The media and two child poverty policy releases

Written By: - Date published: 9:24 am, May 24th, 2015 - 59 comments
Categories: budget 2015, david cunliffe, john key, labour, Media, national, same old national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

poor child

The media treatment of National’s $25 a week increase in payments for beneficiary families made me think back to the treatment of Labour’s Best Start policy announced in January of last year.  The proposal was for an additional payment of $60 per week to all families earning less than quite a high threshold until their child was aged three.  There would also be an increase in free early childhood education from 20 to 25 hours.  This included beneficiary families and was and still is the most significant proposed increase for beneficiary families made in decades.

The policy was announced by David Cunliffe in these terms:

Today I am proud to launch Best Start – Labour’s plan to give every Kiwi kid the best start in life, from before born, through early childhood and into education.

There is no year more critical than the first. That’s why today, I am announcing that for 59,000 families with new-born babies, they will all receive a Best Start payment of $60 per week, for the first year of their child’s life.

The usual suspects climbed into it.  The numbers breeding for a business would apparently explode because of this state largesse.  Then the media started to attack because although $60 per week was promised the figure would actually abate for those also receiving paid parental leave.

Paddy Gower attacked and gave John Key the perfect opportunity to go on the offensive.  According to Key:

When I read the speech and looked at it, I thought absolutely you got it for the entire year your child was under one year of age.  I think David Cunliffe is being very tricky. I think he’s actually trying to mislead the New Zealand public.”

Both of Labour’s policies involved significant improvements to existing state provision.  Paid parental leave payments were greater so First Start would apply after paid parental leave was finished.  This detail was in the policy and was part of the costing.  David Cunliffe also said that the fine print had to be worked through and obviously Departmental advice would be required.

Cunliffe predictively said:

When the left put good policy in the public domain the right says it is bribery and fiscal ruin and when they do it it is suddenly prudent.

If you want to get a tenor of the reporting at the time you could watch this stand up from David Cunliffe which took 9 minutes and 20 seconds and during which he answered a variety of questions on the topic.  You can then read this Paddy Gower article where he said that during the stand up Cunliffe had “buckled under the pressure” and had “thrown his toys out of the cot” when he “walked out” of the stand up conference.

Fast forward to 2015.  In the Budget Speech English said

On 1 April next year, benefit rates for families with children will rise by $25 a week after tax.

It will be the first time core benefit rates have been increased – apart from inflation adjustments – since 1972.

Around 110,000 families, with 190,000 children, will be better off as a result.

This increase to benefit rates comes after widespread reform of the welfare system, so we’re confident it will have a positive impact on the lives of beneficiary families and children, rather than contribute to further dependence.

What was missing from English’s speech was the acknowledgement that the actual increase would almost inevitably be less and in some cases families would not see any increase at all.  As noted by Gordon Campbell:

That headline figure for the increase in benefits was misleading. No-one will get an extra $25. The real figure is a maximum of $23 in the hand when the simultaneous (and miserly) deductions in income-related rents and other forms of assistance is factored in. By late last night, Work and Income were clarifying that these abatement rules meant that many beneficiary families would receive an increase more in the nature of $18, and some families would receive nothing extra at all. Moreover, the figures seemed plucked out of the air, rather than based on any research into existing levels of need. Plus, the relief is deemed to be so urgently needed it won’t actually arrive for another eleven months.

Get that?  Apart from the delay in implementation which rather belies the claimed urgency National’s headline figure is greater than it will be in reality in most cases.

Instead of media questioning of the bona fides of the policy we have been fed a never ending stream of comments on how the policy is “smart politics” even though the provision is limited, will be smaller than the headline figure in most cases and is accompanied by ridiculous work requirements which will cause hardship.

Talk about tricky.

59 comments on “The media and two child poverty policy releases”

  1. Andrew R 1

    Simon Collins, in the NZ Herald, questions the first time since 1972 story. He says a $25 increase also happened in April 2005 when Labour increased a child allowance.

    Why are (a) other reporters not looking into this, and (b) Labour mps silent on this?

    • Colonial Rawshark 1.1

      If it happened in April 2005 it will be searchable in news stories.

      • red-blooded 1.1.1

        This boost to child support was announced as part of the restructuring aligned with Working for Families. As far as I can tell (or remember) there was an increase to the Child Tax Credit that applied to both beneficiaries and working parents, and over time the CTC was changed to a Family Tax Credit. There were various reports about this, but here’s the speech in which it was announced: http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/47HansD_20040527_00000175/future-directions-working-for-families-bill-%E2%80%94-first-reading

        Cullen says “the bill increases the rates of family support substantially. Next year family support rates for the first child increase by $25 a week, and by $15 a week for other children. Two years later these rates will increase by a further $10. The orphans benefit, the unsupported child’s benefit, and the foster care allowance rates also increase next year by $15 a week” and “The child component of main benefits and student allowances will become part of the family support system. All support for children will be paid primarily through one payment—family support. This makes the assistance readily transferable between benefit and work. The removal of the child component will coincide with family support increases early next year, providing a significant boost for families with children.”

        The tax changes did more for people who were working than for those relying on benefits, but there were still real increases for beneficiaries: “A domestic purposes benefit recipient with two children, living in Christchurch, will be better off by about $36 a week. An equivalent sole parent working, earning $30,000 per year, will be $128 better off in April 2007 than now.”

        • Colonial Rawshark 1.1.1.1

          OK thanks. So Labour structured their moves as tax reductions. Yet I saw the stats and it was never able to come close to reversing the massive increases in child poverty which occurred through the 1990s.

          • Tracey 1.1.1.1.1

            and Cunliffe’s $60 a week? You have been lambasting Labour for not doing whatever they should do in Opposition up against the Nats $25 bucks, so what of the $60 announcement by Cunliffe?

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.1.1

              yeah, where did that $60/wk go. Have you heard Labour mention it at all this week? i haven’t.

              • Saarbo

                Yep, Little should have been firing the $60 p/week back to the media. I understand that all policy announcements made for election 2014 stand unless they have been clearly revoked by the Labour Party i.e CGT…haven’t heard anything about this $60 p/week being revoked so it is Labour Policy…beats Nat’s $25 hands down.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Then its doubly interesting that Labour’s Best Start policy has fallen into the memory hole.

  2. Bearded Git 2

    Brilliant comparison/analysis Mickey. Now what do Labour do about it? Is there a better way to release policy?

    Are Labour doing focus group sessions where the inevitable MSM attacks on policy are anticipated or do they just release and hope for fair treatment?

    • Sable 2.1

      We need to get to the place Greece is at where distrust of the MSM is almost universal.

      • Colonial Rawshark 2.1.1

        uh lets not do it that way

        • adam 2.1.1.1

          With this lot as economic stewards we may not have a choice Colonial Rawshark.

          • Stuart Munro 2.1.1.1.1

            Iceland is better – crooks go to jail. Best place for most of the Gnats.

            Thing’d be to write to Iceland & get the skinny on how it’s done.

            No need to reinvent the wheel.

    • ankerawshark 2.2

      bearded Git, imho no matter how Labour (especially Cunliffe) released or said anything last year, the media would spin it as a negative. We are all familiar with the Dong Liu letter, “I am sorry for being a man”. There is no question, the msm were in overdrive trying to discreet DC.

      I believe that the degree of anti DC spin last year was so automatic and ruthless from the msm, no matter what or how he said it it would have been shot down in flames.

      • Bearded Git 2.2.1

        @ ankeraswshark
        Agreed, but they are starting on Little now. What, if anything, can we do about it?

        • Rodel 2.2.1.1

          Tell it over and over and over to everybody- Paddy–Duncan…Paul…John…Bill…Gerry… Simon…’Cut the Crap!

  3. tc 3

    Yeah as expected mickey with the usual CT process steps the NACT have down pat by now.

    With another occasional dissenting voice now silenced their media strategy is simple and effective.

    dirty politics complements this nicely to cover off the new media, associated interest groups, academics, scientists and anyone else getting in the way.

  4. Incognito 4

    Apologies for the double-posting to OM but this topic is too important and cannot be publicised often enough:

    Debunking the child poverty myths by Rob Stock is an excellent read, in fact a must read.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      Thanks Incognito. The article really reinforces how the Government’s measure is aimed at addressing a political problem and not the problem of child poverty.

      • Incognito 4.1.1

        You’re welcome. Of course, it was a political stunt that was squarely aimed at the MSM to create the desired perception. And it worked like a breeze! It was textbook politics/PR and, as usual, the populace swallowed it hook, line & sinker. So, now many (more?) firmly believe that National does care, that it does have a ‘soul’, that it is indeed working for all New Zealanders. Well, call me a cynic, but I am not swayed by any of it. For a very long (i.e. ever) National didn’t even want to admit that child poverty was an issue; it refused and still refuses to measure child poverty. So, how can National determine whether its policies have the desired effect or any effect, for that matter? National cannot because it doesn’t want to and that’s because it has no real interest in this issue. Interestingly, John Key said that 500,000 New Zealand children would benefit from the Budget in some way. That’s a rather large (and round) number and other large numbers have been tossed around in the MSM but the reality is that nobody really knows and National prefers it this way. National does not give a toss is the only conclusion that I can come to; nothing has changed substantially and National is most definitely not moving to the left!

        • Incognito 4.1.1.1

          To support my earlier assertions re. National I can now rest my case:

          Bill English does not understand the measures of poverty.

          For crying out loud, he is the Minister of Finance!

        • Gosman 4.1.1.2

          Call you a biased left winger you mean. National doesn’t need to convince people like you. they only need to convince the average swing voter.

          • Incognito 4.1.1.2.1

            You’re 100% correct; National really convinced those “swing voters” in Northland, didn’t it?

            And once it has convinced those voters it can sit back and feel “relaxed and comfortable” about it.

            “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”

  5. Peter 5

    …… moral(s) of the story …… the media win elections on behalf of the PR consultants and media owners …….. the general public are manipulated on behalf of controlling interests …… manage perceptions and you control the agenda

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      +1

      That’s been true for some time. Joseph Goebbels understood that:

      “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”

      Something that National and the MSM, in service to its owners, excel at.

      • Peter 5.1.1

        …….. Goebbels clearly understood a thing or two ……. when Dirty Politics broke the orchestrated repetitive strategy centred on a fictional “orchestrated left wing conspiracy”. You have to give credit where credit is due.

  6. b waghorn 6

    I wonder if Gower is aware of how unbalanced his attertude is to the different sides of the house .

    • Macro 6.1

      Oh! I’m sure he is. As are all his mates.
      It’s a requirement to hold their job, and they know now, after Campbell, just how precarious that contract they have is. Don’t rock the boat – or we throw you overboard.

      • James 6.1.1

        Its not so much Dont Rock the boat, but dont lose your audience.

        • Richard Christie 6.1.1.1

          Nah, CL rates well, giving the lie to Mediawork’s mendacious excuses, it is not about the audience, it is all about (not) asking awkward questions.

          • Macro 6.1.1.1.1

            Even In a sleepy little hollow such as Thames – I can assure you that the local journo’s know only too well that they must give Scott – the encumbant Nat here – full coverage of him holding a kitten, while other Parties with far more social justice issues struggle to get even 2″s of copy.

  7. Sable 7

    Ask who owns the MSM and you have an answer as to which parties and policies will get a thumbs up. That said, what does shock and disgust is the degree to which public access TV has also been corrupted.

  8. Colonial Rawshark 8

    After the mass union movement and mass Labour Party membership was destroyed (by Labour) Labour, it lost its direct line into local communities. It was therefore left relying almost solely on corporatised commercial TV (which it set up, i.e. for profit SOE TVNZ + private TV3) to get its messages out to households.

    Going well so far.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Yep, it was Labour that destroyed its base and they don’t seem to have figured that out yet.

      • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1

        Even activists seem a bit confused as to how the current day adverse media situation has evolved directly from longstanding structural changes that Labour itself instituted.

        Cullen wanted his surplus, he wanted TVNZ to be a cash cow for that purpose, so he kept running it as a for-profit commercial corporatised MSM outlet. It had a little codpiece of a public broadcasting charter of course, but that was always uselessly weak and easily guttable. Which of course National did using all the effort of waving a pen.

        • RedLogix 8.1.1.1

          Well CV this is why from time to time I re-state my expectation that John Key will remain PM just as long as he can be bothered.

          National ( or more accurately — the establishment which it fronts) totally own the propaganda channels. Against which no left-wing Opposition can ever hope to both win AND sustain government.

          Oddly enough it was Michael Cullen who told me this some years back.

          Personally I still believe that the only non-violent path through this is to teach people how to become resistant to propaganda without becoming cynical and shutting down altogether. Not easy.

          • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1.1.1

            Strong minds and strong mindfulness…

            With the intellectual left discarding religion and spirituality nowadays in favour of academic materialism it is more difficult.

            Well, Cullen was not a silly man, but him and Clark did not leave Labour a legacy that it could build on.

          • Clemgeopin 8.1.1.1.2

            Three points:

            (1) I can understand your point (and Cullen’s) as far as, say the major big business owned newspapers and the media works (which is directly beholden to Steven Joyce and his government for bailing them out of debt). I also suspect that their management appointments, like personal friend, Mark Weldon, former NZX boss, etc has been due to the plan/influence executed by this government behind the scenes. Same trick was played for country’s spy chief for GCSB with Key’s childhood friend, Ian Fletcher. The push to get John Campbell out, the country’s ONLY journalistic voice for the voiceless who was holding this crooked government for the wealthy to account was uncomfortable for the National Government’s untrustworthy ‘leaders’. Have you ever noticed or wondered that in the time that Paul Henry has been on the morning breakfast show, Key has gone on his show regularly, probably a half a dozen times or so (I am not sure about the exact number, as I don’t watch it, but from anecdotal or cross news accounts) while Key has not gone to Campbell Live for a very LONG time in spite of many invites to front up! I wonder why not! A coward or does he think John Campbell is a bad journalist or does he think that his government is just not answerable to tough questions?

            (2) I am not sure why the independent blogs as well as the publicly owned TVNZ, RNZ can not hold this dodgy government to account more strenuously? Surely, they need not be afraid?

            (3) Don’t we have any very wealthy but ethical straight up good and honourable fair minded individuals in the country who can start or own some MSM to allow a parallel pro-progressive voice for the common people and the country in competition to the myriad of primarily one sided pro wealthy RW rogue outfits running as media but really constantly playing dirty politics against the progressive parties and their leaders? Time to take the country back from the RW rogues.

  9. Charles 9

    Why do 75% of NZders hate kids so much? All day every day we hear about how some local hero “…just did it for the kids…” but if those same communities could also get away with not feeding or housing the kids, that’d be just peachy.
    Which popular virtue is transgressed by making sure kids don’t die of ill health and starvation – whoever they might be? At what point does the death or permanent stunting of a human become “more fair” than letting them live and thrive?
    Only 75% of the population know why, and they ain’t saying. I’m stumped as to how NZ society has become sociopathic so quickly. It’s like, the last ten years, the increase was exponential. Seems you can’t teach good sense or compassion, and once someone lets those things go they’re gone forever. Presumeably once the local poor are dead, the sociopaths will start in on their own children. We should start warning immgrants and refugees about what’s in store for them.

    • Facetious 9.1

      I reject your comments. You cannot tar the whole of NZ society with your biased and tainted brush. Go away, study and inform yourself before making silly accusations, such as 75%…

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        Well ok – 55%. National’s supporters are just peachy with the appearance of action on Child Poverty.

        Nothing akshually need be done.

    • miravox 9.2

      “Why do 75% of NZders hate kids so much?”

      I think your next sentence gives the clue, Charles. NZers are very responsive, outraged even, when given news of individual issues/events that affect the well-being of children, but are loathe to accept there are structural failings.

      This is where Campbell (and likewise Helen Kelly with worker safety) has been so successful in getting public support, imo.

      • Tracey 9.2.1

        In the SST today they had an article about Brian Tamaki screwing over his parishioners to the tune of about half a million just from their annual conference. Cleverly, the article under that one as about raising money for ids to get pyjamas. It was a clever way to show Tamaki up without actually writing what a crook he is.

    • Lloyd 9.3

      Really interesting that the NZ Herald is running a “Buy some pyjamas to keep a poor kid warm” campaign today. Made me spit sparks, They have spent years slagging off beneficiaries and supporting Gnat policies which have ground down incomes and benefits – Now they want to be seen as supporting poor kids!

      Its like Scrooge running a fancy Christmas party.

  10. coaster 10

    going forward, is there going to be a main stream media?.

    with the number of people not watching main stream tv, not purchasing newspapers, having the ability to avoid watching adds altogether if they watch main stream tv, using social media for whats happening, i can see a time coming soon when the corporate media will have done its job so well in turing off the disinfrancised that none of there spin will work because no one is listening.

    i stopped watching tv 3 when they coontinually canned programmes after 1 season, with campbell live gone i will now intentionally stop watching tv3 as i can source any programmes they have that i like elsewhere.

    the right are very good short term strategis but not good at long term stategy, and they cant get they fact that most people are not motivated primarily by money.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      Without a common public service media I think we’ll see NZ society start to fracture even faster than it is already.

      • Macro 10.1.1

        I saw just how much we have lost here with the commercialization of public broadcasting when staying in Australia for the beginning of this year. I’m sure you will be noticing it too Red. The public funding of the ABC allows for quality broadcasting at all levels. Even ABC Kids. 🙂
        Yes Abbot is attempting even now to trash it – I hope the Australian public can resist this threat.

        • Tracey 10.1.1.1

          I was over there in 2014 for ANZAC Day and that as prior to their budget and the Melbourne Age was really taking it to the Government.

          • RedLogix 10.1.1.1.1

            Absolutely this is correct Macro & Tracey. There is a much wider balance of political reporting here in Aus – which makes our sneering, snide and shallow right-wing media bias even more obvious from afar.

            The difference is extraordinary. Which is why Abbot made it a priority to start gutting ABC funding as soon as he got into power.

            • Tracey 10.1.1.1.1.1

              I watched a section of John Oliver last night. Say what we will about the USA but I haven’t seen anyone in NZ taking it to the government like he does.

  11. Mike the Savage One 11

    Quoting Gordan Campbell, the highly respected commentator and writer (see above):
    “That headline figure for the increase in benefits was misleading. No-one will get an extra $25. The real figure is a maximum of $23 in the hand when the simultaneous (and miserly) deductions in income-related rents and other forms of assistance is factored in. By late last night, Work and Income were clarifying that these abatement rules meant that many beneficiary families would receive an increase more in the nature of $18, and some families would receive nothing extra at all. Moreover, the figures seemed plucked out of the air, rather than based on any research into existing levels of need. Plus, the relief is deemed to be so urgently needed it won’t actually arrive for another eleven months.”

    So in a sense I was right after all, with my sincere reservations and suspicions about the supposedly so “generous” Key led, English manipulated government. This is a massive political trick played by the Nats, and Labour and Greens and NZ First better heed the loud warning sirens ringing in the air!

    Wait, for the coming two years, leading up to election 2017, the Nats will chant this mantra day in and day out, to every reporter, in Parliament, outside Parliament, in front of TV cameras and microphones, in public meetings, “we are the government that raised benefits”!

    They have NO intention to offer any more help for the poor, certainly not the poor on benefits, not so next year, not so in coming years, and this morsel thrown from their high stools at the well served tables they dine on, is all that parents on benefits can expect. But as Labour was until last election too afraid to offer anything similar, and even then only to parents with kids, the Nats can impress the largely misinformed public, that they are to “good guys” and deserve their votes again, come 2017.

    Time to rethink, time to regroup, time to prepare a counter attack, in full swing, also with a formidable media campaign, with firm alternative social and other policies by the more progressive forces.

  12. Mike the Savage One 12

    MSM – example ‘Radio Live’, Duncan Garner, “Drive Show”, Friday, 22 May 2015:

    Check out the audio – from 03:15 pm onwards, and listen to him calling the Auckland Action Against Poverty protestors “thugs”:

    http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Audio.aspx

    While the actions of some protestors may have been a bit questionable, I think the media is totally biased, at times full of contempt towards people, who dare to challenge the status quo we have, and who raise issues with social and other policy.

    Once upon a time it used to be professional conduct, to at least attempt to report in an objective manner, without spouting off personal, emotive comments and views. With such a “media” as we have it now, you do not need to run much in the way of political campaigns, if you pursue neoliberal, right of centre political ambitions and agendas.

    • Tracey 12.1

      How dare the poverty action group show Garner up… I presume those who just swallow and regurgitate Nats lies and deceptions (eg the decetive $25 per week increase for beneficiaries) such as Garner, Hosking, Plunkett, Smith feel foolish when those they despise (poverty action group) work it out quicker than they did?

    • stever 12.2

      Yeah we’re so “nice” and “polite” in this country…as the whole place goes down the gurgler.

      Having the (pretended) vapours at these rough, rude types…we’d rather be comfy than fair.

  13. linda 13

    lets not forget the minimum wage wound have went to 16 dollars hour under labor all govt and local body contracts wound have required the living wage changes to employment laws would have driven up wages ,NZ power policy would have stopped the rampant power profiteering ,kiwi insure would helped stop the money leaving these shores and changes to reserve bank act would have helped kiwi saver instead paying higher interest rates to the Aussie banks.and the Cullen fund would have been restarted ,Christchurch would have been used as a training ground for apprentices to help mop up the young unemployed ,David parker had a sound plan for the future !
    but we just love pony tail pervert lieing fucker john key .

  14. Mike the Savage One 14

    Perhaps the media should spend a little time examining the Designated Doctor racket that goes on, all funded generously be Work and Income NZ (WINZ) now:

    http://www.nbph.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Work-Income-DD-Flyer-V3.pdf

    So NBPH and WINZ are (in Nelson/Tasman) looking, or have been looking, for new Designated Doctors, commissioned by MSD to examine beneficiaries for their health conditions and work capabilities, and there has been plenty anecdotal evidence that these “doctors”, trained by MSD’s Principal Health Advisor Dr Bratt (the one who likens “benefit dependence” to “drug dependence”), are hardly as “independent” as they claim they are.

    They now get paid $ 250 PLUS GST a “hit”, that is for examining or re-examining WINZ clients with health conditions, and often they only run them through a range of questions, and a brief physical check-up, taking no more than 15 minutes. It used to be only around $ 140 a couple of years ago.

    Some may take a little longer, but hardly more than 20 to 30 minutes. On top of the $ 250 for that “service”, they can claim another $ 25 plus GST for a “host doctor report”, and also a travel allowance of $ 1.32 per km, should they need to travel to an agreed place.

    That puts the $ 25 (gross, before abatement / claw-backs) per beneficiary family with kids into a new perspective, I’d say.

    Lest we forget what is behind all that:
    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/designated-doctors-used-by-work-and-income-some-also-used-by-acc-the-truth-about-them/

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    2 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 ...
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    6 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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