The Feral Rich Are Destroying Our Civilised Society

Written By: - Date published: 3:27 pm, January 29th, 2013 - 87 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war - Tags: , ,

Reprinted with permission, from Dave Kennedy (bsprout) at Local Bodies.


The Feral Rich Are Destroying Our Civilised Society

The latest New Internationlist has published statistics regarding the world’s wealthy and the increasing divide between rich and poor. They refer to the “Feral Rich” and ask, “what can we do to stop them?”

  • 8% of the world’s population own 82% of its wealth.
  • There are now 180 more billionaires than before the global financial crash.
  • The world’s richest man is Carlos Slim and his total wealth is $69 billion (the New Zealand Government’s annual income is 70 billion).
  • The world’s richest woman is Australian mining heiress Gina Rinehart. She is worth $28 billion and she has $52 million a day to survive on.
  • The average household wealth in the world declined by 5.2% over the last year.
  • The 400 richest Americans have a combined wealth of $1.7 trillion
  • In 1980 the average US CEO earned 42 times as much as the average worker and by 2012 this had skyrocketed to 380 times.
  • The top rate of US income tax in 1980 was 70% and in 2012 it was 35%.
  • Mitt Romney and his wife pay 14.1% of their income in tax, while the average worker pays 30%.
  • $21 trillion is stashed away in tax havens which is the equivalent of the entire US and Chinese economies combined.
  • In the US 47% of the members of Congress are millionaires.
  • 62% of British cabinet ministers are millionaires.

New Zealand reflects what is happening in the rest of the world but our income inequality is growing faster than most.

  • Our 100 richest New Zealanders have a combined wealth of $52 billion.
  • Our richest saw their incomes increase by an average of 20% in 2011
  • Over the past four years the median income for Maori families has dropped by $40 a week and Pasifika families have seen a drop of $65.
  • The median weekly income in New Zealand (from all sources) is $550, many obviously live on much less.
  • The median rent for a 3 bedroom house in Auckland is $370 a week and rents across the country increased by $10 over the past year.
  • Tax evasion cost the Government $6 billion while benefit fraud cost around $39 million.

While the rich have got richer around the world, most are paying far less in tax and most governments are struggling to pay for core government services and infrastructure. Many rich, including writer J K Rowling are happy to pay tax because of the support they received from the state early in their careers. They also believe that tax is the price to pay for a civilised society. Would a truly civilised society stand back and watch 25% of their children live in poverty? Would a civilized society have their elderly live in rest homes that can’t pass minimum standards of care and pay the minimum rate for their workers (one of our wealthiest New Zealanders, Kevin Hickman owns rest homes and his personal wealth increased by $15 million last year)?

The fact that Governments and most people of the world struggle to manage on their incomes is not because there isn’t enough money in the world, it’s because the world’s wealth has been captured by a few and they refuse to share. Many Governments are guilty of perpetuating this wealth capture by lowering taxes and not standing firm to lobbyists.

87 comments on “The Feral Rich Are Destroying Our Civilised Society”

  1. PlanetOrphan 1

    They wont stop until the RIOTS Start M8!
    (Sorry … Peacefull Protests)

  2. King Kong 2

    Thank you for that truly inspirational posting.

    You are right, accumulating massive wealth should be the goal for everyone.

    [RL: On warning as a troll. Your such a pitiful one as a rule it’s hardly worth the effort, but no more.]

    • PlanetOrphan 2.1

      Slave labour and a High Mortality rate being the Modus Operandi ?
      Thinnking of starting a sweat shop in NZ KK ?, you should try Burma first maybe.

    • Tim 2.2

      For what purpose exactly? I’m quite happy to have accumulated enough to live modestly and give my children an adequate start.
      Are you a believer in the protestant work ethic by any chance?

    • Mr Burns 2.3

      accumulating massive wealth should be the goal for everyone

      But if everyone received more the truly deserving rich would have less. Are you a communist or something?

  3. ad 3

    It’s not impossible to reimagine a new version of Dick Seddon breaking up the great landholding runs and redistributing far smaller parcels to the many. I mean, the entire mezzanine finance industry was able to redistribute vast chunks of New Zealand’s savings in to thin air within 1 year after the GFC!

    Possibly the coldest, hardest impact on people’s lives about wealth distribution is: how impossible it is to own a house here.

    • just saying 3.1

      Well no.
      The coldest, hardest impact on people’s lives is the inability to be able to afford healthy food, health and dental care, clothing, warmth (when it is cold) shelter…..

      Many people are doing without a hell of a lot more than home-ownership.

    • outofworkkiwi 3.2

      Hi ad
      I agree. When I arrived in NZ in 1979 and 1980 it was really easy to buy a house. I was on $10,000 a year the house on a large double section overlooking central Johnsonville with 3 bedrooms and built only 19 years before on a back section was a mere $32,000 ! 🙂 Paradise for young couples starting out and a great country to live in. Now all ruined by speculator greed by the baby boomers with 3 or 4 “investment properties” each and banks that cash in on the interest and capital gain and governments who won’t stop this with a hefty capital gains tax. Makes me sick, a once great place to live buggered by selfishness and greed, pity our young people who are paying for their elder’s smug selfish greed. 🙁

      • anthony bull 3.2.1

        dude, you’ll find that people with investment properties aren’t speculators – its the complete opposite of the definition of investing.

        I’m 35 and have three times as many properties as my boomer parents do (they only have one). Including one in your beloved Johnsonville – what you probably don’t realise is that its still easy to own property. Nothing has changed since 1979 – it still just takes work ethic, drive and managing your spending levels.

        • blue leopard 3.2.1.1

          anthony bull,
          House prices only 3x the yearly wage is a pretty big change,

        • CV - Real Labour 3.2.1.2

          Nothing has changed since 1979 – it still just takes work ethic, drive and managing your spending levels.

          “Nothing has changed since 1979” seriously mate? You were in kindergarten then, WTF would you know.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.3

          You failed to notice the difference in house prices from 3 times the average wage to 6 times?

      • RedLogix 3.2.2

        Sighs.

        You’ve been told to blame greedy ‘investors’ as a distraction from the real greedies .. the banks.

        There always was and is a perfectly sane rental market, it exists for good reasons because there are always many people who are not in a position to buy. Historically it was about 30-35% of households. That number has crept up towards about 40% in Auckland, but that is for other related reasons.

        The State used to be a very large provider, and there used to be some very big slumlords who in our grandparents generation owned large swaths of very, very substandard buildings. What’s happened in the last 30 years is that the ownership of this business has been diversified into the middle-class.

        The middle class look at Superannuation and realise that if they are going to need to be educated until they are 25 and then dumped on the employment scrap-heap at 50 … but might well live until they are 80 or 90 (as my father is) … then something more than $300 per week is going to be necessary. The share and financial market in this country is a path to ruination unless you are a well-connected insider. The ONLY and safest option was property.

        Of course the real beneficiaries of this has been the banks. They are the ones who pocket most of your rent money each week … not your landlord. He or she is usually just hanging on hoping that they’ll eventually reach retirement with the mortgage mostly paid, the house not wrecked and their health still allows them to manage the work involved.

        Investors make money from cash flow and never intend to sell. We hate price inflation because it only makes it harder to buy again with rental incomes that don’t keep up; speculators are completely different operators and if the IRD deals with them properly they are taxed anyhow.

        It is the banks pumping credit into the market who inflate it and are the prime beneficiaries … everyone else loses.

        Oh and if you want a nice house I’ve just purchased a forty year old villa, solid native timbers, fully insulated, 160 m2, 4 beds, 2 bath, wood burner, decks, 1500m2 section, double garage, well planted, 1 km from town and schools, train…. for $187,000. Just wasn’t in Auckland or Christchurch.

        • Slartibartfast 3.2.2.1

          Well said RL, a spot of reason at last.

        • blue leopard 3.2.2.2

          Having lived next to an empty property that was bought and sold numerous times over the years, each time for more even though the owners did minimal work on it, I’m sorry, Redlogix, but there are people who are buying property and profit on price rises, infact appear to be part of the reason prices go up. There is a seemingly limitless market of people from overseas who are ready to buy property off people conducting this activity and I view this activity as very much contributing to prices going up.

          • CV - Real Labour 3.2.2.2.1

            I think the element that you have left out BL, and which RL has mentioned is that each of those buy/resell cycles you mentioned would have been totally underwritten by increasing bank debt. OK, perhaps rich overseas buyers can pay increasing amounts of cash (printed by their home reserve banks), but for most people, an increasing house price just means an increasing mortgage debt on essentially the same underlying property asset. The banks never lose. but they do fuel that price escalation with their willingness to lend more and more.

            Do people who “flip” these properties get rich on the way? Yes they do. Unless you are the person at the end of the buy/sell cycle who has finally paid way over the odds for the property, taken out a mortgage which is way too big (expecting that it would be OK as you would just flip the property on for more in 12 months time), when finally, the asset price bubble music stops and you find that there aren’t enough chairs to go around.

            • burt 3.2.2.2.1.1

              CV – Real Labour

              Unless you are the person at the end of the buy/sell cycle who has finally paid way over the odds for the property, taken out a mortgage which is way too big (expecting that it would be OK as you would just flip the property on for more in 12 months time), when finally, the asset price bubble music stops and you find that there aren’t enough chairs to go around.

              This behaviour is not predicated by political party affiliation, it’s human nature to join the wave, it’s human nature that some are better players in a particular market than others; there will be winners and losers.

              But you can’t legislate against this behaviour without completely regulating prices. People will speculate, some do it with houses, some with postage stamps, coins, jewelery, cars, [anything tradable].

              Arguably a capital gains tax on property could help here, but you could also argue it just punishes the guy at the end even more as the price he/she paid was sufficient to cover that cost for the last seller.

              Still the capital loses tax rebate would be helpful if the value fell – that fair point is in Labour’s proposed capital gains tax policy isn’t it?

              • Colonial Viper

                it’s human nature to join the wave

                This is the assumption you make where your whole argument falls apart. Ponzi speculation is no part of human nature, only a perversion of a tiny element of it.

                • burt

                  So you’ve never looked at something being sold cheaply and though – I could sell it for more than that? – or are you also one of this tiny element of society that might have thought that or even acted on that thought.

              • I think you have a point here, Burt. Regardless of whether one debates as to whether its human nature, (I might be inclined to say that is what we have been told to think)

                The situation on house-selling is such that one is almost impelled to act in this way. I have thought seriously on this subject; would have liked to think that if I had property and was selling it, I wouldn’t slavishly agree to the very wealthy offers that we have around where I live, (so that I don’t take part in inflating the prices for everyone else) however, having been painfully honest with myself, I have realized there is a number of factors that make accepting a lower offer a bit pointless and heads toward the self mutilating end of the scale.

                For example: I could accept a lower offer and find out in a few months time that the person has on-sold for the higher price it could command (in fact this happened to my father when he sold the family house), and having sold it for the lower price, I might also find I couldn’t buy something of a similar quality (would have to down-grade).

                This type of predicament points to the area that I think governments are very much there to address. Most people speculating on houses wouldn’t be intentionally pushing prices up, probably wouldn’t think that far out of their agenda; I want a Government to be thinking of the negative unintended consequences of people’s unthinking actions and organize things so that these are mitigated. I thought that was what a Government was there for.

            • blue leopard 3.2.2.2.1.2

              Thanks for explaining the point RL was making, CV. I guess at least some of what I witnessed was “supported” by the banking industry, although one of the worst examples was someone who had inherited millions from America and was buying up much property and businesses locally and sold it all later on for a tidy profit. That person drove a hard bargain, I know someone who bought property off them.

              I note the other difference in what I was talking about is people who are speculating on property.

              RL talks about people investing for a pension.

              The thing is, if policies and people are going to argue the point to cater to those buying houses for a pension and ignoring the speculators, then those speculating are going to keep on pushing up the prices of houses.

              I haven’t thought this through thoroughly, however, if there was a capital gains tax, I am suspecting this wouldn’t stop people investing in land for their retirement, yet it would curb those out to make a quick buck in speculating.

              • RedLogix

                I am suspecting this wouldn’t stop people investing in land for their retirement, yet it would curb those out to make a quick buck in speculating.

                Exactly. In the ideal world of course if the banks were regulated to prevent them pumping excess credit into the housing market (limiting LVR’s is one of the simplest ways to do this)… then in real terms (ie adjusted for the background CPI) there would be no housing price inflation, no speculators and no capital gains …. and thus no real need for a CGT either.

                I guess that was always my reservation about CGT’s. If they worked they way that many people think they do … they would be inherently self-limiting. ie a CGT may act as an incentive to dampen the extremes of asset inflation, but can never by itself reduce it to zero.

                But otherwise yes, you’re right about the distinction between investors and speculators.

                • Genuine question here (i.e. not simply rhetorical): Would regulating the banks in the way you are suggesting stop the very wealthy from speculating, or only the less than very wealthy?

                  I have a nasty feeling it wouldn’t curb the very wealthy? If so, this would give them the opportunity to gain even more of a monopoly.

                  I’m all for regulating banks(!), seems like you are suggesting something that curbs the problem at the source, which seems sensible, as long as it didn’t create the above-mentioned effect.

                  My thoughts are that perhaps inflation doesn’t have to be reduced to zero, and that this might be a bit of an argument originating from speculator-types to stop the CGT from being introduced? (Not hugely informed on this subject, so apologies if I am saying something terribly misguided!)

                  • CV - Real Labour

                    I think you need a straight asset tax to prevent extraordinarily large holdings of land and property from falling into individual hands.

                    Imagine a 0.25% pa land tax added to rates, for properties above $1M. Every additional $1M in property would attract a $2500 annual tax.

                    It would certainly discourage individuals from “land banking”.

                    • It seems like something like that would be appropriate. Just a wonder that this issue hasn’t been addressed and the speculation on something as profoundly important for people’s lives as land is, has been allowed to continue unabated. Yet another failure of successive governments.

      • Fortran 3.2.3

        Can anybody please enlighten me on the proposed Labour/Green’s CGT
        – some ideas as to where it is to be targeted, over what years, and to which adminstration direction and % costs.
        Plus of course the budgetted tax take and where it is to go.
        The idea has great merit but I cnnot find any outline details, or is it still just media buzz words.

    • geoff 3.3

      Nicely said, ad.

    • John 3.4

      How can it be impossible to own a house, when so many do actually own houses…

  4. Mr Burns 4

    What is wrong with the obsessive collecting of excessive wealth? I was called a psychopathic kleptomaniac the other day. It is a description that I will wear with pride.

    • PlanetOrphan 4.1

      And when the worm turns who ya gonna call Monty ?

      Free stuff at Monties place, just walk right in and load it up M8s!

      • Mr Burns 4.1.1

        What do you think I have hounds for PlanetOrphan? Companionship?

        Go ahead, make my day …

        • PlanetOrphan 4.1.1.1

          Lol, I eat hounds for breakfast Monty you’ll have to pay someone that’s qualified.
          I’m available for the right price M8! 😀

    • the Al1en 4.2

      I was called an arachnoclaustropyrophobic once, but who wouldn’t be freaked at being locked in a cupboard with a burning spider.

    • What is wrong with the obsessive collecting of excessive wealth?

      The nuisance of finding places to hide it, so that you don’t have to pay those bothersome taxes, perhaps?

    • outofworkkiwi 4.4

      F.O. Mr Burns Asshole.

      [RL: Settle… Mr Burns is purest irony. He’s been doing this sort of inverse perverseness for ages now.]

  5. I like topics like these.
    Get the right apologist posting later on and it’ll be better than freeview.

    I don’t care if the rich man can afford two sausages with his breakfast and I only one. Good on him.
    Tell me I can’t have a sausage because he wants three and has more right to it than I and I’ll take lot of them.
    Sausages for everyone.

  6. zanemvula 6

    They won’t give it up willingly, for the most part. And, notwithstanding the fickleness of fortune (or stupidity) that allows some with loads of money to lose lots of it, in general the rich get richer because they have more opportunity to control things.

    So there are two, nay three, possible paths:
    1. Over a long time, the complaining masses get louder and closer to the middle class, so the wealthy grudgingly leave a little more on the table. The middle class are appeased again and fall back to their old ways. The poor, as always, get shafted.
    2. We keep down this road and arrive in nouveau feudalism. Oops, maybe a bit late for that forecast.
    3. There is a revolution that (temporarily) restores balance to the force.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      You may want to contemplate that it is the ‘middle class’ who comprise perhaps 60% or more of New Zealand’s population. And it’s a pretty fuzzy boundary between them and the ‘working class’. The main economic distinction is that the middle class pay tax, while the ‘working poor’ class pay little to no tax. I’ve no problem with that, because there will always be some gradation between people, but ultimately if we’re all going to be part of a civilised society … some form of sharing and redistribution of prosperity is essential.

      This article however is about a tiny, tiny minority of obscenely wealthy who’ve no intention of sharing, merely grabbing as much from everyone else as possible. Feral is the most polite word we should have for these despicable parasites.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        You may want to contemplate that it is the ‘middle class’ who comprise perhaps 60% or more of New Zealand’s population.

        No, the middle class makes up about 25%. I know that there’s a lot more who believe themselves to be in the middles class but, as with most beliefs, they’re wrong.

      • Fortran 6.1.2

        Please define for me once again? who are the so called 60% Middle Class.
        What makes them so ?

  7. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 7

    I was interested in how someone could reduce their tax to 13%. So I googled it.

    “There are two reasons that the Romneys’ tax bill is below 15%. According to their 2010 tax return (the latest available), Mr. and Mrs. Romney reduced their taxable income by the $3 million they gave to charities.

    The second and most important reason is the majority of the Romneys’ income is taxed twice – first at the corporate level, and a second time when they report it on their personal income tax return.”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/charleskadlec/2012/08/20/mitt-romney-paid-30-not-13-in-federal-income-taxes/

    He comes out rather well, if you ask me.

  8. CV - Real Labour 8

    Both money and debt represents a claim on future material goods and labour.

    But there isn’t enough actual value of either future material goods or labour to deliver the level of wealth these “billionaires” think they have stored as worthless electronic ones and zeros in their investment accounts.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    The fact that Governments and most people of the world struggle to manage on their incomes is not because there isn’t enough money in the world, it’s because the world’s wealth has been captured by a few and they refuse to share. Many Governments are guilty of perpetuating this wealth capture by lowering taxes and not standing firm to lobbyists.

    The one thing that we cannot afford is the rich.

  10. Afewknowthetruth 10

    Governments throughout the western world have encouraged sociopathy and facilitated looting of the commons for the past 30 years, so none of what we are seeing now is at all surprising.

    Once other methods fail, the elites impose ‘austerity’ on the masses to maintain the flow or money and resources upwards,

    Once the masses are REALLY SUFFERING there is revolt, which the elites put down ruthlessly: this always happens. After a few hundred or a few thousand ordinary people have been killed by ‘security forces’ the ‘security forces’ then turn on the elites.

    We are a long way from that stage right now. But the elites are working on it.

  11. RJLC 11

    We have been given LOTTO, TVNZ news, Reality TV and Casinos.
    Ergo : There will never be a revolution.

  12. outofworkkiwi 12

    The Feral Rich Are Destroying Our Civilised Society

    Key fits the bill completely: If you mentioned the Common Good as a reason not to sell off our assets he’d look at you as if you were from another Planet: He’s that selfinterestedly ignorant for his own greedy class.

    • rosy 12.1

      George Monbiot gives his take on why the rich have a total disconnect from the people who the are nominally to be governing for…

      former Republican staffer Mike Lofgren wrote something very similar about the dominant classes of the US: “the rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens … the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.”

      Secession from the concerns and norms of the rest of society characterises any well established elite. Our own ruling caste, schooled separately, brought up to believe in justifying fairytales, lives in a world of its own, from which it can project power without understanding or even noticing the consequences. A removal from the life of the rest of the nation is no barrier to the desire to dominate it. In fact, it appears to be associated with a powerful sense of entitlement.

      Hence they govern for those who are culturally similar, not just in their own countries, but across the world and don’t even see what is happening in the countries where they are citizens.

      Citizens… seems to be such an outdated concept.

      • Murray Olsen 12.1.1

        I can’t wait for the day when the workers realise that they have more in common with the workers of London, Paris, Tokyo, and India than with the rich of their own country. Nationalism is bullshit used by those who don’t believe in it to suppress those who do.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.2

        That’s a good column. I especially liked this bit:

        My second boarding school was a kinder, more liberal place. But we remained as detached from the rest of society as Carthusian monks. The world, when we were released into it, was unrecognisable. It bore no relationship to our learning or experience. The result was cognitive dissonance: a highly uncomfortable state from which human beings will do almost anything to escape. There were two principal means. One – the more painful – was to question everything you held to be true. This process took me years: in fact, it has not ended. It was, at first, highly disruptive to my peace of mind and sense of self.

        The other, as US Republicans did during the Bush presidency, is to create your own reality. If the world does not fit your worldview, you either shore up your worldview with selectivity and denial, or (if you have power) you try to bend the world to fit the shape it takes in your mind. Much of the effort of conservative columnists and editors, and of certain politicians and historians, appears to be devoted to these tasks.

        This is exactly what we’re seeing from right wing politicians and economists – people trying to force the world into their own, delusional, world view and it just isn’t working.

  13. bad12 13

    SMASH the Neo-liberal political/economic consensus, ‘the market’ is there to serve the people, forcing the people to serve the market is the path to slavery…

  14. Lloyd 14

    How many of our MPs are millionaires?

    How does the split in millionaires between parties fall?

    • John Key is worth $50 million and he is the only MP who is listed in the top 200.

      • muzza 14.1.1

        What year was the 50m figure from?

        That number has been used around Key since around the day he *arrived* in NZ politics, and his background, and positions he has held (roles played) would have accrued significantly higher numbers than the 50m he had when we first were told, *the story of Key*

  15. Descendant Of Sssmith 15

    Sort of liked the cartoon in this story though the story itself just shows another way to keep other peoples money.

    http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.co.nz/2011/12/attempt-to-seize-and-liquidate-customer.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+JessesCafeAmericain+(Jesse's+Caf%C3%A9+Am%C3%A9ricain)

    And people worry about paying tax when they are forking out billions of dollars to thieves and charlatans who call themselves businessmen.

  16. tsmithfield 16

    It could be argued that extreme wealth is green. If the money is tucked away in a bank account its not circulating causing greenhouse gasses.

    • rosy 16.1

      Pfft no it couldn’t. They don’t tuck it away until after the jets, and yachts and the cars and the entourage ….

    • RedLogix 16.2

      But most of that money was accumulated by greenhouse gas creating activity in the first place, so I’m not sure all that much is gained?

      How about spending it on research, development and rolling out new sustainable carbon-neutral ways of living?

      If I had $52m a day to spend that’s were a big portion of it would go.

      Someone last year made an estimate of some $30 trillion is cash hoarded in tax havens around the world. That was just cash, not assets and probably didn’t capture it all. Think of the problems and challenges we face which that much money could go a long way towards resolving. The right has long and loudly told us that a going carbon neutral would be hugely, cripplingly expensive … yet remain mute on how a vastly larger mountain of cash is already lying around doing nothing.

      Hoarding is always despised.

      • tsmithfield 16.2.1

        Maybe.

        However, it has always seemed to me to be a point of conflict between ideals for the left and the Greens especially. If income was distributed more equally, then surely it would be worse for the environment. Even though I accept that some of that wealth would be spent on more efficient energy technologies, surely the net effect would be more greenhouse gasses and more plundering of the environment.

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  • Petrol companies promise prices will come back down once peace is restored to the Middle East
    BP, Z and Mobil all insist that petrol price hikes are temporary, “in a very literal sense.” The nation’s major petrol providers are trying to allay customer fears over prices, promising that they’ll move to lower them again “immediately” when the Middle East is returned to its formerly peaceful state. ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • All Blacks unveil boat for Rugby World Cup 2019
    South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat. In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign. In a press conference that went ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • An increasingly shoddy coverup
    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    3 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    4 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    5 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    6 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    6 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    7 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks ago

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