts radio vehicle with the standard? I wonder why no one here has been quoted on radio, print or tv media on this topic then?

      • Murray Rawshark 5.1.2

        They look like facts to me. It is my opinion that the acceleration due to gravity at the Earth’s surface is approximately 9.8 metres per second squared. It is a factual opinion.

    • Anne 5.2

      Her comments were not controversial at all, just a statement of fact.

      That’s why they’re outraged. How dare she consider herself important enough to make such a statement of evidenced-based fact. She is a writer and a woman to boot. She is not fit to lick John Key’s boots.

  6. Tracey 6

    je suis john key
    je suis taxpayers union

    not a very self aaware lot

  7. Colonial Rawshark 7

    That fucking Jordan Williams again. What a cretin.

    • fender 7.1

      Yeah there’s something seriously creepy about that Williams.

      Still, anyone who jumps out of bed late at night to go on a wild goose chase with their camera for the slater probably deserves sympathy for their illness.

  8. Paul 8

    Alan Duff about Eleanor Catton.

    “She is also bang on the mark about the state of culture in New Zealand.

    When it’s not banal radio and television with shrieking heads cueing us when and how to react, it is ordinary-to-awful prose in sound-bite form in our print media.

    Then it’s rugby and more rugby – and I’m one of the dulled-down addicts.

    In my opinion we’re a cultural wasteland, which you can see reflected right across our media. A garbage-strewn land ruled over by mediocrities fiercely and ruthlessly possessive of the high ground they’ve seized.”

    I like that about Plunket, Hosking, Williams et al.

    Banal, shrieking, mediocre.
    Sums them up perfectly.

  9. Wayne 9

    I think the Taxpayers Union press release is pretty stupid, pretty much for the reasons stated.

    You may have noted that in yesterday’s post that I did not actually comment on Ms Catton’s statements. Those are her views, and I am hardly surprised that those opposed to the government will tend to state their views in extravagant language.

    Just about everyone on this site sees the right as cardboard caricatures, just as most of the commenters on Kiwiblog tend to have the same view of the left.

    My comment yesterday was simply an observation that a greater proportion of writers artists and actors tend to cleave to the Left than in other societies.

    But I did also note that John Key seems to evoke reactions against him with a much higher level of vitriol than Jim Bolger or Jenny Shipley ever did. The comments on this site being symptomatic of that.

    I put that down to his “everyman “style, which is perceived to be anti-intellectual. Although even his detractors would have to admit that he is very smart, which of course is not the same as being intellectual, but being smart might be more relevant for a politician.

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      Key is a better politician and has a better team working for him than any one on the Left has. That is pretty annoying, tbh.

      Jordan Williams will get a top spot on the National Party list if you ain’t careful.

    • Paul 9.2

      Which bit of Eleanor Catton’s comments below could be described as either extravagant or vitriol?

      “At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada, is dominated by these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains.”

      Good try at trying to slide by a couple of premises.

      Key is clearly profit obsessed, neoliberal, money hungry and cares about short term gains. From what he says and what he does, it would not be extravagant to describe his as shallow and say he does not care about culture. We hear about his golf games and his love of the mighty USA. We don’t hear about visits to the threat red or books he reads.

      He’s a currency trader, for goodness sake.
      He seems mighty defensive about the description.

      • Wayne 9.2.1

        I would say Eleanor Catton’s statements are extravagant, but they are not vitriol, or even close to it.

        The vitriol was a reference to some of the comments on this site.

        • Paul

          From the quote I provided, which words are extravagant?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Speaking of which, Dr. Mapp, do you think you may have been complicit in war crimes such as the targeting of civilians during your time as defence minister.

          How about torture?

          Truth and reconciliation commission?

          • Wayne

            One Anonymous Bloke

            To your first two assertions; “No” and “No.”

            Not sure what you are alluding to in your third.

            • Wayne

              On reflection I guess you were suggesting that I needed the benefit of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

            • freedom

              Paul asked a simple straight forward question

              “which words are extravagant?”

              here is the quote again
              “At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada, is dominated by these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains.”

              so which bit is extravagant, and if you manage to fabricate an answer, please feel free to elucidate on your definition.

              • Paul

                Yes I thought so too.
                The right wing really are trying to squirm away from facing the challenge presented by these words.

                “At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada is dominated by these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains. They would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want. I feel very angry with my government.”

                Notice how they are trying to move in onto a discussion about tall poppies and literature.

                They aren’t comfortable with the description of their dear leader being shown up to be without culture, obsessed about money and uncaring about the environment.

                I think Eleanor Catton uses most diplomatic language to describe our shallow greedy and selfish government and politicians.

                People who would “destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want” could rightly be judged guilty of genocide and ecocide,

              • Stuart Munro

                I’m not even sure we can credit the braindead morons presently handling the NZ economy with even an interest in short-term gains. If that was what motivated them you’d expect to see the occasional surplus. These fools can’t even produce one.

                Too stupid to live is my diagnosis – though they certainly epitomise the other criteria of shallowness, greed and brutishness.

            • phillip ure

              not for want of trying wayne..?

              “..In a September 2003 house sitting, Mapp criticised the incumbent government’s lack of support for the US-led invasion of Iraq.

              His comment pertained to New Zealand being “missing in action” in Iraq..”

              still stand by that one..?

              ..the bloodlust/armchair-warrior jonesing was running

              (did you have ‘ride of the valkeries’ playing in yr head..?..)

              ..and no civilians/innocent men/women/children killed in afghanistan while u were defence minister..?


              ..or have you just not yet faced up to that one..?

              • and no afghanis captured by our troops..

                ..and handed over to be

                ..while you were ministrer of defence..

                ..(the denial runs strong in this one..)

                ..were you a sgt schultz/’i see nothing!’ kinda defence minster..were ya…?

              • Wayne

                phillip ure,

                Although these posts are well off topic, because you have raised them and because they involve the integrity of New Zealand soldiers, I am answering them.

                New Zealand forces never targeted people who were not attacking them with lethal force. The formal rules of engagement, of which I took a very close interest in, were very specific on this point. And I was informed of all incidents involving New Zealand forces.

                And as you know there was a formal report on the allegations of mistreatment. To the maximum extent possible New Zealand forces monitored the treatment of any people captured by the Afghan CRU when New Zealand forces were present. At my direction we sent over a legal officer for this very purpose. And on my visits to Afghanistan I discussed this issue with General Patreaus and with the Red Cross, to ensure we were doing as much monitoring as possible. On the one or two occasions that New Zealanders actually captured combatants (as opposed to the CRU) we retained control of them, as required by the Geneva Conventions.

                • Paul

                  I don’t think up is attacking the integrity of NZ soldiers.
                  Rather he is questioning the integrity of NZ politicians who put them in harms way.
                  The same politicians who care about money as Eleanor Catton described.

                    • Paul

                      Phil, I highly recommend you watch Adam Curtis’s new documentary ( came out on the BBC this week ) called Bitter Lake.
                      Connects Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan.
                      I doubt Wayne would take an interest. Adam Curtis has previously made docos like the Century of Self which questions society.

                    • and who are now in denial about what they did..

                      ..that afghanistan war has been a dirty/grubby/filthy war..

                      ..and we have been eager spear-carriers to/for this torturing/murdering american-regime..

                      ..and in some rewrite of those facts..

             are trying to claim you/we have clean-hands..?

                      ..are you fucken kidding me..?

                      (and i did not go off-topic..i responded to what u said..)

                    • @ paul..chrs 4 heads-up..

                      ..and yeah..wayne should really watch it..

             should be compulsory-viewing for him..

                      ..and the other war-mongers..

                  • Wayne

                    You obviously include Helen Clark in that statement, since she was the first to deploy the SAS to Afghanistan. And the PRT had pretty much universal consent (including the Greens) across the Parliament.

                    • yes wayne…

                      ..they are all included..

                      ..shared-guilt easier guilt..?

                    • and cd u plse answer the ‘clean-hands’-question..?

                    • and all for trade’

                      …all that blood/death of innocent men/women/childen..

                      ..and just to prove to america what a good obedient little arse-kissing satrap we really are..


                      ..u were there for those cabinet discussions..

                      ….u know what i say is true..


                    • Pascals bookie

                      More tired partisanship instead of actually discussing a point Wayne?

                      You said something before about cardboard cut-outs. Perhaps you might want to just consider the idea that you could be projecting a little?

                • Pascals bookie

                  Hi Wayne.

                  Are you aware that General Patreaus, while in Iraq, was involved with Col James Steele and the ‘integration’ of Shia militia into the COIN effort? Are you aware of how that played out?

                  • Pascals bookie

                    If you haven’t heard that story though, you should check up on it. It’s a hell of a yarn, and quite directly relevant to the issues we’ll be facing in Iraq.

                    Though I realise that, from public comments at least, all we should be concerned about is club dues, speaking order, and symbolically ‘standing up to ISIS’ irrespective of terrorist strategy or anything else.

                    But still. Colonel James Steele. Look him up.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  we retained control of them, as required by the Geneva Conventions.

                  Did you hand them over to US custody, as you told Keith Locke in 2011?

                  The USA has admitted practicing a torture program.

                  Are you sure they didn’t betray your trust?

                • (a documentary for wayne to have a look at..he can get to see his handiwork on the big-screen..

                  ..will his chest swell with pride..? he sees what he helped wrought..?

                  ..or will a black/dark spectre of guilt/misgivings/’w.t.f. have i done?’ pop up for him..

                  ..his seeming insouciance about his/our role as spear-carriers for america..butchering ‘rag-heads’ for uncle sam..

                  ..shows a man who has not really thought very much about the consequences of his/our actions….)

                  “..Bitter Lake is a brilliant portrayal of the west’s terrible arrogance in Afghanistan..

                  ..Adam Curtis’s Afghanistan documentary occasionally oversimplifies a complex story –

                  – but overall it is a powerful film that conveys the high cost of invasion..”



            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Do you agree that war crimes have been committed?

        • Pascals bookie

          And what did you think of Key’s response, which was initially to simply say that she supports the Greens, so of course she’d say that, and then today he said he was sad that she didn’t just stick to what’s she is good at?

          And yes, he said other stuff, but the response from the broader right has followed those tracks. how extreme and bitter are they/

        • freedom

          okay, I will re-frame the question Paul asked you yesterday

          you said
          “I would say Eleanor Catton’s statements are extravagant, …”
          You were asked what words are extravagant? You chose not to answer, perhaps you considered the question too vague in relation to your phrasing. So …instead

          In what way are her statements extravagant?

    • felix 9.3

      “I put that down to his “everyman “style, which is perceived to be anti-intellectual.”

      Bollocks Wayne. Bolger cast himself as the ordinary Kiwi farmer and was perceived to be embarrassingly anti-intellectual.

      If there’s anything about Key’s “everyman” act that elicits a negative response it’s the utter insincerity of it. He’s a multi-millionaire Wall-St banker with a home in Hawaii who plays golf with Obama, has tea with the Queen, and runs NZ in his spare time. He’s about as far from an ordinary kiwi as any PM has ever been.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 9.3.1

        Nah he’s just a jerk is John Key.

        Who else would say something like:

        Speaking to the BBC before the speech, Mr Key said Prince Andrew was very “well respected in New Zealand” and said without intimate knowledge of the case he couldn’t “pre-judge” the prince.

        Seriously using the word initmate in that way when discussing a rape complaint is deliberately smarmy and offensive. It’s not the first time he’s done something like that either.

        I find it quite disconcerting.

        The nothing to fear nothing to hide was another example. He cannot have been oblivious to the history of the phrase but was quite happy as a politician to use it – as were other members of the National Party.

        Sometimes he’s just pissing around with language to see WTF he can get away with.

      • Tracey 9.3.2

        succinctly put. great to have you back.

    • weka 9.4

      “But I did also note that John Key seems to evoke reactions against him with a much higher level of vitriol than Jim Bolger or Jenny Shipley ever did. The comments on this site being symptomatic of that.”

      I remember some pretty staunch vitriol for Shipley. But we didn’t have social media then, so it’s hard to compare.

      Part of it is also the cumulative effect of so many years. If this was the mid 90s I think the reactions to Key would be different to an extent. If Shipley were PM now, I think she would be getting much more vitriol than in the 90s. Many of us have reached our limit with the huge damage being done by neoliberalism or whatever you want to call it, so the only way a right wing PM is not going to get substantial vitriol is if they were to be old school conservative.

      • swordfish 9.4.1

        “I remember some pretty staunch vitriol for Shipley.”

        Well, yeah – Burn, Shipley, Burn !!!, for a start.

        • weka

          The main thing I remember about Shipley was hearing her on RNZ once and not knowing who it was speaking because I had missed the start of the interview and I ended up focussing on how reasonable she sounded. Not the content, but how she presented it. So she had her own bag of deception tricks and I’m confident that if she was PM in the age of social media, she would be severely criticised not just for her policies but for the manipulation as well. So not too far from Key after all.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.5

      Something to decorate that featureless internal landscape of yours.

      Perhaps Key is disliked because he employs people who trawl brothels hoping to catch their political opponents there.

      Now, you may say the dislike was manifest prior to Nicky Hager catching him at it, and the lying on camera over Tranzrail shares was enough for me. The man represents something very rotten.

    • Paul 9.6

      “But I did also note that John Key seems to evoke reactions against him with a much higher level of vitriol than Jim Bolger or Jenny Shipley ever did. ”

      And you can’t see why?

    • Pascals bookie 9.7

      ‘Just about everyone on this site sees the right as cardboard caricatures, just as most of the commenters on Kiwiblog tend to have the same view of the left.”

      You’re kind of prone to that yourself sometimes Wayne, (for example your comments at times about anti-americanism’ and the like) It’s human shorthand I suppose.

      But re the rest, I like Rob Hosking, but think he too has his blinkers. It’s easy to look at this site, or wherever and say ‘Gosh, isn’t the left extreme these days’. But honestly, nope.

      The left has dished nothing at Key that reaches the what the right dished at Clarke, for example.

      Or, John Key and his National party slagging off at the Greens, who they seem to think are a mix of Satan himself and Stalin. Of course people who see the Greens in a very different light are going to think less of National for saying these things. Or because he is close with whaleoil, or because he is openly contemptuous of critics. He uses his popularity as a shield to deflect arguments. Which you might say is ‘just clever politics’ but it is also not just anti-intellectual, but actually unpleasant to be on the receiving end of.

      • Naturesong 9.7.1

        Or misusing state power to bully and silence critics.

        Thats the one that really gets up my nose.

      • framu 9.7.2

        “or because he is openly contemptuous of critics. ”

        i would say hes a bit fearfull of critics as well – why else resort to the school yard level responses?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 9.7.3


        Otherwise well said.

      • The lost sheep 9.7.4

        “It is largely because the Left are so self-satisfied that they find themselves in the situation they are today.”

        George Orwell. 1944.

        Just as relevant 70 years later unfortunately.

    • emergency mike 9.8

      “I put that down to his “everyman “style, which is perceived to be anti-intellectual.”

      That would be due to your cardboard caricature view of the left. Key isn’t hated on here because his style. He hated on here because he is more dirty, dodgy, dishonest, and smug, sneering and snide about it, than Bolger or Shipley ever were.

    • The Murphey 9.9

      Q. By which measure is JK to be considered ‘very smart’ ?

      Q. How much of a factor is the gullible idiocy of Key supporters in countering your ‘ very smart’ supposition ?

      • Psycho Milt 9.9.1

        Well, there’s smart and there’s smart. I should think that if you wanted Key to express an opinion on symbolism and spirituality in the films of Tarkovsky, it would be one fucking short conversation. But when it comes to plans “so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel,” I expect he’s just your bloke.

    • Tom Jackson 9.10

      Just about everyone on this site sees the right as cardboard caricatures, just as most of the commenters on Kiwiblog tend to have the same view of the left

      Except in one case it is actually true.

      I stand by my belief that the political right are in an odd way the most self aware human beings alive. They have an absolutely infallible self knowledge, which they project on to their perceived enemies. If you want to know what the right wing really think or what they are really up to, just look at what they are currently accusing others of.

      It works without fail.

    • gsays 9.11

      hi wayne,
      i think, the reason for ” …an observation that a greater proportion of writers artists and actors tend to cleave to the Left than in other societies.”,
      is a reflection of aotearoa/new zealands’ proud history of tending to be leftish.

      by that i mean egalitarian, giving women the vote early, mickey savages’ policies and coupled with the tangata whenua and their reverence for women and children.

      now somewhere along the line we have strayed, perhaps the 50s and 60s with come work in the factories and then again with the labour partys’ treachery and the reforms of the 80s.

    • Wensleydale 9.12

      I don’t know. I vividly remember people burning effigies of Shipley in the streets after the benefit cuts. I can’t recall anyone doing something similar to Key as yet. Maybe it’s past due…

    • David 9.13

      She’s a celebrated author you dumb dumb, of course she will use extravagent language. I bet she uses beautiful english to ring the IRD. The right wing have been shown up by a political novice. (No offence to Eleanor Catton, of course)

    • Murray Rawshark 9.14

      I have never seen any evidence that Key is particularly smart. He’s learned a few survival techniques and can follow instructions. I’ve never seen any evidence of deep thinking, or anything more than the one-dimensional attributes you might get from an awkward teenage with only one ability. I’d guess his IQ at about 125, being generous.

    • Tracey 9.15

      either key lied and misled the people and bolger and shipley didnt or they werent as good at it.

      i recall shipley being vilified by the left for her hiding of protestors from the chinese premier and using police to push them away…. of handling revell badly… i think you can also say that key evokes more anger because he lies, misleads and is damaging nz in more ways than one.

  10. meconism 10

    Catton’s funding from CNZ is probably from the funds that they recieve from Lotteries and not from the taxpayers.

  11. swordfish 11

    It could be suggested, of course, that Catton’s argument is a little ideologically-confused. Excellent, hard-hitting comments on a neo-liberal, profit-obsessed political elite, but then immediately followed by a kind of anti-egalitarian (and arguably neo-liberal) attack on the so-called Tall Poppy Syndrome.

    • Pascals bookie 11.1

      I think the response she has received on that aspect has pretty much proven her point though.

    • Murray Rawshark 11.2

      I think you’re a bit confused there, swordfish. The neoliberals embrace the tall poppy syndrome, for everything except making money and being a Key loving All Black.

      • swordfish 11.2.1

        Nyet, Muzza, Nyet.

        Catton does come across as a little bit spiteful, elitist and precious when she explains her failure to win the New Zealand Post Book award as a result of some sort of collective jealousy at her overseas success. “There was this kind of thing that now you’ve won this prize from overseas, we’re not going to celebrate it here, we’re going to give the award to somebody else…..If you get success overseas, then very often the local population can suddenly be very hard on you…..It betrays an attitude towards individual achievement which is very uncomfortable. It has to belong to everybody or the country really doesn’t want to know.”

        Putting aside the fact that, as far as I’m concerned, this completely mis-characterises the popular reaction in New Zealand to her Man Booker win, there’s a clear undertone of neo-liberal elitism, individualism and anti-egalitarianism that starkly contrasts with her hard-hitting comments on the political elite.

        • greywarshark

          @ swordfish
          Eleanor Catton’s feelings were hurt. She spoke out in a mood of disappointment. Everyone has feelings. It doesn’t make her all the things you have described. And she is elitist, all writers are. A lot of books are published in NZ but writers still are a minority, special, elite group. And not many here win the Booker prize. On reflection she will wish eventually that she never opened her thoughts so widely to everyone, and that she had spoken more circumspectly.

          • One Anonymous Bloke


            It always strikes me as odd: railing against elites. I don’t begrudge the AB’s skills anymore than I would Eleanor Catton’s.

            In what sense is neo-liberalism ‘elite’ – a failed dogma being outperformed by faster, sleeker economic models doesn’t make the top table, sorry.

          • swordfish

            Yeah, I know, grey. I don’t want to be too hard on her, she deserves great acclaim for what she’s achieved and her attack on the neo-liberal elite was like a breath of fresh air. But the constant self-pitying complaints from certain elites about the so-called Tall Poppy Syndrome does begin to grate after a while. And, you know, Muzza (who I’m very fond of) did kind of challenge me with the suggestion that I’m “a bit confused”***

            ***Mind you, I’m reliably informed that during the only time I’ve ever spoken in my sleep (about 3 years ago), I apparently said quite clearly and loudly: “Well, I’ve got no idea what’s going on.” and then, about 15 seconds later “I still don’t know what’s happening”. So perhaps Muzza’s spot on after all.

            • Tracey


              I agree with a couple of your comments and upon further reflection overnight think she spoke from a place of hurt feelings. She did get the NZ fiction prize just not the over-all prize. Art, culture anything that is judged will succumb to an aspect of personal taste.

              I also don’t liek the use of the “tall poppy syndrome” as a kind of way to make us not criticise certain people as though they are somehow immune… be it Peter Jackson, Bob Jones Catton or whomever.

              BUT the response of Mr Key and the snide ridicule by making a churlish association with The Greens and far worse Plunkett and others taking the chance to pour vitriol and scorn over her has me wondering how people cannot see a semblance of speaking truth to those who do not want to hear in what she said (am not referring to you in that).

              By the way I doubt her personal earnings to date are up there with Jackson or Jones who never get asked to pay anything back despite their criticism and yes both have enjoyed taxpayer funds in their lifetime (Jackson for film making and Jones for his political party)

              • In Vino

                Good point. Why should anyone ask Catton to pay anything back? As I understand, she was funded by taxpayers to teach. She did teach, and obviously worked hard at it. Can any right-winger give evidence of her writing her book during teaching time? Can they give evidence of complaints about her not doing her job? I think she wrote her book in her own time, after hours. Anyone who suggests otherwise needs to provide evidence, or apologise and withdraw.

                Fat chance with right-wing sledgers like the Tax-Payers’ so-called Union.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  There isn’t a hoop that right-wingers can concoct that academics must jump through. Same goes for left-wingers.

                  Fuck the lot of us if we can’t deal with facts.

                  • In Vino

                    Agreed. But the academic skill of dealing with facts is possessed by few, and then some bastard muddies the facts.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The academic skill of determining facts is to deliberately undermine individual opinions using peer review: to send your findings to your worst enemy for analysis.

                      This is why Tories can’t deal with democracy: all their beliefs are shite.

            • greywarshark

              @ swordfish
              Funny. I comprehend completely. And if Muzza says someone is confused he will either be a good judge (if he can be objective about himself) or a very poor one, because he can’t.

              And the tall poppy sydrome bit gets trotted out in NZ often from people who have been able to grow to a great extent, by advanced grooming and resources. When people who have struggled point out that they had a tail wind, they trot out this trite response, saying that the comments don’t portray reality but are just based on envy.

              I thought it was just something we had, like cultural cringe, and then I read of people getting big doses tall poppies in the UK. I blame the Brits for it now. It seems to me that the USA are all for encouraging and cheering people on, but we enjoy being wise before the event, it won’t work, it’ll never get off the ground (Pearse). And then if someone does prove the septics wrong, they get annoyed at being shown up as useless wet blankets. It’s terrible in NZ to fail apparently, shows you are a fool and you become the butt of all the red-hen hangers on. So less things get trialled or ventured.

              Sir Humphrey says something like – Anything may be done, but nothing must be done for the first time.

              • Murray Rawshark

                I don’t know if it’s actually possible to be objective about yourself, or even much else. As long as we recognise that we are all subjective, I don’t see a problem. I can recognise my weak points and find it much easier to talk about them than my strong points. I was introduced as the world expert on a particular topic at a conference once, and I looked around to see who they were talking about. It seemed obvious to others, but ludicrous to me. I’ve seen this often with Kiwis.

                As to being confused, Swordy, we’ll just have to disagree for now on whether Catton was letting her neoliberal side out for a walk or not when she spoke about the Kiwi prize. I imagine she’d seen similar things happen to other people and would have been a bit too involved in the topic. In any case, I’m glad she spoke out. If any journalist ever asked me anything, I would.

  12. Saarbo 12

    A pretty average interview of one of the judges; Dick Frizzell by Scary Mary this arvo, gotta say it seems to confirm that Frizzell and co were actually affected by “tall poppy syndrome” and also seemed to be a pretty snarky attack on Catton on behalf of the RNZ judge,Kim Hill (That was what I inferred from it anyway).

    I also wonder if the “Tall poppy” attack on Catton is to divert attention away from her accurate comments about NZ MP’s…

    • Anne 12.1

      I also wonder if the “Tall poppy” attack on Catton is to divert attention away from her accurate comments about NZ MP’s…

      The more accurate the attack the greater the personal venom and vitriol. But don’t include all NZ MPs – just not enough of them yet to tip the balance back to truth and fairness.

      • Pete George 12.1.1

        “her accurate comments about NZ MP’s…”

        Which MPs? All of them?

      • Paul 12.1.2

        PG is bottom sea trawling.

        • Anne


          • Pete George

            That’s a cop out. Awkward questions?

            It’s a shame this issue has overshadowed Andrew Little’s speech today on boosting small business in New Zealand. To reduce increase employment and wages. So more people can afford to indulge in literature, art and culture more, So writers and artists and musicians get better paid.

            • McFlock

              Nah. Stupid question.

              Hint: look to the blue seats, and one or two little fuckers all on their lonesome.

              Edit: another hint – try to think of any mp who feels about personal profit the way you do about personal attention.

            • Tracey

              and do you think that was an accident ot the tax payers union factored it in to their press release to fan the flames of distraction and faux outrage

            • Sabine

              oh go home and try to be a good boy.

              you are boring…boring….boring.

          • Paul

            Goodness me, pg, would be a ghastly person to have to sit beside at a meeting. He would never stop.
            The bait is not even subtle.
            This time…Anne you care more artists than jobs.
            Fail to bite on this.
            What next?

    • Tracey 12.2

      they did award her best fiction…

  13. Paul Campbell 13

    Let’s not forget what we all learned in Dirty Politics – the Taxpayer’s Union is just a couple of guys working as a front for the nat’s they’re not a real thing

  14. greywarshark 14

    I think, myself, that Eleanor’s remarks have been fully traversed now, and it would be a good thing to leave them and move on. I feel that others will be thinking the same.

    • Paul 14.1

      Anything that reminds people that this government is made up of selfish, greedy, culture less people can for as long as possible.

      Better than the usual ‘Isn’t John Key and this government amazing’ that is usually served up.

      Maybe some of Eleanor Catton’s ideas will make a connection with people.
      And others will hear the bullyboy tactics of Plunket and think I don’t like the sound of that.

      • greywarshark 14.1.1

        @ Paul
        I don’t think that Eleanor should be the fairground face to throw things at Paul. Just keep on with your own comments. They are incisive and penetrating – you will pierce the apathy shields eventually.

  15. duchess 15

    Personally I thought Eleanor’s comments were perfect.

    I’m proud of her and hope she stands up to fall out. I haven’t seen any strong left wing comments being allowed through the media today to support her, just the usual nasty right wing clap trap that we have come to except as the normal. I’m so pleased I read “Dirty Politics” , it helps me to understand how the nasty right play.

    • Paul 15.1

      Anything that reminds people that this government is made up of selfish, greedy, culture less people can for as long as possible.

      Better than the usual ‘Isn’t John Key and this government amazing’ that is usually served up.

      Maybe some of Eleanor Catton’s ideas will make a connection with people.
      And others will hear the bullyboy tactics of Plunket and think I don’t like the sound of that.

    • Murray Rawshark 15.2

      Alan Duff came out in support of her.

  16. vto 16

    Released into the media within 24 hours we have RNZ’s Dick Frizzel on Catton, followed by the Taxpayers Union garbage …..

    coincidence much?

    some may have already noted this above..

    and isn’t this what they call a conspiracy McFlock and TRP? Yet there is no evidence in the public arena, just coincidence …

    • McFlock 16.1

      Dick Frizzel? WTF are you talking about?

    • McFlock 16.2

      I suggest that maybe you explicitly state the conspiracy you believe has occurred, and I’ll evaluate it and tell you how stupid and/or precious I think you’re being.
      Seeing as you seem to care.

      • vto 16.2.1

        Catton makes speech picked up on by media which makes Key looks silly and mean.

        Key has state of the nation speech next day at which he intends to announce major policy plank to divert damaging issue i.e. housing / inequality etc.

        Catton’s words gain traction and become headline news.

        Key needs diversion.

        Key’s media and press people (he does have them you know) search for something to discredit Catton. Find piece in interview about Catton’s point about NZ Book Awards / tall poppies.

        Key’s media and press people release / plant story to msm.

        At same time Farrar cranks up “taxpayers union” to provide additional discrediting.

        voila mr mcflock

        of course it could all be coincidence
        of course it could be that Key doesn’t use media / press / Crosby textor

        • Psycho Milt

          I’m sure we can all agree that this evidence of a conspiracy does match the persuasiveness of the 9/11 one thrashed out ad nauseum on Open Mike threads.

          • vto

            the theory of conspiracies (as opposed to ‘conspiracy theories’) does need closer examination than it is given, due to its common place in human activity, especially politics.

            do you think Key’s press and media people would have been looking at this particular Catton issue? Or not?

            edit: this particular Catton conspiracy was highlighted by me in relation to a bash-around mcflock and I were having on how to assess whether a conspiracy has occurred or not. McFlock said needs supportive evidence in public arena, whereas I said due to the secret nature of conspiracies that approach is flawed and that there are other ways of assessing, such as seeing who benefitted etc. See here /open-mike-28012015/#comment-958310

            Cattons conspiracy provided a perfect example of another way of assessing whether or not a conspiracy has taken place.

        • McFlock

          So your theory is twofold:

          Theory one: that Key’s media people created stories like this, where folk involved in the NZ Books awards gave their responses to Catton’s comments on the NZ Book Awards

          Theory two: that the taxpayer’s union’s release described in the above post is part of a campaign orchestrated at least in part by the PM’s media office.

          Low-hanging fruit first: given the preponderance of evidence in the public sphere detailing both Farrar’s links to the national party and the willingness of Key’s mates to coordinate their PR activities, theory two seems a reasonable suspect.

          Theory one is a bit more dodgy. It could just have been a journalist actually journalising for once, albeit in a fairly lazy way. Basically, Catton’s comments have click-traction, so look for an angle on them that hasn’t been covered yet. The outcome can occur without introducing a new player in the form of the PM’s media office calling the NZBA or fairfax to arrange the report.

        • greywarshark

          Thank you vto
          You have explained everything perfectly. I hope McFlock gives you top marks when he is assessing your work!

          • McFlock

            nope. Nowhere close.

            One theory is pretty obvious given the much-headlined public information vto claimed didn’t exist.

            The other theory discards several possibilities that are much more likely than a conspiracy seated in the pm’s media office.

  17. venezia 19

    Yes – I read that on twitter..” Key says there were better New Zealand novels than the Luminaries such as Lord of the Rings”. What an embarrassment he is!!

  18. saveNZ 20

    Go Catton.

    Even notice how the right wingers mimic the left language to colonise it and devalue it.

    Taxpayer UNION.

    Are there any smart people in Labour who actually can comprehend the psychology behind how the right wingers are engulfing Labour like a giant virus and spitting out NationalLite.

    • JanM 20.1

      Yes, they did the same in the Early Childhood sector. The group ‘on the side of the angels’ was called the New Zealand Childcare Association – business interests called theirs the New Zealand Childcare Council – guess who the MSM now goes to for comment?

      • saveNZ 20.1.1

        It’s sickening. Things in this country are wrong on so many levels. It’s not just the government, but MSM, lobbyists even the opposition parties seem dead. Hopefully they are reawakening within this latest round of undiluted Greed, bullying and corruption.
        National bumper sticker

        Need for Greed.

        or maybe

        steal from the poor and needy
        We are entitled to be so greedy

  19. veutoviper 21

    After all the hysteria of yesterday over Eleanor Catton’s remarks – including Plunket’s disgusting reaction – a considered and rational editorial by Simon Wilson in Metro Magazine:

    It is well worth reading the whole editorial but here is a taste:

    Eleanor Catton is a leading New Zealand intellectual, and clearly she is not afraid to build a profile as a public intellectual. Hallelujah. We have far too few of those and we desperately need more. Why? Because public intellectuals have the job of helping us think more insightfully and critically about things that might really matter to us as citizens. The more we do that, the healthier we become as a nation.

    You don’t have to agree with her. John Key is perfectly entitled to defend his government, as he has done, and Sean Plunket is entitled to dissect Catton’s criticisms of this country, which he didn’t bother to do. But Key also said it was “a bit sad that [she] is mixing politics with some of the things she’s good at”, and that was patronising and silly. We should all feel free to mix politics with anything we like.

    As for Plunket, he said twice that we should “leave politics to the politicians”. Actually, it’s the end of democracy when that happens. It’s the very last thing we should do.

    On the one hand, I found the attacks and negative responses to Catton’s exercising her legitimate right to express her views to be very disturbing both in terms of the things actually said, and the underlying elements of some of those responses (anit-feminism, etc etc). Of particular concern to me was the fact that these responses came so soon after the dreadful events in Paris – and the related focus on the right to freedom of expression.

    On the other hand, it also brought the hypocrites out of the woodwork and into the clear light of day – and not just Plunket; Jordan Williams is just one other example.

    Just a pity it all had to happen on the same day as both Little and Key’s State of the Nation speeches and chew up airtime from both of these speeches.

    Here we are still not at the end of January, and 2015 is already shaping up to be a very interesting rollercoaster year on the political front….. It almost has that feel of an election year.

    • veutoviper 21.1

      Since posting the above, I have also read Gordon Campbell’s post via the TS Feed.

      Again a must read which comes from a slightly different angle but a similar conclusion. Campbell’s remarks re Key are totally on the nose IMHO.

      Here is the link to save scrolling –

      • Anne 21.1.1

        Unfortunately Campbell’s post is a pointless exercise. It’s too rational, reasonable and intelligent for the average Kiwi voter. He/she much prefers the irrational, unreasonable, emotional outrage as expressed by our illustrious radio host Sean Plunkett. It’s easy to digest, involves no thinking or reflection and it helps to bolster the belief that John Key is God and philistine radio hosts are his disciples.

    • Tracey 21.2

      Thanks for this (and the one below)

      I hope those struggling to understand the defence being mounted for Catton read both.

    • Tracey 21.3

      She made the speech on Saturday… it wasn’t highlighted til a few days later?

    • greywarshark 21.4

      Definition of politics – “activities aimed at improving someone’s status or increasing power within an organization.”

      To an aware citizen, everything is political. Does anyone remember just before the election yek complaining that something that was being done was ‘politicising’ the matter. A very telling point from the shape-shifter.

  20. “…the extent of its stupidity…” could not be covered in a book by Eleanor Catton.
    I mean only 800 plus pages wouldn’t be enough.

  21. reason 23

    The fact that two grubby dirty politics pimps in Farrar & Williams still get quoted shows that the National party smear machine has hunkered down and are back to shoveling shit in their usual style.

    It’s not very hard to know and be aware that the Taxpayers union is a cynical front organisation run by a couple of National party henchmen …………. So you would have to assume any media which uses and quotes them are in on the con job they are pulling.

    Catton was actually quite mild and restrained in the truth she told about our present government.

    Farrar is DP filth

  22. venezia 24

    LOL – I fell for it (piece originally from The Civilian) but see I was in good company!

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    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    2 days ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    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 There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    2 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    3 days ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy
    3 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    3 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    3 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    3 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    6 days ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    6 days ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    3 hours ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    6 hours ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    6 hours ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    7 hours ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    8 hours ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    9 hours ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    13 hours ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    24 hours ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    1 day ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    1 day ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    1 day ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    1 day ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    1 day ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    2 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    2 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    2 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    2 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    2 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    3 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    3 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    3 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    3 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    3 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    4 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    4 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    4 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    5 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    6 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    1 week ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    1 week ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    1 week ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    1 week ago