The case for higher wages

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, April 26th, 2017 - 31 comments
Categories: class war, economy, Unions, wages - Tags: , , , ,

In the warm afterglow of the huge wage increase for health care workers the case for addressing NZ’s creaking low-wage economy is getting some recognition:

Bosses need to ‘bite the bullet’ and lift wages

Employers will eventually need to “bite the bullet” and start paying more to their staff following the higher than expected inflation, BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander says.

Inflation in the year ended March was 2.2 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand’s Consumer Price Index, the official measure of inflation. In the March quarter, inflation was 1 per cent. Both the annual and quarterly inflation figures were well above estimates by the Reserve Bank and economists.

Alexander said employers having to pay more to their staff might be especially so in response to the change in migration rules announced last week by Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

Inflation is certainly a factor, as is the insane increases in housing / rental costs that are not adequately captured in the CPI. As to immigration, it has been a factor in keeping wages down, according to Mike Yardley in The Press:

New Zealand’s immigration settings suppressing pay rates

I find myself in the not so familiar position of applauding and admiring some recent flourishes by the the union movement and collective power.

The monumental union-negotiated settlement to significantly boost pay rates for the aged care sector is a stunning victory for basic decency.

The sharper lens of an election year, and the ongoing public unease about growing inequality, would have certainly helped embolden the Government to strike this historic $2 billion settlement, which will substantially transform the pay packets of 55,000 residential care and home support workers.

With crappy pay rates soon becoming consigned to history, rest home operators will no longer have to sponge off third world labour markets by importing vast hordes of generous-hearted Filipinos to staff their facilities.

It is a classic illustration of the folly behind New Zealand’s immigration settings in recent years, which have been crudely and expeditiously cheapened to allow the country to be flooded by third world migrants, who will willingly work for miserable pay.

(I just want to note that I’m unhappy with some of the language / imagery here. I’m in favour of slowing down immigration for a while, but we need to be able to discuss the issue factually, and respectfully.)

Not only has this kept Kiwis frozen out from legitimate jobs and suppressed pay rates, but it has fuelled the downstream impact on housing prices and infrastructure strain.

The Government’s latest tweaks to our immigration settings, whereby “skilled” migrants must earn more than the median wage and “essential skills” work visa holders must leave after three years, are grossly overdue. …

Will the tweaks make a difference? Maybe not, see: Government changes will have “almost no impact” on medium term immigration: ASB. Fran O’Sullivan also explores these topics:

Forget immigration, let’s talk wages

The Government’s latest tweak to its immigration policies does nothing to alleviate the real issue: the urgent need to step up investment in house builds – particularly in Auckland; step up investment in infrastructure and take more steps to move New Zealand to a higher-wage economy where people can actually afford to live in our prime commercial city.

True that.

…But if New Zealand is to evolve as a highly skilled economy it needs to set the bar higher, and pay decent wages which will also spur employers to take initiatives to drive greater movement on the productivity front.

This requires a major reset of the NZ economy – not simply using immigration to spur economic growth, then screwing the taps down when the cost of running things too hot becomes a political negative.

Where Labour is on point is with addressing the “Future of Work”.

If this fosters debate on the skills New Zealand needs to build a strong, innovative and highly developed economy that will be a positive.

OK, so, great to see this new consensus on the need for higher wages. Better late than never I guess. And O’Sullivan is right to note Labour’s “Future of Work” as the way forward. National has nothing to offer except status quo and excuses.

31 comments on “The case for higher wages”

  1. Antoine 1

    To be fair, ASB does say that the Woodhouse changes may have a more significant impact 3 years out.

    Also, I think pinning all our hopes on Future of Work might be a bit chancy… what in it gives you such confidence?

    A.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      Did someone say we should pin “all our hopes” on it? Who was that?

      The fact that Labour is considering it at all means their approach is already infinitely better than National’s. The report itself draws on a wide range of experience and expertise, and covers the issues comprehensively, making a series of practical recommendations, (pages 14 and 15 of the summary).

      You can find both the summary and the full report on Labour’s website. I won’t link to them because they’re pdf documents, which aren’t to everyone’s taste.

      Good on you for being so interested though.

  2. Keith 2

    Q, Since when did a banks chief economist ever care what the proles get paid?

    A, About the time he and his bank realised any upward movement in interest rates in low/stagnant wage economy combined housing bubble could be rather disastrous for both people maxxed out on credit and his bank!

    Anyway wait for one of National’s headless chicken responses such as a “raft of initiatives” designed to make it look like they are doing something, meanwhile doing nothing – gigs!

  3. bwaghorn 3

    ”” migrants must earn more than the median wage ”

    yeah shit wages are only good enough for kiwis,

    • Nic the NZer 3.1

      That was “skilled migrants” the point being to have the program bring in skills rather than cheap labour. Of course half of all workers must earn less than the median wage.

      • Incognito 3.1.1

        Of course half of all workers must earn less than the median wage. [my bold]

        An unfortunate choice of words IMHO.

        • Nic the NZer 3.1.1.1

          Is it? I have another one, how do you feel about,
          “Of course half of all workers must earn more than the median wage.”

  4. Incognito 4

    Good post.

    I tend to get confused when various people talk about “higher wages” as there are a number of different situations possible that all (loosely?) cover the term “higher wages”.

    Obviously, to keep up with CPI and COL existing jobs need to keep pace or people would go backwards – many are slowly sliding backwards anyway but that is a separate story. This is one reason why the minimum wage gets adjusted, for example.

    Then there is the case where people work more or longer hours or aiming for full-time instead of part-time employments. I don’t know whether technically this equals “higher wages”.

    Lastly, there are better-paid jobs that require more and/or higher skills. Such jobs come with higher wages for a number of reasons as well.

    The links between the first two categories are relatively clear for a lay-person but the third one seems to be more on its own. The extreme example is hiring a highly-paid CEO; how does this lead to “higher wages” for the workers on the factory floor or for the cleaners, for example?

    The links (e.g. trickle down, increased job security, etc.) are strenuous, at best, and are much harder to swallow by the Precariat, the people that feel left out because they are left out.

    So, when talking about wages it would help if people would be more upfront about what they mean and how much they rely on economic doctrine, ideological arguments and/or wishful thinking.

    Disclaimer: I have no formal economic background so please keep the economic arguments simple 😉

    • Nic the NZer 4.1

      Higher wages by any reasonable definition is looking at thee equivalent to the hourly wage.

      Of course its possible for this not to change but for many part time employees to get more hours and in this case their income goes up, but their wages didn’t increase. This would be nice but not the same kind of outcome at all.

      Note a related metric, productivity is basically how much a worker earns for a business per hour employed. So when productivity increases ahead of wages then businesses are getting more income but not sharing it with the employees.

  5. Ad 5

    +1000 Anthony

  6. AsleepWhileWalking 6

    Higher wages will ultimately destroy the low income earners as automation will take over quicker, some businesses will no longer be able to compete or will have to reduce the number of employees.

    The real issue is the ever spiraling house/rent prices.

  7. David Mac 7

    For a business operator the wages bill is another on a mountain of variable and fixed overheads. In an economy with inflation starting to bubble the month’s accounts start coming in with letters advising the operator of price increases. Vodafone, the guy that mows the strip of grass out the front and washes the windows, the company that services the fire extinguishers, the AIG insurance cover.

    There are some costs that the operator can keep a lid on, put off to next month. One of those is often the wages bill. I think this situation has much to do with why we have seen workers’ buying power slip away. The gap stretching in inflationary times. Workers are of course receiving letters just like the business owner, their overheads going up: Vodafone, rent, the guy that mows the lawns. For a vibrant and loving society it’s a situation that requires some intervention/action.

    I think the future includes shorter working hours for us all. With the complexity of automation vocations will become more specialised. We will cease to train motor mechanics per se and train automotive steering technicians, automotive braking specialists etc. Hourly rates will start to disappear and the value of out efforts will be more geared to the value we produce. I think many vocations will morph into quite different roles. School curriculums will make way for holograms of a life-like Hone Heke describing the events of the mid 1800’s unfolding on his desk-top. A teacher that once stood infront of the class will then be writing Hone’s script and the responses for his FAQ.

    • infused 7.1

      In my business, costs have all been pretty static, apart from the American services we have to buy overseas (IT Company).

      However, wages have soared over the last 3 years as IT people are in high demand.

      This year, all our costs have gone up. Rent, power slightly + everything else. I suspect you will see everyone lifting costs by year end.

      So I suspect inflation in 2018 to be in to the 3 point range.

  8. greywarshark 8

    The getting of higher wages and better conditions is affected by a mindset that Ganesh Nana has been thinking about.

    He recalls student protests that ended up with a question and answer thus:
    What do we want?…..!
    When do we want it? NOW!

    But that was then. Now is a debatable length of string.
    Now, of course, few of my cohort of friends and acquaintances participate in such vocal activity. But, if we were to do so, I can imagine it might now go something like:
    “What do we want? Affordable housing and no children living in material deprivation. When do we want it? Oh, in the fullness of time, depending on the state of the economic cycle and in line with appropriate prudential criteria, after accounting for revenue growth forecasts and meeting all due considerations contained in the Public Finance Act.”

    http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/has-fiscal-responsibility-become-a-false-idol

    So it’s sort of trying to drink soup with a fork. Might get a taste before the prongs hit you. But what to do? Get better equipment and service I think, and keep trying new methods. Some get their snouts in the trough, a bit undignified but if you get down and dirty behind a screen, you may come up with gold. There’s brass in muck they say.

  9. Michael 9

    I think pay rates should be linked to firm profitability and the most reliable evidence of that is the chief executive’s remuneration. If there’s enough money to pay the boss more, there’s enough to pay the workers more as well.

    • In Vino 9.1

      Yes – it should be easy to formulate a social equity formula that prevents the greedy taking more than their fair share. Participation shares for all employees, etc etc.

      • infused 9.1.1

        You’d just see companies put money off-shore. Because that idea is stupid.

        I suspect when the company has a bad year, everyone gets a pay cut too?

  10. Policy Parrot 10

    Perhaps the Minimum Wage Act itself is too simplistic.

    In fact, some entry level employees would arguably be not worth $15.75 per hour, but the fact is that the minimum wage is too often the benchmark in terms of the start/basis of employment. It is appalling that people who have worked in the same jobs for 10+ years are still within cooeee of the minimum wage (i.e. 110% or $17.33).

    Why not have a minimum wage structure that allows for smaller increases in the base rate itself, to help employers get people on, but makes sure that once an employee is skilled up (in any job realistically those who have been there 18 months or more are inevitably far more skilled than those starting out) that the employer is passing on some of that productivity increase?

    i.e. MW (first 6 months) – 15.75 p.h.
    (MW +6 months – MW+5%) – 16.54 p.h.
    (MW +18 months – MW+5%^2) – 17.36 p.h.
    (MW +30 months – MW+5%^3) – 18.23 p.h.
    (MW +42 months – MW+5%^4) – 19.14 p.h.
    (MW +56 months – MW+5%^5) – 20.10 p.h.
    This increase applies until 1.3x minimum wage ~ approx. Living Wage.

    There would need to be safeguards as well to avoid casualisation as a response, but you can generally see where I am going with this. If MW increases, all of those corresponding rates increase also.

    • Nic the NZer 10.1

      The minimum wage should be a living wage. Otherwise you are consigning people to long term deprevation in work.

      The real solution is not this kind of measure (which will likely be subverted via turnover) but to introduce a job guarantee. A job guarantee means the govt will employ you at the minimum wage rate, in every case, up to full time. Or you can try your luck in the private sector which could be attractive if that offers more. This creates ‘loose full employment’. In this situation when the private sector needs to compete on wages and conditions they will improve.

      At present we (the country) achieves non full employment as a policy to get low inflation. Its no wonder minimum conditions suffer when we guarantee there will be around 5% unemployment at all times.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1

        It sounds expensive until the penny drops that it removes the need for the dole, and WINZ disappears. Not to mention the value of the work itself.

        • Nic the NZer 10.1.1.1

          Actually expensive makes zero sence for a country, at least in money terms. WINZ could take on the role of organising between people and what they are doing.

    • David Mac 10.2

      The problem with raising the wages of those that struggle to pay the rent is that living costs rise to match. A new rate of $20 per hour quickly buys what $15 per hour used to. I don’t think raising our living standards so that we can all afford a week in Fiji each year is as simple as pumping up minimum wages and benefits.

      Menial minimum pay jobs are on the way out, thank goodness. Automated machines will polish the Pak n’ Save floor at 2am, we’ll push a button to order a Big Mac. I think the key to raising our living standards is through improving our usefulness.

      The way forward is through creating opportunity. The chance for each and every one of us to discover where our unique skill-set lies. I believe we all have them, things we’re better at than other people. Identifying those natural abilities, aligning them with our desires and creating opportunities for all of us to exploit our specialness. Bring measureable value to our society and be paid accordingly.

      Rather that pushing the cost of living up I think the brightest future we can work towards is creating easily assessed opportunities that allow us all to be the best we can be.

      • infused 10.2.1

        Stop speaking sense.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.2.2

        How do you plan to redress the effect of household income on education so that children born into poverty can be the best they can be?

        “Paid accordingly”. Are you familiar with the meritocracy paradox?

        • David Mac 10.2.2.1

          Hi OAB. The most influential force in our education are our parents and care givers. The kid that arrives for his first day of school without being read a 1000 books has been ripped off before he starts. Day 1 and behind the 8 ball already. We’ve got parenting issues that need addressing.

          Poverty has become less and less of a hurdle between the poor and fulfilling vocations. Rather than access I think wobbly attitudes and bad habits are the taller hurdles we face.

          Would enticing Mums and Dads to read a couple of Dr Seuss books before lights out each night for a few years really make a difference? I believe so. Regularly reading to a child sets their imagination free.

          Meritocracy paradox? I’m curious enough to go find out.

    • KJT 10.3

      Watch everyone get sacked and replaced with lower paid workers every 6 months. Just like youth rates never increased employment, but simply changed the ages of those employed. No adults in fast food restaurants in Australia. No career progression for the young, either as they lose there jobs at 18

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    But if New Zealand is to evolve as a highly skilled economy it needs to set the bar higher, and pay decent wages which will also spur employers to take initiatives to drive greater movement on the productivity front.

    Which, of course, was what Penal rates, high tariffs, full employment policy and bans on foreign ownership were for. Getting rid of them achieves the exact opposite especially when the immigration flood gates are open allowing in cheap labour.

    OK, so, great to see this new consensus on the need for higher wages. Better late than never I guess.

    There’s a problem with that – our wages are too high. Well, they’re too high at the top end while being too low at the bottom.

    Thing is, we most definitely can’t afford to have everyone with wages at the present top end.

  12. RedBaronCV 12

    I spend my time wondering – as we are moving towards a more automated society – why the Right wing decided to open up immigration so that we have more bodies seeking ever fewer jobs.

    There we were in the sweet spot with the boomers on the way out, so planning for increasing automation, investing in it and ensuring the benefits are spread society wise should have been a given. Opportunity lost by the Nacts.
    And in the long run if we want to save the planet mature democracys with slightly lower than replacement birth rates are the way to go?

    • David Mac 12.1

      I think over the next 20 years the viability of machines over people will reach a tipping point in many fields. Harvesting crops, getting quadriplegics to breakfast, washing buses, clearing hillsides of Pinus Radiata.

      We’re in a bit of a transition period, it’s still only just worthwhile to fly in planeloads of labour to clip asparagus off at the ground. For how many more seasons?

      I hope this transition phase will soon pass. It generates friction between us.

      “Hey mate, you know how it’s virtually impossible to find a place to live in this city? We need you to give notice. You know how all your family and friends live within 30 kms of you? We need you to say ‘goodbye.’ Your government has some very exciting news for you. You are going to live in a Portacom for 3 months, clip asparagus in the middle of nowhere for 6 days a week, dawn to dusk and you will be paid $175 more a week than you are now.”

      “Ahhhh, not really for me bro.”

      “LAZY PARASITE!”

      It’s a ridiculous situation and the sooner stainless steel bots are clipping asparagus and we’re laying tracks for people to pursue fufilling futures the better off we’ll all be.

      • Nic the NZer 12.1.1

        Sounds like a labour camp? Is that whats coming up as the next big policy idea, labour camps?

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    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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