web analytics

The “Choice” Mantra

Written By: - Date published: 2:47 pm, December 16th, 2010 - 35 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. ]

35 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…

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Reviewing the whitewash
    Back in 2015, then Ombudsman Beverley Wakem conducted a review of the OIA, Not a game of hide and seek. The "review" was a whitewash, which found no need for legislative change, and instead criticised the media and requesters - which destroyed Wakem's reputation, and undermined that of the Office ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 hours ago
  • You Gov MRP Poll Out
    So, You Gov's MRP poll - the weird one that tries to reflect what will happen at a constituency level and which pretty much nailed the hung parliament in 2017 - is not looking too good for Labour:
    UK #GE2019 MRP seat projection:CON: 339 (-20)LAB: 231 (+20)SNP: 41 (-2)LDEM: 15 ...
    4 hours ago
  • Climate Change: Accountability?
    We've known about climate change for over forty years now,and it has been a major political issue for twenty. And yet fossil fuel companies have kept polluting with impunity, while government have looked the other way and twiddled their thumbs and refused to do anything because "the economy", or just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 hours ago
  • Delusional And Irrational: The Rise Of Paranoid Politics In New Zealand.
    Sheer Loopiness: Many of those expressing bemusement at the antics of these #turnardern effacers, were convinced that they were yet another expression of the National Party’s increasingly spiteful anti-government propaganda campaign. They marvelled at the oddness of the perpetrators’ mindset and questioned the common-sense of allowing the rest of New Zealand ...
    5 hours ago
  • Things to know about Whakaari/White Island
    Brad Scott, GNS Science VolcanologistThis post was originally published by GeoNet. Following the 9 December devastating eruption at Whakaari/White Island we have put together some information about the island. New Zealand’s most active volcano Whakaari/White Island is currently New Zealand’s most active volcano, it has been since an eruptive episode ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    23 hours ago
  • Status quo supports status quo
    The Justice Committee has reported back on its Inquiry into the 2017 General Election and 2016 Local Elections, with a host of recommendations about how to improve our electoral systems. Some of their recommendations are already incorporate din the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before Parliament, but there's also a recommendation ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    23 hours ago
  • The Greens abandon NeoLiberalism
    Back in 2017, in order to make themselves "electable" in the eyes of rich people who oppose everything they stand for, the Greens signed up for NeoLiberalism, adopting a restrictive set of "Budget Responsibility Rules" which basicly prevented them from using government to make things better. Now, they're finally abandoning ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Lying about a failed war
    Since invading in 2001, the US has consistently claimed that their war in Afghanistan has been going well, even when it continued year after year after year. Of course, they were lying, and thanks to the Washington Post and the US Freedom of Information Act, we get to see just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Artificial Intelligence and You
    How should we think about artificial intelligence and the implications that it has for our work and leisure? There are many articles on artificial intelligence and its potential impacts on jobs, and the ethics of applications. These are important topics, but I want to focus on some less discussed aspects, ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 day ago
  • Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
    I love data. It’s amazing the sort of “discoveries” I can make given a data set and computer statistical package. It’s just so easy to search for relationships and test their statistical significance. Maybe relationships which ...
    1 day ago
  • More lies on the Twitter (Dan Hodges edition)
    The other big story concerning Leeds Hospital is Boris Johnson's bizzare behaviour at Leeds Hospital, where he was confronted by a journalist and challenged about a four year old boy with suspected pneumonia who was left sleeping on the floor, rather than getting  abed like a sick kid would in ...
    1 day ago
  • LabourActivistPunchedMattHancock’sSPADGate
    So, for a brief period of history, it was alleged that a protester had punched Matt Hancock's SPAD (not a euphemism; special adviser) when Hancock visited Leeds Hospital.This was reported by the likes of Robert Peston and Laura Keunssberg, as well as the less credible Guido Fawkes.  It also quickly ...
    1 day ago
  • France’s anti-Zionism is anti-liberté
    by Daphna Whitmore Last week France passed a law that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. It is based on a definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Another bus lockout
    Over the past year we've seen major bus problems in Hamilton and Wellington, as drivers have sought better wages and an end to the bullshit of split shifts, which basicly see them "married to the job". And now its Auckland's turn. When NZBus's drivers planned low-level strike action of not ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Showing us how its done
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    4 days ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    4 days ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    5 days ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    5 days ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    6 days ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    6 days ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    6 days ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    1 week ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    1 week ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How much does flying contribute to climate change?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much does our use of air travel contribute to the ...
    SciBlogsBy Shaun Hendy
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The task before us
    Two weeks ago, the Zero Carbon Act became law. Right this moment, the Climate Change Commisison will be working on its initial budgets for 2022-25 and 2026-2030, and the UN has just given them a very clear steer:Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock
    Minor planet/asteroid (2309) Mr. Spock is named not for the character in Star Trek, but for a cat that was itself imperturbable, logical, intelligent and had pointed ears In a preceding blog post I introduced one of my favourite asteroids, (2472) Bradman, and also mentioned (6581) Sobers amongst a few ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles deaths and antivax misinformation
    Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia: the state murder of Dilan Cruz
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh It is late here in Bogotá, almost 11.30pm on Monday the 25th of November as I write this. The day began full of hope with yet more massive marches throughout the country, a mix of the International Day of Non-Violence Against Women and the National Strike. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
    Anti-fluoride activists are rubbing their hands in glee over what they claim is “yet another study” showing fluoride harms the brains of children. But their promotion relies on IQ relationships which the paper’s authors acknowledge disappearing when outliers or other factors are considered. And they completely ignore other relationships ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The rise and collapse of classical political economy
    The feature below is the conclusion of A History of Economic Thought, whose author was a leading Marxist economist in Russia in the early 20th century, Isaac Ilyich Rubin.  The book arose from a course he ran at Moscow University following the Russian Revolution.  First published in Russian in 1929, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman
    There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great.  As a minor planet (synonym: asteroid) spotter, I have ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago

  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Señora Presidenta, Excellencies, Delegates. International action A common thread that runs through the Paris Agreement is the commitment we have made to each other to do what we can to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 mins ago
  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
    The Government is lifting capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years as it takes the next step to future-proof New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced $12 billion of new investment, with $8 billion for specific capital projects and $4 billion to be added to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Strong economy, careful spending gives $12bn of surpluses
    The Government is forecast to run $12 billion worth of surpluses across the four years to 2023/24 as the economy continues to grow. The surpluses will help fund day-to-day capital requirements each year. These include fixing leaky hospitals, building new classrooms to cover population growth and take pressure off class ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Priorities for 2020 Wellbeing Budget outlined
    Budget 2020 will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future-proof the economy. When the Government took office in 2017 it was left with crumbling infrastructure, severe underinvestment in public services, degraded rivers and lakes, a housing crisis and rising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Minister welcomes data-rich coastline mapping tool
    The Minister responsible for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (te Takutai Moana Act 2011), Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of an online geospatial tool that provides data-rich, dynamic coastline maps that will significantly boost research and evidence-gathering under the Act. Te Kete Kōrero a Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Chief Victims Advisor reappointed for a further two years
    The Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor, QSO, has been reappointed in her role for a further two years. Dr McGregor has held the role since it was established in November 2015. She provides independent advice to government on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • New Zealand tsunami monitoring and detection system to be established
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have today announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. “New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. It is vital we have adequate warning systems in place,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • DART Buoys Announcement
    DART Buoys Announcement Aotea Wharf, 9.30am 11 December 2019   Acknowledgements Acknowledgements to Minister for Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare also here today. White Island It is with regret that this event shadows the tragic natural disaster two days ago. The volcanic eruptions on White Island have claimed 5 lives, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.  The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt releases funding to support South Canterbury
    A medium-scale adverse event has been declared for the South Canterbury district, which will see up to $50,000 in funding made available to support farming communities which have been significantly affected by recent heavy rain and flooding in the area, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two weeks of solid rain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech at launch of Rethinking Plastics Report
    Thank you Professor Juliet Gerrard and your team for the comprehensive and extremely helpful report and recommendations. Thank you too to all the stakeholders and interested parties who have contributed ideas and thinking to it. “Making best practice, standard practice” is a great framework for change and the action plan ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt pledges next steps on plastic waste
    The Government will phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year and the release today of a pivotal report for dealing with waste. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealandreport, released by her Chief Science Advisor ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
    International education continues to thrive as the Government focuses on quality over quantity, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. The tuition revenue from international education increased to $1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960. The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to Government Economics Network 2019 Conference
    I want to talk about one of the most pressing issues in our national life: the housing crisis and the poor performance of our cities. The argument I want to make to you is that generations of urban land use policy have lacked a decent grounding in economics. The consequences ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • DHB leadership renewed and strengthened
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new appointments to DHBs represent a significant changing of the guard, with 13 new chairs including four Māori chairs. Today 76 appointments have been announced to complement elected board members, as well as eight elected members appointed as either chair or deputy chair.  Four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost for ethnic communities
    Ethnic communities will be able to plan and deliver more community initiatives thanks to an increase in Government funding, Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Jenny Salesa said today. “Ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place we can all be proud to call home has been a key priority of our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago