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The myth of upward mobility

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, November 6th, 2009 - 62 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war - Tags:

Yesterday, we looked at what a vastly unfair and unequal system capitalism is.

plutocracyThe control of the fruits of production by the few means that wealth accumulates to them and the rest of us get a pittance. The wealthiest 10% of people own over half of the wealth of this country – net worths of $650,000 each (actually, a small fraction of them will control most of that wealth too). 50% of us have just 3% of New Zealand’s wealth amongst ourselves – with average net worths of $7,000.

But a lot of people have the notion that although they’re being screwed now, it’s OK because a) it’s the ‘natural’ order (I’ll come back to that some time) and b) one day they’ll be the ones doing the screwing.

It’s a myth. If you’re working class or middle class odds are you’ll stay working class or middle class. And the wealthy nearly always stay wealthy. This Stats NZ study looked at the movement of people among income deciles over a five-year period (2002-2007, but there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t be the same over any five-year period).The size of the circles is the percent of people who had been in each decile in 2002 who were in a given decile in 2007:

income mobilityAs you can see, most people are in the same decile five years later or very close to it. There’s some mobility among the lower deciles and some mobility among the higher deciles but very few people (only 18%) who were in the 10th (richest) decile in 2002 were below the 8th five years later. Only 10% of people who started off in the lower five deciles made it into the top two or three.

In fact, the mobility you can see is largely a factor of life-cycle – students moving into high paid jobs etc. The study breaks down the age groups and income mobility is very low with life-cycle movement taken out.

So not only is our political economic system designed to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few people, who those people are doesn’t change either. If you’re not one of them now, the odds are you never will be. So the question arises – why support a system that steals the wealthyou produce with your hard work and gives it to them? Are the crumbs that fall from their table enough?

62 comments on “The myth of upward mobility”

  1. Gosman 1

    So your whole argument is based on movement over a five year period?

    I’m not sure anyone makes claims that Capitalism encourages social mobility over such a short period of time.

    Your argument would have more validity if you had a study with data over a 50 year or more period.

    • Marty G 1.1

      You mean over a period longer than a person’s working life? Um, that wouldn’t work eh?

      In case you missed it, this shows how the incomes of individuals changed among income deciles over time.

      It would be nice to have several 5 year periods to compare but this is the first stud of its kind that I could find.

      You can’t dismiss the findings just because you don’t like them.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        Social Mobility goes beyond a single person’s lifetime. I thought you would be aware of this.

        Try finding studies that have been done which look at whether people’s children remain in the same social group over time.

        • Pascal's bookie 1.1.1.1

          The Economist did one a while back on meritocracy in the USA. What they found was that there isn’t much, and there’s less than there used to be. It’s all very sticky, and getting stickier.

        • BLiP 1.1.1.3

          And this:

          A careful comparison reveals that the USA and Britain are at the bottom with the lowest social mobility. Norway has the greatest social mobility, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Germany is around the middle of the two extremes, and Canada was found to be much more mobile than the UK.

    • Sam 1.2

      Ah there has been research done in 2005 that compares the vocations put down in census data (after it is standardised etc with changes in interpretation) and the fact is that since 1896 the working class has grown while the employer and self-employed have shrunk. The trend was interrupted somewhat in the 80’s and 90’s but this was due to the casualisation of the labour market, the high levels of unemployment we’ve had since the 1970s, and in my opinion, the “class confusion” that many of the Middle Class suffer from (that is, they don’t see themselves as workers when they are). That’s not social mobility, that’s capitalism doing what it does – concentrating wealth and power into the hands of fewer and fewer people.

      (If you want the reference to this study: Hayes, Penelope, 2005. “The end of class? An empirical investigation into the changing composition of New Zealand’s class structure, 1896-2001” in New Zealand Sociology 20(2):41-72)

      So Marty is entirely correct – egalitarianism and social mobility are myths. It’s arguable that it ever existed at all beyond the first waves of European migration, but it’s certainly an outright fallacy after 1984. However for some reason we cling to this idea and it obscures our perception of what is really happening. Which, if you are in the top 10 percentile is exactly what you would want…

      • Gosman 1.2.1

        ‘”class confusion’ that many of the Middle Class suffer from ‘

        Classic piece of leftist thinking there!

        I have a question for you.

        I work as an It Contractor for a NZ Bank. Does that mean I am a worker?

        However My wife and I run an own a small business. Does that mean I am a Capitalist?

        Then again my Wife does all the work in the business so we aren’t oppressing anyone except ourselves.

        Oh the dilemmas that people on the left face. How do you make it through the day?

        • Sam 1.2.1.1

          If you sell your labour you are a worker. If you exploit others’ you are a capitalist. If you exploit your own you are a member of the petit-bourgeois class.

          But by all means, be arrogant and dismissive of things you have no idea about. Keep it up.

  2. vto 2

    Interesting interesting. What would make it more relevant is a comparison with other places in time in NZ and with other places in the comparable globe. To see if / how the mobility changes over time and place. For example, if the mobility now is greater than it was in say the 1970s, 1940s, 1900s, mid-1800s, dark ages, etc then there is some good to be seen ya?

    As it is, it is interesting but without a comparison point it is difficult to see whether things are on the improve or deprove..

    My 2c suspects that mobility today is higher than it was in near-all NZs previous epochs / periods / governances / etc.

    • Marty G 2.1

      Well, I spent over an hour assembling the data and checking it to show what I’ve shown about income mobility.

      How about you show some evidence for your assertions? I’m not saying they’re wrong – but you’re clearly trying to blame Labour for it somehow. However, I would strongly suspect that in the great depression and in the 1800s before the great stations were broken up income mobility was far lower.

      Either way, it’s still incredibly low now and that shows the nature of capitalism

      • vto 2.1.1

        Ay? Labour to blame? Dont think I suggested that. My point was, good point but difficult to see if things are on the improve or deprove, or even whether such a level of mobility as you have shown is good or bad. Obviously total mobility would be some sort of aim, however then the top 10% woudl be crowded with 100% of the people – a conundrum thingy methinky.

        I have no evidence for my 2c suggesting more mobility now than in NZs history – only anecdotal.

        Good effort MartyG

        • felix 2.1.1.1

          “Obviously total mobility would be some sort of aim…”

          Can you tell us a bit more about what you mean by this? I’m not quite grasping it.

          • vto 2.1.1.1.1

            I mean Felix such mobility as allows people to move between deciles pretty much at will (or with only work etc being the barriers, not social position, wealth, or lack of, etc). Then everyone would want to go to the top decile, and get there, if mobility was simple.

            But I see this whole post has moved on now. I’m a day late.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2

          Actually, the anecdotal evidence is that upward mobility is less now than before. Most of the people today are worse off than they were in 1984 which kind of puts a crimp in any sort economic activity.

  3. Again, further evidence of how far removed some here are from the real world.

    Even the most ardent capitalist wouldn’t say capitalism has its faults.

    The reality is of course that for the most, regardless of its weaknesses, the core of the current system allowing for electoral swings and roundabouts is manifestly superior to any of the other systems.

    Tellingly, you highlight perceived faults without proposing an alternative method. The problem is that the alternative methods employed to address the inherent weaknesses in capitalism have been spectacular failures. Even China has been forced to move more towards a capitalist model.

    I think you also miss a significant feature of capitalism and the market economies. Capitalism relies on a free flow of information and as such assists in the democratic rights we have. It is interesting to note that those who actively choose to take the non-capitalist path can only do so by controlling free speech and the democratic processes. It simply illustrates how out of touch you are to propose (by inference) systems that require force and restrictions to succeed.

    • Marty G 3.1

      Not very post is a complete thesis, Daveski. Yesterday a number of lefties, notably Irish, proposed simple reforms that would do much to create a more equal and fiar society still built on a capitalist base.

      I will be doing the same later in this series.

      And I note you don’t even attempt to address the issue here – income mobility is a myth. If you’re born poor you’ll likely die poor, and the rich, whom capitalism is designed to serve, stay rich.

      I’m not proposing anything that would restrict free speech. And if you think we have free speech in a country where the media are controlled by four (three foreign owned) corporations, well you’re wrong.

    • Daveo 3.2

      I’m taking it you’ve never heard of democratic socialism Daveski. Capitalist regimes can, and historically have been, just as undemocratic as any socialist regime. There’s nothing inherent in capitalism that supports free speech and democracy.

      Anyway, I wouldn’t get too worried. This looks like the start of an ongoing series. I’m sure if you’re patient Marty will start getting into democratic alternatives or reforms to capitalism in good time.

  4. Harpoon 4

    The chart is very pretty … congratulations!

    BUT can somebody please explain (in plain English) how to read it? Ta.

    • Richard 4.1

      The horizontal axis shows income deciles in 2007, the vertical in 2002.

      If you want to find out where people who were in the 5th decile in 2002 ended up in 2007 you would:
      – find 5 on the vertical axis.
      – read across horizontally.
      – the size of the bubbles indicates the number of people.
      – so most people who were in the 5th decile in 2002 are still in the 5th decile in 2007, because that has the biggest bubble. Quite a few are now in the 4th decile, some in the 6th. Decreasing amounts in the other deciles.

      Hope that helps.

      • Richard 4.1.1

        The fact that the biggest bubbles lie on the diagonal, tell us that most people did not move decile.

      • Lew 4.1.2

        Would be a bit more intuitive if 2007 was charted on the X, so that upward mobility was represented by movement ‘up’ rather than ‘right’. Although, now that I think of it that way, there’s a certain poeticality to that plotting.

        L

      • Rob 4.1.3

        I also find this confusing and not the way I would present this data.

        I actually think the chart is flawed, a simple method of presenting this data would be by two proprtional columns showing change is segments over the two time periods. All you are trying to achieve is a delta from two time periods.

        Also that would enable you to expand and increase the number of time periods, so you could see the % change in segments over many time periods. It would present a much better view on segment size and change.

        • Richard 4.1.3.1

          The proportional columns idea doesn’t work. There are always 10% of people in each decile — that’s what decile means.

          What this graph shows is how the people in each decile moved from period to period. Did they change decile or not? As the big bubbles are on the diagonal, the answer is that most people did not change decile.

          Your suggested method doesn’t seem to show this information.

  5. If it wasn’t for capitalism you wouldn’t have the internet.

    • Lew 5.1

      Brett, because the internet was invented by … IBM, no … Microsoft, no … google, no … Al Gore, no, but … The US Federal Government Department of Defence!

      Thanks, big government. You’re good for something after all.

      L

      • Quoth the Raven 5.1.1

        Thanks America’s military-industrial complex you’re a force for good in the world.

    • felix 5.2

      Well that proves it, Marty. There’s heaps of income mobility in NZ.

      Well done pointing it out, Brett.

    • Bill 5.3

      If it wasn’t for capitalism we wouldn’t have second rate technologies foisted on us as a result of a competitive environment where economy of scale rather than excellence is often the deciding factor as to which technology or product prevails.

      And the internet resulted from publicly funded R&D. Government then handed it over to the private sector for them to make profits on it. Hardly hard core capitalism. Some might even call such a leg up Corporate Communism or some such.

      • Lew 5.3.1

        And the internet resulted from publicly funded R&D. Government then handed it over to the private sector for them to make profits on it.

        … and those of you hard-core capitalists who’re connected to the interwebs using wi-fi — Big Government R&D, you’re soaking in it.

        L

  6. Edosan 6

    I would really like to see what happened to that graph over the next two years, what with the latest unemployment stats. A bit of mobility the other way I would say.

  7. burt 7

    I’m not surprised that under social polices that promote welfare dependence that there was little movement across income brackets. The lack of incentives to earn more as a result of harsh abatement rates and the effect of very low “rich prick” thresholds did exactly what Labour wanted it to do… Nobody shall earn too much and nobody shall earn too little.

    • Daveo 7.1

      I want some of what burt’s on.

    • So Bored 7.2

      Yes you are right Burt, if we got rid of welfare and left the poor to die the figures would look much nicer for proponents of upward mobility myths. Mind you there might also be some downward mobility from the top too as the poor chose to loot the wealthy.

      • burt 7.2.1

        So Bored

        OK, so let’s look at this. Stats from a 5 year period during which the Labour party social policies were in place showed little mobility between income brackets.

        The partisan hacks who love welfare dependency in the middle class automatically say it would have been worse under National. How so ?

        Why when I suggests that middle class welfare and harsh benefit abatement rates are a disincentive to people increasing their earnings do complete idiots read that as a suggestion that welfare should be scrapped completely? I will stand up and be counted as a person who strongly supports scrapping welfare for people earning up to twice the tax system definition of “rich prick’ but that is a very long way from saying we should not have welfare.

        If you are incapable of discussing benefits for middle and high earners (eg: WFF for people earning up to $120K) as being something completely different from paying unemployment or sickness benefits then don’t waste my time pretending to understand benefits, abatement rates and personal motivations to change personal circumstances.

        • Bright Red 7.2.1.1

          There’s no suggestion in the study that the lack of income mobility has anything to do with policy of the government of the day. It’s inherent in the capitalist system.

          It really is pathetic of you to try to blame it on Labour for no other reason than that Labour happened to be the government during the period of this study.

          • burt 7.2.1.1.1

            So it’s the fault of the failed policies of the 90’s then….

            If you are prepared to say that the policies of the govt de-jour are not a factor then clearly state that now. I’ll bookmark the link and next time you start blathering on about the policies of national increasing the gap between rich and poor I’ll remind you it is the capitalist system rather than the govt.

            What a twat…. might as well say it is human nature and just accept it as “it is what it is”.

            • Bright Red 7.2.1.1.1.1

              “So it’s the fault of the failed policies of the 90’s then .” no. It’s inherent in capitalism.

              And contrary to this: “might as well say it is human nature and just accept it as “it is what it is’ (which i see in the post marty predicted you would say) capitalism isn’t a state of nature, it is a socio/economic/political construct

              In the case of income mobility the policies of the government of the day (short of radical reform) are likely to have little effect. However (and bookmark this) obviously a government’s policies can and do influence the difference in wealth between deciles.

              national undermined unions and let the minimum wage fall in the 1990s, and the poor got poorer while the rich got richer. Labour reversed that to some extent. That’s a different issue to income mobility.

              I think that’s pretty clearly explained. Naturally, you will attempt to misconstrue it, because that’s what you do.

            • burt 7.2.1.1.1.2

              Classic

              I didn’t think you would have the balls to say that the policies de-jour don’t have an impact but you are too myopic to consider the govt de-jour when the study was done as being a factor in the stats.

              Wimp.

        • Now Very Bored 7.2.1.2

          Burt, get a sense of humour. And if you want to discuss benefits you might want to start with tax benefits etc, all those little devices for keeping the money fl;owing upwards (which result in the graph being as it is).

    • roger nome 7.3

      Burt – as someone pointed out further up the thread, the social democratic, high-tax, large welfare state Scandinavian countries have the highest social mobility, and the low-tax, relatively free market countries (Eng, US), have the lowest.

      No surprise that you missed that.

      • burt 7.3.1

        roger

        One of the concepts that I have been led to believe is that part of the ‘Scandinavian’ concept of welfare is a degree of entitlement attributed to contributions made. Fir example a big tax payer might get a bigger benefit for unemployment than a perpetual beneficiary. Can you start to see where equity of income also becomes a factor in welfare systems when the two are intrinsically linked via an ideology? Are you comfortable with that?

  8. The graph shows that tin pot aspirational capitalists are likely to remain just that. One of capitalisms many grubby little secrets is that there is always only going to be a self limiting small club at the very ‘top’. The same clubs mass media and manipulative tory marketing manage to persuade thousands of this section of voters otherwise of course.

  9. prism 9

    Exciting possibilities now Nats are in about changing abatement rates? Think I heard in passing recently that plans have been dropped. People on welfare can’t better themselves, they are not allowed or wanted to, that’s where the tall poppy syndrome is really seen to be at its most cutting. And attitudes are still negative to welfare, both from those who have achieved financial success and jobs that enable good livings, but also from the downers who get a quick burst of superiority by sneering at others. Encourage low income people, support and help to improve their own situation and lessen long-term welfare costs – hey that’s – a bit radical?

    • burt 9.1

      People on welfare can’t better themselves, they are not allowed or wanted to…

      OMG – You are chanelling Dr Cullen… or was that snippet something Clark sent you in a txtda recently ?

  10. BLiP 10

    Why is it when even given the undeniable data, well presented in a simple to understand format (top marks Marty, thanks) the average punter still doesn’t get it?

    The more I see of it, the more I am convinced we have become captured by our selfish desires at the expense of our rational mind. Maybe the scientists are correct: human beings are little more than life-support systems for DNA molecules.

    Ah, well, never mind. I finally got paid for the overtime I did last Christmas and I just soooo need to a Iphone.

  11. prism 11

    Facts, and graphs, and stats – The way our employment figures are gathered interests me. I understand that an individual only has to do one paid hour work a week to be included in the employment stats. If so the totals we hear about are not useful for practical understanding. Also if true, why do we include such nebulous figures. Does the OECD want it and we want compatability with them – and do all ‘developed’ countries count their working population like this? USA, Brit?

    • Bright Red 11.1

      The hours worked is the one to look at, not the number of unemployed, because like you say, a person working 1 hour or a person working 40 counts the same, even if the person working one hour wants and needs more work. Plus if people give up looking for work altogether they disappear from the unemployment figure.

  12. randal 12

    whoever said capitalism was fair?
    it isnt.
    its horrible and it destroys everything and supplies endless amounts of goods that are dangerous, poisonous and ultimately fatal for the health of the planet yet some people think that it is possible to replace it.
    soory folks but people are adventitious.
    if capitalism is to be critiqued then it cannot be done so on the basis of unequal possession of goods and services when it is those goods and services in the first place that are creating the ulitmate destruction of the ability of this planet to sustain itself in the long term.

  13. Malcolm 13

    Who said a meritocracy should equate with social mobility?

    Perhaps lower social mobility just means that people are getting to their natural level earlier in their lives. Or a lot of people are condemning their own kids by the example they set. Or more people are wealthier than ever and choosing to do other things with their time, than climb the ladder. So many options.

    And none of them point to a fundamental failing of capitalism.

  14. prism 14

    Perhaps smugocracy is what you get when you no longer have aristocracy and meritocracry.

  15. Olwyn 15

    I like the smugocracy remark prism. While people rail against welfare, in fact it cushions everyone from deeper and harder questions. Firstly, just about 100% of welfare payments end up in the hands of businesses, having briefly prevented starvation along the way. And a huge part of the welfare bill goes to compensating for the fact that we no longer have any notion of a living wage, along with property prices that bear no relation to the real money generated in this country. If you were to take welfare out of the equation, those howling about it now would be howling even louder. This extension of welfare, however, contributes to the lack of social mobility – one has to be way above the storm to really be above the storm. If you earn a bit more, your accommodation supplement goes down and you find yourself in debt to working for families – to get lucky you have to get very lucky indeed. Meanwhile the smugocracy pockets its indirect welfare payments and pens another letter to the editor about the scourge of the beneficiary.

    • Herodotus 15.1

      I am glad you mentioned “ompensating for the fact that we no longer have any notion of a living wage”. I have long been thinking about this topic. I can see no comment regarding this anywhere. I believe based on first principles hat this subject needs to be brought up, as andy assistance from govt,tax policy, superannuation, min wage etc needs this as its foundation. What quality of life do we wish as a base level for all of us? I think it was stats NZ reported that the average household outgoings were about $950/week

  16. prism 16

    Olwyn you know your stuff. These are the realities but the GAS group don’t want to know these. (GAS Gripe and Sneer). People don’t get easily onto welfare, but then because of the bias against welfare by many and particularly politicians, they make it hard to get off again.
    They do this by cutting back on grants and supplements that enable beneficiaries to manage life plus get out to work, study etc. So if you are poor, get a job, but an entry-level or part-time one not paying well, the withdrawal of supplementary benefits can mean that you end up with less money than before, so you are money poorer and time poorer. And time to look for cheap and second hand things enables a better level of living than just surviving. So less time and less money can make the move to get a good job, better income and welfare independence near kaput.

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    Earlier in the month, Bougainvilleans went to the polls in a landmark referendum to decide on whether they would remain part of Papua New Guinea or become independent. Yesterday, the results came in, with over 97% support for independence. The referendum wasn't binding - instead it means negotiations with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Bus strikes, suspensions and solidarity
    by Daphna Whitmore This week 800 unionised bus drivers in Auckland were suspended from work after they refused to collect fares as part of a campaign of industrial action. Drivers working for Auckland’s largest bus company NZ Bus are asking for more pay and better working conditions after being offered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • How to support after the Whakaari/White Island volcanic eruption
    As details emerge about what unfolded on Whakaari / White Island two days ago, my thoughts go out to all the families affected by this terrible event. My thoughts are also with the first responders who worked in perilous circumstances to assist and protect those affected. Both local and ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarb Johal
    4 days ago
  • Final BMG poll – nothing to see here
    BMG research have unleashed their final poll of the 2019 campaign:Westminster voting intention: CON: 41% (-)LAB: 32% (-)LDEM: 14% (-)GRN: 4% (-)BREX: 3% (-1)via @BMGResearch , 06 - 11 Dec Chgs. w/ 06 Dec That's a bit of a "Dunno why we bothered" sort of poll. "Phillip, I'm afraid I've been a ...
    5 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Spends Up Large – On The Establishment!
    Grant Keeps On Trucking: Out of the $12 billion Robertson has announced for infrastructure investment, $8 billion will be allocated to specific projects, with the balance of $4 billion held in reserve. What does it say about this Government's "transformational" ambitions that 85 percent of that $8 billion is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Boris Johnson … Hides … In a Fridge
    I am not making this up.First few lines of the Dail Mail write up:Boris Johnson's exasperated media minder swore on live TV today as the PM refused to speak to Good Morning Britain before trotting into a fridge as he started an early milkround in Yorkshire. Piers Morgan was visibly ...
    5 days ago
  • Shy Labour Voters?
    In previous elections pollsters have bemoaned the 'shy Tory' - the respondent who is so fearful of being judged as a cruel and heartless bastard by an anonymous pollster, or their spouses, workmates and friends, that they lie about their intention of voting Conservative, skewing the poll figures in Labour's ...
    5 days ago
  • Seven reasons to be wary of waste-to-energy proposals
    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 I was in Switzerland recently and discovered that they haven’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Reviewing the whitewash
    Back in 2015, then Ombudsman Beverley Wakem conducted a review of the OIA, Not a game of hide and seek. The "review" was a whitewash, which found no need for legislative change, and instead criticised the media and requesters - which destroyed Wakem's reputation, and undermined that of the Office ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • You Gov MRP Poll Out
    So, You Gov's MRP poll - the weird one that tries to reflect what will happen at a constituency level and which pretty much nailed the hung parliament in 2017 - is not looking too good for Labour:
    UK #GE2019 MRP seat projection:CON: 339 (-20)LAB: 231 (+20)SNP: 41 (-2)LDEM: 15 ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Accountability?
    We've known about climate change for over forty years now,and it has been a major political issue for twenty. And yet fossil fuel companies have kept polluting with impunity, while government have looked the other way and twiddled their thumbs and refused to do anything because "the economy", or just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Delusional And Irrational: The Rise Of Paranoid Politics In New Zealand.
    Sheer Loopiness: Many of those expressing bemusement at the antics of these #turnardern effacers, were convinced that they were yet another expression of the National Party’s increasingly spiteful anti-government propaganda campaign. They marvelled at the oddness of the perpetrators’ mindset and questioned the common-sense of allowing the rest of New Zealand ...
    5 days ago
  • Things to know about Whakaari/White Island
    Brad Scott, GNS Science VolcanologistThis post was originally published by GeoNet. Following the 9 December devastating eruption at Whakaari/White Island we have put together some information about the island. New Zealand’s most active volcano Whakaari/White Island is currently New Zealand’s most active volcano, it has been since an eruptive episode ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Status quo supports status quo
    The Justice Committee has reported back on its Inquiry into the 2017 General Election and 2016 Local Elections, with a host of recommendations about how to improve our electoral systems. Some of their recommendations are already incorporate din the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before Parliament, but there's also a recommendation ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Greens abandon NeoLiberalism
    Back in 2017, in order to make themselves "electable" in the eyes of rich people who oppose everything they stand for, the Greens signed up for NeoLiberalism, adopting a restrictive set of "Budget Responsibility Rules" which basicly prevented them from using government to make things better. Now, they're finally abandoning ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Lying about a failed war
    Since invading in 2001, the US has consistently claimed that their war in Afghanistan has been going well, even when it continued year after year after year. Of course, they were lying, and thanks to the Washington Post and the US Freedom of Information Act, we get to see just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Artificial Intelligence and You
    How should we think about artificial intelligence and the implications that it has for our work and leisure? There are many articles on artificial intelligence and its potential impacts on jobs, and the ethics of applications. These are important topics, but I want to focus on some less discussed aspects, ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
    I love data. It’s amazing the sort of “discoveries” I can make given a data set and computer statistical package. It’s just so easy to search for relationships and test their statistical significance. Maybe relationships which ...
    6 days ago
  • More lies on the Twitter (Dan Hodges edition)
    The other big story concerning Leeds Hospital is Boris Johnson's bizzare behaviour at Leeds Hospital, where he was confronted by a journalist and challenged about a four year old boy with suspected pneumonia who was left sleeping on the floor, rather than getting  abed like a sick kid would in ...
    6 days ago
  • LabourActivistPunchedMattHancock’sSPADGate
    So, for a brief period of history, it was alleged that a protester had punched Matt Hancock's SPAD (not a euphemism; special adviser) when Hancock visited Leeds Hospital.This was reported by the likes of Robert Peston and Laura Keunssberg, as well as the less credible Guido Fawkes.  It also quickly ...
    7 days ago
  • France’s anti-Zionism is anti-liberté
    by Daphna Whitmore Last week France passed a law that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. It is based on a definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Another bus lockout
    Over the past year we've seen major bus problems in Hamilton and Wellington, as drivers have sought better wages and an end to the bullshit of split shifts, which basicly see them "married to the job". And now its Auckland's turn. When NZBus's drivers planned low-level strike action of not ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Showing us how its done
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 weeks ago
  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 weeks ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    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 According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    2 weeks ago

  • New Zealand will continue to showcase ambitious climate action
    With the global climate change talks closing overnight, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said New Zealand will continue to show the world what meaningful, ambitious and lasting climate action looks like. “Lasting action on climate change demands that we keep working every single day. This is the only ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • More progress in delivering te reo Māori in schools
    600 new te reo advocates are being sought following the success of a programme that supports the Government’s plan to integrate te reo Māori into education, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Registrations for Te Ahu o te Reo Māori 2020 are now open, with courses starting from February ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Maori voice to help shape tertiary education
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced the members of Te Taumata Aronui, a group to work with Government on tertiary education policy from a Māori community and employer perspective. “Te Taumata Aronui is an opportunity for Māori and the Crown to work more closely on changes to the tertiary education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Courthouse redesign a model for the future
    The Government will invest $100 million on a new courthouse in Tauranga which will be a model for future courthouse design for New Zealand, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced. The courthouse will be designed in partnership with iwi, the local community, the judiciary, the legal profession, court staff and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Government enables early access to 5G spectrum
    The Government has given the go ahead to enable further development of 5G networks by making appropriate spectrum available. The Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister, Kris Faafoi, has confirmed Cabinet approval for the allocation of short-term rights to an unused portion of 3.5 GHz spectrum. 3.5GHz is the first ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Record export highs picked for primary sector
    Sustained high growth in primary industry exports looks set to continue over the next two years with strong prices predicted for farmers, fishers, growers and rural communities. Minister of Agriculture and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor today released the latest Situation and Outlook report for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New partnership to boost screen sector job opportunities
    Auckland’s growing screen sector is the catalyst for a new partnership between the Ministry of Social Development and Auckland’s economic development agency Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED). The launch today at FilmFX in Henderson, is to celebrate the partnership which looks to capitalise on the social and economic development opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • A minute’s silence for Whakaari White Island victims
    A minute’s silence will be observed at 2.11pm on Monday 16 December in honour of the victims of the Whakaari White Island eruption, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed. “Wherever you are in New Zealand, or around the world, this is a moment we can stand alongside those who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ to help fund fight against measles in the Pacific region
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced New Zealand will contribute NZ$1 million of funding towards the joint United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Pacific Regional Action Plan for Measles.   “Prevention through vaccination is the most effective way of avoiding illness and a costly health emergency. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand remembers Sir Peter Snell
    New Zealand is today remembering one of our true sporting heroes, triple Olympic gold medal winner Sir Peter Snell. “He was a legend, here and around the world,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “Our thoughts are with Sir Peter’s wife Miki and their family.” “Sir Peter is recognised as New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • PM congratulates Boris Johnson on election victory
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his election victory.  “New Zealand and the United Kingdom are close friends and despite our distance we are strongly connected by our history and people,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “I look forward to continuing to work with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Building a platform for the future of rail
    The Government has released its long term vision for a sustainable 21st Century rail network that gets our cities moving, connects our regions and gets more freight off the roads.   Deputy Prime Minister and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said the Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister statement Whakaari White Island recovery operation
    I want to start by acknowledging the families who have experienced such grief and such loss since the extraordinary tragedy on Monday. Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones. We've just come from the airport where many of them were gathered and in amongst what you can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand medical specialists to provide further support to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic. “Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Discounted electric-bikes offered to public sector workers
    Discounted electric bikes will be offered up to public sector staff across the country as part of the Government’s work to reduce transport emissions and support healthier transport options.  Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter officially launched the new initiative at Wellington Hospital today.  “The Government has negotiated bulk-purchase ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Australia and New Zealand confirm joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup
    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launch an historic joint bid to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Australian Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck and New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson will announce the bold campaign, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Blackwater gold mine gets PGF boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has approved a $15 million loan to help re-establish a gold mining operation at Blackwater Gold Mine, near Reefton, Rural Communities Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor announced at an event on the West Coast today. “This is great news for the Coast that could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being
    Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being A housing project by Kohupātiki whānau in Hastings is an outstanding example of a Māori-led housing initiative that can reduce financial pressure and reconnect whānau to their whakapapa says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Minister Mahuta officially opened the Aroha Te Rangi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project
    Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. “Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Housing First to help Nelson Tasman homeless
    Nelson has today seen the launch of Housing First Nelson Tasman. Today’s launch marks the expansion of the Government’s homelessness programme, Housing First, to the top of the South Island. “Housing First is a proven programme that puts people who are experiencing homelessness and multiple, high and complex needs into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New funding to support Environment Centres working for sustainable local solutions
    New Government funding announced today will help communities make a difference in tackling environmental issues Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced in Hawkes Bay today. The Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund is dedicating $243,101 to growing the capacity and capability of the Environment Hubs Aotearoa’s (EHA) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government takes bite out of loan sharks
    The days of vulnerable consumers falling victim to loan sharks, truck shops and other predatory lenders are numbered, following the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill passing its third reading tonight. “Too many Kiwis are being given loans that are unaffordable and unsuitable, trapping them in debt and leaving their families ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand safer as Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders Bill) becomes law
    A Bill that prevents terrorism and supports the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas has passed its third reading, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill is a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Foreign Minister and Pacific Peoples Minister to visit Samoa
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa on Friday, where New Zealand medical teams are helping Samoa respond to an outbreak of measles. “New Zealand has been working closely with the Government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Pastoral Care Code will support tertiary students in 2020
    The Government has changed the law to improve student safety and welfare in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. The Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill passed its third reading this afternoon and details of an interim Code of Practice setting out the Government’s expectations of tertiary providers have also been released. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster
    A new tool to help councils fund and finance infrastructure could mean some housing developments happen a decade earlier than currently planned, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. “This new tool, developed by the Government in partnership with industry and high-growth councils, will allow councils to access private debt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Vision to unite the primary sector launched today
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has welcomed the release of a bold new vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector. “I’m delighted that New Zealand’s major farmer and grower organisations are today supporting the Primary Sector Council’s vision – Fit for a Better World,” he said. “The international consumers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ congratulates PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government on referendum
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has congratulated the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for completing a well-conducted referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. “New Zealand supported the referendum process by providing technical advice through the New Zealand Electoral Commission and leading a Regional Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Next steps for Upper North Island logistics
    In light of Cabinet’s position that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable, the Government will now embark on a short work programme to enable decision-making in the first half of next year, Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones is today releasing the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
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