The new economy: Govt as an economic actor

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, December 17th, 2010 - 37 comments
Categories: assets, business, Economy, housing, jobs, public services, sustainability, tax, workers' rights - Tags:

Three government investment decisions in the last couple of weeks have shown the deficiencies in the neoliberal way of doing things. SOE Solid Energy is preparing to wreck our environmental image and increase our carbon costs with lignite-to-liquids. Kiwirail saves itself some money by buying trains in China but costs its owners (us) millions in wages and tax revenue. Then, there’s Steven Joyce going for the cheapest broadband network option while ignoring the cost of re-creating Telecom’s monopoly.

Neoliberalism believes that government, to the extent that it should exist at all, should operate like a a group of businesses, each operating independently without reference to anything other than their own bottom lines. SOEs are the epitome of this model – government departments were turned into businesses and, before being sold, were held at arms length from the elected government. Basically they’re run just like private businesses that happen to be owned by the Crown. The corporate culture of some, Solid Energy in particular, is more akin to a soulless multi-national than a public asset.

All government bodies should have to consider the ramifications for the government, if not the country, as a whole when making investment decisions. They could use the same kind of benefit:cost analysis that NZTA does to assess the value of roads.

Going a step further, I would gather all the government’s commercial operations and financial investments into an umbrella group (call it the Kiwi Future Fund) and set it a mandate of investing in infrastructure, here and abroad, that is crucial to the New Zealand economy. People could also invest in this fund via their Kiwisaver or term deposits at Kiwibank. The aim is to get the commercial side of government all pushing in the same direction: toward an economically sovereign and sustainable New Zealand. Commercial return for the Fund and its components would be one way of delivering value to its owners (us), it would also take account of the implications for New Zealand jobs, tax revenue, and sustainability in making its decisions.

The mad situation we’re in where Kiwirail buys trains from China because they’re cheaper and that means it can pay a bigger dividend to the government even though it costs the government even more in lost tax revenue and where Solid Energy is prepared to wreck our climate account and valuable environmental image to increase the dividend it pays us should not be allowed to continue.

Of course, that’s a radical departure from the SOE model but so what? SOEs were created as a stepping-stone to privatising public assets. If we’re against privatisation, then why persist with the SOE model?

Government investment should be directed at public control of utilities where the private sector fails to operate competitively (eg. rail and electricity – I see Gerry Brownlee’s attempt to reform the sector to create competition has already pushed up prices, as predicted). In markets that tend towards oligarchy, to having a publicly-owned player to keep the others honest (eg. Kiwibank in banking, Kordia/Orcon in ICT). That means keeping the kinds of businesses the government already owns and keeping them strong.

Joyce’s decision to give 70-84% of the ultra-fast broadband contract to Telecom is the exact opposite of what I’m talking about. He’s effectively reinstated the private monopoly of Telecom (which, again, was predicted from the outset). If he had given more of that contract to Kordia then he would have been ensuring better competition (actually, the fibre network is going to be a lot like the power line network – a lot of local monopolies – so would be better all publicly owned).

Housing is clearly a market that works best when the government is one of the large suppliers. When, as in the 1990s and now, government stops building new houses the only ones that get built are targeted at the well to do either plush homes for themselves or cheap townhouses/apartments for renting out to the rest of us. State housing fills a gap. The government should undertake an aggressive building programme of eco-smart homes targeted at families on middle incomes (around $60-$70,000 a year). I don’t have a problem with the government selling to tenants as long as there’s a caveat preventing them using the house as a rental property.

Another market I think the government could usefully intervene in more is the third party employment/recruitment. There are a hell of a lot of Kiwis who are effectively employed as day labourers through labour hire outfits like Allied Work Force and recruitment agencies like Manpower. Typically, the worker is a contractor for the company, which in turn contracts to deliver their labour to another company. The worker has no employment security, no annual leave, no sick leave, nothing. The pay is usually minimum wage or near to it. The company then charges them out at as much as double their pay rate per hour and pockets the difference. It is an awful, immoral industry that treats the most vulnerable workers like disposable tools.

The government already participates in this market in a limited fashion and improves vastly on standard industry practice through Student Job Search. Rather than taking huge profits by contracting workers and delivering their labour to a third party, SJS just acts an intermediary – both employer and worker are better off as a result.

You’ll recall in my previous ‘new economy’ post, I suggested virtually eliminating the benefit system and replacing it with the guaranteed minimum income. That would put a lot of WINZ staff out of work who could be redeployed to a beefed up version of SJS to compete with the labour hire/recruitment firms. This would either operate free to the employers or with a small cost-recovery charge. It wouldn’t contract workers who use it and it would act to ensure their work rights. Employers would be required to pay leave and Kiwisaver but would still find the service much cheaper than the current market.

Finally, the government should use its huge buying power to set standards. This was something begun under the last Labour government and, for no good reason, abandoned by National. Departments should only rent eco-smart offices, only buy fuel efficient cars and machinery, only do business with contractors that have sustainable practices and good employment conditions, and only supply healthy food at schools, hospitals, and workplace cafeterias. Yes, there’s an additional cost to all these things but it’s a cheap and effective way to move the whole market for the better.

37 comments on “The new economy: Govt as an economic actor”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    The US government does a lot of what you talked about at the end. They set standards, particularly in IT and other technology areas, where all departments must be running x system or service within 3 years time, thus creating a market for private industry to supply.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      I would love to see government to mandate use of Open Source and Open Standards software for all it’s departments and subsidiaries. It makes a huge amount of sense economically and socially. Wages for the programmers would go to NZers (reckoning that government would have to put in a software development department) in NZ and we would develop a massive skill base.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        Besides which the code is usually more stable and in particular I find it more efficient than figuring out where mickeysoft has shifted the bloody menu items to this time.

        • Rich 1.1.1.1

          And the FBI gets to read your data with done of that tedious messing about bribing Microsoft/Oracle/IBM.

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/15/openbsd_backdoor_claim/

          • chris 1.1.1.1.1

            or not, geez, at least investigate your conspiracy theories before you spout them

            http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2009441

            • Bored 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Now now gents, Bill is actually God, and Larry Ellison the Arch Angel, we must pay our dues , Open Source resides on an inner ring in the Inferno along with a pile of Popes. The flow of mana upward toward heaven must not be interrupted, clean licensing is next to Godliness.

              My point Chris, is that you are right, no conspiracies (probably because the conspirators dont quite get the technology). But there are license spies, and planned exploits to keep us “honest”.

          • Aron Watson 1.1.1.1.2

            Micro$oft left back-doors in Windows 93 and 95 after agreements made with American law enforcement. There is a reason why Windows is the most unsafe OS on the market, cause they let it.

            • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1.2.1

              Citation needed. Also there’s no such thing as “Windows 93”.

              Also allowing law enforcement to have a backdoor into the system, has nothing to do with the rest of the system being poorly designed or poorly implemented.

              • Aron Watson

                oops me bad, I meant 3.1

                “system being poorly designed or poorly implemented.”
                Which it is, no arguments here, that’s why I use Linux and FreeBSD

                Citation. No. Only a young teenager when I read that in the news section of some american computer mag. Surprised they published it…and it was Gates that admitted it.

  2. Descendant Of Smith 2

    Work and Income already provides a free service to employers to find staff and to workers to find work. This includes assisting firms when staff are being made redundant.

    The comparison to SJS who have very few staff and then only for a short period of time is slightly odd.

    I’m also not sure whether they should compete against private sector firms – a co-operative approach where the government agencies can support the private sector firms to fill vacancies makes far more sense.

    Link

  3. Whose going to implement the ‘new economy’, a Labour Government? No. Downgraded credit rating and capital flight will bankrupt the country overnight. We’ll be a South Pacific Greece, Ireland and Iceland forced to make the working class majority pay for the debt.
    It will need a Workers Government that can repudiate the national debt, expropriate big business, take control of the Reserve Bank, plan production and do trade swaps with other countries who go down the same road. Its called socialism.
    Most of us will take an income cut but it will be worth while because we will own and control the economy and in cooperation with other socialist states build a new world economy based on sustainable production and conservation of nature. Our living standards will rise on the basis of production for need and not profit. The only losers will be the small minority of super rich parasites and their hangers-on who will have to adjust their aspirations.
    That would be a ‘new economy’. It would also mean survival for humanity.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      but this is hardly radical stuff. It’s very sensible, implementable stuff that would make a difference, I reckon. Labour’s searching for detail for its economic agenda – here it is.

    • Bored 3.2

      Ah Dave, the old socialist dream of Heaven on Earth. Its a bit like the capitalist Shining City on the Hill, corrupted at source by the need for coercion, and by rationalist justification gone mad. Both reek of concepts like “progress” and “material betterment”. Both make rational constructs based upon imperfect information and premises. I would buy it if I could see around the inevitable dictatorship, the next Stalin or Kissinger, the drive for individuals to embrace the “orthodox”, the suppression of the spirit.

      You are right about the outcomes we need, and who should be the losers. I question the methodology as a total package. I would hate to foist the next dictatorship upon us in the name of any of todays established credos, left or right.

    • Hi Dave
      I’m sorry but you are forgetting we are past peak oil, we are about to start a decline that ‘mankind’ hasn’t seen on the scale it will be, by the time a ‘new world order’ along your suggestions could be implemented, we will be living like refugees at best. About the only ‘government’ will be small and local.
      I’m not saying this system is any good, it is dying fast and taking most of us with it.
      Collapse is when shit happens, National are the current bunch of arsholes, as any other party would be at this point in time, $300 million a week would/could anyone do any better? maybe Robert Magarbe (?)
      Phil can’t even sell his flat/superannuation, house sales are fast becoming a thing of the past, it will come to a point were the occupier will be the owner.
      I warned Capital Property Investors’ Association of Wellington NZ in a talk I gave on 4th of March 2008 “get out now” http://www.youtube.com/user/oilcrash1#p/u/86/nyMEFiHriAM I wounder how many wish they had listened?
      Even have a couple of friends express sadness they hadn’t listened to me before their last child was born. The others are still in deanile or just say “k sara sara well they are fun to play with”.
      Chances are we will have a firewood economy, long before anything else.
      50 years ago things might have stood a chance, but now the scramble for the air vents is about to start, there are no exits in this horror show )

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Natural monopolies such as Telecom and power need to be in state ownership with a mandate to provide the best most up to date service for as little as possible. If Telecom had remained state owned with such a mandate then we would already have FttH across most of the country. We certainly wouldn’t be having to subsidise private profits from our taxes.

    The government should undertake an aggressive building programme of eco-smart homes…

    Passive House is a standard that needs to be developed for NZ and the government could do it through Housing NZ. Housing NZ should also be looking at building more high-rise apartment buildings as well especially in already built up areas as this would promote the use of public transport as it would be far more efficient.

    Another market I think the government could usefully intervene in more is the third party employment/recruitment… The worker has no employment security, no annual leave, no sick leave, nothing. The pay is usually minimum wage or near to it.

    Actually, it’s quite often less than minimum wage once everything is taken into account. In fact I know people who have actually lost money going to work (effectively paying to go to work).

    The government already participates in this market in a limited fashion and improves vastly on standard industry practice through Student Job Search.

    I’ve seen such contracts where people pay to go to work in SJS listings as well. Admittedly, that is probably more due to the lack of protections for contractors in law than anything.

  5. prism 5

    While we are thinking of the tax losses to government in this country because we have gone overseas for cheaper cost and are demanding very short delivery time on railway carriages, we shouldn’t forget the multiplier effect. It ripples out into the community far wider and more effectively than the trickle>down that we sparrows are supposed to receive from the tables of the wealthy. I think for each $1 earned, the net remainder enables another three transactions, each of which pays out a taxation component.

    It would be the Christmas gift that keeps on giving but this NACT outfit likes to think of themselves as hard men – don’t bring that sort of sentimental hope and goodwill to the table thank you very much.

  6. Rich 6

    The SOEs are run for the public benenfit how, exactly? The government (including the previous one) is under a self-denying ordinance not to interfere and to be *more* of a hands off shareholder than a pension fund would be. So they’re basically run for the aggrandisement of senior management.

    What we actually need is for most of the SOEs to be converted into worker/customer owned coops, regulated as appropriate. This would mean that Kiwirail’s profits would be shared between the workers and (individual) customers, and senior management would be elected by the workers and customers. (With something like a 50:50 split, so obviously individual rail customers, being more numerous than workers, would get less dividends and votes each).

    That way, organisations are free of treasury or capitalist control and run cooperatively for the benefit of everyone involved.

  7. Hamish 7

    KR have been given an amount of money from the goverment. They, like a business, must use that capital as effectivly as possible. Which means buying the required wagons from overseas.

    Besides, KR’s workshop’s don’t even make flat deck wagons! One, however, does make coal wagons. Which is something they can do at a good price; because only a handful are needed every year.

    >>>”The mad situation we’re in where Kiwirail buys trains from China because they’re cheaper and that means it can pay a bigger dividend to the government ”

    Absolute dribble, Marty. KR does not even make a profit, let alone pay a divident to its owner!! (Although I did notice a while ago you or another poster here claimed that KR was making a profit. If your a bit of the slow side, I guess you could come up with that assumption. When you engage your brain, you’d quickly work out that you can only get the “profit” if you count goverment grants for Auckland’s new Electric Trains as income. KR does not make enough to cover the amount it spends on the network, which is why the goverment gives it 90mil every year..)

    • Bright Red 7.1

      “Absolute dribble, Marty. KR does not even make a profit, let alone pay a divident to its owner!!”

      Irrelevant whether it runs at loss or profit – the commercal decision to buy the rail wagons in China was to minimise its loss/maximise its profit. Kiwirail is increasing the cost to the government by not sourcing its wagons here.

      “They, like a business, must use that capital as effectivly as possible”

      as effectively as possible from whose perspective? Kiwirail’s or the government that owns it? That’s the whole issue genius.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Kiwirail Making Big Profits

      Seems that you’re the one speaking dribble.

  8. prism 8

    The mad situation we’re in where Kiwirail buys trains from China because they’re cheaper and that means it can pay a bigger dividend to the government even though it costs the government even more in lost tax revenue

    OK Hamish its true that KR doesn’t make a profit, despite efforts to achieve that. We know that transport is costly to provide for people and freight. Then if reality does prevail mentally, it would make sense to not go for the cheaper overseas option but to get NZs trained to build these wagons either whole or in part with some importing, provide jobs for skilled men and women, get tax, boost the economy getting long-term, useful infrastructure.

    You’re so smart and so TINA. It is thinking that reflects received wisdom outwards, without examining it first to see whether applicable here.

    • prism 8.1

      So Kiwirail is making profits. This is why I come to this site, to get my ideas up to date. Who would have thought they could be making profits – there is always so much smoke confusing the issue and all you hear is the voice of some wizard saying that government can’t run trains efficiently blah blah

  9. randal 9

    neo liberalism is only a theory.
    therefore its effects are subject to objectification and reality testing.
    however by that time the beneficiaries have usually absconded.

  10. tc 10

    This broadband outcome’s a very sad one for NZ….lots of public money to re-entrench our most badly behaved anti-competitive slothful corporate entity…..Telecom.

    Being both a rural and urban user this saddens me (but doesn’t surprise me) as I will not get a decent, reasonable service in my rural location as effectively Joyce’s locking out the innovative new-age technology wireless players in favour of the bigest bastards in the scoool yard…..a company he admires as their MO is his MO….bully/ignore/confuse/deny then finally get snarky.

    much like the brash taskforce….a relentless march back in time because it worked so well back then.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      reasonable service in my rural location as effectively Joyce’s locking out the innovative new-age technology wireless players in favour of the bigest bastards in the scoool yard

      You seem to be under the illusion that telcos actually make the technology that they use and also that the technology that they do use is actually different in some way (which it isn’t as it has to conform to standards so that each telco can talk to other telcos). Also, If you’re talking about a static connection then you don’t want wireless as it’s far slower and less reliable than a wired connection.

  11. Deadly_NZ 11

    Damn so telescum get the lions share of the high speed broadband well I for one Will not be using it I refuse to have anything to do with Telescum. Yet another fail for the democratic process and another gain for the Fat cats overseas.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      I refuse to have anything to do with Telescum.

      Whatever gave you the idea that you have any choice?

      As I said the other day: Me connecting through Orcon makes no difference because I’m still connecting through Telecom’s network. Telecommunications is a natural monopoly and more competition just means higher prices as more resources are diverted to do the same job.

  12. tc 12

    Well exactly prism…..it’s assumed pretty much everything the NACT do is their backers interests.

    Goff’s ‘for the many not the few’ has a profound ring to it, they should base the campaign on that.

  13. prism 13

    Jonkey has just been extensively interviewed on RadioNZ. You all can relax everything is going swimmingly and certainly better than when Labour was in.
    He talks quite quickly giving a conman feel, in an upbeat tone.

    They have been busy working on the structural imbalances I think he said. Our regulations and taxes are better than Oz so that gives us a comparative advantage I think. Work will set you free is the background to attitudes to welfare. There can be no greater role model than a parent who is working. Huh? (There are people slaving over a hot stove making meth – they are working all right. Perhaps all we need is to legalise drugs so we can tax them, or what we can extract, then these people can get the respect they deserve.)

    He isn’t concerned with Patsy Wong as this was a matter for the Speaker. Having some problems with MPs doesn’t match up with Labour which had double figures.

    (And NACT is doing well in the polls still. It could be that there is a different mindset now about what makes a good government. The minds of people who spend all their time listening to their best friends on cellphones or playing fantasy games are likely to be different from past generations.)

  14. Jenny 14

    .
    On top of skyrocketing food bills thanks to 15% GST, higher ACC levies for work and vehicle licensing, etc, comes a near-tripling of the wholesale electricity price.

    Electricity prices set to rise next year

  15. Hamish 15

    “Draco T Bastard 7.2
    17 December 2010 at 2:30 pm
    Kiwirail Making Big Profits

    Seems that you’re the one speaking dribble.”

    Sigh. It’s been explained to you that you can only get that result if
    you include capital grants as operating income (which that report does).
    Take away those capital grants and it runs at a solid loss, which is why
    it gets 90mil of tax payer money every year.

  16. A 16

    It looks to me as though what you are asking for is a massive reorganisation of society in which the state dominates the commanding heights of the economy to a greater extent than it did in the post war period, with the market permitted to pick up the slack but subject to heavy restrictions. That sounds fine to me, and I think the intellectual case for greater governmental control over the economy is probably unbeatable.

    But that is the easy part. There’s about 30% of the population who will find this completely unacceptable. Sadly, they as a group possess most of the wealth and influence in the country, and they will cease caring about democracy if it doesn’t go their way, although they won’t present it as such. Private power is genuine political power and exists alongside and above democratic political control.

    Without some answer better than “people will vote for it” of how your program can be a political success, how are we supposed to find it a plausible political idea?

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

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