The disconnected: the future of the left?

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, April 18th, 2013 - 42 comments
Categories: class, class war, climate change, community democracy, democratic participation, feminism, greens, labour, Left, socialism, sustainability, Unions, welfare - Tags: , , , , ,

Many of us have long been arguing that there is a need for a new left direction:  one in which “left wing” parties, like Labour and the Greens, turn away from soft neoliberalism, and re-connect with those on low incomes who have become disenfranchised by the biggest parties scrambling after the middle class vote. This needs to be a truly new direction, not the faux new direction promised at the end of last year.

The left needs to work for a fair society, and one that works for the weakest members of society, regardless of gender, sexuality, marital status, culture or “race”.  Furthermore the left needs to create policies that respond to the challenges that are being recognised in the 21st century: climate change, resource scarcity, increasing population, changes to the employment and work structure, and the increasing importance of a real social security system. For me the future direction cannot be a return to a heteronormative, male dominated left.

This week Chris Trotter has also written (yet another) significant post on the issue; ‘From Backstage to Centre stage: Making the Working Class Matter’.  He begins by setting the context, and giving urgency to the need for a revitalised trade union movement:

ONE DAY SOON, the National Party’s hatred of the poor is going to exceed the bounds of political acceptability. On that day, the long, slow, rightward swing of the electoral pendulum, which began with Don Brash’s toppling of Bill English in October 2003, will stop and reverse direction. Whether the leftward swing lasts for ten years or just two will depend on how far towards the centre of our political and cultural stages the next, Labour-Green, government is prepared to let working-class New Zealanders advance.

The first big test will be whether or not the new government’s is willing to revivify the trade union movement.

Trotter locates the destruction of the trade unions as being at the heart of the “entire neoliberal project“.  Trotter rightly argues for the need to work towards a Labour-Green government that shifts the language from a focus on “choice” to a focus on “need“; of a shift from:

… containment and supervision, punishment and control, …[to] wealth redistribution and the re-prioritisation of resource allocation.

Trotter’s central focus is on the “working class“, even though he recognises the need to re-focus on the changed 21st century context and its new insecurities.  He says:

The most obvious change would be the complete marginalisation of those social forces with an interest in demonising and/or infantilising working-class people. The framing of issues relating to working people’s lives would cease to reflect the fears, fantasies, prejudices and interests of their middle-class managers and upper-class employers, and would, instead, begin portraying working-people as the heroically practical managers of living conditions defined by employment insecurity and material scarcity.

Others are now using a new term, the “precariat” to describe the new conditions experienced by the most insecure of low income people.  In 2011, Guy Standing argued in The Guardian,

For the first time, the mainstream left in Britain and Europe has no progressive agenda. It has forgotten a basic principle. Every progressive movement has been built on the anger, needs and aspirations of the emerging major class. Today that is the precariat.

Standing goes on to define the unique characteristics of the precariat; a class in the making, which, by it’s very circumstances of vulnerability and constant change, has no obvious basis for achieving solidarity, other than their shared vulnerability:

 It consists not just of everybody in insecure jobs – though many are temps, part-timers, in call centres or in outsourced arrangements. The precariat consists of those who feel their lives and identities are made up of disjointed bits, in which they cannot construct a desirable narrative or build a career, combining forms of work and labour, play and leisure in a sustainable way.

Because of flexible labour markets, the precariat cannot draw on a social memory, a feeling of belonging to a community of pride, status, ethics and solidarity. Everything is fleeting.

Standing ends by a call for a reworking of progressive origins, through a,

… reinvention of the progressive trinity of equality, liberty and fraternity. A politics of paradise will be built on respect for principles of economic security and all forms of work and leisure, rather than the dour labourism of industrial society. The precariat understands that, and politicians on the left should listen.

This looks promising.  However, “equality” and “liberty” have always pulled in different directions: “equality” towards solidarity and “liberty” towards individualism.  And the concept of “fraternity” arose out of a very patriarchal society.

A new direction, founded on principles of “need”, social justice, and inclusiveness, should not jettison the needs of women, LGBTI people, diverse cultures, the working poor, and especially not the precariat.  A new left direction should focus on collective organisation at work and in the community. Can unions still provide the heart for the left in the 21st century?.

A new direction needs to be forged, but it requires close attention to diverse 21st century elements, some of which seem to be in conflict.

h/t BLip, for raising an important issue, even though we have disagreed.

42 comments on “The disconnected: the future of the left?”

  1. Raymond a Francis 1

    Talk is cheap, we need action

    • karol 1.1

      Action based on lack of a clear direction can be counter-productive. The tendency is to carry on doing similar things that were done before.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        That might be true if strong left wing solutions have not already been fully described and thrashed out. At this stage, getting stuck in and enacting change is what is required. Not calling for more multi-coloured papers

  2. prism 2

    I’ve just been reading a British paper on the Reform of government. I took a copy of a piece that has the effrontery to make opinionated statements about the positives of reform without any allowance for the reality likely to ensue.. The piece contains promises that are empty, just based on wishful thinking. not facts.

    This approach has got to stop if we are to have a left government that operates with fairness as well as efficiency and is responsive to the people and their needs for a societal framework that allows an enjoyable life with a work-life balance.

    This is the statement and I have accentuated questionable words:

    In fact, reform will be positive for the public sector workforce. The current model traps public sector workers in low productivity employment. Reforming the front line will increase productivity and allow sustainable higher wages in the long term.

  3. Bill 3

    If industrialism (features dictated by either a market or state) holds center stage, then unions could possibly be a heart of a left movement. But. Given that climate change and market/state industrialism just won’t mix, I have to suggest that unions will go down with the ship of industrialism. And that’s no bad thing as their trajectory based on institutional memory would have us trapped in the role of ‘worker’. And that is not something that we need. In fact, it’s the last thing we need.

    Meanwhile, the numbers who will count as being a part of the precariat are set to swell as Capitalism moves to shrink over-all market participation, whilst similtaneously seeking to retain the dominance of the market in human affairs. The question then becomes one of whether we, the precariat in the making, are going to seek to hang on after some fashion or other or whether we will strike out in a new direction that dismisses market and/or state dominance of our economic affairs.

    I’m not holding my breath. We’re sunk deep in ideas of worth that are attached to market activities. So in the face of the clear and present danger of climate change, we will, like the monkey that has it’s fist clenched around bait that was placed through a hole in an anchored coconut shell, be incapable of intelligent action; of letting the goodies go in order to extract our hand and possibly escape the danger that is closing on us. In the monkey’s case, hunters and their clubs, in ours, climate change.

    • ghostrider888 3.1

      I like your realism Bill;
      two ideas karol, well three actually;
      1, you are a better writer / composer than Chris Trotter any day of the week; he runs, hot and cold imo, and how he expects to reach the “worker” through his classicist obscurities ;)…?

      2, atomization, to further that meme some commentor provided, is well under way.

      3, NEED is an excellent construct of focus; been saying for a while, choice and all that jazz, just aint cutting the mustard in a world of challenged resources; personally, as the RWNJ allude to frequently, this proliferation of “issues” likely keeps the elite / upper middle classes rubbing their sticky-bun hands with glee. ching-ching.(spare us the Chinaman idiom Chris).

    • karol 3.2

      I do think there needs to be a shift away form the heart of the left being in the workplace, but not totally. Trade unions have well established ways of organising and operating. I think that can be used as the basis for future directions, but also coupled with community-based democracy.

      We also already have a system (of sorts) for localised democracy in Local councils. Of course, at the moment the NAct government is trying to undermine them and take control.

      We need a reworks the local system of elected councils, resulting in a stronger engagement with the local precariat. For this to happen, the funding arrangement via rates needs to be looked at. At the moment, even though renters indirectly pay rates, the rate-payers are seen to trump the precariat and others on low incomes.

      So – I suggest co-ordination between local councils and trade unions in reforming themselves.

      • Malcolm 3.2.1

        The precariat is still part of the working class though. It isn’t a new class, it has the same relation to the means of production as the rest of the class with more stable working conditions. The working class has been made and remade (composed and recomposed) through several cycles of capital accumulation since the 19th century. Precariousness is being imposed more and more on the working class in the West after the successful neoliberal assault on organised labour over the last 40 years. This assault was necessary because capitalism was stagnating, profit rates were dropping off. The capitalist class had to dismantle the class compromise of rising real wages/social wage for rising productivity in the workplace deal which entailed organised labour’s surrender of control over the direct labour process.

        The union movement has proved itself incapable of fighting back against this attack being more or less integrated into the capitalist state, thoroughly wedded to the decaying remnants of postwar social democratic parties and an untenable productivist outlook (as Bill says we desperately need to exit from the present production-for-production’s-sake kind of society but to do this requires revolutionary change. We can’t do this just by rejecting a label. The capitalist class won’t relinquish power just because we stop thinking of ourselves as ‘workers’!). New forms of working class struggle must be found to recompose the working class and successfully challenge capital. The union form must be superceded but it is impossible to prescribe how this will be done. The struggle precedes it’s formalisation/theorisation.

      • Richard D 3.2.2

        Relying on Unions to play any important part in what you advocate limits the chances of success. Unions have developed a single focus culture of the only good there is is whats best for there members, far to closer a paralell to the capitalists self is more deserved than others. New direction needs new focus and structures on equal footings, Unions will only drag through old attitudes and actions which for a time worked for the benefit of the few, to selfish and antagonist to take forwards as a foundation block for a more equal society. I think Chris Trotter and those that concur need to reflect further on Unions, of course they may just want them for the early cannon fodder in the revolution, if so fair enough not to outline that point.

    • Ennui 3.3

      Good work Bill, somebodies awake to the changing paradigm. Soon left and right will meld into one desperate search for context: real need will be everywhere.

  4. King Kong 4

    Its the $64,000 question. How do you show the losers that you are just like them?

  5. Sosoo 5

    A new direction, founded on principles of “need”, social justice, and inclusiveness, should not jettison the needs of women, LGBTI people, diverse cultures, the working poor, and especially not the precariat.

    Then we’re doomed. A new left movement doesn’t need to jettison these, but it does need to put identity politics on the back burner and economics to the fore. Identity politics is not a form of opposition to rampant capitalism. If anything, it reinforces it (the reasons for this are obvious, but I don’t have the time to go into them here). If you don’t believe me, look at how many National MPs were prepared to vote for gay marriage. If you want to really empower people, do something about poverty and inequality. Poor gay people get ignored because they’re poor, not because they’re gay.

    What Trotter and the rest of the New Zealand left lack is a coherent defence of the welfare state in economic terms. It’s really not that hard to do. By insisting on arguing from the mushier terrain of ethics, the left has ceded the theoretical high ground to the right when it comes to economics. Part of this is that many left activists still hold fallacious and half baked economic views (and there are an awful lot of such people posting on this blog).

    We have the welfare state because market failure is endemic. In fact it’s far more endemic than people customarily think. Making people aware of this is a good start.

    • karol 5.1

      Actually, in a system based on need, different groups of people will have different needs; economic and social. For instance, the old male dominated labour movement had to be pushed over a long period to recognise that some women workers have specific needs (e.g. paid parental leave). And in the emerging precariat, many single mothers are struggling.

      It’s “neoliberalism” that has undermined gender and sexual politics by using the dismissive, market-based term “identity politics.

      sosoo: Poor gay people get ignored because they’re poor, not because they’re gay

      Actually some LGBTI people become poor because they are discriminated against. This is especially true of young people who are disowned by their families because of their sexuality or gender identity.

      Also people with disabilities or long term injuries have specific needs, as do the very young and the very elderly.

      Economics is not just a matter of money, but of the relationship of finance with with society and community arrangements. T’is a capitalist (and “neoliberal”) thing to focus on economics separated from society and communities.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        I have a basic litmus test. If you are not confronting banksters, fund managers, property magnates, big business owners and corporate CEOs head on…you’re doing it wrong.

        This is why Labour can get all the social/gender liberalising legislation through that it wants. Because it does nothing to affect the interests of the the capitalists.

        My personal experience of this was a run in with wealthy gay couple. Who were pricks. And who made it very clear to me that they thought Labour stood for losers and money sucking bludgers and that the business sense of John Key and Bill English was the only sensible way forward for NZ.

        Actually some LGBTI people become poor because they are discriminated against. This is especially true of young people who are disowned by their families because of their sexuality or gender identity.

        This is, on the whole, not a legislative problem, and young people are disowned by their families for a large number of reasons but we don’t try and pretend that changing laws is a critical solution for that.

        • karol 5.1.1.1

          Well one couple isn’t the best indicator of the needs of a section of the population.

          I have no time for the likes of Collins praising Thatcher as a feminist icon, either. But there is still a significant need for paid parental leave, particularly for mothers, and for some men.

          The suicide statistics show young LGBTI people are particularly vulnerable. The provisions required to counter such needs may or may not require law changes. Changes to community support and available counselling services, changes to the education curriculum, etc.

          And, as far as women go, the whole abortion situation needs sorting out.

          And other demographic groups have particular needs: the young, the elderly, the disabled, the injured, immigrants…. and especially if they are also on low incomes.

          If the focus is on need, and collective initiatives, at work (unions), in the community, etc could be part of identifying needs and how they can be provided for.

    • ghostrider888 5.2

      makes Excellent reading. ssshh though, get ya fingers burnt disparaging identities around here. Yes, it is market-domestic consumption-economics that is killing the workers and the poor; ironically, an author over at TDB labelled Bridges a “chardonnay socialist” in disguise (alright if the drop is under $10).

      • karol 5.2.1

        Heh – ssshh though, get ya fingers burnt disparaging identities around here.

        But it also works the other way – mention of gender and sexual politics results in some highly critical comments. Ditto for the politics of ‘race’ and/or ethnicity.

        • ghostrider888 5.2.1.1

          well, thank the Good Lord that we do not all think like k_p. (beginning to wonder if they are some sort of bot-app.

        • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.2

          as long as the progressive changes you want don’t challange existing capitalist interests and institutions, you will be allowed to push through the changes you desire.

          • karol 5.2.1.2.1

            There are plenty of changes required in response to the needs of, for instance, women, Maori, the young precariat (including many young LGBTI people with particular needs), various ethnic groups, single mothers. Most of these are needs that the current government is either ignoring or increasing; women’s refuges are being starved of funds, the needs of young Maori and Pasifika are not being fully met in the education or training systems; the abortion laws need reforming; women do a lot of the lower paid, insecure work…. and more

            Some of the needs, for instance for the likes of LGBTI youth, do not need specific changes targeting them. They do need some sensitive consideration within the changes required for larger sections of the community.

            • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.2.1.1

              karol, those are all important priorities. And you’re only ever going to be able to get a small fraction of the resources needed for them, if existing capital interests and institutions are not challenged.

              One alternative is to not challenge them, and spend the monies on those social priorities anyway, funding it from ever increasing deficits while waiting endlessly for growth to come back.

              • karol

                CV: And you’re only ever going to be able to get a small fraction of the resources needed for them, if existing capital interests and institutions are not challenged.

                Yes, indeed. And I will always push for the latter. But challenging existing capital interests and institutions solely, does not ensure any of those social priorities will be tackled. It requires an approach that includes both.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    However, “equality” and “liberty” have always pulled in different directions:

    I disagree. Equality and solidarity actually allows people to be more individual and have more liberty because they’re supported within the community. It’s the breaking of community through Individualism that parties such as Act and National propagate that leads to a lack of individuality and liberty as everyone is forced to be what the minority at the top want them to be.

    • karol 6.1

      Well, I think that the US put more emphasis on the liberty and individualism, while European countries tended to focus more on the égalité & fraternité. The push for more individualism through the 1980s and 90s came from the US, with Britain trying to follow more of a US model, and to influence other European countries in that direction too.

      The trick is to devise a system that ensures liberty within a supportive community over the long term.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Nah I’d stop using the word “liberty” as it’s a bullshit American conceptualisation, of what I don’t know, with no historical or current relevance in NZ.

        BTW the neoliberal concept of “free choice” deliberately leveraged traditional US values of “liberty” for the neolibs own ends.

  7. BLiP 7

    Nice one, karol. Wise words are wise.

  8. pollywog 8

    The precariat isnt a class, its a generation.

    And they will revolt against classism.

    The trick for the left is to mobilise them to vote by engaging them on line.

  9. Zeroque 9

    Thought I’d share with you a few thoughts re where the TU movement is right now, whether it’s still relevant and whether it should be somehow bolstered by government. Apart from the public sector (teachers, nurses public servants, etc) trade union membership is almost non-existent. Unions are in a precarious state in the private sector and I fear for their survival even in the short term, yet remarkably they seem to continue to advocate above their numbers.

    Unions don’t have a monopoly on the role of advocating for working people but it seems to me that they are the most effective and enduring organisations to do this task. I cannot think of other groups that consistently and reliably focus on the issues faced by people working for salaries and wages. Certainly none of the current political parties get remotely close.

    It seems to me that there’s more poverty and social inequity present than there was 20 years ago and I think that part of the reason for this is because trade union influence in wage and condition setting was, essentially, legislated away. Unions have a role in ensuring that as many people as possible are in work, work that pays a decent wage and is satisfying and that is useful to society and that allows sufficient time away from work to participate in family and social activities as opposed to simply providing labour to enrich the owners of capital.

    I think if we want a more equal society then we should have governments that allow workers to freely collectivise and don’t discourage collective bargaining. It looks like this government is going to have another go at workers soon with changes to the Employment Relations Act which will make collectively bargaining, amongst other things, difficult for workers.

    I find it hard to identify any current NZ political party genuinely and overtly placing the need for strong workers organisations in front of the NZ public. I felt that last time labour were Govt as well. .

    My message to the parties is that they alone are not trusted nor expected to provide a brighter future for workers and that workers themselves will want the choice to do this through collectivising.

    • Bill 9.1

      Unions have a role in ensuring that as many people as possible are in work [jobs]…

      This is true…they do. And that’s why unions are a part of the problem. What they should be ensuring is that people can disengage from jobs, stop contributng to a disastrous rise of carbon and have an opportunity to realise a fuller, non-market/industrial human potential. Not going to happen though….as you say, they have their role. And, unfortunately, it’s a detrimental one.

  10. Augustus 10

    And the concept of “fraternity” arose out of a very patriarchal society.

    Fraternite does not imply that sisters should not be considered, although I guess its literal translation could make you suspect that. IMO it means to have a stake in your fellow humans’ well being and gives you an obligation to act accordingly. It’s as vital as liberte and egalite and a link between them.

    Solidarity is a form of fraternite, but doesn’t go as far. Don’t let an archaic term put you off an ideal.

    • karol 10.1

      Thanks, Augustus. I’m not put off that wider ideal at all.

      There was a term on English-speaking left – “brotherhood”. Such terms are also reminders that the left began as something pretty male-dominated. It took a long struggle for women to find a significant presence on the left. And with a more inclusive movement (culturally as well as gender wise), came some shifts in perspective, arising from more diverse life experiences.

      The left of the future needs to be sensitive to that.

  11. RedLogix 11

    And especially good to see karol reference Chris Trotter so strongly. For many years he was rather unfashionable around The Standard.

    Now Chris is not a paragon. He’s got his foibles and blind-spots like we all do, but I’ve always admired the clarity of his voice, the steadfastness of his moral compass … and the fact that he can write the arse of anyone else on the left in this country even on a bad day.

  12. geoff 12

    Form a party based around The Standard. It’s the most inclusive and most analytical left forum in NZ. Some of the ideas that get thrown around here are far better than many of the ‘Labour’ policies and would resonate much more strongly with the largely destitute NZ population.
    Labour’s problem is that its caucus can’t develop real left policy because that would upset their Chardonnay socialist sensibilities (and probably their rental property portfolios, their stock-market portfolios and their family trusts)

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      Labour’s problem is that its caucus can’t develop real left policy because that would upset their Chardonnay socialist sensibilities (and probably their rental property portfolios, their stock-market portfolios and their family trusts)

      QFT

      People have a difficult time dropping flawed ideology even after it’s been conclusively proved wrong.

      • geoff 12.1.1

        People have a difficult time dropping flawed ideology even after it’s been conclusively proved wrong.

        And when they are benefiting from it.

  13. karol 13

    And it’s worth watching last night’s Citizen A, with Julie Fairey and Maramar Davidson, to see some of the ways gender and sexual politics fit into left wing politics.

  14. RedBat 14

    Or, to rewrite Trotter…

    “A few elections ago, Labours hatred of the rich exceeded the bounds of political acceptability…

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    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    4 days ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    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 There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    4 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    5 days ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    5 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    5 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    5 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    5 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    5 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    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 Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
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    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
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  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
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