The economics of the Christchurch earthquake

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, September 7th, 2010 - 27 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

There’s been some frankly bizarre talk about the earthquake being an economic boon for the country. I guess the Right is just desperate for anything to improve the economy under National. So, I thought it would be worthwhile going through the economic ramifications of the earthquake from the immediate effects to long term:

Initial effects: The economic heart of Christchurch is shut down. About $2 billion worth of damage has been done, much of this damage will impede economic activity. Infrastructure is damaged as are buildings and factories. People are dislocated, injured, or busy trying to get their personal lives together. People needing elective surgery are unable to get it. In economic terms, the large parts of both the capital and labour needed for production are out of action.

Westpac, using a model derived from the Los Angeles and Napier earthquakes, estimates that $300 million of economic activity will be lost (0.2% of GDP). ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley puts the hit at 0.6% of GDP. NZIER was already forecasting that growth in this December quarter would be -0.2%. That’s likely to be much worse now.

The damage will include businesses that are already on the brink thanks to the recession going to the wall and hundreds if not thousands of job losses. Those workers who lose their jobs will flood an already bad jobs market. The government will lose tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue and face big increases in costs from emergency benefits, ACC claims, and its share of the cost of rebuilding local infrastructure before we even get to the EQC payouts. The added borrowing needed to fill the gap will probably mean the government has to pay more interest on its debt.

The Earthquake Commission, logically, has most of its assets offshore, and so do the insurance companies. To make the payouts, they’re going to have to buy a lot of New Zealand dollars – higher demand equals higher exchange rate. Offsetting this, possibly, is that it just became much less likely the Reserve Bank will increase interest rates again, which should dampen demand for the dollar. Overall, the effect is that we haven’t seen a sharp fall in the currency, which would have been a boon for exporters, that you might expect from a disaster like this.

Medium term: EQC and insurance companies will begin making payouts within weeks but it will be months before the big rebuilding starts. The rebuilding will increase GDP by about 1% of a year’s output when it is spent because GDP simply reflects economic activity in a given time period not accumulated wealth. But that will only be returning the country’s physical wealth to where it was before, it will not be real economic gain.

If I break my cellphone and have to dip into my savings to replace it, I am not better off, I am worse off – even if the new phone is better because obviously I had preferred to have my old phone and my savings rather than the new phone. The same is true of the need to spend our savings on rebuilding. People who say it’s good for the economy are forgetting that the rebuilding is funded by giving up our savings and the option to spend them elsewhere. That’s the broken windows fallacy – it mistake of seeing what is gained but not what is lost, or mistaking temporary economic activity for economic wealth.

It is good timing, however, in one sense. The slow-down in commercial construction was about to put 20,000 jobs at risk. At least they’ll have something to do for a while now, and the construction industry has the spare plant and equipment for the rebuilding task. Of course, that’s just jobs that would otherwise be lost saved, not new jobs created.

Longer term: once the rebuilding is over, there will be little to show for it. The boost of the rebuilding itself will not be permanent and will contribute little to long-term production capacity. Once the rebuilding is over, the GDP boost will disappear. That’s true of a stimulus package too, of course. But the idea is that a stimulus package gets the economy revved up again and builds up its production capacity. The rebuilding of Christchurch will not be like that it’s not going to create sustainable economic momentum or add greatly to the productive capacity of Christchurch.

As Westpac noted “This will boost national GDP by far more than the initial income loss, with a corresponding letdown once the reconstruction boom ends.” Just as with the Rugby World Cup, the one-off up-tick in GDP will be matched by a corresponding downwards movement when the spending stops. This is not a permanent increase in economic output.

This boom and bust might further damage business confidence and, with it, longer-term growth.

Ultimately, about $2 billion of capital from the government and private insurers will be converted into expenditure to rebuild the capital that was lost. In the end, we replace the physical assets by running down our financial assets via a temporary increase in economic activity but our national wealth is decreased – that can’t be forgotten.

Of course, I and others have been arguing for some time that the government should decrease its net assets to more economic activity. Of course, we meant by borrowing, rather than selling assets like the EQC will but essentially it’s the same thing from the perspective of the government books. The difference is that, without the earthquake, we could have spent that money on re-igniting the economy and making a wealthier country for the future. Now it needs to be spent just on what was lost.

We’re going to be left with higher net debt, which we will either pay interest on or pay down – either option means less consumption/lower economic standard of living in the long term

27 comments on “The economics of the Christchurch earthquake”

  1. Richard 1

    I agree with all that.

    However, there will be a boom for individual businesses, particularly those in construction. It is for the economy as a whole that there is a net loss.

    As you note, there will be in some cases some marginal benefit, in that when something is rebuilt it could be “better” than what existed previously. For example, when considering energy efficiency, it is often uneconomic to retro-fit energy efficiency measures to a built structure, whereas it is quite economically viable to incorporate energy efficiency into a new build. Likewise, replacement buildings are likely to have better earthquake strengthening incorporated (or you’d like to think so).

    • ZB 1.1

      I disagree. A sustainable economy requires a working ChCh. The argument basically seems to
      be that its a cost, but actually its more like a reinvestment. Companies, Households, Nations,
      all have crisis that hit them, if they are governed well they have stores of money to cover the
      re-investment. Government runs a EQC for this, has insurace for this, has a low govt debt for
      this reason. We’ve already saved to pay for disasters. We’ve already had some of the pain.

      The economy needs a kick in the teeth, if the ChCh Quake makes manufacturing exporters
      jobs harder, if it puts money into tradespeople in ChCh, if we build new quake resistent
      buildings, and stop new subsections on sand (like on that beach subsection in the Coromandal,
      because its now a huge insurance risk to build so close to the sea, on sand.

      Sorry, we live in interesting times and we should beware because simple analysis doesn’t work.
      We are rebuilding! Rebuilding with savings! We saved for the purpose! At the bottom of the
      market, not the top! Not when every developer shister is selling crap – like that subsection in
      ChCh built on SAND! Nobody knows if this is a good thing, I think sometimes you get lucky
      with a early morning quake removing a lot of previously buildings needing expensive
      quake resistent upgrades without any loss of life.

      And the Quake just keeps giving, dispelling the impression of the loose financal era,
      that we can trust big business, that markets will save us not good regulation.

      It could have be so much worse. Imagine the quake with Key in charge in 2006-7,
      and the whole developer speculator class lining up for handouts to rebuild ChCh,
      the debt Key would have run up with tax cuts to the few would have made NZ
      a Greece, Ireland, Spain.

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox 2

    I was under the impression that for economic stimulus to be effective it had to be spent quickly so that the money recycled through the economy immediately for short periods of economic downturn. Given how long it takes it get building permits, import building materials (which adds to the current account deficit) and get a builder, I would have thought the stimulus effect would be extremely diluted by the anticipitated time this money will be spent over.

    • Blighty 2.1

      to make a measurable difference, you would have to spend it quickly but it would just be quicker up, quicker down.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 2.1.1

        But whats the point of stringing it out? In 12 months time the recession may be a distant memory and all you will end up doing is stoking inflation, higher interest rates and government debt. Economic cycles move a lot quicker than decision makers apparently which renders a lot of these decisions irrelevant.

    • Loota 2.2

      The stimulus effect is a lost cause – yes firms and contractors are going to get big injections of Govt and insurance money – but they are probably going to direct it to paying off debt (household and company) and saving reserves for (the next) rainy/shaky day.

      They are not going to spend up large.

      Trickle down is dead.

      • nzfp 2.2.1

        “They are not going to spend up large” maybe, maybe not – but it doesn’t matter because the Government could spend up large and should – we need soo much infrastructure built and repaired in our nation and that doesn’t include the lack of investment in human infrastructure such as health and education. You’ve seen my other posts so you know where the money can come from tax free – without interest or debt.

  3. nzfp 3

    But why stop at Christchurch Marty, and why stop at rebuilding what exists. Economic activity can be stimulated by something as simple as a bridge in the right place which reduces the cost of transport for products from A to B.

    Why not use this stimulus to build a high speed rail network with Christchurch as the nexus throughout the entire South Island, couple this with building Fiber to the home and improved telecommunications. Both of these suggetions would reduce the cost of transport of goods and improve the Online economy – both would boost sustainable economic productivity.

    The only problem we have is creating the necessary funds and putting the money to use fueling the labour necessary to produce the necessary infrastructure. Make the infrastructure green while you’re at it and you reduce the environmental impact.

    The Earth Quake represents the single best opportunity for real economic progress for our country. Yes what I’m saying is Pie in the Sky but as you well know this was the policy of Sir Michael Joseph Savage so it’s happened before.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 3.1

      What a sad reflection upon our government.

    • Rex Widerstrom 3.2

      I find myself nodding in agreement with what seems like the common sense of much that you say above nzfp (with the exception of handing out a knighthood to Savage, whom I’m pretty sure never got, nor probably wanted, one – a recolelction his official biography seems to confirm).

      However, how would you respond to the coventional wisdom that what you’re proposing would be inflationary and thus damaging?

      • nzfp 3.2.1

        Hey Rex,
        “how would you respond to the coventional wisdom that what you’re proposing would be inflationary and thus damaging”

        Great question as it is the question that is always raised when public credit is proposed in opposition to private bank credit.

        In short public credit is no more inflationary then credit created as a result of foreign borrowing (debt). In fact it is less inflationary as it doesn’t include the requirement to service interest on debts denominated in foreign currency.

        When the Government borrows 200 Million dollars as a result of the sale of NZ Bonds, the Governments receives 200 Million dollars in foreign currency. The 200Million in Foreign Currency was created out of nothing at all by foreign banks – an exercise the Government could do itself.

        However, the foreign currency cannot be spent into the NZ economy so the Government converts the 200 Million into NZ Dollars. To do this they park the foreign currency in a foreign currency account and create an equivalent 200 Million NZD out of nothing.

        Already you can see the injustice and fraud of this system:

        NZ Govt sells 200 Million in NZ bonds -> Foreign Bank creates 200 Million from nothing to Buy Bonds -> NZ Govt creates an equivalent 200 Million against the 200 Million in Foreign currency created by foreign banks out of nothing -> NZ Govt spends or lends the new money into the economy -> NZ Govt taxes NZr’s to service the interest on the foreign debt (GST increases).

        To counter this the Government has two options:

        1. Keynesian – the Government issues 200 Million in NZ Bonds -> The RBNZ creates 200 Million out of nothing to Buy the NZ Bonds -> The Govt spends or lends the money into the economy -> NZ Govt taxes NZr’s to service the interest on the debt to ourselves. This is also part of the State Theory of Money. The Tax ensures the velocity of money – that it circulates. However the level of tax could be set a lot lower then the neo-liberal monetarist model and in many cases most taxes could be eradicated.

        2. Public credit – the Govt issues 200 Million in money and spends or lends it directly into the economy. Essentially it is the same as pure Keynesian theory with the exeption that we don’t borrow from our own bank but have the Treasury create the money directly – otherwise the rules apply.

        In both cases there is no need to service foreign interest debts and no need to pay money back to foreign banks in a currency we have no control over. If interest rates increase our interest and repayment burdens increase – it only takes a little war in Iran to cause interest rates to sky rocket.

        Remember that either of these methods are required to pay for infrastructure that cannot be paid for out of current taxes – and shouldn’t be.

        Remember that inflation of the money supply is only inflationary if there isn’t an equivalent increase in products and services including human services such as health and education. Infrastructure improvements by definition are an increase in products and services and have the benefit of improving commerce which stimulates productivity increasing products and services.

        It is better explained by Professor Michael Hudson in an earlier post of mine here and on his website here.

        Radio NZ reported this morning that the Govt was selling 200 Million in NZ Bods today (this afternoon). Rather then sell 200 Million – since they obviously need the money – they could create 20 Million via the RBNZ or Treasury. The net effect would be a reduction in inflation due to the fact that we don’t need to service foreign interest debts. Any foreign capital that comes into our nation for investment of purchases of NZ products could be used to service current debts – while the Govt creates credit to fuel infrastructure instead of borrowing.

        The overall effect would be hugely beneficial to our economy and would result in a net lowering of all taxes.

      • nzfp 3.2.2

        Thanks for the correction and the Savage BIO Rex. I never knew Savage was a Georgist although in hindsight it seems obvious. George was one of the “Renegade Economists” – a term coined by SMH and TheAge columist and economist “Ross Gittins”.

        By the way:
        “200 Million in NZ Bods” should be “200 Million in NZ Bonds
        And
        “they could create 20 Million” should be “they could create 200 Million”

  4. Armchair Critic 4

    The difference is that, without the earthquake, we could have spent that money on re-igniting the economy and making a wealthier country for the future. Now it needs to be spent just on what was lost.
    I thought the EQC funds were set aside specifically for post-disaster rebuilding. On this basis, how could the money have been spent re-igniting the economy etc.? It’s set aside for a specific purpose, not for politicians to spend on whatever whim takes their fancy, even if their fancy happens to be a good idea.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Essentially the EQC money has been saved previously. So instead of spending $50 back in 1990, the government spent $40 and banked $10. Now we’re getting access to that $10 again, but it isn’t new money magicked out of nowhere, but deferred spending from 1990.

      • Armchair Critic 4.1.1

        Yeah, I got that bit. And I agree with most of the post. The bit I don’t get is where Marty G says:
        …we could have spent that money on re-igniting the economy…
        I understood that the money (especially from EQC) to be spent rebuilding is dedicated to rebuilding. As it was deliberately set aside for a specific purpose, it can’t be used for another purpose.
        anti-spam: following. Not at the moment; I’ve tried following the logic and I’m missing out somewhere.

    • Bright Red 4.2

      yeah but one pot of government money is the same as another in reality. And borrowing is pretty much the same as selling an asset

  5. Grant M. McKenna 5

    I’ve missed the bit where “the Right” said that the earthquake would be good for the economy. Where and when was that averred?

  6. aj 6

    No matter what way you look at this, in human terms it is far less than a zero sum game. A small number may have short term gain through the economic boom as a consequence of repairs. The cost in human terms will be long lasting and greatly outweigh simple $$ calculations. Stress over the long term, that is within families and individuals will result in many problems further down the track for health authorities, social services, etc.

  7. Kleefer 7

    Once again you are labouring under the misapprehension that, while an earthquake destroying buildings is bad for the economy, the government spending money to “stimulate” the economy is good. Both are bad for the economy but due to the visual impact of buildings literally being destroyed it is easier for the layman to identify the economic damage from an earthquake than from government “stimulus”.

    Advocates of government spending fall prey to the same broken window fallacy that afflicts those touting the supposedly stimulatory effects of the earthquake. In both cases they think only of one side of the transaction, those who financially benefit from the broken window/government spending, while forgetting those who are worse off, the person with the broken window/less money because the government has taken it to give to someone else.

    What the broken window fallacy is really about is opportunity cost. While we can see the benefit to the glazier from repairing the window (or in this case the contractors for repairing the buildings) we can’t see what the person with the broken window would have done with the money if he hadn’t had to pay for the repair.

    We can see the results of government stimulus such as school buildings, roads and poorly-fitted insulation but we can’t see what wasn’t made as a result of resources being diverted by the government to these uses. So while the government isn’t necessarily knocking things down (although wars do plenty of that), it is still fallacious to tout the results of stimulus without thinking about the other side of the ledger.

    Henry Hazlitt, the former New York Times economics editor, wrote in his book Economics in One Lesson that when assessing the economic impact of a policy we must look not just at its immediate effect on one group but on its long-term effect on everybody in society. I applaud the writers of The Standard for taking on the idiots saying the earthquake will be good for the economy. Now you just need to apply economic principles consistently.

    • nzfp 7.1

      Henry Hazlitt is credited with bringing Austrian economics to an English-speaking audience, he secured a position at New York University for the economist Ludwig von Mises, and he introduced the novelist Ayn Rand (Alisa Zinolev’yevna Rosenbaum) to Mises. His influences included: Frédéric Bastiat, Philip Wicksteed and Ludwig von Mises. He opposed Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Major Douglas (Major Clifford H. Douglas), John Maynard Keynes and Alvin Hansen. He influenced Milton Friedman.

      Milton Friedman gave us the Washington Consensus and the Chicago School of Economics which in turn gave us Rogernomics and Ruthenasia in the 80’s and 90’s. Friedman also gave Chile Augusto Pinochet and the Chilean deathsquads and disappeared.

      Von Mises gave us Ayn Rand and Libertarianism. However, the Austrian School of Economics defines money as a commodity with intrinsic value, which is contradictory to historical and empirical evidence. Aristotle best defines money in Ethics 1133 where he states “Money exists not by nature but by law”.

      Hazlitt opposed Major Douglas – Major Clifford H. Douglas the founder of the Social Credit school of economic democracy.

      Considering these points it makes it difficult to take seriously the economic theory of somebody who is unable to correctly define money and who’s economic theories influenced the architect of Washington Consus neo-liberal monetarist policy – the fruits of which are evident in the current Global Financial Crises.

  8. Bright Red 8

    Patrick Smellie agrees with you, Marty http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/4107029/Shaky-times-for-the-economy

    good work on forcing this argument. the msm would just have blindly followed the stupid ‘silver lining’ angle otherwise.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    So, breaking news is that the estimate for rebuilding Christchurch has increased to $4b. At the same time there’s some question about availability of resources. This is where the government really needs to step in an ban all exports of building and construction materials. We’re going to need those ourselves for the foreseeable future (It’s going to take years to get Christchurch back to the same level that it was).

  10. Too much coffee man 10

    Well said. I remember when that visionary leader George Dubbyerbush decided to dump billions of dollars of bombs on Iraq and Afghanistan the right crowed with delight about the benefits to the US economy that would entail. Dropping a million dollar bomb doesn’t result in a million dollars worth of production, it results in a million dollars with of destruction, and that million dollars has gone for good.

    When a building gets replaced at a cost of a million dollars, that million dollars is also lost forever.

  11. Anthony 11

    Dear Marty

    I must say that this is a very critical analysis.

    But one thing I would like to ask how does an increase in interest rate will dampen the demand for kiwi dollar?

    As you pointed out in the last paragraph, “Offsetting this, possibly, is that it just became much less likely the Reserve Bank will increase interest rates again, which should dampen demand for the dollar.”

    Because an increase in interest rate will lift up the return for every dollar overseas investors invest in New Zealand relative to other countries’ interest rates, therefore the demand for kiwi dollar should have increased rather than decreased.

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    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    7 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago

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