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Telling porkies

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, May 22nd, 2008 - 42 comments
Categories: economy, education, election 2008, Environment, families, health, housing, Media, national, same old national - Tags: , , , , ,

The Herald and National have started attacking every piece of government spending as pork-barrelling. Here’s some of what they’re calling ‘wasteful, needless spending’:

$750 million of new health spending ($160 million for elective services) -Pork
$700 million for Fast Forward Fund, food and pastoral sector research -Pork
$665 million to buy the national rail operations – Pork
$446 million for community organisations – Pork
$171.6 million in operational funding to schools – Pork
$164.2 million for cervical cancer immunisation -Pork
$150 million a year to keep young people in school or training until 18 – Pork
$72.1 million over 10 years to clean up Rotorua lakes – Pork
$46.5 million for home-based support for injured people – Pork
$35 million for a shared-equity pilot scheme for homebuyers – Pork
$22.4 million over four years for state house insulation – Pork

Of course, none of this is pork: it is money going where is is needed, not for electoral gain. No doubt there are legitimate targets out there (Winston Peters’ $9m subsidy for the racing industry springs to mind), but what National and the Herald are doing here is running a radical right-wing argument whereby every piece of spending, from R&D research to insulating homes for the poor, is a waste of money. National’s education spokesperson Anne Tolley even came out yesterday and attacked more money for kids’ education as ‘pork’.

So what does this all mean? If National says it’s pork, they obviously wouldn’t spend it themselves. So, we begin to see what a National government would do:

No more money for health. No money for R&D. No flood protection. No money for transport. No insulation for the poor. No more money for education. No money for search and rescue. No cancer immunisation. No lakes cleanup. No hand-up for young home buyers.

But, of course, plenty of real pork – huge tax cuts for the rich.

42 comments on “Telling porkies”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Or alternatively Clinton

    The same amount of money spent more wisely in Health, R&D, Transport, State Housing and Education.

  2. Matthew Pilott 2

    The Herald are caling it a ‘porkometer’. t be honest i’m starting to wnder when the Herald will start having blazing headlines talking about “Cops in Bikini Porn Scandal” a-la the Truth, and having pictures of pneumatic breasts on page three. (no doubt The Evil Standard will moderate this comment – take note righties)

  3. Matthew Pilott 3

    HS – Insulation for state housing? Elective surgery? Ag Research? School funding?

    I’m sorry what was it you wanted?

  4. Tane 4

    I’m just amazed the Nats swung in behind the Herald campaign so quickly. I mean it works far better for them if the Herald is pushing this right-wing discourse themselves under the cover of journalism – by attaching their brand to it National have politicised the ‘porkometer’ and rendered it worthless.

  5. higherstandard 5

    MP

    Apologies poorly explained by myself I’m not arguing against the spending in the areas you point out just that an alternative government would spend the same or similar amounts but in a more considered way.

    For example in my area we are concerned that the money for electives will struggle to get through our current DHB deficit and if so whether we’ll have the capacity in the public service to get them done.

  6. Policy Parrot 6

    “Its about time to give back to those who “earn the pie”, as we should be focusing on how to “grow it”, rather than “distribute it”. “Wealth distribution should not be an aim of government.”

    [Roughly translated into realspeak]

    “Fuck yeah, anythings on the table as long as I get my precious. Screw everyone else, they’re just poor coz they suck and were lazy at school etc. etc. It’s not like I have to deal with or see these people, they just fix my roads and clean my toilets. The government already gives them too much money anyhow, perhaps they should invest in free sterilisation to get rid of the unproductive filth.”

    When you vote National, people who think like that are voting with you. And that is an actual compiled series of quotes (both of them).

  7. Matthew Pilott 7

    HS – if nothing else this wee exchange illustrates how such issues can’t be reduced to one-liners or gimmicks such as the “porkometer”!

    I feel The Herald is trivialising really important issues and taking away any chance for intelligent discourse – hence my comment on them sinking to the Truth’s level.

    I hope that the money gets where it’s needed and if not, the question is asked why not.

  8. Janet 8

    In today’s Dominion Post Bill English is saying some vague things about what National would do. One interesting specific is testing for primary and intermediate school kids. This is one policy that is not needed and can be dangerous for kids. Teachers overseas where this is happening find themselves having to teach to the test rather than foster real learning. It also greatly disadvantages those less academic kids who are turned off school even earlier than now when govt initiatives are all aimed at increasing engagement, and it is dire for special needs or disabled kids. Schools will be less likely to welcome these less formally academic kids as they pull down their ‘league tables’.

  9. Janet 9

    My point is that this is a real pork barrel policy. Not based on best practice evidence, just designed to scratch some anti-teacher union, and/or private school itch.

  10. Since when was $50/week a huge tax cut ?

  11. erikter 11

    Matthew said “I hope that the money gets where it’s needed…”

    You seem to forget taxation money is your money but also mine. If you want to donate to what you consider good causes, good on you, but don’t force the rest of us to follow suit.

    Go ahead and give away 50 or 60% of your salary, if you wish.

    I detest the compulsion that you like so much.

  12. give me fifty 12

    B.S. … $50 sounds huge to me. I run a small business, and organise my accounts (by claiming rent, power, insurance, car costs, international travel etc…almost everything I spend) so I don’t fall into the provisional tax trap..i.e pay more than $2500 p.a. in tax. Looks like I’ll be paying less than nothing under the brilliant John Key. Yippeee!

  13. randal 13

    awww come on you guys…talkback radio who are never wrong say its time to give John Keys a GO. what has he ever done to deserve a GO. go away more like it

  14. Matthew Pilott 14

    erikter, taxation is the price of civilisation. Until you can come up with a real argument against paying tax, I’ll just suggest you grow up get over it. You’re a three year-old who doesn’t want to go to bed.

    Bryan – when it would cost…north of five billion dollars.

  15. randal 15

    it looks very much like the nats have run out of ideas before they have even started and have just resorted to telling lies. Its much easier than producing policy. here have a $150 tax cut…hahahahaha

  16. Joker 16

    Matthew,

    Erikter actually makes an interesting point.

    Over the last couple of days there has been a lot of people from the left telling us that they get too much money compared to some of their former colleagues from lower skilled jobs. They have been gloating that they wont know what to do with the extra money they will get from Nationals tax cuts programme.

    Well I have an idea. Maybe they can voluntarily redistribute their own income to their less fortunate comrades. This would serve as a do as I do not just as I say example to those of us less sure of the benefits of government led wealth redistribution.

    Surely the selfless success of this programme would be a shining light to non believers and have them thronging in from the dark, sickles in hand.

  17. Matthew Pilott 17

    Joker, given that income redistribution is already happening, I doubt people are going to do so twice from a single income, but that was a nice attempt at being facetious.

    It would also not be much of an example for Government-led wealth redistribution, given that it wouldn’t be the government doing the redistribution. It would be charity, as opposed to welfare – there’s a difference I’m sure I don’t need to explain.

  18. RedLogix 18

    Bryan – when it would cost north of five billion dollars.

    Or to be more precisely located: 3.2m taxpayers * $50 * 52 weeks = $8.3 billion. Hell a few billion here, a few billion there, and pretty soon your talking real money.

    Lets put this in perspective. I’m looking at the Treasury website. In broad terms govt has a total tax revenue (roughly made up of PAYE, GST and Company Tax) of about $60b. Your $50 pw tax cut is aprox a 14% reduction in that number.

    On the other side the big ticket expenditure items are:

    Superannuation and Welfare = $20b (About $16b of that is Super)

    Health = $11b

    Education = $10b

    Transport, Energy and Communications = $7b

    Core Govt Services = $5b

    These categories along account for $53b or about 90% of all govt expenditure. Clearly a 14% reduction in govt income cannot be easily pulled out of the remaining 12% (that is spread over an enormous range of essential services like Police, Defense, DOC, Courts, Immigration, Border Security etc.)

    If you are going to take 14% out of govt revenue you have to take it out of the big ticket items listed above. Setting aside nutbar fantasies about slashing all benefits to zero, and including the fact that NO party is going to touch Superannuation, that leaves the Health, Education and Infrastructure to take the burden of your $8.3b cut, amounting to something in the region of a 20% cut across these sectors.

    Get back to me when you have a list of hospitals and schools you want closing, and I’ll take you seriously.

    [Tane: tags fixed, I think]

  19. Felix 19

    Numbers, RedLogix?
    We don’t want your stinking numbers.

    Johnny Key knows all about money, being rich and that, and he reckons your fancy numbers don’t mean NOTHING!

  20. give me fifty 20

    Red, come on, surely no one seriously believes that JK will deliver on his “north of $50” promise.

  21. erikter 21

    “Get back to me when you have a list of hospitals and schools you want closing..”

    Close each and every one of them. In summary, privatise the health and education systems.

    Of course, that will be too radical for someone with a nick that includes the word red.

  22. QoT 22

    Well, if one assumes “pork-barrel politics” means “looking out for one’s interest groups” … the argument only really works if National’s trying to say that Labour’s evil, behind-the-scenes interest group is all New Zealanders. Or at least the ones with education who live in houses in communities and may have cervices.

  23. Billy 23

    randal, I know you don’t like him but, as he going to be our next Prime Minister, it is probably best to learn his name. It is “John Key”. There is no “s”. Or are you trying to sound deranged and uninformed?

  24. Matthew Pilott 24

    Billy, I think it may be some witty play on John Key having two sides, a nice public face and a merciless capitalist (baby eating, probably) alternate persona saved for BRT meetings.

    Erikter – there’s a debate we can have. At the moment, everyone has access to schooling and healthcare – why wouldn’t you want this to continue?

    (cap ‘cove nettles’ – that brings back bad memories of the Heaphy track)

  25. higherstandard 25

    Erikter

    Close each and every one of them. In summary, privatise the health and education systems.

    What drivel a totally private health and education system with no state funding would be an unmitigated disaster for this country.

    A mix of the two is the best solution whether that mix is increased one way or the other would be a useful debate

  26. Last week my husband woke up with a finger turning black.
    It was badly infected even though he had kept his finger in hot soda water and put iodine on. We went to Hamilton Emergency ward. We arrived there 1 o’clock in the morning after half an hours drive.

    What I saw there was shocking. Three doctors who were so tired they could barely stand on their legs, old equipment and hagard wards, and endless waiting times (6 hours for a jab, an IV and a prescription).
    My husband who needed some sleep because he was hoping to go to work the next day had to sleep on a bed in the entrance hall with people running past every five minutes. I have seen emergency wards in the middle of nowhere Italy with better gear and rested doctors and a minimum waiting time. All state funded and free of charge. It was shameful, no wonder doctors go oversees, the working conditions were appalling.

    In this same hospital by the way an aunt of my husband died a month ago and although the nurses tried to make her as comfortable as possible, she was lying in a four bed ward, which was dirty, old and she had to share her last days with someone who was moaning all the time and shitting herself and there was noise everywhere and only her very last night was she accorded some dignity and was given an equally ugly old room for herself.
    I have been with people in their last moments in Holland in state owned hospitals and I am shocked at the conditions in which old people who worked their entire life to build up this country are left to die in this country simply because they have to rely on the state.

    If spending money on these hospitals is pork than I would like to know when National would begin to see the urgency of investing in important services like this.

    I know that privatising doesn’t work. In America some 35 million people don’t have the money to pay for insurance and in my native country they are finding out the same hard fact.
    Let’s pay less to the international banking cartel who only wants to keep everybody in debt and put the money we save in infrastructure, hospitals,schools and job opportunities for those who have just lost theirs, because their bosses wanted to down size their businesses.

    By the way Felix, I take offence to language like that. Arguments, please. And Yes John Key knows all about making money, its the sharing of it he has trouble with. He wants it all for himself and his rich buddies.

  27. Matthew Pilott 27

    HS – what do you think of our current mix (in health)? ACT, I believe, support a tax rebate for people who pay for private Health Insurance (see question two. If you’d be so good as to answer a question I have about this. – When you’re privately insured, does your insurer refund the government for any public healthcare you use?

    Say ACT’s plan goes ahead. I have health insurance as paid for by my workplace. If I was given a rebate on tax because of this, either my insurer should pay the government for any public healthcare I used (like mny check up after a car went for a barrel-roll near Tawa), or I should be banned from all public healthcare.

    Travellerev – I believe felix was ‘taking the piss’. I hope so!

  28. Joker 28

    Travellerev

    I am sorry to hear of your Aunts suffering however I am often curious when I hear stories like this as to why the families stand by and watch this stuff go on and dont take action as there is often a choice.

    Why don’t the families say to themselves “the state has let us down and our relative is being treated inhumanely let us club together and get this person into private care”.

    Or is it that this is the kind of suffering people are unwilling to make personal financial sacrifice to change.

    I know the state should be providing adequate health care for everyone especially when they have been contributing to society through taxes all their life. But when things don’t work as they should I struggle to understand those who are unwilling to put their personal savings or equity in their house on the line for the dignity of their family members.

    I am not trying to accuse you of selfishness just wondering why this seems to be accepted practise in our society.

  29. Billy 29

    Ev,

    Your story is very sad. Especially when you consider the extra billions Labour has poured into health. Apparently for no discernible improvement.

  30. randal 30

    billy, languge is pliable, plastic and labile and Keys is not going to get a GO at being the next prime minister of New Zealand. and dont forget billy that Keys cant help what being what he is but he can change his behaviour and become a better person.

  31. Billy 31

    Good-o.

  32. Joker 32

    Crumbs randal it is only 1.30 in the afternoon you might want to let up on the piss a bit.

  33. Lampie 33

    If you are going to take 14% out of govt revenue you have to take it out of the big ticket items listed above.

    Borrow for tax cuts then

    hmmmm who said they won’t? Hmmm who is telling porkies?

    See, RED used his brain which most NZer’s fail to engage and look for some facts yourself instead of been egocentric sheep followers!

  34. Patrick 34

    Thank you erikter, you do make a point, although one I totally disagree with. Sure, National could give every tax payer an extra $50 a week, at the cost of totally privatising the health and education systems.

    Now, even with an extra $50 in the pocket, how many New Zealanders would be able to afford to send their family to school and ensure they get medical treatment when they’re sick (or heaven forbid, preventative medicine).

    If this were National’s policy (and really, at this stage it’s anybody’s guess) then I would at least be able to respect them for taking a firm ideological stand.

    As it stands though, John Key just looks like a one trick pony.

  35. Draco TB 35

    Well I have an idea. Maybe they can voluntarily redistribute their own income to their less fortunate comrades.

    This doesn’t actually work because it fails to reach the people who really need it and it fails to reach the levels needed. I should also mention that the government doing so through taxes is far more efficient than multiple institutions screwing around on their own pet projects. It is also far more stable – when giving to the poor goes out of fashion the poor become worse off under voluntary donations that have dried up. The government will, of course, still be there helping.

    Close each and every one of them. In summary, privatise the health and education systems.

    And end up with a US style health system that costs 3 times more, only reaches 5/6th of the population, and tries very hard not to take care of the people who are giving it money to do so? No thanx.

  36. ak 36

    Joker: Why don’t the families say to themselves “the state has let us down and our relative is being treated inhumanely let us club together and get this person into private care’.

    This is what saddens me most about the way the press has aided and abetted (or at the very least not scrutinised) National’s vapid, disgusting, “New Zealand Sucks” campaign.

    Well-meaning “jokers” throughout this beautiful country now worry needlessly about our first-class public services thanks to the relentless, baseless, propaganda barrage that emanates from the tories and their hate-filled lackeys.

    Joker: think for a minute. Do you know any private hospital that could have provided Eve’s husband with emergency care at 1.00am? Or 24hr palliative care for his aunt? Private hospitals slurp the profitable cream while bludging off the state to provide the essential acute and back-up services.

    And despite Eve’s unfortunate experience, our state does pretty well on the whole. As rOb has posted many times, this unimpeachable international body rates us as the second-best health system in the world: and at about a third of the cost per head of the (private) US system (which rates last).
    http://www.commonwealthfund.org/usr_doc/1027_Davis_mirror_mirror_
    international_update_final.pdf?section=4039

  37. I did not want this to be a bleeding heart comment, I was just shocked as I am used to state of the art equipped state owned hospitals in Holland were there are special rooms with special lighting an privacy for those who are dying with room for their families etc. so for me this was a major culture shock. I think it should not be so that only those who can afford to die in private care should be given dignity. People who worked their whole lives for the betterment of their fellow human beings at the detriment of their own wallet should not have to pay for dignity. This is a reasonably wealthy country and it should be able to show some compassion. it is not all about money or it shouldn’t be.

    Additionally as I said I have seen better emergency rooms in backward little villages in Italy of all places which I can assure is a lot poorer than NZ. They just set a higher priority on good socialised health care. Just like the French. I’ve had to get some there to a hospital and it is amazing how people take care of you at absolutely no cost. Bosnia another example. You walk into a doctors office and within minutes you walk out with a good diagnosis and medication and again for free. The doctors even speak English. Try finding one that speaks Serbian here. Greece is another country were on every poxy little island there is socialised healthcare.

    By the way the lady in question was not my aunt but my husbands, and I love my-in-laws but they are your typical we are not worth a lot salt of the earth people they wouldn’t even think of standing up to a system and besides all of them are on state benefits and very meagre benefits since they were all either ministers or nurses, and you know you’ll never get rich with those jobs. My husband and I were also not in the position to help that way.

    Oh by the way, the travelling while living in Europe was done over many years and lot’s of holidays. It is easy if you have car.
    5 hours and you are in Paris for example.

  38. higherstandard 38

    Mat P

    There are rare exceptions but no generally speaking private insurers do not rebate the government for any publicly funded healthcare used.

  39. higherstandard 39

    Eve

    If you are ever in the same situation again the hospices around NZ provide very good palliative care services for patients and their relatives the major base hospitals have never been very good at providing a similar service.

  40. Linda Axford 40

    Anne Tolley, oh yes, I remember her, she and hubby were keen on establishing a pokie machine business in one of the poorer suburbs of Napier, Pirimai actually, a few years ago, with no success.

    aladin

  41. Thank you HS, I will keep it in mind, but she was one of those tough old birds that basically just keeled over and was brought in via emergency so there was not time. The family was allowed to be there for her around the clock and we had an amazing three days together caring for her, she was a single lady and much loved by her extended family.

  42. Matthew Pilott 42

    HS – it seems, then, that ACT want public hospitals (and taxpayers, by extention) to subsidise private healthcare. What an odd situation to agitiate for.

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    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    6 days ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    1 week ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    1 week ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    1 week ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    1 week ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How much does flying contribute to climate change?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much does our use of air travel contribute to the ...
    SciBlogsBy Shaun Hendy
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The task before us
    Two weeks ago, the Zero Carbon Act became law. Right this moment, the Climate Change Commisison will be working on its initial budgets for 2022-25 and 2026-2030, and the UN has just given them a very clear steer:Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock
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    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles deaths and antivax misinformation
    Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia: the state murder of Dilan Cruz
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh It is late here in Bogotá, almost 11.30pm on Monday the 25th of November as I write this. The day began full of hope with yet more massive marches throughout the country, a mix of the International Day of Non-Violence Against Women and the National Strike. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
    Anti-fluoride activists are rubbing their hands in glee over what they claim is “yet another study” showing fluoride harms the brains of children. But their promotion relies on IQ relationships which the paper’s authors acknowledge disappearing when outliers or other factors are considered. And they completely ignore other relationships ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The rise and collapse of classical political economy
    The feature below is the conclusion of A History of Economic Thought, whose author was a leading Marxist economist in Russia in the early 20th century, Isaac Ilyich Rubin.  The book arose from a course he ran at Moscow University following the Russian Revolution.  First published in Russian in 1929, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman
    There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great.  As a minor planet (synonym: asteroid) spotter, I have ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Some cheap soundbites i thought up while reading about the underwhelming Conservative manifesto
    Tory manifesto: big on austerity, low on promise, non-existent on delivery. The Tories: the party so big on ambition they couldn't be arsed writing a manifesto. MLK: "I have a dream!"BJ: "I'll just have a nap." Labour: Broadband!Tories: Narrow minds! Labour have hope, dreams and ambition. The Tories will save ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles vaccination required to travel to islands and Phillipines
    The Ministry of Health has announced that “people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji” are now on the list of national priorities for MMR vaccination. Given the outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji, the Ministry of Health is ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Giving the finger to Beijing
    Hong Kong has been protesting for six months for, demanding democracy, human rights, and an end to police violence. Today, they went to the polls in district council elections - a low-level of government with virtually no power, similar to community boards in New Zealand. But while the positions themselves ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia’s national strike
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On Friday 22nd of November a curfew came into effect and troops were deployed on the streets, here in Bogota. It was the first time since September 1977 that a curfew had been imposed on the city. The decision was a cynical pre-planned ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.  The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt releases funding to support South Canterbury
    A medium-scale adverse event has been declared for the South Canterbury district, which will see up to $50,000 in funding made available to support farming communities which have been significantly affected by recent heavy rain and flooding in the area, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two weeks of solid rain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech at launch of Rethinking Plastics Report
    Thank you Professor Juliet Gerrard and your team for the comprehensive and extremely helpful report and recommendations. Thank you too to all the stakeholders and interested parties who have contributed ideas and thinking to it. “Making best practice, standard practice” is a great framework for change and the action plan ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt pledges next steps on plastic waste
    The Government will phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year and the release today of a pivotal report for dealing with waste. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealandreport, released by her Chief Science Advisor ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
    International education continues to thrive as the Government focuses on quality over quantity, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. The tuition revenue from international education increased to $1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960. The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Government Economics Network 2019 Conference
    I want to talk about one of the most pressing issues in our national life: the housing crisis and the poor performance of our cities. The argument I want to make to you is that generations of urban land use policy have lacked a decent grounding in economics. The consequences ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • DHB leadership renewed and strengthened
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new appointments to DHBs represent a significant changing of the guard, with 13 new chairs including four Māori chairs. Today 76 appointments have been announced to complement elected board members, as well as eight elected members appointed as either chair or deputy chair.  Four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost for ethnic communities
    Ethnic communities will be able to plan and deliver more community initiatives thanks to an increase in Government funding, Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Jenny Salesa said today. “Ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place we can all be proud to call home has been a key priority of our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Tertiary Education Commission Board announced
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced the appointment of Māori education specialist Dr Wayne Ngata and Business NZ head Kirk Hope to the Board of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Dr Alastair MacCormick has been reappointed for another term. “Wayne Ngata, Kirk Hope and Alastair MacCormick bring a great deal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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