The “Choice” Mantra

Written By: - Date published: 2:47 pm, December 16th, 2010 - 37 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags: ,

Nick C, in my Government Spending Ideology post, had an interesting comment about the right’s perspective on such things.  In it, he said:

“[T]he reason that those on ‘the right’ generally call for lower government spending and lower taxes is that we believe we get more choice when recieving[sic] services from the market.”

I see a great misnomer in the concept of “choice”, which is popular with many politicians (it was certainly the mantra from both parties in their 2005 election when I was in the UK).  Choice often doesn’t gain us anything.

I don’t want a “choice” of schools, I want my local one to be the best possible. I don’t need it to be better than my neighbours – I want every New Zealander to have the best possible education. Partly that’s altruistic, but even if every bone of my body is selfish, I’ll do better if I’m in a highly educated society of achievers.

I don’t want a “choice” of doctor, or hospital, or even medical treatment. I’m not in a position to choose who or what’s best, so I just want the highest quality we can achieve and afford (cost being a particular issue with modern health care). I don’t see I deserve better than anyone else, so I don’t see that I should get a choice that disadvantages someone else.

I don’t want a “choice” in my national infrastructure either. I don’t need 2 roads / sets of rails / lines of fibre between me and everyone I might want to be in contact with. I don’t see any second option as helping me at all, it’s just consuming the nation’s resources.

I don’t want a “choice” in my ACC entitlement, or welfare benefits – I just want the community, through the government to support me when circumstances move against me; help me back on my feet.

In a lot of these things “choice” merely equates to me getting something better at someone else’s loss. Which equates to those with the wealth and education getting the best choices, which quickly evolves into a privileged class and an underclass1 caught into a poverty trap.

I’d rather no “choice” and a focus on getting everywhere the best we can, particularly on those basic services that everyone should have.

(I’m quite happy to have choice on my washing powder though, although I’m not sure that does me any good either – I don’t really know which one works best for my buck, and they all claim top-billing…)

1 [ Remember John Key’s “underclass” he was going to help?  They’re poorer now. ]

37 comments on “The “Choice” Mantra ”

  1. Bored 1

    Good work Bunji, I have for so long been puzzled about the ideological obsession with choice. In business and my personal life I often buy on the basis of utility, fit for purpose and appropriateness for what ever parameter is needed. in a material sense our choices are mind bogglingly broad for what is really required.

    In the case of services I buy for specific needs which in the case of social needs such as educaation are normally easy to define and scope. As you note, social services dont require choice, they require delivery within set parameters. I dont buy, I use, I dont purchase directly, I pay tax to socialise the cost. I expect a uniform output for me and everybody else. Every time we put choice into this equation up goes the price and down goes delivery except at exponential price for those who can afford. That is economic madness, highly innefficient.

  2. Got money?
    You deserve the best.
    They can have the rest.
    Choice!

  3. Carol 3

    The right wing “choice” mantra has become a way for getting people to hand over more money, now that most people in developed countries can get everyting they need at an affordable price. Ater WWII manufacturing became increasingly more efficient, so it became possible for most people, in contries like NZ, to buy a washing machine, a car, a TV etc, etc. So how to get them to spend more money? Businesses started to produce more customised products – and with these, through brandimg they attached a sense of identity (often status-linked) to the array of “choices” in the market.

    But some people have become addicted to such choices, so they need to keep spending and spending on each new gismo. In the end, this is a limited choice. What about the choice not to spend? and not to get sucked into the status symbols attached to many of the consumer choices?

    Also, the range of choice is limited. I have little say in what’s produced as consumer “choices”. The wealthy, who can spend most money, have most influence on what’s produced. I’m like bored, I just want to buy things that are useful to me. Sometimes I end up making things out of the bits that are on offer, because no one is making an item I want to use.

    • Tiger Mountain 3.1

      As well as promoting ‘commodity fetishism’ and boxing day sales, lets buy it! choice is used as a deliberate ideological tactic to discourage collective behaviour and thinking. It’s all about ME, I choose not to join a nasty union and organise to get wage increases off bosses, I (ME) choose to sign up for Working For Families and get cash off the money go round from other taxpayers.

      At some level of course people should be able to have an orange one instead of a silver one if they so desire, but it is madness to claim for example that choice exists in any form other than an artificial one in power generation and supply fer crissakes, a most obvious case for no choice required.

      The concept of ‘choice’ is also essential to cultivating new aspirational, yet struggling, tory voters. Advertising is sometimes hilarious particularly the banking and insurance industry pompously peddling their ‘products’, “we understand you, a custom package just for you” (and the other several million kiwis that are required to have bank accounts).

  4. Bright Red 4

    choice can make you poorer if you’re choosing between essentially identical products that will give you basically the same level of happiness because making a choice is a cost.

    compounding this many businesses that are offering the same product intentionally offer a range of differing plans to make comparison hard so that you’re less likely to swtich providers. Adam Scott, author of Dilbert invented the time for this market tactic – confusopoly http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=confusopoly

    small businesses don’t want ‘choice’ in ACC because that would be an extra cost in deciding between the slew of plans that will be offered for trivial gains (if any, once they pay for the insurers’ marketers, lawyers, and profits).

    Likewise, I don’t want to go to the supermarket and be confronted with 50 brands and types of toothpaste – I just want a super toothpaste but instead of offering that the supplies try to confuse and segment the market, which means I have to spend time choosing.

  5. Jim Nald 5

    Yup. Good points.
    There is also the issue of ‘false choices’ that we must be vigilant in detecting and rejecting.

  6. Carol 6

    And when it suits them, the corporate and political powers that champion market “choice”, limit our choices:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/4461413/Raging-against-credit-card-politics

    I am labouring with futile anger towards my chosen credit card company. Why am I seething? Because Visa chose to limit my political freedom by blocking me from sending a contribution to the Wikileaks fighting fund.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Of course they do – the only choice that most people are allowed to make is the choice that benefits the few. I consider “choice” in many areas to be a way to hide the fact that you have no choice. Me being with Orcon for my ISP is such a non-choice as the service is still delivered over Telecom’s network.

  7. Olwyn 7

    The right-wing emphasis on choice comes from wanting us to treat freedom and consumer choice as if they were the same thing. Never mind if the SIS is allowed to spy on you as they see fit, there are 30 brands of cereal in aisle five from which to pick your breakfast of choice. In fact the SIS must be permitted to spy on you if we are to preserve our precious freedom in the field of breakfast.

  8. Dave Christian 8

    Thank you for this post. It explains a great deal.

    I don’t want choice to get something better than others do. I want choice so that everyone can have the best possible.

    With choice, suppliers of goods and services are motivated to provided the best possible quality/value in order to avoid losing customers to competitors.

    Without choice, quality/value declines over time because monopoly suppliers have different incentives. Monopoly suppliers inevitably devote significant resources to telling everyone what a great job they are doing. Observers have no way of telling for sure if their claims are true or false. Government backed claims have a ring of authority. Tellingly, monopoly suppliers always claim that introduction of choice would be a disaster; By which they mean that it would be a disaster for them.

    Of course, people with spare money (not a large group, but there are some) will spend extra to get better services, but those without wealth (the majority) will also get higher quality services with choice. The quality/value of your washing power has improved much more over the past 50 years than the quality/value of any government monopoly service.

    • Bright Red 8.1

      “The quality/value of your washing power has improved much more over the past 50 years than the quality/value of any government monopoly service.”

      evidence?

      In 1960 you couldn’t get most of the routine medicial treatments that the public health system delivers today.

    • Bunji 8.2

      “With choice, suppliers of goods and services are motivated to provided the best possible quality/value in order to avoid losing customers to competitors.”
      I don’t think many teachers or doctors think in such terms.

      “Monopoly suppliers inevitably devote significant resources to telling everyone what a great job they are doing.”
      In fact the neo-liberal economies of NZ and US spend the highest proportion of their GDPs on advertising. It is with choice that people need to spend lots to convince others that their product is “the best”. However they often work by a confusopoly, so people can never know which is truly the best – witness Teresa Gatung’s comments.

      But I’m not against all choice. Where people regularly buy something that they can tell what works for them it is a powerful tool for improvement. Often the inefficiency of building 2 of everything overrules any usefulness of competition. I certainly wouldn’t want a monopoly in private hands (ie not a public trust/mutual or co-operative or govt-owned) – without a community-based ethic there will always be rorting; but with a community based spirit a monopoly can be to the benefit of all.

      Washing powder has improved massively over the last 50 years. I’m not sure the quality of my milk or sandwiches has improved anything like the quality of my teaching, hospital care or policing over the last 50 years however – they’ve all improved hugely too.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      I don’t want choice to get something better than others do. I want choice so that everyone can have the best possible.

      But choice doesn’t actually give you that – research and development does. So, if we want the best washing powder we get the researchers to develop it and then a factory to make it. The researchers keep researching and, as their research produces results, the factory is updated to make the new improved version.

      This option has a number of efficiency benefits: No waste produced by advertising, the best researchers are going to be working together sharing information so that research isn’t duplicated and all the ideas are going to be heard and investigated (bringing in “competition”). You get the best washing powder at the best price.

  9. Richard 9

    I’ve sometimes seen right wing people offer things like Food Courts as “progressive” and “modern” examples of “choice”; as in you can choose whether to eat a burger, or sushi, or a kebab, or a curry, or a roast.

    Which does not really equate to choice in a meaningful sense.

    • Luxated 9.1

      I hope that isn’t the best example of choice they can think of. Because I’m not sure a choice between several different flavours of food poisoning is quite what I look for at lunchtime.

      captcha: best, hardly!

  10. A 10

    Bunji, you’re missing or understating the central argument for restricting choice, which is that in certain cases a system of free choice leads to outcomes that are collectively self defeating for the choosers.

    For example, if the military were funded via a system of choice, the rational thing for self interested people to do would be to refuse to pay, because you still get the benefit if others pay, and are no worse off if they don’t. So hardly anyone pays and we all end up worse off. Compulsory taxation stops us falling in to such collective action problems.

    The great mistake of the political right, and the reason why they are more or less hopelessly deluded, is that they do not understand that universal individual wants do not necessary ensure provision of universally desired goods. It’s why I cringe every time I hear some halfwit say something like “why do we need tax when everyone can just pay for whatever they want?”.

    As an obvious example, education is funded via compulsory taxation because it has significant externalities such as the burden that individual illiteracy places on the rest of society. Most of the big ticket items for the welfare state are either like education, or are forms of insurance, which also suffer from market failure.

    Anyone who doesn’t understand this simple idea has no business trying to talk politics. Unfortunately, that includes most people of a politically conservative persuasion. If they all shoved off and found something else to do, it would be possible to have meaningful public discussion of political problems, and perhaps actually get somewhere. As it is, the tragedy of human politics is that the rest of us spend most of our time trying to deal with these apes and their ridiculous notions.

    • Bunji 10.1

      Very good points. Yes, I definitely missed putting that part of argument in there – thanks for picking that up.

    • Descendant Of Smith 10.2

      More recently the earthquake in Christchurch showed how strongly choice can work or not work. I feel for the old people who having paid insurance all their lives and never claimed stopped paying their house insurance premiums because they were struggling financially.

      I’ve seen the same happen to old people with medical insurance as well – they’ve paid for many years but can’t afford it when their health deteriorates and they actually need it. There’s no thanks from Southern Cross and their ilk for all the premiums they have paid over the years.

      In fact medical insurance is a pretty good example of where choice is very limited – mainly because the private sector only does those things it can make money from.

      I’ve yet to see the person who goes to a private hospital when they have their stroke, or their heart attack or their serious car accident. I’ve seen a few people at Middlemore having their botched cosmetic surgery sorted out though.

      I have a son with a spontaneous genetic disorder. His choice of medical insurance is nil. I even tested out an insurance broker to see if any company in Australasia would insurance him – not a single one.

      Part of the choice of the private sector is to deny their services to people. That’s no choice at all for the person needing the service.

      • Vicky32 10.2.1

        AFAIK, private hospitals don’t do emergency surgeries! (Not cost effective). My youngest and cleverest is a nurse at the Cardiothoracic unit in Welly.)
        Heart attack victims are all happy to go public – they don’t want or need a choice, neither do they (thankfuly) need insurance!
        Deb

  11. For me this is another conundrum. I agree wholeheartedly with the post. But at the same time, the alternative vision it offers never comes to pass. So what’s a viable third way?

    Throw more and more money at hospitals and roads etc till they become “better”? That then devolves to an argument about what proportion of that money gets taken from the “rich” in taxes versus what gets taken from the poor in benefits cuts etc.

    There’s no doubt a boost in funding would help some aspects of Bunji’s utopia to come to pass but there’s a whole host of other, non-monetary factors that are also standing in the way.

    I’m loathe to bring up an example lest the thread derail into debating its validity but if we’re talking quality schooling then – speaking as a former Board chair and then teachers’ union spin doctor – one of the biggest problems is the lack of reward for excellent teachers and the die-in-a-ditch union attitude to the protection of lousy ones.

    People get sick of the dysfunction in the public system – which is due to a web of vested interests, from politicians’ posturing for re-election right down to petty office politics at the customer service level – and give up, figuring they’ll just pay for a private provider, upon whom their “customer” status imposes some accountability.

    Yes, choice is often a false perception. But the demand for it needs to be addressed if we’re to stop the waste and duplication.

    And that’s going to require some major attitudinal shifts right across the board, and amongst some structures most resistant to change.

    • Descendant Of Smith 11.1

      Of course if businesses really wanted choice then consumers should be able to choose what they wish to pay for the goods being sold – each could then buy according to their means and needs.

      There’s a current software bundle doing this at moment:

      Total revenue: $659,924.29
      Number of purchases: 90,289
      Average purchase: $7-31
      Average Windows: $6-09
      Average Mac: $8-25
      Average Linux $13.71

      Top price paid to date is $2,000.

      I’ve noticed as the promotion has gone on the average continues to lift.

      I’ve paid well above the average cause I can afford to do so as have many others.

      So how bout it – give me some real choice.

      • I remember when I lived in the country just outside of Cambridge. Our neighbours would put a big hopper of fresh corn at the gate and an honesty box. I think they wanted 20c a cob or somesuch (this was the late 80s).

        The people who’d stop, grab bucketloads of the stuff and – if they were feeling especially generous – drop in a few silver coins, but mostly nothing, were always those in the late model cars. If an old jalopy pulled up, they’d always pay full price, or as close to it as they could afford – you’d see them hunting in the ashtrays for extra change.

        Nowadays I have a tradesman friend who says he’s happier working in lower socio-economic areas than the posh ones. The rich evidently agree a price and then, having had the work done, try to pick holes in the quality and/or want to pay in post-dated cheques and/or are mysteriously never home to pay at all, etc. The poor will either pay, or ask to pay in instalments, and actually do pay.

        That’s why I’m a little wary of anything that relies on good nature and honesty… it seems inversely proportional to wealth in many (though by no means all) people!

        [Perhaps geeks really are different to normal folk 😉 ]

    • A 11.2

      Here are some responses, Rex.

      To increase funding of the health care system is not the only way to improve it, but neither are attempts to increase efficiencies. Funding things like better pharmaceuticals, more equipment and more procedures will do much to increase social welfare by improving quality of life and lowering wait times. These things cost money. In fact, health care is probably the biggest bang that we get for our buck, since a well-funded health care system adds years to people’s lives and quality to those years. One only need look at the improvements in cancer treatments over the past 50 years to see how much has been accomplished. Whenever I hear someone complaining that health costs are ballooning, I can’t understand what the problem is. Of course they are ballooning, but the benefits are obviously worth it.

      As to where the money should come from, it is pretty obvious. Vast sums of money are spent on competitive consumption in New Zealand for very little gain in public welfare. Many people spend large amounts of their income on competitive consumption goods simply in an attempt to “keep up with the Joneses”. This is wasteful. A progressive income tax functions as a means of damping down this competition, and will thus be a boon to most New Zealanders.

      If people don’t want to pay the tax, then let them leave. I grow tired of hearing their whining, and would rather see them gone. Lord knows, New Zealand is close to the top of the human development index, so there aren’t that many places to go where things are genuinely better. There are enough hard working people who would like to immigrate to New Zealand to replace them.

      The simple problem with New Zealand teachers is that we pay peanuts, and we therefore get monkeys. Among all the groups of university students I have taught, the trainee teachers are without doubt the worst and the stupidest. You want better people, I’d offer much more money in exchange for completing competency assessments.

      But even then, New Zealand still has one of the best education systems in the world. Imagine what could be done with better teachers and more resources.

      As for the “resistant” problem, I think you are correct in that the parental demand for choice and accountability is driving the dysfunction, and I would argue that this is the main cause of the dysfunction and what is driving it is competitive consumption in education. I can’t really see that problem being solved any time soon, as the upper middle class more or less have a stranglehold on educational advantage in New Zealand (and much else besides), and those people get very authoritarian when they feel their social capital threatened. Their worst nightmare other than their hysterical fear of poverty is an education where their children must compete as equals with gifted working class kids.

  12. BLiP 12

    If choice is so good, why can’t I have a choice about whether or not to eat genetically engineered frankenstein food?

  13. Descendant Of Smith 13

    I might also add that if choice is so good why can’t food be labeled with country of origin so I can choose where my food comes from or why can’t my pork purchases clearly tell me whether they have been raised in sow crates? Why did those toys just recently pulled not have a label saying contains lead paint?

  14. Richard 14

    A commonly used argument in favour of choice and the free market is that it motivates producers to compete, creating efficiency. I think the opposite is true. All businesses strive to make money, and if you’re busy competing then you won’t make any money. Instead, all businesses try to create a monopoly for themselves (or at least do their best to avoid competition). Examples: power and insurance companies pricing plans avoid competition by making it hard to compare price. These might be examples of “market failure” but I think all businesses strive to operate in a failed market.

  15. Jenny 15

    You have money, you have the freedom of choice.

    You have no money, You have no freedom, You have no choice.

    You have no “choice”, but to become a wage slave of those who do have money, no matter how they got this money, they may be the worst criminals, or the most undeserving heirs of money.

    If you don’t like the conditions of your servitude, you might chose to join with others in the same situation to withhold your labour.

    The rich supporters of “choice” will then scream blue murder for the government to legislate against this particular “choice”.

    Calling on the police and sometimes even the army to suppress “choice”.

    On the other hand these rich supporters of “choice” vigourously fight to preserve and extend their freedom of “choice” to sack you at any time, and plunge your family into poverty, even for no reason at all in the first 90 days.

    To increase their power of “choice” over the rest of us, those with money sometimes choose to over-rule democracy itself. By removing everyone else’s right of choice, they increase their own.

    The ultimate dream of right wing pro “choice” hypocrites in ACT is:

    If you have no money, You get no choice, You get no Justice, And you have no voice.

  16. Nick C 16

    “I don’t want a “choice” of schools, I want my local one to be the best possible.”

    But what is the best school? There is no objective answer and we may want completely different schools for our kids. I might want a school that incorperates a component of religious education into the curriculum, you might not. I might want a school with an emphasis on arts, you might want one with an emphasis on academic achievement. I might want a Rudolf Steiner school, you might think that sucks. Choice is important because people do have different preferances. Some of the commenters above say that choice in markets is all illusionary and all products are basically the same. You’re entitled to that view but clearly most consumers see differently and vote with their wallets for a large variety of products.

    The other thing you cant ignore is that choice is a much better mechanism of providing accountability than voting. If you think National provides shit hospitals but good schools, and Labour is the reverse, what are you supposed to do? You only have one party vote and you have to give it to someone.

    • Jenny 16.1

      “Choice is important because people do have different preferances.”

      Nick C

      Translation: By “different preferences”, Nick of course means, different sized wallets.

      The other thing you cant ignore is that choice is a much better mechanism of providing accountability than voting.

      Nick C

      Translation: Nick C is making the sort of typical statement often mouthed by the extreme right. The extreme right parties like ACT, loathe democracy because it infringes on the power of money.
      Democracy allows people who don’t have money to have some of the political power, that usually only belongs to the rich and powerful. Democracy allows the rest of us to put a check on the choices of the rich and powerful as they negatively affect everyone else.

      • Nick C 16.1.1

        No, by different preferences i mean prefer different goods and services, activities, etc. Of course there is inequality but I think there are better means to address that than govt provision of services which strips choice, such as a guarenteed minimum income.

        • Jenny 16.1.1.1

          “…by different preferences i mean prefer different goods and services, activities, etc.”

          Nick C

          Nicksy You do a better job of translating yourself, than I do.

          All these different goods and services, activities, etc. to be available only at some schools and not at others, eh, Nick.

          Choice

          Well who wouldn’t want to send their children to these better schools?

          Oh I forgot, this sort of choice is only available to wealthy families. You, old right wing elitist you. How smug these parents will feel, having the power to exercise the sort of choice, denied to less well off parents.

          • Nick C 16.1.1.1.1

            Who do you think gets into the best schools at the moment Jenny? Do you think its the poor brown kids from South Auckland who get into Auckland Grammer? Do you think the kid who grew up in a gang home in Stathmore gets into Wellington College? Or is it the wealthy family who can buy an appartment in Parnel or Khandallah just to get into the right zone or both pay their income taxes and private school fees? Whats worse is that there is simply no way out for these kids. Even if their parents are willing to make huge financial sacrafises, they are quite literally imprisoned in their local school by the government.

            I want to give these kids a chance, you dont.

            • Jenny 16.1.1.1.1.1

              “Who do you think gets into the best schools at the moment Jenny? Do you think its the poor brown kids from South Auckland who get into Auckland Grammer? Do you think the kid who grew up in a gang home in Stathmore gets into Wellington College? Or is it the wealthy family who can buy an appartment in Parnel or Khandallah just to get into the right zone or both pay their income taxes and private school fees?”

              Nick C

              I don’t think I have misunderstood you on this Nick. All your talk about personal choice has been about ramping up the inequality that you so aptly describe.

              How does having schools with differing qualities and costs help those who don’t have the ability to meet these costs?

              You ignorantly claim, “…if their parents are willing to make huge financial sacrafises,” they could afford these schools.

              Like a lot of other rich and privileged people you seem to think that poverty is just a bad “choice”.

              Nick your defence of inequality and your instinctive distaste for democracy, naturally go together because you can’t have inequality without suppressing democracy.

              “…choice is a much better mechanism of providing accountability than voting.”

              Nick C

              In your own words Nick you oppose choice through voting because it does not depend on how rich you are. Nick you only want choice for the privileged, those who have the money to “choose” the best schools and private hospitals.

              You oppose high quality social provision of schools or hospitals, freely available to everyone on principle.

              Opposing social provision, means opposing democracy, because high class social provision is immensely popular with the majority of voters.

              Claiming that a graduated system of health provision and education based on the ability to pay, gives choice, is a lie, the facts are, this sort of system removes choice from the vast majority who are forced to put up with a second, or even third class treatment depending on their ability to pay.

              We only have to look to the US to see this inequality in action, where millions of people have no health insurance because the wages are too low to afford it, and so get zero health care. Where’s their choice?

  17. OleOlebiscuitBarrell 17

    Maybe you made some good arguments. I will never read them because I could not get past your misuse of “misnomer”. Maybe if you had had the choice of going to a better school…

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    Back in January a StatsNZ employee gave a speech at Rātana on behalf of tangata whenua in which he insulted and criticised the government. The speech clearly violated the principle of a neutral public service, and StatsNZ started an investigation. Part of that was getting an external consultant to examine ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Are we fine with 47.9% home-ownership by 2048?

    Renting for life: Shared ownership initiatives are unlikely to slow the slide in home ownership by much. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:A Deloitte report for Westpac has projected Aotearoa’s home-ownership rate will ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • Let's Win This

    You're broken down and tiredOf living life on a merry go roundAnd you can't find the fighterBut I see it in you so we gonna walk it outAnd move mountainsWe gonna walk it outAnd move mountainsAnd I'll rise upI'll rise like the dayI'll rise upI'll rise unafraidI'll rise upAnd I'll ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 day ago
  • Waimahara: The Singing Spirit of Water

    There’s been a change in Myers Park. Down the steps from St. Kevin’s Arcade, past the grassy slopes, the children’s playground, the benches and that goat statue, there has been a transformation. The underpass for Mayoral Drive has gone from a barren, grey, concrete tunnel, to a place that thrums ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 23

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:00 am on Tuesday, July 23 are:Deep Dive: Penlink: where tolling rhetoric meets reality BusinessDesk-$$$’s Oliver LewisScoop: Te Pūkenga plans for regional polytechs leak out ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 23

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 23, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Health: Shane Reti announced the Board of Te Whatu Ora- Health New Zealand was being replaced with Commissioner Lester Levy ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • HealthNZ and Luxon at cross purposes over budget blowout

    Health NZ warned the Government at the end of March that it was running over Budget. But the reasons it gave were very different to those offered by the Prime Minister yesterday. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon blamed the “botched merger” of the 20 District Health Boards (DHBs) to create Health ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 days ago
  • 2500-3000 more healthcare staff expected to be fired, as Shane Reti blames Labour for a budget defic...

    Long ReadKey Summary: Although National increased the health budget by $1.4 billion in May, they used an old funding model to project health system costs, and never bothered to update their pre-election numbers. They were told during the Health Select Committees earlier in the year their budget amount was deficient, ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    2 days ago
  • Might Kamala Harris be about to get a 'stardust' moment like Jacinda Ardern?

    As a momentous, historic weekend in US politics unfolded, analysts and commentators grasped for precedents and comparisons to help explain the significance and power of the choice Joe Biden had made. The 46th president had swept the Democratic party’s primaries but just over 100 days from the election had chosen ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    2 days ago
  • Solutions Interview: Steven Hail on MMT & ecological economics

    TL;DR: I’m casting around for new ideas and ways of thinking about Aotearoa’s political economy to find a few solutions to our cascading and self-reinforcing housing, poverty and climate crises.Associate Professor runs an online masters degree in the economics of sustainability at Torrens University in Australia and is organising ...
    The KakaBy Steven Hail
    2 days ago
  • Reported back

    The Finance and Expenditure Committee has reported back on National's Local Government (Water Services Preliminary Arrangements) Bill. The bill sets up water for privatisation, and was introduced under urgency, then rammed through select committee with no time even for local councils to make a proper submission. Naturally, national's select committee ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Vandrad the Viking, Christopher Coombes, and Literary Archaeology

    Some years ago, I bought a book at Dunedin’s Regent Booksale for $1.50. As one does. Vandrad the Viking (1898), by J. Storer Clouston, is an obscure book these days – I cannot find a proper online review – but soon it was sitting on my shelf, gathering dust alongside ...
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell On The Biden Withdrawal

    History is not on the side of the centre-left, when Democratic presidents fall behind in the polls and choose not to run for re-election. On both previous occasions in the past 75 years (Harry Truman in 1952, Lyndon Johnson in 1968) the Democrats proceeded to then lose the White House ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    2 days ago
  • Joe Biden's withdrawal puts the spotlight back on Kamala and the USA's complicated relatio...

    This is a free articleCoverageThis morning, US President Joe Biden announced his withdrawal from the Presidential race. And that is genuinely newsworthy. Thanks for your service, President Biden, and all the best to you and yours.However, the media in New Zealand, particularly the 1News nightly bulletin, has been breathlessly covering ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    2 days ago
  • Why we have to challenge our national fiscal assumptions

    A homeless person’s camp beside a blocked-off slipped damage walkway in Freeman’s Bay: we are chasing our tail on our worsening and inter-related housing, poverty and climate crises. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Existential Crisis and Damaged Brains

    What has happened to it all?Crazy, some'd sayWhere is the life that I recognise?(Gone away)But I won't cry for yesterdayThere's an ordinary worldSomehow I have to findAnd as I try to make my wayTo the ordinary worldYesterday morning began as many others - what to write about today? I began ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • A speed limit is not a target, and yet…

    This is a guest post from longtime supporter Mr Plod, whose previous contributions include a proposal that Hamilton become New Zealand’s capital city, and that we should switch which side of the road we drive on. A recent Newsroom article, “Back to school for the Govt’s new speed limit policy“, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 22

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:00 am on Monday, July 22 are:Today’s Must Read: Father and son live in a tent, and have done for four years, in a million ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 22

    TL;DR: As of 7:00 am on Monday, July 22, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:US President Joe Biden announced via X this morning he would not stand for a second term.Multinational professional services firm ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 14, 2024 thru Sat, July 20, 2024. Story of the week As reflected by preponderance of coverage, our Story of the Week is Project 2025. Until now traveling ...
    3 days ago
  • I'd like to share what I did this weekend

    This weekend, a friend pointed out someone who said they’d like to read my posts, but didn’t want to pay. And my first reaction was sympathy.I’ve already told folks that if they can’t comfortably subscribe, and would like to read, I’d be happy to offer free subscriptions. I don’t want ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • For the children – Why mere sentiment can be a misleading force in our lives, and lead to unex...

    National: The Party of ‘Law and Order’ IntroductionThis weekend, the Government formally kicked off one of their flagship policy programs: a military style boot camp that New Zealand has experimented with over the past 50 years. Cartoon credit: Guy BodyIt’s very popular with the National Party’s Law and Order image, ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • A friend in uncertain times

    Day one of the solo leg of my long journey home begins with my favourite sound: footfalls in an empty street. 5.00 am and it’s already light and already too warm, almost.If I can make the train that leaves Budapest later this hour I could be in Belgrade by nightfall; ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • The Chaotic World of Male Diet Influencers

    Hi,We’ll get to the horrific world of male diet influencers (AKA Beefy Boys) shortly, but first you will be glad to know that since I sent out the Webworm explaining why the assassination attempt on Donald Trump was not a false flag operation, I’ve heard from a load of people ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • It's Starting To Look A Lot Like… Y2K

    Do you remember Y2K, the threat that hung over humanity in the closing days of the twentieth century? Horror scenarios of planes falling from the sky, electronic payments failing and ATMs refusing to dispense cash. As for your VCR following instructions and recording your favourite show - forget about it.All ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday Soliloquy for the week to July 20

    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts being questioned by The Kākā’s Bernard Hickey.TL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the week to July 20 were:1. A strategy that fails Zero Carbon Act & Paris targetsThe National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government finally unveiled ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Pharmac Director, Climate Change Commissioner, Health NZ Directors – The latest to quit this m...

    Summary:As New Zealand loses at least 12 leaders in the public service space of health, climate, and pharmaceuticals, this month alone, directly in response to the Government’s policies and budget choices, what lies ahead may be darker than it appears. Tui examines some of those departures and draws a long ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Flooding Housing Policy

    The Minister of Housing’s ambition is to reduce markedly the ratio of house prices to household incomes. If his strategy works it would transform the housing market, dramatically changing the prospects of housing as an investment.Leaving aside the Minister’s metaphor of ‘flooding the market’ I do not see how the ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    5 days ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted (Again!)

    As previously noted, my historical fantasy piece, set in the fifth-century Mediterranean, was accepted for a Pirate Horror anthology, only for the anthology to later fall through. But in a good bit of news, it turned out that the story could indeed be re-marketed as sword and sorcery. As of ...
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Friday, July 19

    An employee of tobacco company Philip Morris International demonstrates a heated tobacco device. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Friday, July 19 are:At a time when the Coalition Government is cutting spending on health, infrastructure, education, housing ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 8:30 am on Friday, July 19 are:Scoop: NZ First Minister Casey Costello orders 50% cut to excise tax on heated tobacco products. The minister has ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 19-July-2024

    Kia ora, it’s time for another Friday roundup, in which we pull together some of the links and stories that caught our eye this week. Feel free to add more in the comments! Our header image this week shows a foggy day in Auckland town, captured by Patrick Reynolds. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    5 days ago
  • Weekly Climate Wrap: A market-led plan for failure

    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items climate news for Aotearoa this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer. A discussion recorded yesterday is in the video above and the audio of that sent onto the podcast feed.The Government released its draft Emissions Reduction ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Tobacco First

    Save some money, get rich and old, bring it back to Tobacco Road.Bring that dynamite and a crane, blow it up, start all over again.Roll up. Roll up. Or tailor made, if you prefer...Whether you’re selling ciggies, digging for gold, catching dolphins in your nets, or encouraging folks to flutter ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Trump’s Adopted Son.

    Waiting In The Wings: For truly, if Trump is America’s un-assassinated Caesar, then J.D. Vance is America’s Octavian, the Republic’s youthful undertaker – and its first Emperor.DONALD TRUMP’S SELECTION of James D. Vance as his running-mate bodes ill for the American republic. A fervent supporter of Viktor Orban, the “illiberal” prime ...
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Friday, July 19, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:The PSA announced the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) had ruled in the PSA’s favour in its case against the Ministry ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to July 19

    TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers last night features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s release of its first Emissions Reduction Plan;University of Otago Foreign Relations Professor and special guest Dr Karin von ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #29 2024

    Open access notables Improving global temperature datasets to better account for non-uniform warming, Calvert, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: To better account for spatial non-uniform trends in warming, a new GITD [global instrumental temperature dataset] was created that used maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) to combine the land surface ...
    6 days ago
  • We're back again! Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live

    Photo by Gabriel Crismariu on UnsplashWe’re back again after our mid-winter break. We’re still with the ‘new’ day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Gut Reactions.

    Trump Writes His Own Story: Would the “mainstream” media even try to reflect the horrified reaction of the MAGA crowd to the pop-pop-pop of the would-be assassin’s rifle, and Trump going down? Could it even grasp the sheer elation of the rally-goers seeing their champion rise up and punch the air, still alive, ...
    6 days ago
  • Dodging Bullets.

    Fight! Fight! Fight! Had the assassin’s bullet found its mark and killed Donald Trump, America’s descent into widespread and murderous violence – possibly spiralling-down into civil war – would have been immediate and quite possibly irreparable. The American Republic, upon whose survival liberty and democracy continue to depend, is certainly not ...
    6 days ago
  • 'Corruption First' Strikes Again

    There comes a point in all our lives when we must stop to say, “Enough is enough. We know what’s happening. We are not as stupid or as ignorant as you believe us to be. And making policies that kill or harm our people is not acceptable, Ministers.”Plausible deniability has ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:The inside stories of KiwiRail’s iRex debacle, Westport’s perma-delayed flood scheme and Christchurch’s post-quake sewer rebuild, which assumed no population growth, show just how deeply sceptical senior officials in Treasury, the Ministry of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • What's that Jack Black?

    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket.https://yellowscene.com/2024/04/07/trump-as-jesus/Just to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record

    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    6 days ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network

    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    7 days ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!

    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    7 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:30 am on Thursday, July 18 are:News: Christchurch's sewer systems block further housing developments RNZ’s Niva ChittockAnalysis: Interislander: Treasury, MoT officials' mistrust of KiwiRail led ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • The politics of managed retreat

    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    1 week ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but important read. IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the Greens had egg on their faces. At the time, Christopher Luxon said ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    1 week ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago

  • Government moves to ensure flood protection for Wairoa

    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has announced his intention to appoint a Crown Manager to both Hawke’s Bay Regional and Wairoa District Councils to speed up the delivery of flood protection work in Wairoa."Recent severe weather events in Wairoa this year, combined with damage from Cyclone Gabrielle in 2023 have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • PM speech to Parliament – Royal Commission of Inquiry’s Report into Abuse in Care

    Mr Speaker, this is a day that many New Zealanders who were abused in State care never thought would come. It’s the day that this Parliament accepts, with deep sorrow and regret, the Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.  At the heart of this report are the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Government acknowledges torture at Lake Alice

    For the first time, the Government is formally acknowledging some children and young people at Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital experienced torture. The final report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State and Faith-based Care “Whanaketia – through pain and trauma, from darkness to light,” was tabled in Parliament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Government acknowledges courageous abuse survivors

    The Government has acknowledged the nearly 2,400 courageous survivors who shared their experiences during the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State and Faith-Based Care. The final report from the largest and most complex public inquiry ever held in New Zealand, the Royal Commission Inquiry “Whanaketia – through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Half a million people use tax calculator

    With a week to go before hard-working New Zealanders see personal income tax relief for the first time in fourteen years, 513,000 people have used the Budget tax calculator to see how much they will benefit, says Finance Minister Nicola Willis.  “Tax relief is long overdue. From next Wednesday, personal income ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Paid Parental Leave improvements pass first reading

    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden says a bill that has passed its first reading will improve parental leave settings and give non-biological parents more flexibility as primary carer for their child. The Regulatory Systems Amendment Bill (No3), passed its first reading this morning. “It includes a change ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Rebuilding the economy through better regulation

    Two Bills designed to improve regulation and make it easier to do business have passed their first reading in Parliament, says Economic Development Minister Melissa Lee. The Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Bill and Regulatory Systems (Immigration and Workforce) Amendment Bill make key changes to legislation administered by the Ministry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • ‘Open banking’ and ‘open electricity’ on the way

    New legislation paves the way for greater competition in sectors such as banking and electricity, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly says. “Competitive markets boost productivity, create employment opportunities and lift living standards. To support competition, we need good quality regulation but, unfortunately, a recent OECD report ranked New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Charity lotteries to be permitted to operate online

    Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden says lotteries for charitable purposes, such as those run by the Heart Foundation, Coastguard NZ, and local hospices, will soon be allowed to operate online permanently. “Under current laws, these fundraising lotteries are only allowed to operate online until October 2024, after which ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Accelerating Northland Expressway

    The Coalition Government is accelerating work on the new four-lane expressway between Auckland and Whangārei as part of its Roads of National Significance programme, with an accelerated delivery model to deliver this project faster and more efficiently, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “For too long, the lack of resilient transport connections ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Sir Don to travel to Viet Nam as special envoy

    Sir Don McKinnon will travel to Viet Nam this week as a Special Envoy of the Government, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced.    “It is important that the Government give due recognition to the significant contributions that General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong made to New Zealand-Viet Nam relations,” Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Grant Illingworth KC appointed as transitional Commissioner to Royal Commission

    Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden says newly appointed Commissioner, Grant Illingworth KC, will help deliver the report for the first phase of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, due on 28 November 2024.  “I am pleased to announce that Mr Illingworth will commence his appointment as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ to advance relationships with ASEAN partners

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