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The danger of Key’s low wage economy

Written By: - Date published: 8:24 am, July 14th, 2009 - 46 comments
Categories: employment, unemployment, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

As you know, things are tough in the job market at the moment.

The firm figures won’t be out until later this month but unemployment has grown by probably well over 50,000 so far this year. The number of the dole has shot from 37,000 in March to 50,000 now and is growing at 1200 a week. That’s not only a loss of income for the people losing jobs, it creates a drag on the wages of those who still have work – competition between workers for fewer jobs means they’ll take lower pay.

Add to that the miserly minimum wage increase earlier this year that amounted to a couple of cents an hour after inflation and the decision not to budget for public sector wage increases (including for medical professionals and teachers who between them make up over 10% of the workforce). Top it off with Key’s government’s complete failure to come up with any sizeable policy that will keep people in work.

That’s a lot of downward pressure on wages. Treasury expects real wages per hour to grow just 0.7% this year, fall 0.7% the next year, then stall at 0.0% at 0.1% in 2011 and 2012.

That’s not a recipe for closing the wage gap with Australia (remember that? Key doesn’t talk about it so much anymore) It’s a recipe for a low wage economy, and that’s very bad news for our economic outlook. When labour is cheap and plentiful employers don’t bother to invest in capital. It becomes cheaper just to hire someone than buy tools and machinary that make workers more productive. If you’ve ever been to a developing country and seen the sheer number of men employed in jobs that in New Zealand would be done by one person with a machine, you know what I’m getting at.

That’s not a route we want to go down if we want to be a more productive, wealthier society. The challenge, then, to government is to keep wages growing, not falling. To do that, it has to create jobs. This is an area where Key must provide leadership. Only government has deep enough pockets, and the direct economic incentive (each person going from the average wage to the dole costs the government $20,000 a year), to undertake the kind of job creation and protection schemes needed.

It’s not too late to start, even if it’s pretty damn late, for the Key government to really do something meaningful (no more Jobs Summits) to protect Kiwis’ jobs and wages.

46 comments on “The danger of Key’s low wage economy”

  1. Tim Ellis 1

    Marty, what are you actually saying?

    You seem to dislike the idea that people are losing jobs, and you seem to dislike the idea that wages aren’t increasing more rapidly.

    Do you have some secret solution to provide for job growth and wage increases during a time of recession, without incurring crippling debt and/or significantly raising taxes?

  2. Marty G 2

    Why not raise the top tax rate back to 39 cents? The world didn’t end. That would give us more cash for job creation. We could handle a little more debt.

    Anyway, the cost to the government of unemployment is huge. Better to be at the top of the cliff, keeping people in jobs, than the ambulance at the bottom, paying the cost of lost tax and benefits.

    I look to Australia where unemployment has barely increased since the start of the recession. Why? Rudd’s policies

    • cocamc 2.1

      MArtyG
      Ok – raise the tax to 39 cents. What are these jobs the government will create that are long term and sustainable in the economy to meet some as yet undiscovered demand?

      Australia is still reliant on the continuing burgeoning growth of India and China. Not much has changed in that regard, i.e. supplying steel, etc. What transformation has Australia undertaken?

      • Marty G 2.1.1

        They’ve invested hundreds of millions into jobs rich areas. try google.

        • cocamc 2.1.1.1

          MartyG
          I have already looked through the Australian plans previously. Again I think they, like the rest of the world, are tinkering around the edges. so they improve GDP and have some growth in the next few years, then what. what happens when the roads, schools, etc are built.

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    Okay, Marty, how much more debt is acceptable to you?

    How much extra tax do you think the government should raise?

    What jobs will the government create with this extra money, and how?

  4. Marty G 4

    What jobs could the govt create?
    – it could invest in public transport
    – it could invest in research and development
    – it could improve pupil teacher ratios (like Labour had planned)
    – it could hire more medical staff
    – it could invest in a larger home insulation programme targeted at rented properties this time
    – it could invest in renewable power generation
    – it could build more state houses (giving more training to apprentices too)

    A lot of this would actually be revenue neutral but if more moeny is needed putting 1 cent tax back on the top bracket will not even be noticed (who noticed it coming off – even if you earn $100,000 you’ve had a grand total of $100 less tax so far). A billion extra debt is nothing in the long term.

    • cocamc 4.1

      MartyG I’d argue a lot of those things you’re suggesting are already in place. Power Companies are investing in renewable Power Generation such as wind farms but it takes time for those to come through the RMA.

      The concern I have is sustainable job creation – not just jobs for a short period. so we insulate all the houses in NZ – that takes 3 years – what then – we’re back where we started with no demand for the skills gained building more state houses and insulating homes.
      We need transformation for the long term. I not saying National is doing enough, in fact I think they are too scared to actually make the structural changes the country needs.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        About the only job that’s permanent is cleaning toilets so stop asking for them.

        R&D – creates new jobs
        Invest in sustainable power – allows for those jobs to be powered
        We have a growing population so more medical staff is long term
        Building more state houses is a great idea and then selling them off at cost. Build at a rate greater than demand and the number of people living in poverty due to the failed economic policies of the last 1/4 century will go down
        Insulating homes is also sustainable because it results in less cost later

  5. Tim Ellis 5

    Fair enough, Marty. Those are jobs that the government will create, I agree. Have you got an analysis of how productive they will be?

    What sort of cost do you have in mind? If they’re going to have a significant impact on employment, then you are talking about billions of dollars of extra spending, rather than a couple of hundred million. We’re not talking about a small debt increase, here.

    How much do you want to spend, and where is your evidence that the spending is productive?

    • So Bored 5.1

      Tea break time, hello Tim, I see you are still spending all day doing this, oh for that luxury, how productive.

      You keep harping on about investment and productivity…I just read the best evidence that capitalists can bend the rules of physics if they have to…Goldman Sachs are paying $18 billion in quarterly bonuses to employees..on the back of a corporate guarantee scheme from the tax payers, $13 billion from AIG and the hoarding of zillions in “securitized ” debt (it appears as a positive in the ledger but is in fact worth zilch). This is legalised larceny on a grand scale. It has its mirrors here too.

      A simple statement Tim, we are part of that financial system. And its totalled. So trying to extract the last cent of “productivity” from the wage slave class for the benefit of those who have already taken most of the rest seems slightly obscene.

  6. Craig Glen Eden 6

    Tim Ellis National should build the 650 state homes as Labour had planned and budgeted for. Instead what did National do, was it 60 from memory. Stop firing public servants that would help unemployment Tim. Reinstate the 6 million dollars that has been taken from the disabled Kids at public schools that pays for therapists wages.
    Then he should start looking at the structure of the economy, carryout the select committee review of the Banking industry to see if their arguments stack up. If he started with just these things Tim it would be a bloody good start, instead of doing nothing like he is currently doing.Key is a bloody disgrace! The fact that you are still defending him and Nationals media lines is quite astounding. Key talked himself up now its time to deliver,but he cant because National have no policy he sold you bullshit and you bought it. What Marty is saying Tim is the Government should adopt policy that protects and creates jobs, instead of taking jobs away.

    • mike 6.1

      “Government should adopt policy that protects and creates jobs, instead of taking jobs away”

      You don’t get it – Its not Govt’s that create jobs – its their job to create an environment that fosters growth, something labour reversed but the Nats are doing a fine job fixing.

      • Craig Glen Eden 6.1.1

        In part thats right Mike, but jobs in the public sector are real jobs . So Governments do create jobs as well as private business. Whats National doing to create that environment Mike. Research and development investment maybe????????? or reducing company tax rate, shit my company could do with a break right now.

    • Swampy 6.2

      How about getting public servants to do some real work instead of sucking off the taxpayer.

      Just because Labour has built a huge increase in the bureacracy doesn’t mean it is all necessary or worthwhile. I can’t for the life of me see what benefit the Tertiary Education Commission has achieved for example.

      • BLiP 6.2.1

        Public servants sucking off the tax payer – like the Police, you mean? Or doctors, or teachers, or John “The Goober” Key?

        The fact that you can’t understand the work of the Tertiary Education Commission is abundantly apparent.

  7. illuminatedtiger 7

    I remember before he came PM and was asked in one particular interview what his vision for New Zealand was – he had one word, “Singapore”. I found this interesting considering he would go onto campaign on his “Ambitious for New Zealand” slogan of which higher wages were a component.

    Anyone who knows anything about Singapore will know that it largely got to where it is today courtesy of cheap labour from South East Asian nations. While we do hire in a lot of seasonal workers from the Pacific for next to nothing I think Key’s plan is to make cheap labour out of New Zealand citizens. Hell, while we’re at it why not adopt some of that dictatorships medievil law and order policies too?

    • snoozer 7.1

      “while we’re at it why not adopt some of that dictatorships medievil law and order policies too?”

      Crusher’s way ahead of you

  8. jason 8

    Craig Glen Eden. I wholeheartedly agree with you well put.
    Key should start a company that trains people to smile in the face of impending disasters. He’d be perfect at it.
    I watched last night on the news an article in regard to cutting adult education funding. Anne Trolley came across as a right tosser; pun intended. The news actually critiqued a national policy. Un- b-fuckin-leavable. Great analysis too. They costed the current policy and it amounted to piss all to the government purse and a whole lot of good to our social fabric; which after all has, as right and left will agree, other benefits to lower crime rates and health increases.
    Come on right whingers lets get together with the left whingers and find some common ground. What do we both agree on?

  9. So Bored 9

    If there is a glimmer of hope for the common working person it is that some creative thinking has been done by the Greens to stimulate the economy. Labour need to keep up. The unfortunate thing is that we have a government that reflects the populace, backward thinking and incapable of seeing the impending train wreck of energy depletion, cliamte change and financial meltdown..

    To criticise National is unfair and unproductive. Its the equivalent of accusing an amoeba of being incapable of writing the works of Shakespeare. Perhaps NACT might try creative thinking and be criticised fairly for some kind of political Mills and Boon.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Penal Rates need to be brought back. In the short term it improves employment as 50 and 60 hour weeks get dropped and in the long term forces business to invest in capital. Neither Labour nor National will do so though – they’re still too tied in to the failed neo-classical economics and capitalism in general.

  11. The reason that we have high unemployment is precisely because wages aren’t dropping – they are somewhat ‘sticky’. This means the labour market doesn’t clear, and there is an oversupply. With the marginal product of labour staying constant, either you have an increase in wages or an increase in employment. To think you can force both with a minimum wage or higher spending is just wrong (in most cases).

    • Daveo 11.1

      See, this is what’s wrong with neoliberal economists. The problem is that workers have protections, the problem is that there’s a minimum wage. Why if we could let wages drop to $2.50 an hour we’d all be saved.

      Did it ever occur to you, Tom, that the problem is capitalism? That the problem lies with a system that is so inherently unstable that it routinely collapses in on itself and throws 10% of the workforce out on its arse for no reason?

      No, of course not, because your models are framed entirely within a capitalist market economy. You’re incapable of thinking outside of it, so you demand workers pay the price for capitalism’s failures.

      • Swampy 11.1.1

        Capitalism, isn’t that what keeps the workers employed in Communist China these days?

    • Bright Red 11.2

      “This means the labour market doesn’t clear, and there is an oversupply.”

      You’re talking about families’ livelihoods scumbag. We shouldn’t want people’s jobs to be like so many bags of rice in a marketplace.

      All you’ve revealed is the utter debasement and inhumanity of your economic ideology.

      • Tom Mathews 11.2.1

        Goodness me.

        The reason we study labour economics is to a large extent to determine what determines income and employment levels. Once we know these things, we can come up with policy prescriptions to improve them. That’s what I am trying to do here.

        If you find it distasteful to consider the labour market as a market, that’s your business. I agree that wages are important to people’s lives, obviously. But if we are discussing or formulating policy, looking at the market analytically is exactly what we should be doing, so we know what gets positive outcomes. What could be more humane than that? Certainly not what appears to be your preferred approach, which is just going with your gut and not bothering to think about the effects on people’s lives.

        And Daveo, it’s not just right-wing economists that use supply and demand models.

        • Bright Red 11.2.1.1

          except that your analysis only analyses people as units of labour and input costs to businesses. You don’t consider the social and psychological importance of work. You don’t consider the impact on crime, education, health of unemployment. You don’t even consider the impact on the government’s books.

          There’s no use saying ‘the problem is wages are sticky so it’s workers’ problem that’ there’s unemployment’ because any price that is not determined unit by unit is sticky. Unless you want to go to a system where wages are under constant renegotiation, which as a practical collary would actually mean total control of wages to the employer = lower wages, and would be totally impractical anyway.

          The narrow school of economic thought that you are championing has simply failed to deliver for society. It just delivers ever greater concerntration of wealth, bubbles, and crashes.

          • Daveski 11.2.1.1.1

            Agreed. Look at how many people are fleeing the US to live in Cuba.

            I think the pragmatic view is that people fail, economic and political theories are always perfect.

            • Bright Red 11.2.1.1.1.1

              But the point of a theory is to have predictive power in the real world. It’s pointless to say ‘my theory’s brilliant but reality keeps getting it wrong’.

              Ultimately, the problem with economics is it is trying to reduce human motivations and needs to simple mathematical formulas, and in that process the people doing the simplification must make judgement calls on what weightings apply to different things.. that’s where the political ideology slips in and you’re left with nothing more than ideology dressed up in the respectablity and seeming objectivity of maths.

          • Tom Mathews 11.2.1.1.2

            You’re reading a bit too much into what was really quite a simple observation – increasing wages and increasing unemployment are contradictory goals, when you have close to zero growth (or recession) like we do now. I think that’s a relevant consideration for readers of this post. I didn’t say which policy we should prefer, I didn’t even hint at that. If you disagree that there’s a tradeoff, feel free to explain why.

            Otherwise you’re just talking to yourself, essentially.

            • Tom Mathews 11.2.1.1.2.1

              Also, while I agree that lots of economics is highly maths-y and theoretical, it certainly does have practical tests, the whole field of econometrics is devoted to this!

            • Bright Red 11.2.1.1.2.2

              “increasing wages and increasing unemployment are contradictory goals, when you have close to zero growth (or recession) like we do now”

              Not so. The portion of GDP going to employee compensation could be increased (offset by a decrease in returns to holders of capital) allowing for both an increase in wages and employment.

              The problem with saying ‘we’re in the crap, wages have to drop or more of you will lose your jobs’ is that reducing wages does cost jobs, by lowering consumer demand, and ultimately hurts the economy by encouraging low-value use of labour and discouraging capital investment.

              Also, you’re percieving of the economy as if it’s a one-off market. It’s not, the events now have reprecussions in the future.

              Econometrics is by and large crap too… the behaviouralists are on to it because they’re looking at what studies of actual humans teach us, rather than maths and the ideologies of a fewe rich white men do.

            • Zaphod Beeblebrox 11.2.1.1.2.3

              Economic theory is a subset of social theory, unless you appreciate the social context you operate in (and biases you have) your theories are going to be limited.
              The greatest improvements in human condition did not really begin until after the 1930s- what happened then? We started paying proper wages. The Welfare state was created. Governments invested in public infrastructure, schools, universities, health care and science.
              Look what happened in the 1950s. Henry Ford made a fortune because the middle classes finaly got paid properly and was able to buy his product.
              what happened to government debt? I twent down because higher wages meant a higher tax take. What happened to productivity? It increased.
              Since the 1980s when the crazy ideas of Reagan and Thatcher infested the world, average GDP has dropped. Unemployment has skyrocketed worldwide, real income and wges have dropped.
              I reall don’t see the downside of paying people more at all.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.3

      Or it could be that the market function just doesn’t work. Which is more likely considering that since we installed the market system 320 years ago it’s never worked.

      Steve Keen has a good look at the product of labour and capital in his book and comes to the conclusion that capital gets over compensated and labour under compensated.

      Here’s a couple of excerpts:
      http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/draco1337/Debunking_Economics2.jpg
      http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/draco1337/unmarket_incomes.jpg

      • Tom Mathews 11.3.1

        Draco – the market obviously isn’t perfect, but aren’t we better off than we were 320 years ago?
        Obviously this doesn’t mean we couldn’t be better off had things gone differently, but saying it has simply ‘never worked’ overstates your case.

        Red: What decreases consumer demand more? Wage cuts, or unemployment?
        I’m also a little confused as to your denunciation of econometrics, which is basically just statistics for economics. I can assure you that regression analysis knows no ideology. Econometrics is used in behavioural economics just as it is used in neo-classical economics. Many famous behavioural economics papers include substantial econometric components.

        • snoozer 11.3.1.1

          “the market obviously isn’t perfect, but aren’t we better off than we were 320 years ago?”

          Post hoc ergo propter hoc eh Tom?

          • Tom Mathews 11.3.1.1.1

            Not if you have an underlying model 😉

            • So Bored 11.3.1.1.1.1

              Tom, your faith in economics, markets and econometricians amazes me. This underlying model of which you speak, is it level, does it correlate in any form with reality, is it moral or humane, in fact has it got any veracity at all? If its been constructed by modern economic theory then it is demonstrably a failure, just look at the current state of the economy. Economists have never learnt to place value on doubt and scepticism, it just doesnt come in lowly materialistic measurable units, very unlike those abstract rational consumers who are supposed to align with you and me. Liberate yourself from these feeble constructs….get rid of the high priests who exist merely to justify why the rich have the money….

            • old woman 11.3.1.1.1.2

              What if the model is flawed?

              …and how do you know it isn’t?

              oops. This was meant to be a reply to Tom Mathews. Haven’t yet worked out the intricacies of changing it. Sorry.

              But the questions stand.

        • Bill 11.3.1.2

          “…but aren’t we better off than we were 320 years ago?”

          Depends on the ‘we’ that you refer to.

          In India we are probably not better off than we were 320 years ago. Probably the same would be said of Bangladesh.

          What about the ‘better offness’ of ‘we’ all over the continent of Africa?

          How about we, the indigenous populations of N. America, Central and S America?

          Others can expand on the list as they wish. The point is that the only ‘we’ who might be better off is ‘we’ of the Anglo Saxon imperialist powers. But even that is contentious depending on how you want to measure ‘better offness’.

          • Pascal's bookie 11.3.1.2.1

            Other things that have been glided over in accounting for this 320 yrears of awesome, are the contributions made by the labour movement, transfer payments, public health and education, and a myriad of other things that run counter to the ‘ it was neo classic economics wot dunnit’ thesis.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.3.1.3

          We’re better off than we were but that doesn’t mean that capitalism is the cause. Considering the fact that we’ve also moved to a more socialist/democratic system since there’s reasonable evidence to say that that shift in society is the cause of us being better off and not capitalism.

          In 1688 less than 5% had the vote, some two hundred years later we finally got round to accepting that women should be voting as well. Fifty years after that we changed economics because the classical theory we were operating under had just resulted the in Great Depression. This, of course, after suffering economic collapse every generation or so. Keynesian economics was implemented (but not to the full) and we saw a massive increase in living standards but, then, capitalism collapsed again. This ushered in the neoclassical school under Reagan, Thatcher and Douglas. Under that system we’ve seen a decrease in living standards and a return to economic collapse every generation or so.

          Capitalism is a socio-economic system that is only one step removed from feudalism. It’s better than that but it still retains everything that made feudalism a failure – namely poverty and control by a rich elite.

  12. Bill 12

    The only ‘problem’ with Key’s low wage economy is that enough people might finally get sick and tired of being shafted via paying over the top prices thanks to speculative bubbles (oil and food staples last year) and then having taxes diverted from social spending to bail out the ‘too big to fail’ bastards who keep on inflating the bubbles from the pool of shit that Capitalism floats on.

    How much longer?

  13. jarbury 13

    Setting aside spending money on public transport instead of roads (because it generates 40% more jobs per dollar spent) because I really have argued that point to death in the past, I think the government could spend money on one very important thing that will help us a LOT in the years to come.

    Houses.

    If there was anything that created the bubble that popped last year it was over-priced housing. And why was housing over-priced? Because there was a significant lack of supply (along with some stupid tax benefits like reverse-gearing) of housing.

    I strongly believe that the housing development market is very poor at responding to natural demand and supply changes. It seems like the ability to raise funds has a greater effect on whether or not housing ends up being built than whether or not it is actually needed. In the past few months our net migration levels have increased dramatically (people who were on OEs coming back home I suspect) while our population continue to grow. Added to that, changing demographics means that household sizes are getting smaller as the population ages – which means that the number of required houses is growing at an even faster rate than the population.

    Due to all of this, I strongly believe that the government should ‘step-in’ and stimulate the housing market by significantly adding to housing supply over the next few years. For a start, this generates a HUGE number of jobs in a variety of sectors that are really suffering at the moment. The Green New Deal looked at spending around $2 billion over the next three years on building more housing – and calculated that would save around 28,000 jobs.

    Yes, twenty-eight thousand jobs.

    Furthermore, if the location of this new housing is done cleverly – by that I mean that we intensify around development nodes and train stations rather than sprawling out everywhere – then we can support far more sustainable transportation systems in the future. The new housing would obviously be built to a high standard insulation wise, so we would get significant health benefits there.

    But the main benefit I think would be that we would make housing more affordable again. Throughout much of the rest of the world we have seen house-prices decrease significantly over the past year or so, but in Auckland especially they’ve barely moved due to the huge amount of “supressed demand” that high prices in the last few years created. There are significant long-term benefits of improving housing affordability, such as reducing the likeliness of another property bubble and also responding to the inter-generational equity issues that are locking out younger people from home-ownership.

    So investment in housing has both significant short term stimulatory benefits, and in the longer run has significant social, economic and environmental benefits. It’s a no-brainer surely?

  14. Swampy 14

    And blah blah blah blah blah, all negative and miserly.

    And I started a new job this year taking home $450 gross and I’m loving it.

    • felix 14.1

      So this whole “recession” thing that Key and the Nats are blaming everything on, that’s just a myth?

      Just as I suspected. Thanks for clearing that up, Swampy.

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    I’ve been listening to a wonderful podcast this morning which left me thinking. The podcast was a 30-min well-spent break, in the company of Daniel Midgley and Michael Gordin.  You might know Daniel Midgley from the Talk the Talk linguistics podcast. Michael Gordin is the author of “Scientific Babel”, which ...
    SciBlogsBy Andreea Calude
    5 days ago
  • Snakeflu?! An intriguing source suggested for new Chinese coronavirus
    The whole world is on edge over a coronavirus outbreak that started in early December in Wuhan City, China. The virus is thought to have first infected people working at a seafood and live animal market. So what could the original source have been? There’s no official word yet, but ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Simon’s Philippine jaunt: #LittleBoysPlayingToughguys
    Not too far back, Simon Bridges the Leader of the Opposition and National Party, went on an excursion to China. This was arranged not by MFAT (NZ’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade), but by their MP Jian Yang – a man who also just happened to “forget to mention” ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Will Turia ever forgive Labour?
    Dame Tariana Turia with former PM John KeyWhat is it about Tariana Turia’s grudge against the Labour Party? Not content with attacking the Government over Whānau Ora funding, which was increased by $80 million in 2019, she has now made it personal by saying that Jacinda Ardern is out of her ...
    6 days ago
  • What are the recent fluoride-IQ studies really saying about community water fluoridation?
    Scaremongering graphic currently being promoted by Declan Waugh who is well known for misrepresenting the fluoride science This graphic is typical of current anti-fluoride propaganda. It is scare-mongering, in that it is aimed at undermining community ...
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #3, 2020
    Biography of a policy metric Bård Lahn performs a sweeping literature review to present the history of our notion of a "global carbon budget" and how this number has come  to encapsulate a massive amount of scientific research into a useful, easily grasped tool in our policy skill set.  A ...
    6 days ago
  • Oxfam Report: Time to Care – Unpaid and underpaid care work and the global inequality crisis
    January 2020 Economic inequality is out of control. In 2019, the world’s billionaires, only 2,153 people, had more wealth than 4.6 billion people. This great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    7 days ago
  • How to avoid being a cunt to hospo workers’
    Working hospo is hard mahi for many reasons, from long hours and gruelling high-volume weekends to customers who treat us as their servants. There are always lovely and polite customers who treat hospo workers with respect and kindness but, throughout my 15-years in the biz, I’ve collected a number of ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    7 days ago
  • 2019-nCoV (the new coronavirus): Should we be concerned, and will there be a vaccine?
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    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    7 days ago
  • The Chinese coronavirus outbreak: what are the options for vaccines and treatments?
    By now you’ve probably heard of the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan City, China. The number of cases is rising, up to about 300 with six deaths. Cases have been reported in several more Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in Japan, Thailand, and South Korea. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • Educating New Zealand’s future workforce
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A casual attitude towards transparency
    Back in December, when the government was introducing new secrecy legislation on an almost daily basis, I posted about the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Bill. The Bill establishes a new class of public entity, "special purpose vehicles", which collect and spend public money and enjoy statutory powers. Despite this, they ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Against a carbon bailout
    If we are to avoid making the planet uninhabitable, we need to cut carbon emisisons fast. Which basicly means putting the fossil fuel industry - coal, gas, and oil - out of business. But this means that the banks and other lenders who have bankrolled the industry's environmental destruction will ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Still a criminal industry
    More evidence that the fishing industry suffers from pervasive criminality, with Forest & Bird highlighting some odd numbers in the annual statistics:The Annual Review Report For Highly Migratory Species Fisheries 2018/19 (Pg 4, Table 4) showed only 4% of commercial long lining trips for tuna and swordfish reported non-fish bycatch ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Controversy? Or Manufactroversy?
    A few days ago, New Zealand’s Minister of Education announced the wider release of a resource on climate change, which was initially trialled at a Christchurch school during 2018. According to the Minister, children will learn about “the role science plays in understanding climate change, aids understanding of both the response ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • The emerging coronavirus outbreak in China
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • How did climate change get so controversial?
    An excerpt from the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, released Feb 25. Our human brain is poorly equipped to deal with a threat like climate change. Over millions of years, we’ve evolved to avoid life-threatening dangers like predators jumping out of bushes. We’ve survived by quickly detecting and avoiding immediate, short-term ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers are ruining Canterbury’s rivers
    Its summer, so people naturally want to go for a swim. But in South Canterbury, you can't, because the rivers are full of toxic goo:As of Monday, the Waihi River at Wilson Street footbridge, Geraldine, the Waihao River at Bradshaws Bridge, and three spots on the Opihi River - at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Sack Shane Jones
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BIG idea physics
    This morning I’ve been having a quick look through some documentation from The Ministry of Education on proposed changes to NCEA Level 1 Science. For those not familiar with the NZ secondary education system, a typical student would complete NCEA level 1 at the end of year 11.  In this ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • Revolution in New Zealand? Not Even Close!
    No Fires Thanks, We're Kiwis: For the moment, in those close-to-home places where revolutions are born, there may be tetchiness and resentment, frustration and complaint, but nowhere is anybody uttering the cry that will bring a New Zealand revolution into being: “We have found the way to make tomorrow better ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #3
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... 'It's heart-wrenching': 80% of Blue Mountains and 50% of ...
    1 week ago
  • Britain exits the European Union and takes a sharp right turn
    by John Smith  Britain’s exit from the imperialist bloc known as the European Union (EU) is now irreversible. The crushing electoral defeat of the Labour Party has dismayed many workers and youth who had placed their hopes in Jeremy Corbyn, its left-wing leader. This article assesses these historic events, neither of which ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 12, 2020 through Sat, Jan 18, 2020 Editor's Pick The Past and the Future of the Earth’s Oldest Trees Bristlecone pines have survived various catastrophes over the millennia, and they ...
    1 week ago
  • How climate change influenced Australia’s unprecedented fires
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections, and has been adapted into a new myth rebuttal on climate-wildfire connections with the short URL sks.to/wildfires Australia’s frightening bushfires, which kicked off an early fire season in September 2019, have already had cataclysmic effects, and the continent is still just in the early ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Gender Identity Ideology – A Partial Bibliography of Online Coverage
    This great resource has been contributed to Redline by Janie Doebuck. Janie made some notes on the bibliography: 1) It is by no means exhaustive. There are tons more gender critical posts, essays, articles, podcasts, youtube videos, etc. online. 2) There are links in the bibliography that are behind paywalls. There ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • About those biased Oscar Nominations
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    2 weeks ago
  • How New Zealand media reports chronic pain
    Hemakumar Devan Around three million New Zealanders access news media (both paper and online) every week. Yes, you heard that right! So, the potential for news media to shape public health beliefs is common sense. As chronic pain affects one in five New Zealanders, we wanted to find out how ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Still Waiting For American Democracy.
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    2 weeks ago
  • In Outrage Over Its Bunk Science, Goop Finds Fuel for Growth
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Tobacco Excise Taxes and the Smokefree 2025 Goal: Some Ways Forward
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    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #2, 2020
    Conflation and how to fix it VIa AMS,  Raul Lejano looks at what in a layperson's thinking would be called conflation— confusion and blending of entirely different topics— when people think about climate change. Ideology and the Narrative of Skepticism  (open access) starts with some arguably frightening false connections between the science and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Cranky Uncle’ smart phone game will show you how to disarm climate deniers
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    2 weeks ago
  • Science in the ’20s – part 1
      Outrageous, immoral or downright dangerous. That’s a description of the lifestyle of women “flappers” in the 1920s. Could it apply to science (and scientists) in the 2020s? Actually, you could look back at the past decade and see those, or similar terms, used about some science and scientists. Sometimes ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Postscript: Citizenship Granted.
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    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Music: Morales is coming
    It will be no secret to longtime readers that I, Russell Brown, love the disco.   So I'm pretty excited by the fact that one of the greats of the game is returning this summer – and also pleased to say I have tickets to give away.Legendary mixer and DJ ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The WHO Vaccine Safety Summit – from someone who was actually there
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    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • The timely death of the British Labour Party
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Mystery China pneumonia outbreak likely caused by new human coronavirus
    Connor Bamford, Queen’s University Belfast Since December 2019, there has been a cluster of 59 cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, eastern China. The pneumonia is associated with a previously unidentified coronavirus related to the deadly SARS virus. Seven of those cases are thought to be serious, and one person – ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, koalas are cute – but should we bring them to NZ? Errm, no
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    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s negative campaigning
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    2 weeks ago
  • Ending the government’s charade over water
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Northern Ireland joins the civilised world
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • I had an intense conversation at work today.
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    2 weeks ago
  • French transport workers take on Macron over pension reform
    by John Edmundson Starting on December 5th, 2019 workers in the Parisian rail network commenced an open-ended strike in opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed changes to their pension scheme. Rail workers in the Metro Underground have, for decades, had retirement conditions that compensate them for the low wages, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • What a difference the decimal point makes
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    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Who’s Going To Stop Him?
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    2 weeks ago
  • A worker’s story
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 5, 2020 through Sat, Jan 11, 2020 Editor's Pick Debunked Australian Bushfire Conspiracy Theories Were Pushed by Alex Jones, Murdoch Media   As unusually intense and widespread bushfires have ...
    2 weeks ago
  • J.K. Rowling, the Seattle Library, and the Issue That Must Not Be Named
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 weeks ago
  • Rules of Empire: Laws simply do not apply and “National Security” excuses all else.
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    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    3 weeks ago
  • Indian lessons for NZ workers – the January 8 general strike
                    by Phil Duncan On Wednesday (January 8) another massive general strike took place in India.  Some 250 million industrial workers, white-collar workers, agricultural labourers struck against the government’s economic policies and attacks on the Muslim population through new proposed citizenship rules. This ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The action that counts
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 weeks ago
  • Fossil fuel political giving outdistances renewables 13 to one
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk Corporations, special interest groups, and individuals inject billions of dollars into the American political system every year. Much of the financial support in politics is concealed from public view, as some rules – and loopholes – allow “dark money” and ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Animal response to a bushfire is astounding. These are the tricks they use to survive
    Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide? The answer is adaptation and old-fashioned ingenuity. Australia’s bushfire season is far from ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago

  • FAQ – Everything you need to know about the Big New Zealand Upgrade
    Today, our Government announced the biggest infrastructure investment in a generation. We’re investing $12 billion to upgrade and build rail, roads, schools and hospitals across the country – modernising our infrastructure, preparing for climate change and helping to future-proof our economy. Find out everything you need to know about the ...
    3 hours ago
  • Week That Was: 2020
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    5 days ago
  • Winston Peters: “Ihumātao deal still a long way off”
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told Mike Hosking that a settlement deal regarding Ihumātao in Auckland is still a long way off. The Maori King's flag was lowered at the site near Auckland Airport yesterday, sparking suggestions an announcement of a deal could be made by Waitangi Day. Pania Newton, ...
    6 days ago
  • Winston Peters accuses Gerry Brownlee of ‘politicising’ Holocaust memorial
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is accusing Gerry Brownlee of "politicising" a Holocaust memorial event after the National MP questioned the lack of Kiwi representation there. The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem, Israel, is holding the World Holocaust Forum on January 23 to mark 75 years since ...
    6 days ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to help Waipukurau Pā sites attract thousands of tourists
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna - Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project is receiving $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. It is is expected to boost the town's employment and tourism, creating sixteen new jobs once completed and attract up to 15,000 visitors a year. Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development ...
    1 week ago
  • “Common sense will prevail, not extremism” Winston Peters backs Shane Jones’ pro-meat stance
    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing his MPs who have spoken out against a new climate change teaching resource that advises students to eat less meat to save the planet. The new teaching resource, announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Climate Change Minister James Shaw, tells students ...
    1 week ago
  • Violent assault on paramedic highlights need for law change
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Justice Today’s horrific violent assault of an on-duty female paramedic which rendered her unconscious is truly unsettling. “Our thoughts are with the paramedic, her loved ones and the St John’s team at Warkworth Station,” says New Zealand First Justice Spokesperson Darroch Ball. “Harsher penalties for perpetrators ...
    1 week ago
  • Acting PM Winston Peters confirms NZDF troops in Iraq not hit by Iranian attacks
    Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters called for calm and diplomacy following Iranian missile strikes on bases housing United States troops in Iraq, but confirmed New Zealand's base in the country was not hit. The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) was earlier today investigating claims New Zealand's base in Iraq had ...
    1 week ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Delivering a stable water supply to Wairarapa
    Hon. Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in Wairarapa The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $7.11 million to create a sustainable water supply for the Wairarapa. The PGF will provide a $7 million investment to Wairarapa Water Limited to progress the Wairarapa Water Storage Scheme towards procurement, consenting, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing consents hit highest level since 1974
    Housing consents have hit a 45-year high, as Statistics NZ data shows a total of 37,010 residential consents were issued in the year to November --- the first time they have breached the 37,000 mark since the mid-1970s. Statistics NZ said the trend had been rising since late 2011, when ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Darroch Ball MP: “Violence against first responders is a problem on the rise”
    New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball says that a paramedic being kicked unconscious last night in an attempted burglary in Warkworth, north of Auckland, is a symptom of a larger problem. "Incidents like this are becoming more and more frequent...and it’s getting worse," Mr Ball said. The MP is pushing for ...
    2 weeks ago

  • The New Zealand Upgrade Programme
    Rail, roads, schools and hospitals will be built and upgraded across the country under the new $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The programme: Includes investments in roads, rail, hospitals and schools to future-proof the economy Will give a $10 billion boost to New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • School infrastructure upgrades ramping up
    The New Zealand Upgrade Programme is already underway, with schools busy getting building work started over the Christmas break. The Coalition Government announced just before the end of last year $400 million in new funding for most state schools to invest locally in building companies and tradies to fix leaking ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Flicking the switch on a clean powered public service
    Our Government’s programme to upgrade infrastructure and modernise the economy will help more communities to be part of the solution to climate change through a clean-powered public service. Minister for Climate Change James Shaw today announced the first group of projects from the New Zealand Upgrade Programme’s clean powered public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Government of Infrastructure delivers for New Zealanders
    Infrastructure and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says today’s capital investment announcements show the Coalition Government is the Government of Infrastructure. $7 billion in projects have been announced today as part of the Government’s $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme, which will see capital spending at its highest rate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Boost for child, maternity and mental health
    $300 million dollar capital investment in health, divided among four focus areas: Child and maternal health - $83 million Mental health and addiction - $96 million Regional and rural service projects – $26 million Upgrading and fixing aging hospital facilities - $75 million Contingency of $20 million The New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Transport infrastructure upgrades to get NZ moving and prepared for the future
    $6.8 billion for transport infrastructure in out six main growth areas - Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Canterbury and Queenstown. $1.1 billion for rail. $2.2 billion for new roads in Auckland. The Government’s programme of new investments in roads and rail will help future proof the economy, get our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Growing and modernising the NZ economy
    A new programme to build and upgrade roads, rail, schools and hospitals will prepare the New Zealand economy for the future, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. “The $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme uses our capacity to boost growth by making targeted investments around the country, supporting businesses and local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Future proofing New Zealand’s rail
    Minister for State Owned Enterprises Winston Peters says the funding of four major rail projects under the New Zealand Upgrade Programme is yet another step in the right direction for New Zealand’s long-term rail infrastructure. “This Government has a bold vision for rail. We said we would address the appalling ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Delivering infrastructure for a modern NZ
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • $1.55m support for Hawke’s Bay three waters services review
    The Government is pleased to announce a $1.55 million funding contribution to assist Hawke’s Bay investigate voluntary changes to the region’s three waters service delivery arrangements. “Over the last 18 months, the five Hawke’s Bay councils have been collaborating to identify opportunities for greater coordination in three waters service delivery across ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Minister welcomes report of nation’s household plastic rubbish, recycling practices
    A new report on New Zealand’s plastic rubbish and recycling practices is being welcomed by the Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage.  “The report by WasteMINZ provides a valuable insight into what’s ending up in household rubbish and recycling bins around the country. It highlights the value of much ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Government considers retirement income policy review recommendations
    The Government is now considering the recommendations of the Retirement Commissioner’s review into New Zealand’s retirement income policies. “The review raises a number of important issues in relation to New Zealanders’ wellbeing and financial independence in retirement, particularly for vulnerable people,” the Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Kris Faafoi, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • PM announces election date as September 19
    The 2020 General Election will be held on Saturday 19 September, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “I will be asking New Zealanders to continue to support my leadership and the current direction of the Government, which is grounded in stability, a strong economy and progress on the long term ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund supports Waikato youth into constructionProvincial Growth Fund supports Waika...
    Two projects focussed on supporting Waikato youth into the construction industry have been given combined funding of just over $1 million from the Te Ara Mahi allocation of the Provincial Growth Fund, Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.  The two Te Ara Mahi PGF projects announced are: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund supports Waikato youth into construction
    Two projects focussed on supporting Waikato youth into the construction industry have been given combined funding of just over $1 million from the Te Ara Mahi allocation of the Provincial Growth Fund, Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.  The two Te Ara Mahi PGF projects announced are: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand to support Pacific Public Sector Hub
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