The lesson of Lange

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 pm, December 12th, 2011 - 64 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, david shearer, heritage, labour, leadership - Tags:

David Lange was a good man with a sharp mind, he was quick as a cat thinking on his feet – especially debating – he was an excellent communicator. With only six years’ parliamentary experience before becoming leader of the NZLP he was also the least experienced of all Labour’s twelve leaders to date. David Lange got eaten alive.

Lange oversaw the worst years of the Labour Party, where the parliamentary and party wings grew further and further apart and bitter factional rifts and back-stabbings prevailed. His inability to manage his caucus opened the door for an unprecedented hijacking of the Party’s ideological compass by neo-liberals, and Lange eventually became an unwilling puppet for the more experienced but less principled old-hands behind him.

As a sensitive man Lange didn’t handle the awful pressure and toxicity of the leadership and paid a heavy emotional and physical toll. He left Parliament a pretty broken man. It wasn’t a good experience for him, for the Labour Party, or the people Labour represent.

So will lucky number 13 be the newest ‘least experienced Labour leader’ or will we have learned the lesson?

64 comments on “The lesson of Lange”

  1. RedLogix 1

    As a sensitive man Lange didn’t handle the awful pressure and toxicity of the leadership and paid a heavy emotional and physical toll.

    By one of those sheer accidents of life I had the chance to see that close up and personal one day. I got to spend some hours with the man … in a rather non-political setting, and long before I became poltically aware or active myself… and came away with the very distinct unspoken impression that David Lange rather desperately no longer wanted to be PM.

    Within months he had resigned.

    • David Lange was my MP for 10 years and my family were senior office holders in the Mangere LEC.  DC is my current MP and, well you know.

      There are similarities between the two but some clear differences.

      Both are exceedingly intelligent.  Both are capable of towering rhetoric, Lange especially although Cunliffe is better on his feet in analyzing situations.  Both have that ability of being very funny.

      There are differences though.  Lange did not like confrontation, he preferred to get on with anyone.  He also let Douglas get out of control.  He had the dignity and decency to call for a cup of tea and a halt to Rogernomics but he was never in command of economic policy.

      Cunliffe has a keen sense of the levers of power and what has to be achieved to make sure the correct result occurs.  He would be in control of Caucus  the way that Lange never was.

    • Mr Magoo 1.2

      I think drawing parallels between Lange and Shearer based solely on that they were both the “new kids on the block” is a very weak (and possibly highly disingenuous) argument. Lange and Shearer are not the same people by a long margin.

      And what crushed Lange is not likely happen in today’s environment.

      Honestly? This was a pretty pathetic read. I would liken this to the sort of logic you would read on kiwiblog or whaleoil. (of course the logic, it lacked the frothing at the mouth)

      • Mr Magoo 1.2.1

        And thus they have rolled the dice.

        Shearer is in. The gamble is on – let’s hope it pays off.

        Good luck to you!

  2. logie97 2

    and when the MSM talk about old-past-their-use-by-date politicians, wasn’t Dunne in the Lange government? Wonder what sort of loyalty he displayed there. Or was he then what he is now – a change with the wind politician?

  3. Brent J 3

    Is that a young Mallard in the background?

    • dancerwaitakere 3.1

      I believe it is. Makes a mockery of the claim that Shearer is a fresh face. He is merely a fresh face on an old machine that is the Labour establishment bitterly afraid of change.

  4. fender 4

    Whoever wins tomorrow we all need to support fully.
    Lange would shred any of the current Nats in a debate.
    Dunne has become a laughing stock and is really mean not sharing his hair with Pete George the web-based media egghead guy we all love.

    • seeker 4.1

      Sorry Fender can’t do that.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        I’ve volunteered long and hard for Labour this year.

        Caucus better show insight and understanding into the way forward for all of us, Tuesday morning. And a clear willingness to support painful, fundamental reform of the party.

        If they don’t choose a leader who can deliver on that while not only standing toe to toe against Key, English, Peters, Turei and Norman, but also outshining all of them in the media and in the House, a strategic blunder will have been made.

      • fender 4.1.2

        Love to hate then.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.2.1

          Do you know how to motivate human beings to give their all?

          Or do you think that for most activists Tuesday should simply be a case of “The King is Dead! Long Live the King!”

          • fender 4.1.2.1.1

            Oh seeker can’t support fully whoever wins (?)
            And you can’t either CV?

            • the sprout 4.1.2.1.1.1

              some will, many won’t.
              depends on whose interests caucus serves i suppose

            • Colonial Viper 4.1.2.1.1.2

              I’ll suggest something to you. I figure that around 50% of the hardest core real world activists that Labour has are going to be examining the nuances of Tuesdays caucus decision very fracking closely.

              Now answer my question. Do you think that the leadership decision, no matter which way it goes, should simply be a matter of “The King is Dead! Long live the King!”

              • fender

                Well without unity may as well split the party into two then if thats whats necessary.

                • Colonial Viper

                  So answer me the question. Should party activists treat the outcome of the caucus vote as a case of “The King is Dead! Long live the King!”

                  Because I notice you haven’t bothered to respond to either my question, or the philosophy behind that statement. Clue: its not a liberal philosophy.

                  • fender

                    Party activists can treat the outcome however they wish, if some choose to jump ship or whatever thats their gig.
                    I would like to see David C and Nanaia win too, but if they don’t get the numbers then I won’t suddenly ditch supporting Labour.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      When I was studying World War I, I always wondered to myself what was going through the minds of the enlisted British soldiers waiting in the trenches. Waiting for their orders to come down from above. Orders to leap over the top of their protective trenches en masse, to charge their way over and under lines of barbed wire, in the face of unstoppable sweeping arcs of German machine gun fire.

                      And of course, I also wondered what was going through the minds of the commissioned officers and Generals who were giving the orders.

            • seeker 4.1.2.1.1.3

              Of course I support David C. and indeed Nanaia Mahuta for reasons I have been posting for days now. It is David S. that I really can’t support as leader mainly due to his inexperience. I think it was idiocy for him to have put his name forward and I can’t support idiocy. Therefore if he becomes leader I will sadly have to withdraw my support for Labour and will probably join the Greens. Can’t fight battles with the soft metal of an unforged sword.

  5. SHG 5

    Lange would eat any of the present members of the House alive in a debate. He is the strongest parliamentary orator and debater of recent memory.

    And – if one accepts the central premise of the original post – he was a failure as a Labour leader.

    Why, then, is everyone in Labour getting in a tizz about needing a new Leader who is a strong debater and speaker?

    • lprent 5.1

      …needing a new Leader who is a strong debater and speaker

      That is for the media side, house side and eventually the debates. But we have had PM’s with poor house (although not many nor for long) and even media skills.

      For me, I find the lack of caucus and ministerial experience the most bothersome. That was what caused Lange to be such a failure. He was incapable of controlling his ministers or even his caucus directly. He relied on others to do that for him. He then found out what it felt like to be a bird in a gilded cage – ineffectual and useful as a sock-puppet.

      The lack of party experience isn’t good either. That gets to be a real handicap when trying to put together a campaign.

      The problem is that political leaders need to be pretty well rounded in all of the areas that they impact on others. Being really good in one area doesn’t compensate for the lacks.

      Being aware of where the lacks are is really really important. The pace of politics is usually such that even a simple mistake at the wrong time often doesn’t leave you much recovery room. You have to take advice on those areas and to accept advice most people usually have to understand why they need it and trust those giving it.

      Some media seem to talk about Shearer having two years grace. He doesn’t. He’ll be lucky if he gets two months. Basically when the house is back, he’d have to be on form. I don’t think that it is feasible even with the good support.

      • Jim Nald 5.1.1

        My friend from the UK, a Lib-Dem candidate for the European Parliament, reminded me of the saying that “elections are won in years”.
        That’s years, not months or weeks. And also not in the few days in the lead up to polling day.

        The Labour Caucus this morning must keep that in mind and select a candidate who can take the fight to the National Government here and now, and to build up the pressure and sustain that until 2014. Let’s hope the choice will be made wisely and in the overall and best interest of the Labour Party both for now and the long term future.

    • fender 5.2

      If you want to be Leader I think the very first thing you need is strong debating and communication skills. How can you get your message across otherwise, let alone instill any public confidence.
      I’d not like to have a leader who bumbles along like I saw Paul Quinn do on Backbenches recently.

      • lprent 5.2.1

        Helps a lot. But in opposition getting your caucus spending effort on bringing down the government rather than expending it on gossiping about each other is usually the primary key. The best use of debating and communication skills initially is inside the caucus and shadow cabinet.

        • Pete George 5.2.1.1

          spending effort on bringing down the government

          That’s a very sad statement.

          The primary aim of any party, leader or MP should be working for the good of the country. Sure, if there are real issues in government that need examined or exposed then that should happen, but best possible governance should surely be the overriding aim.

          Trying to undermine the government with the aim of bringing it down if possible is not good for the country – and if you see Labour results over the last three years it’s not good for the party either.

          Destructor obsession can become self destruction. And it turns off voters.

          • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1.1

            And did your party’s collective wisdom ‘turn on voters’? Fuck you’re politically naive.

            • Pete George 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Yep, I think I do naive quite well.

              I’m also prepared to try and think outside the square, have a fresh look at how we could do things better – and I’ve listened to a lot of people who want things done better.

              Maybe Labour could benefit from a bit of ‘naive’ and less of the ‘same old’.

              • lprent

                See my reply below. Mostly you are just rediscovering ideas that are quite old and quite dead. They died for a reason. It is rather tedious pointing you to history that you could easily look up. But suffice it to say I looked at almost every idea I have ever seen you articulate when I was in my 20’s, along with the critiques and where they were attempted to be implemented and why people thought that they failed.

                History is a wonderful thing. You should read it sometime to learn to avoid very old mistakes.

              • kriswgtn

                hhaha and ur UF leader has been around as long as Goff

                Banks has been round since when the forming of the atom?

              • Colonial Viper

                Maybe you deliver some damn proven results in the electorate before you start your political consulting business, yeah? And I mean results other than successfully suppressing research on behalf of corporate industry.

          • lprent 5.2.1.1.2

            You appear to have missed a few centuries of actual experience with democratic systems. What you are describing was the strange philosophy that caused some of the framers of the US constitution to want the vice presidential position to always be the main opponent of the president. Where apon they can (as gentlemen) work for the good of the country. Needless to say that never happened, and with good reason. It will inevitably lead to a system where by the winner and losers merely meet after the election to divide up the loot.

            What happened in practice across the democracies was the development of the loyal opposition whose role was question the government ritually, rigously, and to try to bring about their downfall. That was the required feedback mechanism to prevent stultification of the political system. There was always an incentive for the opposition to remain hungry for a change and to highlight the deficiencies of the status quo.

            United Futures main political philosophy right from the formation of the United party was only to piously divide up the loot (and that tradition is assiduously followed by Dunne today) – in fact to my eye that was the only reason that they did form. They will of course try to cover themselves with a fig leaf of respectability, like the one you just articulated. But it really is just the same as self justification of a bandit arguing that preying on the weak is merely a form of evolutionary social Darwinism

            I suspect that you are merely a political innocent who could do to read some political history to catch up on the reasons why some structures work and persist in politics. I realize that it is the role of professional innocents to not gain knowledge. But I do think that you really try to carry the John the baptist metaphor somewhat too far.

            • Pete George 5.2.1.1.2.1

              You appear to have missed a few centuries of actual experience with democratic systems.

              You appear to have missed the fact we are now in the 21st century. Like Labour. How successful are they with the seek and destroy approach?

              We can learn from the past but can do better in the future – if we want to. I suspect you’ll agree that the Internet has changed things a wee bit, and opened up mass communication to the masses.

              • Colonial Viper

                Get off the frackin teleprompter.

              • lprent

                You are over egging the effect of the social change such technology brings. It doesn’t change basic human behaviors, it merely provides a new outlet for them and allows changes and discussion to propagate more rapidly.

                It doesn’t obviate the need to read history because the first thing that I and others do is to reach into history to find out what was the flaw the last time that theory arose. We act as the opposition to point out the flaws. Merely trying to dismiss it with things are different now doesn’t cut it. Why are they different? What is the effect that you expect to see? How is it going to change human social behaviors formed by our evolutionary history (or our nature if you prefer 18th century thought) which have proved to be remarkably persistent.

                Now remember that I have been doing this social network stuff since about 1980 – it isn’t like I haven’t been around and around all of the arguments about the social effects of networks on the way. Why do you think that this site operates so well socially? Why do you think that there were so many experiments on massive social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, etc all happening at the same time? This stuff got discussed massively over the decades, and quite literally the ideas were sitting ready when the tech and economics made it feasible. The ideas of the critics decades ago also turn out to be valid.

    • and despite Lange’s exceptional gifts he was still slaughtered and the party left in ruins, because he was so politically inexperienced

  6. Brent J 6

    2nd least experienced was Geoffrey Palmer with 10 yrs. Also not a great ending.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Let’s go with 2.5 years instead now, that would be a good move.

    • bbfloyd 6.2

      not a great beginning for palmer…. he was always just a pawn in lange’s game plan to stymie moore….. i’m not entirely sure why, but i didn’t forgive him for that for years….

  7. Blue 7

    There seems to be a bizarre trend emerging in NZ politics now where a candidate needs to have next to no experience to be taken seriously.

    Stoked by the examples of Obama and John Key, the demand is for ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ and anyone who’s been around longer than five minutes is ‘stale’ and ‘uninspiring’.

    Odd thought really, that in any other job experience is king, and people without a track record in the industry don’t get considered, while in the top job of running the entire country, we prefer someone untried and unknown.

    • bbfloyd 7.1

      havn’t you kept up with the fashions? it’s not cool to have an attention span longer than a goldfish…..if everyone thought with any depth on political and economic issues, then we would have a rush of jounalists and advertising executives stampeding to therapy in epidemic numbers….

      and that wouldn’t be fair to them, or their employers…..

    • seeker 7.2

      +1 comment Blue.

    • newsense 7.3

      Obama was very experienced comparatively I thought? Had experience in his state government and as his state senator?

      • felix 7.3.1

        Yes he was, but he was marketed as a fresh face without “insider baggage”.

        The fact that this wasn’t actually true – and that he could have campaigned on his experience but instead chose to emphasise his supposed “freshness” – beautifully illustrates Blue’s point.

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    XXX was from the outset the supposed puppet of a small group who put him up knowing his inexperience would leave him vulnerable to their manipulation, but thinking he might be popular and a good enough public and parliamentary performer to defeat YYY

    😯

    [sprout: that was a good comment you quoted but i’m not sure where it went, it seems to have been withdrawn. seemed pretty apposite]

  9. McFlock 9

    My impression – it being a bit before my time – is that it was also a shortcoming in the wider party. Nobody knew economics enough to be able to recognise and refute neoliberal BS. It’s not just down to the leader, the depth of the field also counts.

  10. Kairos 10

    A huge blunder is in the making if caucus believes it is the sovereign power in the Labour Party and ignores the clear will of the wider membership for a Cunliffe/Mahuta leadership.
    The Greens will benefit from disaffected Labour activists jumping ship but more important the Labour heartland supporters (the poor, the workers, the disengaged) will lose hope.
    To rebuild Labour from the ground up will require the re-involvement of these supporters. A failing leader, as Shearer will inevitably be, will make that task nigh on impossible.
    The Party anger at such a wilful snub of the Party wishes will have consequences come candidate and list-selection time. An organisation like the Labour Party has a long and strong memory.

  11. vto 11

    I got no idea about party politics and all that kerfuffle but it seems clear to me that the newbie nature of Shearer is pretty much the defining factor for him. Why rest all of your re-election chances on an unknown? Talk about risky. That is known as an unwise decision. It might be clever, if it works, but not wise – and cleverness is always risky. Not a time for risk methinks. 2c.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      People tend to be optimists, and they always think that they can beat the house odds.

  12. Matthew Hooton 12

    I think you are quite unfair to David Lange. He won Labour two elections, inspired the nation sick of Muldoonist politics of hate and fear, reformed the economy, introduced the anti-nuclear policy and withdrew from the alliance with the US, helped launch the Maori renaissance, stopped sporting contact with South Africa, and stopped the economic reforms from moving into social policy and the flat tax. If David Shearer can achieve as much for Labour, and I am sure he can, then he will be seen as one of your greatest leaders.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Well this comment is quite remarkable and should be noted.

    • lprent 12.2

      He also caused Labour to shed a significiant part of its core support base while chasing a different fickle one. Allowed both the party and the country to be run by a very small clique in dictatorial manner that made Muldoon look like a sensitive democrat, and caused a complete reformation of the political system as a consequence. Caused the party structure to fracture and largely disintegrate.

      Are you sure that wasn’t the analogy you were stretching for?

    • Good to see Matthew wholeheartedly supporting Shearer.  He obviously has the interests of the Labour Party at heart and only wants the party to succeed against National. 

    • RedLogix 12.4

      All true Matthew, but there are many who still call that period the first ACT government.

      It was a government full of tension and contradiction. Never before or since have we seen a Prime Minister and his Minster of Finance bitterly and openly campaigning against each other. We forget that in the 80’s we pretty much had only what the media was willing to report; imagine if that level of dysfunction and divisiveness went down today!!!

      It is a measure of David Lange’s greatness that he achieved so much in the face of such odds. But equally it came at an enormous cost. Personally he was shattered; remember he was one of the few NZ PM’s to ever resign.

      And the cost to his Party was immense; it took Helen Clark a decade to undo some of that damage. There are still many who haven’t forgiven Labour for allowing itself to be hijacked to the madness of the neo-liberals economics.

      None of that would have happened if Lange had been in control of his caucas in the way Helen Clark was. Indeed as a Minister of Health a very young Helen witnessing that disaster must have been deeply formative for her. No wonder H1 and H2 overcompensated towards over-control.. they had lived through what happens when you lose it.

      • just saying 12.4.1

        I notice you absolve Lange from any moral responsibility for what happened. I certainly do not.

        He was a “great” wit and raconteur. I had faith in him, gave him my first ever vote and he betrayed that trust. Because of his assurances that those who had been harmed would finally gain from all the pain, he sold NZ a second term of moral bankrupcy, like a dodgy second-hand car dealer. And until near the end, he was having a whale of a time, glorying in the plaudits and the limelight, and enjoying the delights of a postponed adolescence.

        After he left the party he indulged in a prolonged ‘poor me’ and never took one jot of responsibility, as if he was rogernomics’ number one, most wounded victim.

        I was horrified that Robertson named him as his personal hero. It’s obvious that the Labour caucus have nothing to do with the current generations of the people that bore the brunt of that time, socially, economically, physically and spiritually.

        • RedLogix 12.4.1.1

          I notice you absolve Lange from any moral responsibility for what happened. I certainly do not.

          And I wouldn't quibble with you either. Lange left a thoroughly mixed legacy and I guess everyone has their selected highlights and lowlights.

  13. Ballistico 13

    I hope the best David wins, and whichever does win I hope they can rally the caucus around them and take it to the Gnats.

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    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    3 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    6 days ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    6 days ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    7 days ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Guardian: Poll shows DISASTER for Corbyn and the End of Times
    The Guardian - ever eager to forewarn of doom and disaster on the left - are leading with a new poll from Opinium, which puts the Conservatives 15% clear of Labour.Con 38% +2Lab 23% -1Lib Dem 15% -5Brexit 12% +1Green 4% +2This isn't good news, and it would be very ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How prostitution became the world’s most modern profession
    Being and Being Bought (Spinifex Press, 2013) by Kajsa Ekis Ekman  A synopsis and commentary of Chapters 1-2 by Daphna Whitmore Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book She opens the discussion with a definition of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Clever legal fellow on Scottish challenge to Brexit
    I make no claims to having much legal knowledge,  so I defer to those trained in this area.I am very much enjoying this twitter stream from m'learned friend in Edinburgh, deciphering the legal arguments around the Scottish court challenge to Boris Johnson, based on the charmingly obscure principle of Nobile ...
    2 weeks ago
  • An Open Letter From Closed Minds.
    Ivory Folly? The University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, upheld the right of the radical nationalist group, Action Zealandia to exercise their freedom of speech – not matter how distasteful that speech might be. A wiser community of students and scholars would have nodded their agreement and moved on. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extinction Rebellion members want to “eat babies”
    If you are not convinced terrorist Organisation ‘Extinction Rebellion’ is very, very dangerous – watch this video at one of their recent meetings. Not only is this obviously mentally ill Woman begging the other terrorists to promote killing and “eating” babies and children, if you watch carefully other members nod ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    2 weeks ago

  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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