The new economy: Govt as an economic actor

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, December 17th, 2010 - 42 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.

42 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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  • In Defence of Kāinga Ora
    Given the headlines around the recent findings of the ‘independent’ review of Kāinga Ora by Bill English, you might assume this post will be about social housing, Kāinga Ora’s most prominent role. While that is indeed something that requires defending, I want to talk about the other core purpose of ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    3 days ago
  • Baby You're A Rich Man
    “How does it feel to beOne of the beautiful peopleNow that you know who you areWhat do you want to beAnd have you traveled very far?Far as the eye can see”Yesterday the ACT party faithful were regaled with craven boasts, sneers, and demands for even more at their annual rally.That ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Stopping a future Labour government from shutting down gas exploration
    A defiant Resources Minister Shane Jones has responded to Saturday’s environmental protests by ending Labour’s offshore oil exploration ban and calling for long-term contracts with any successful explorers. The purpose would be to prevent a future Labour Government from reversing any licence the explorers might hold. Jones sees a precedent ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23
    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 2, 2024 thru Sat, June 8, 2024. Story of the week Our Story of the Week is Yale Climate Connection's Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths, by ...
    4 days ago
  • Fission by the river
    This is where we ate our lunch last Wednesday. Never mind your châteaux and castles and whatnot, we like to enjoy a baguette in the shadow of a nuclear power plant; a station that puts out more than twice as much as Manapouri using nothing more than tiny atoms to bring ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is the ocean acidifying?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is the ocean acidifying? Acidification of oceans ...
    5 days ago
  • 20,000+ on Queen St.
    The largest protest I ever went on was in the mid 90s. There were 10,000 people there that day, and I’ve never forgotten it. An enormous mass of people, chanting together. Stretching block after block, bringing traffic to a halt.But I can’t say that’s the biggest protest I’ve ever been ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Josh Drummond's Columns
    Hi there,I wanted to put all of Josh Drummond’s Webworm pieces all in one place. I love that he writes for Webworm — and all of these are a good read!David.Why Are So Many “Christians” Hellbent on Being Horrible?Why do so many objectively hideous people declare themselves “Christian”?Meeting the Master ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday soliloquy and weekend Pick ‘n’ Mix for June 8/9
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: On reflection, the six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty this week were:The Government-driven freeze in building new classrooms, local roads and water networks in order to save cash for tax cuts is frustrating communities facing massive population ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The no-vision thing
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • When Journalists are Disingenuous
    Hi,One of the things I like the most about Webworm is to be able to break down the media and journalism a little, and go behind the scenes.This is one of those times.Yesterday an email arrived in my inbox from journalist Jonathan Milne, who is managing editor at Newsroom.I don’t ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Me, elsewhere: Just say you’ll do the thing
    Wrote something over at 1/200 on a familiar theme of mine: The way we frame the economy as a separate, sacred force which must be sacrificed to, the way we talk about criminals as invaders who must be repelled, the constant othering of people on the benefit, people not in ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    6 days ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted
    A nice bit of news today: my 4600-word historical fantasy-horror piece, A Voyage Among the Vandals, has been accepted by Phobica Books (https://www.phobicabooks.co.uk/books) for their upcoming Pirate Horror anthology, Shivering Timbers. This one is set in the Mediterranean, during the mid-fifth century AD. Notable for having one of history’s designated ...
    6 days ago
  • Ministerial conflicts of interest
    Since the National government came to power, it has been surrounded by allegations of conflicts of interest. Firstly, there's the fast-track law, which concentrates power in the hands of three Ministers, some of whom have received donations from companies whose projects they will be deciding on. Secondly, there's the close ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The 2024 Budget Forecasts Are Gloomy Prognosis About The Next Three Years.
    There was no less razzamatazz about the 2024 Budget than about earlier ones. Once again the underlying economic analysis got lost. It deserves more attention.Just to remind you, the Budget Economic and Fiscal Update (BEFU), is the Treasury’s independent assessment and so can be analysed by other competent economists (although ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • A government that can't see twenty feet ahead
    There are two failings that consistently characterise a National government. One is a lack of imagination, the other is their willingness to look after their mates, no matter what harm it might do to everyone else.This is how we come to have thousands of enormous trucks carving up our roads. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • A post I hope is incorrect
    In May, we learned that National MP David MacLeod had "forgotten" to declare $178,000 in electoral donations. Filing a donation return which is false in any material particular is a crime, and the Electoral Commission has now referred MacLeod to police, since they're the only people who are allowed to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Māori Cannot Re-Write New Zealand’s Constitution By Stealth.
    The Kotahitanga Parliament 1897: A Māori Parliament – at least in the guise of a large and representative body dedicated to describing the shape of New Zealand’s future from a Māori perspective – would be a very good idea.THE DEMAND for a “Māori Parliament” needs to be carefully unpicked. Some Pakeha, ...
    6 days ago
  • Cowpats and Colonials.
    Dumbtown, is how my friend Gerard refers to people like ZB listeners - he’s not wrong.Normally on a Friday I start by looking at Mike Hosking’s moronic reckons of the week which he vomits down the throats of his audience like helpless baby birds in a nest, grateful for the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on cutting the sick leave of vulnerable workers
    Should sick leave be part and parcel of the working conditions from Day One on the job, just like every other health and safety provision? Or should access to sick leave be something that only gradually accumulates, depending on how long a worker has been on the payroll? If enacted ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • Nobody Move: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    So long as we live in a democracy, economic policy can never be anything other than social-democratic.“HEH!”, snorted Laurie, as he waved his debit card over the EFTPOS machine. “Same price as last week. I guess budgets aren’t what they used to be.”“I wouldn’t know,” replied the young barman, wearily, ...
    6 days ago
  • In Search Of Unity.
    Kotahitanga: New Zealand’s future belongs to those who do not fear a nation carved out of unity and solidarity, and are willing to trust the carvers. Some New Zealanders will be required to step up, and others, perhaps for the first time in their lives, will be expected to step ...
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 7-June-2024
    Welcome to another Friday roundup! Here are some recent links and stories that caught our eye, perfectly timed for your watercooler discussions and weekend reading. As always feel free to share more in the comments. Our header image this week is by Patrick Reynolds, and shows Te Komititanga from above. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 7
    As Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, ACT’s Brooke van Velden is fronting proposed changes to sick pay regulations and The Holiday Act. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Did we boil the oceans by cutting pollution?
    Lowering aerosol emissions from shipping has altered clouds, with potentially drastic effects. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: Here’s the top six news items of note in climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, and a discussion above between Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer:New evidence is increasingly pointing at efforts ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #23 2024
    Open access notables Abrupt reduction in shipping emission as an inadvertent geoengineering termination shock produces substantial radiative warming, Yuan et al., Communications Earth & Environment: Human activities affect the Earth’s climate through modifying the composition of the atmosphere, which then creates radiative forcing that drives climate change. The warming effect ...
    7 days ago
  • Fragments
    The best observation I’ve read this week about the deep, profound harm Trump is doingTrump has hurled threats and smears at witnesses, jurors and the judge (including his family)... [he] has tried to intimidate witnesses and delegitimize the New York courts as corrupt. In continuing to incite his mob (that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • March for Nature
    Do do do do do do do doDo do do do do doDi di di di di di di di di di diNature enter me…In 2018 the Labour lead government banned new oil and gas exploration in Aotearoa. A change welcomed by those who care deeply for our environment and ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus and pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 6
    The Transport Minister is trying to push through urgent legislation that would allow him to change emissions standards for car imports without approval from Parliament, after only consulting car importers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Just as two major reports showed fossil fuel burning was warming the planet to dangerous levels and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • A Better Broadway: Act 2
    This is a guest post by reader Grant A, the second of a pair about how to fix Broadway. If you missed the beginning of the show, here’s the link to Act 1 from yesterday. Yesterday, I discussed changing traffic circulation around Broadway in Newmarket. This included implementing a car-free ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • National breaks another health promise
    National has broken another manifesto health promise, apparently to save only $550,000. It will now train an additional 25 med students next year rather than the 50 it promised. This comes on top of the delays caused by National’s coalition partners in pushing ahead with the Waikato Medical School and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Climate Adam: Coping as the world’s best known climate scientist
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Katharine Hayhoe is quite possibly the world's most famous climate scientist. She's produced wide ranging research, and communicated climate change with ...
    1 week ago
  • SIS “evidence” isn’t, again
    Back in 2016, then-Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne cancelled a New Zealand woman's passport, claiming she was a terrorist. The basis for his decision was a secret briefing by the SIS, which claimed that if she was allowed to travel, the woman would "engage with individuals who encourage acts of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • As Low As You Go
    Taking you as low as you goAs low as you goA sense of Déjà vu this morning. How many times have I begun a newsletter, “just when you thought they couldn’t go any lower…” Only for the groundhog to reappear, more pissed off than the day before.Another day with headlines ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Wednesday June 5
    TL;DR: The public health costs of human-caused air pollution in Aotearoa-NZ is estimated at $38.8 billion a year because it kills 3,300 people each year, which is almost ten times more than the death toll on roads from accidents. Yet the Ministry for the Environment has just one staff member ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • A Better Broadway: Act 1
    This is the first of a two-part guest post by Grant A, a long time reader and commenter with a keen interest in all things urban, especially cycling and public transport. He’s been thinking about how to fix Broadway. Stay tuned for Act 2! Readers might remember the pre-Christmas traffic snarl-ups in ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Road trance
    Sometimes technology is your friend and sometimes it can’t be bothered with you. Once you’re away from home and your dependable wifi, well, there’s no telling what will happen. I’ve been going in and out of high-speed and low-speed no-speed Internet pockets all over England and France and look, I’m ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • You Can't Undo Fake News
    Hi,I’ve been thinking a lot about Corey Harris, the 44-year old man who went viral after Zooming into his court appearance while driving. The headlines generated were basically all the same: “Man With Suspended Driver's License Dials Into Court Hearing While Driving”. The headlines said it all, and most people ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – CO2 is the main driver of climate change
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Acting Prime Minister David Seymour.
    When it came to David Seymour, Jacinda got one thing right, and another wrong. What is the sacrilege, I hear you ask? In what world in relation to David Seymour was our Jacinda ever wrong?Subscribe nowAs you no doubt remember, and personally I think there should be some sort of ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • More democratic abuse from National
    "Abuse of democracy" seems to be the emerging theme of this government, with bills rammed through under urgency or given pathetically short select committee submission times seemingly designed to limit and undermine public engagement. And today we have another case, with the public given just nine days to submit on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the curse of being politically moderate about everything
    Nigel Farage’s initial reason for not standing in the British election – because he wanted to be a Trump adviser – never looked very convincing. His perfectly timed “change of mind” though, has won him extensive media coverage, and he’s now plunging into the election campaign as the rival candidate ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus and pick ‘n’ mix for Tuesday, June 4
    Placards at a 2018 rally for better funding for new cancer drugs. National’s pre-election promise to do so may have won it votes, but the attempt to quietly drop the plan has now ignited a firestorm of protest. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: The Government is now being engulfed in a firestorm ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Budget 2024 Highlights
    Last week the government delivered their first budget and while there’s been plenty of other discussion about the main aspects of it, I was particularly interested to look at what it meant for transport. Before getting into too much detail, the chart below shows at a high level where transport ...
    1 week ago
  • Jeff Masters and Bob Henson give us the low-down on the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Samantha Harrington (Background photo credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project / CC BY 2.0 DEED) To kick off hurricane season, Yale Climate Connections editors Sara Peach and Sam Harrington sat down with meteorologists and Eye on the Storm writers Jeff Masters and Bob ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 3
    TL;DR: The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, which consumes over 15% of the motu’s renewable electricity, has struck a deal to stay open for another 20 years. This will delay Aotearoa-NZ’s transition to carbon zero and make it more expensive and unfair for the 100,000 households who currently can’t afford their ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • maBaguette
    Today we rolled through troglodyte caves and ate a fresh roast chook by the river, the mighty Loire River, the still quite angry-looking Loire River. The Loire is not itself because it has been raining here for the last seven months without a break, the locals have been telling us, ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Empty Promises.
    Fighting out of the blue corner, wearing a pale pink jacket, a half hearted smile, and a lot of flack from the left and the right, it’s your Finance Minister - Nicola Willis.Her challenger will probe the Minister for answers. Armed with boyish charm and tricky questions, the last remaining ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22
    A listing of 33 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, May 26, 2024 thru Sat, June 1, 2024. Story of the week Sometimes one story is not enough. Our ongoing 2023-2024 experiences with lethal heatwaves, early wildfires and a threatening Atlantic hurricane season ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Treaty Principles Bill: Smokescreen for sweeping change?
    Much has been said about how the coalition government’s Treaty Principles Bill distorts te Tiriti o Waitangi. However, it could also serve as a Trojan horse, installing an extreme libertarian agenda. We don’t know the intent driving the proposed Bill; however, many serious effects may ensue. Far from simply clarifying the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago

  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Paid Parental Leave increase to help families
    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Brooke van Velden says paid parental leave increase from 1 July will put more money in the pockets of Kiwi parents and give them extra support as they take precious time off to bond with their newborns. The increase takes effect from 1 July 2024 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Defence increases UN Command commitment
    The number of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to the Republic of Korea is increasing, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.  NZDF will deploy up to 41 additional personnel to the Republic of Korea, increasing the size of its contribution to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand to attend 'Summit on Peace in Ukraine' in Switzerland
    New Zealand will be represented at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine by Minister Mark Mitchell in Switzerland later this week.    “New Zealand strongly supports Ukraine’s efforts to build a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Minister Mitchell is a senior Cabinet Minister and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Big step forward for M.bovis programme
    Farmers’ hard work is paying off in the fight against Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) with the move to a national pest management plan marking strong progress in the eradication effort, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The plan, approved by the Coalition Government, was proposed by the programme partners DairyNZ, Beef ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Build To Rent opening welcomed by Housing Minister
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Housing Minister Chris Bishop formally opened a new Build to Rent development in Mt Wellington this morning. “The Prime Minister and I were honoured to cut the ribbon of Resido, New Zealand’s largest Build to Rent development to date.  “Build to Rent housing, like the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Agriculture to come out of the ETS
    The Government will deliver on its election commitment to take agriculture out of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) and will establish a new Pastoral Sector Group to constructively tackle biogenic methane, Coalition Government Agriculture and Climate Change Ministers say. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand farmers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Luxon Tokyo-bound for political and business visit
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Japan from 16-20 June, his first visit as Prime Minister.   “Japan is incredibly important to New Zealand's prosperity. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and our fourth largest export destination.  “As you know, growing the economy is my number one priority. A strong economy means ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bayly travels to Singapore for scam prevention meetings
    Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Andrew Bayly, travels to Singapore today to attend scam and fraud prevention meetings. “Scams are a growing international problem, and we are not immune in New Zealand. Organised criminal networks operate across borders, and we need to work with our Asia-Pacific partners to tackle ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More help for homeowners impacted by severe weather
    People who were displaced by severe weather events in 2022 and 2023 will be supported by the extension of Temporary Accommodation Assistance through to 30 June 2025. Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says the coalition Government is continuing to help to those who were forced out of their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    Removing the ban on petroleum exploration beyond onshore Taranaki is part of a suite of proposed amendments to the Crown Minerals Act to deal with the energy security challenges posed by rapidly declining natural gas reserves, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “Natural gas is critical to keeping our lights on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and Malaysia to intensify connections
    New Zealand and Malaysia intend to intensify their long-standing, deep connections, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “Malaysia is one of New Zealand’s oldest friends in South-East Asia – and both countries intend to get more out of the relationship," Mr Peters says.   "Our connections already run deep and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Ending contracted emergency housing motels in Rotorua
    The end of Contracted Emergency Housing (CEH) motels in Rotorua is nearing another milestone as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announces it will not renew consents for six of the original 13 motels, Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka says. The government is committed to stop using CEH ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • First Home Grant closure exemptions
    The Government is providing a narrow exemption from the discontinuation of the First Home Grant for first home buyers who may face unfair situations as a result, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “The First Home Grant scheme was closed with immediate effect on 22 May 2024, with savings being reprioritised ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Faster consenting for flood protection projects in Hawke's Bay
    Work to increase flood resilience in Hawke’s Bay can start sooner, thanks to a new fast consenting process, Minister for Emergency Management and Recovery Mark Mitchell and Environment Minister Penny Simmonds say.  “Faster consenting means work to build stop banks, spillways and other infrastructure can get underway sooner, increasing flood ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Judge Craig Coxhead and Nathan Milner newest Māori Land Court appointments
    Tangata tū tangata ora, tangata noho tangata mate. Minister for Māori Development Tama Potaka today announced acting Deputy Chief Judge Craig Coxhead as the new Deputy Chief Judge, and Nathan Milner as Judge of the Māori Land Court. "I want to congratulate Judge Coxhead and Mr Milner on their appointments ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government signs Indo-Pacific Economic agreements to boost trade
    Trade Minister Todd McClay and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts, today signed three Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) agreements that will boost investment, grow New Zealand’s digital and green economies and increase trade between New Zealand and the 14 IPEF partners. IPEF’s partners represent 40 per cent of global GDP ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government signs Indo-Pacific Economic agreements to boost trade and cooperation
    Trade Minister Todd McClay and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts, today signed three Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) agreements that will boost investment, grow New Zealand’s digital and green economies and increase trade between New Zealand and the 14 IPEF partners. IPEF’s partners represent 40 per cent of global GDP ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Visit to Viet Nam strengthens ties
    New Zealand and Viet Nam are focused on strengthening cooperation by making progress on mutually beneficial opportunities, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. “Viet Nam matters enormously to New Zealand," Mr Peters says. "Our countries enjoy broad cooperation, in such areas as defence, security, trade, education and tourism. We are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost to fix potholes
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to boost funding for pothole prevention, with indicative funding levels confirmed by NZTA showing a record increase in funding to help fix potholes on our State Highways and Local Roads, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The NZTA Board has today confirmed indicative ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government making fuel resilience a priority
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will halt work on procuring reserve diesel stock and explore other ways to bolster New Zealand’s diesel resilience, Associate Energy Minister Shane Jones says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will also begin work on changes to the minimum fuel stockholding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt strengthens COVID-19 preparedness
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says additional supplies of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests (RATs) will enable New Zealanders to continue testing this winter.  “In January, we announced an extension of public access to free RATs until the end of June,” Dr Reti says.  “I’m pleased to confirm that Health New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Fiji commit to strengthening partnership
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has met with his Fijian counterpart, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, and discussed how New Zealand and Fiji can further strengthen their partnership.  During their bilateral talks in Suva this morning, Mr Luxon and Mr Rabuka canvassed a range of issues including defence and regional security, trade, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Making it easier to invest in New Zealand
    The Associate Minister of Finance David Seymour has issued a new Ministerial directive letter to Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to make consent processing timeframes faster under the Overseas Investment Act.  “New Zealand is currently rated as having the most restrictive foreign direct investment policy out of the OECD countries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $30m investment for faster access to radiology services
    New Zealanders will now benefit from free access to radiology services referred directly by their general practitioner, resulting in faster diagnosis and improved health outcomes, says Health Minister Dr Shane Reti. “Our Budget last Thursday delivered the foundations for a thriving New Zealand economy, but also for better public services ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Pacific Economic Development Agency – Pacific Business Trust
    Good afternoon everyone, and warm Pacific greetings. Thank you for your lovely introduction Mary Losé. It’s wonderful to be here today at the Pacific Economic Development Agency - Pacific Business Trust. I want to acknowledge the chair Paul Retimanu and chief executive Mary Losé, your team and the many business ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Progress for fixing the Holidays Act 2003
    The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Brooke van Velden says this Government will improve the Holidays Act 2003 [the Act] with the help of businesses and workers who will be affected by changes to the Act.  “Change has been a long time coming, and I know there are many ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • New Zealand and Niue mark special milestone
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